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Bears-Bucs: Keys to the Game roundtable

Our experts weigh in with their spin on what it will take for the Bears to get in the W column this week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings

The Chicago Bears are traveling to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Bucs got an upset win Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings, while the Bears once again failed to take down their arch-rival.

This week has caused a lot of concern in Chicago, about who is to blame and if the right people are in charge. Again.

A win, the first in almost 11 whole months, would go a long way to calming a city where it’s football fans have come to expect the absolute worst.

Here is what our guys say about the key things for the Chicago Bears to get a win on the road.

Sam: The Bucs allowed 328 passing yards of the 369 total yards they allowed to the Vikings. Get DJ Moore involved early and often. Justin Jefferson torched the Vikings in the first half. There’s no excuse for Chicago to keep relying on this short passing game. Run the offense through DJ Moore, and get Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet going.

On defense, Baker Mayfield played with his old swagger last week. Get pressure and rattle him. He plays loose in the best and worst ways. Bring out bad Baker. Get him off his spots, and get him rushing his throws. Most importantly, to improve over last week...get off the damn field on third downs.

Lester: Luke Getsy needs to remember his team traded for a number one wide receiver, and he needs to make him a focal point of Sunday’s game plan. He needs to scheme up touches for #2 by any means necessary. Give him a jet sweep, a few slants, an end around. Move him all around the offense via formation, shifts, and motions to make the defense think about him each play. They need to get Justin Fields on the move more than last week because 40 straight dropbacks (out of 52) is not the best way to utilize Fields’ athleticism. On defense, they’ll need to get creative with some timely blitz packages, because their front four isn’t going to get it done.

Josh: So, originally I was going to do a play on HITS each week, but I can’t commit to it. Not after how the season opened. Instead, I’m going to simply say that the Bears need to find an identity. Fields’ arm and legs should give them a puncher’s chance in every game, but they seem afraid. They’ve invested high draft picks all across the secondary, but they play soft. This team needs to start fighting for wins.

Patti: Maybe don’t be so predictable or maybe hope the Bucs coaches are stubborn and don’t adjust their plan to the Bears being obvious about what they’re going to do. Actually, I’m feeling optimistic that the cover 2 concept will be foreign to Tampa so we might be fine with business as usual.

Steven: Don’t overthink it. Encourage throws downfield to Moore and Mooney. Attack on D, bring help when needed. Play to what your team is, and not what you wish it was.

ECD: Everyone, from players to coaches, need to remove their heads from their own asses. That’s the first big key.

Now, for the rest of the breakdown:

Offense - Be freakin’ aggressive and make an effort to push the ball downfield. Opportunities to exploit the Packers’ secondary were present, yet either Justin Fields didn’t see it fast enough; he was gunshy and played it overly safe; or calls were not clearly communicated at the line of scrimmage. The Bucs’ secondary gave up a ton of yardage to Kirk Cousins and an offense that, conceptually, is fairly similar to what the Bears run. Give DJ Moore (who usually owns the Bucs); Darnell Mooney; and Tyler Scott their chances to make plays. I guess Chase Claypool can get his chances too if he decides he actually wants to play.

Defense - For the love of God, don’t be clowned by Baker Mayfield. Send pressure at him during obvious passing situations. Why the Bears opted to send such few blitzes — of which those calls actually worked quite well too — against Jordan Love can only be summarized as an example of sheer stupidity. Also, I’d like to see what Gervon Dexter Sr. and/or Zacch Pickens can do in an extended look at 3-tech DT. Give one of the youngsters a chance at being an upgrade over Justin Jones.

Special Teams - Continue the error-free ball that, for the most part, we saw last week. I don’t know what the Bears’ plans for Velus Jones Jr. are, but Tyler Scott looks capable as the primary kick returner. Ditto for Trent Taylor.

Jack R Salo: On offense, the Bears absolutely have to keep a clean pocket. The lack of pocket stability wasn’t only a big reason the Bears lost last week, it was also a huge factor in the Vikings 344 yards through the air against the Buccaneers. For the Bears, this starts with running the ball early so the defense has to play their blocks. Then get quarterback Justin Fields time to throw, send receiver DJ Moore downfield, and let it fly.

On defense, get a couple takeaways, ideally by intercepting Baker Mayfield. He’s plenty talented, but has bounced around the league the last few years, largely due to his risky throws. Cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, and Safety Eddie Jackson need to play smart football so they end up in the right place at the right time.

Chime in below with what you think it will take for the Bears to get the win Sunday.