Sunday proved to be another disappointing loss in the post-Lovie era. The confidence Bears fans once had of witnessing a win after the bye week, seem so distant. For the last few years, we have seen nothing but lackadaisical performances from a team that should have been well rested and ready to compete. The things that jumped out at me on Sunday, were the constant offensive penalties and coaching mistakes that now seem to be routine.
The Bears recent loss to the Packers is considered to be a defining moment for John Fox’s tenure. Many fans and Chicago sports personalities have grown tired of Fox’s ineffective coaching decisions. There were several head scratching moves on Sunday that should simply not happen in an NFL game. For example, the delay of game penalty after Joshua Bellamy’s 46-yard touchdown reception. Although this penalty did not prove to be costly, it still demonstrates a lack of discipline. Being 9 games into the season, these types of penalties should not continue to occur.
Since Mitchell Trubisky’s first career start in week 5, there have been some signs of improvement. Trubisky’s athletic skill sets have been on display, but his production has been restricted. Signs of maturation have been pretty delayed to no fault of the young, rookie quarterback. The coaching staff is simply to blame for his development process. Through 5 career starts, the Bears offensive play calling has been predictable. Their philosophy of run, run, pass, have put Trubisky at a disadvantage, often times putting him in third-and-long scenarios.
During the preseason, it was obvious the Bears had a special backfield. The Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen tandem seemed to be pretty effective. The Bears used Cohen as a standard running back, allowing him to run in between the tackles. Since the start of the regular season it now seems they use Cohen for pitches, outside runs, and touchdown passes, which NFL teams have figured out. Cohen has not been an effective piece to the offense since week 3 against the Steelers. It blows my mind that the Bears coaches have not figured out how to use Cohen and his playmaking abilities.
Since the Bears offense is a run heavy offense, I still have not seen Trubisky run many play action passes. Every team the Bears have faced this season all have placed an emphasis on stopping the run. The Packers came into Soldier Field with a battered defense and they still managed to contain the rushing attack. The Packers stacked the box several times in hopes of stopping the run, which they accomplished. As I saw the Packers defensive formations, I started to realize how much this coaching staff is hurting Trubisky. Although it is difficult to confirm this observation, the rookie did not audible in any of those situations, which got me to question whether The understands the concept of using audibles or if he has really learned defensive formations like we were all led to believe. A seasoned veteran would have realized the coverage and audibled to a more effective play.
This is a cause for concern to some Bears fans since there are high hopes of a franchise quarterback in Chicago. In contrary, Sunday was one of Trubisky’s best games of the season, passing for a season high 297 yards and completion percentage of just over 50%. On several drives, the Bears went down the field with ease but offensive penalties stalled their drives. These penalties often times put the Bears offense in tough third-and-long situations. The coaching staff should have placed greater emphasis on snap counts during their bye week. Their inability to correct these mistakes are a reflection on the head coach.
There are several people that believe Trubisky is an average quarterback but in my opinion the ineffectiveness of the offense is linked to John Fox and the coaching staff. It is difficult for any quarterback to succeed under these circumstances. Given the fact that he is a rookie and still adjusting to the speed of the NFL, as well as the blitzing schemes of NFL defenses, Trubisky has shown great poise through this adversity. In my several years of observing NFL games and rookie quarterbacks, the type of poise this young stud displays is hardly seen in rookies.
With the consistent mistakes of the coaching staff and the inability to correct common penalties, I am curious to see how beneficial this rookie season truly is. Trubisky has had three opportunities to win games in the 4th quarter, not to mention 2-minute drills. All three attempts have been crushed by either not converting on 4th down or throwing an interception. Will these failed drives determine Trubisky’s success in future scenarios? This is a question that will be answered in maybe one or two seasons. My hope is that these failed attempts won’t damage his “clutch” trait due to Fox and his staff. Only time will tell but in the meantime let’s remain positive Bears fans.