Football

Three Things We Learned From Week 5

Hello! This is something I did at FanSided last year. But Fansided is dumb and evil, so I’m bringing it to you, the people. It’s not mean to be serious, because you shouldn’t take the NFL and the Bears seriously.

You Can Only Get Away With A Backup Defensive Line For So Long

For one week, the Bears rolled in backups, beer vendors, and a couple janitors into the rotation against the Vikings and they were all getting to pose behind the line after making a play. They didn’t need Akiem Hicks or Bilal Nichols that week, and you wondered if they were just unearthing people like Sarumon and the Urukai. But there’s a reason Hicks is an All-Pro level player, and you’re supposed to struggle to replace him. Trying to do it for a second straight week showed that.

Without Hicks, the Raiders seemed to figure out they could throw multiple people at Khalil Mack and Eddie Goldman, and no one else was going to be able to make them stop. And that’s how it proved. We’re doing the Leonard Floyd early-season thing, where we wonder why he isn’t running wild when only facing one guy. Backups proved to be backups. It’s football, injuries happen, and they determine a lot of what will happen in January. It went well for the Bears last year, which is why it still feels like such a missed opportunity.

If Hicks’s elbow suddenly putting up a carnival tent inside his skin keeps him out long-term, it’s a huge problem. Especially for however long Nichols is out along with it. Once you get your backups on film, you give everyone a chance to see what they can and can’t do. The Raiders and Jon Gruden pretty quickly figured out what they couldn’t. At least the Bears will know what’s coming.

You Can Only Get Away With Your Backup QB For So Long

It shouldn’t have been a surprise, because we did this last year. Chase Daniel gets you out of the Thanksgiving game, as backup QBs are kind of designed to do. Get you out of a game. One. Two is pushing it. So the next week, Daniel made enough plays to keep the Bears in it against the Giants when the defense took the week off, but he also made enough plays to get you beat. He got you out of the Vikings game. Here comes a second straight game with him behind center, and boy didn’t it look the same? Enough plays to give you the lead, enough plays that put you in that hole to begin with and then lost you the game. That’s kind of what a non-starting QB in the NFL looks like. There’s a reason every rule is meant to protect starting quarterbacks. Your season is fucked if they get hurt.

There were two sacks at least that were from Daniel holding the ball too long, possibly because he’s not much taller than a fire hydrant. In more Rex Grossman comparisons, he has a nasty habit of running straight backwards when under pressure instead of stepping up, possibly because stepping up into the pocket would cut off his vision even more. He should have had three INTs, got bailed out by a roughing-the-passer call for one (and game-changing penalties appear to just be things that are going to happen every week). The other two were bad.

He didn’t get much help. It went a touch overlooked in the buildup to the season, but the Bears couldn’t really run the ball last year. We pinned it on Jordan Howard or Matt Nagy’s over-creative nature, but there weren’t many places for Howard to run. We wanted to think the more explosive and elusive David Montgomery and another year of Nagy’s schemes would get around it. Yeah, well, Kyle Long is made of more spare parts than the car they give Matt Damon at the end of “Good Will Hunting.” Charles Leno was doing his own version of Hamilton out there, and has been. Again, switching Whitehair and James Daniels…was that really so clean?

The difference in football is that you can’t solve it from outside the organization. In the other three sports, if your right fielder can’t hit or your second-line left-winger gets hurt or you need a new small forward, there’s a trade deadline for that. Football doesn’t work that way. How do you solve this internally though?

Everyone Is An Expert On Jet Lag Now

This was an argument making the rounds right around the second quarter, and it was the Bears decision to fly out to London on Thursday evening, arriving Friday morning. What it ignored was that the last time the Bears had to do this, they thwacked the Buccaneers after flying out on Thursday. Most teams fly out on the Thursday. They get a plane you and I will never see. They have experts on this we don’t. They weren’t attempting to sleep in a coach seat next to the smelly guy while sitting up. It’s fine. Whatever. They lost because they got their ass whipped, not because they were groggy. Shut up.

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