Once again, it is time following a Packers win to observe the reaction from the opposing camp.
Last night’s 35–14 Packers lightning-delayed win over Da Bears generated 10 thoughts from the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, including …
1. The undoing of Mike Glennon is going to be the turnovers. When you heard coach John Fox talk about the quarterback position and reference the kind of play the organization got from the three-headed monster it had at the position a year ago, he was talking about the interceptions that put the Bears in a tough spot. Well, at 1-3 right now and chasing in the NFC North, the Bears are in a jam as Glennon has turned the ball over eight times (five interceptions, three fumbles). It’s not about throwing the ball downfield and stretching the defense and check-down passes and all of the other topics that have been raised. It’s about protecting the football. Passing yardage isn’t a very useful statistical tool when it comes to determining the outcome of a game. Turnover margin is one of the best statistical tools and once again the Bears are getting hammered in that category. The Bears and Packers are the only teams to complete four games and we’ll see what the chart looks like at the end of the weekend but right now the Bears are, you guessed it, 32nd in the NFL in turnover margin at minus-7. The Bengals and Browns, who do battle Sunday in the Battle of Ohio, are each minus-5. Maybe one of them will have a particularly unsightly game and that will move the Bears out of 32nd. The point is the turnovers can’t happen for a team with slim margin for error. …
Glennon needed to get the ball out of his hand quicker on the first turnover, the sack by Clay Matthews. Glennon executed a play fake and was looking to take a deep shot downfield on the first snap of the game. The Bears asked tight end Dion Sims to solo block Clay Matthews. That seems like an unnecessarily risky maneuver right off the bat and it didn’t work. The fumble that resulted when a shotgun snap went off Glennon’s shin was the result of poor communication between him and center Cody Whitehair. When I talked to Whitehair, he told me the snap was on two and he was at fault for snapping it too soon. Glennon said they were both at fault. It was hard to see what went wrong on the first interception intended for Markus Wheaton but the ball wasn’t close. It appeared like Deonte Thompson ran a particularly poor route on the second interception.
This is precisely what the Bears hoped to avoid this season.
2. I would have concern that the wide receiver position is so undermanned that Trubisky has little chance to be successful if the Bears do make a change at quarterback. Unless he’s the next coming of Aaron Rodgers, who sat for the first three seasons of his career, Trubisky will have a difficult time making a go of it with the wide receivers on the roster. He’s not a magic fix for what ails the passing game. After giving this some consideration, and four games into the season is enough consideration, I think it’s fair to say this is the worst crop of receivers the Bears have had in an awful long time. For a couple weeks I’ve been weighing the 2011 group, which wasn’t good. Now that we’re at the quarter point of the season, I think it’s a fair call. That group had Johnny Knoxaverage 19.6 yards per reception even though he caught only 37 balls. The rest of the group included Roy Williams, Dan Sanzenbacher, Devin Hester, Earl Bennettand of course, Sam Hurd.
The Bears knew when training camp opened that they did not have an optimal group of wide receivers and that it would be a challenge. Cameron Meredith and Kevin White were injured and now they’re looking at a real problem such that I think it’s going to be difficult for Trubisky to perform. They’re not going to suddenly run better routes because a different quarterback is in the game. The absolute worst thing that can happen to the Bears is they send Glennon to the bench because of the turnovers and insert Trubisky and then he struggles badly because, in part, the skill position talent around him is deficient. That would be disastrous. You just have doubts about what this group can accomplish and Wheaton now had two games under his belt but 0 catches. Everyone calling for Trubisky to play needs to realize this group is a very significant part of the issues plaguing the passing game and the offense as a whole.
So do you push Trubisky into action because Glennon has been a major problem? Is the one extra practice the Bears will have with the “mini-bye” as coach Fox alluded to going to make much of a difference? It’s not just dropped passes through four games that are on the wide receivers. It’s interceptions too.
3. If the Bears are extremely lucky, the NFL will only fine linebacker Danny Trevathan for the brutal head shot on Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. The fear has to be Trevathan will be suspended by the NFL for an egregious shot that sent Adams to the hospital. It used to be that suspensions were reserved for repeat offenders, a category that does not include Trevathan. However, the NFL passed a rule change this year that illegal hits to the head can be considered for suspension. Considering the NFL has an image issue with player safety and considering this game was nationally broadcast and considering that hit was just plain awful, I think Trevathan could be suspended by the league here. Safety Adrian Amos had stopped Adams’ forward progress when Trevathan arrived at full speed, driving his helmet into Adams’ facemask.
“I regret just the level I hit him at,” Trevathan said. “I could have been a little better. But you have to understand I was (gathering) momentum and I was just trying to make a play. Nothing intentional. It happens in this game.
“I don’t think it should be a suspension. But you never know. I’m going to send a prayer out. My main concern is that he’s OK. It was bad. I never wish that on anybody. Especially after being hurt (myself) a few times, I know how that is. And especially with the head and the neck, you never wish that on anybody. You never want to see that.”
The good news is the Packers had positive reports on Adams late Thursday night. Trevathan doesn’t have a reputation for being a dirty player but this hit crossed the line and it would not be surprising to see the league suspend him.
4. The Bears really had a shot to win this game. Consider Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga were both sidelined. Green Bay’s top two reserve tackles were already on injured reserve so they effectively started center Corey Linsley and four guards. Add in the fact that defensive tackle Mike Daniels, their best player on that side of the ball was out, and you have another advantage for the Bears. Then consider that running back Ty Montgomery was knocked out of the game on the opening series with what has been reported to be broken ribs and the Packers were very shorthanded. The Bears should have created more problems for their offense but Green Bay came out and ran the ball right at the Bears. I think that set the tone for the entire game. Five of the first six plays were runs by Montgomery to gain 28 yards and then Rodgers opened things up a little bit. The Bears’ pressure amounted to two sacks, one for Leonard Floyd and one for Pernell McPhee. It was good for Floyd to break through for his first one of the season but this was a complete rag-tag assembly on the offensive line and the Bears did nothing to take advantage of it.
“We got outcoached, we got outplayed in every area,” Fox said.
I asked McPhee if the Bears expected to cause more havoc for the Packers.
“Yeah, we did,” McPhee said. “But we know Aaron Rodgers. He wasn’t going to let us do that. If you watch it, two seconds, he was catching it, slinging it. He’s a great quarterback. He made adjustments. He did sprint outs, all types of stuff to slow us down.”
5. Week 4 is the first time the Bears got the offensive line set as Josh Sittonreturned after missing a week with a broken rib. Sitton lined up at left guard and Kyle Long played right guard, where he was last week against the Steelers. You will recall the plan hatched early in the offseason was to have the guards swap positions. Clearly, the Bears have shelved that for right now and for good reason. …
8. Roberto Aguayo isn’t the answer, I think the Bears learned that. But Connor Barth isn’t going to be able to miss many more kicks before the team explores some options there. Barth was wide right from 47 yards and that’s the same distance he missed wide right last week against the Steelers. Barth is 2 for 4 on the season and he coaches are comfortable with him but they’re not going to put up with many more misses. Who knows? Maybe they take a look at a few legs in the next week or so.
9. Talk about a white flag possession. That’s one what former Bears assistant coach said — that the Bears are waving the white flag — after a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 8 minutes, 59 seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter. Jordan Howard scored on a 3-yard run, but it was an extra methodical drive that started after the Bears fell behind 35-7. I chalk that up to Fox knowing his turnover-prone offense wasn’t going to strike for four touchdown in the fourth quarter. But there was some reaction on Twitter about it and one former coach was wondering the exact same thing. That’s the pitfall of playing poorly in prime time. The other 31 teams see you. …
10c. Too many Packers uncovered too often in this one. How is Jordy Nelson uncovered in the end zone? That’s got to be cleaned up on defense. Imagine if that happened in a close game.