As 4-8 Chicago Bears prepare to head north to Green Bay for Sunday night’s game against the Packers at Lambeau Field, Brad Biggs makes his way through the Bears’ weekly mail.
Topics this week include recovery timeline, Allen Robinson’s hamstring injury, and why the Bears-Packers game is running at prime time.
In fact, how long will this new makeover take to get a playoff spot? With salary ceilings, aging players and limited draft picks plus an entirely new scheme on both sides, are there enough building blocks to make a difference quickly? Two years? – @ donaldguy2
This is a great question – actually a series of questions – with many unknowns. There are many variables involved, and decisions will directly affect others in the series. It is impossible to predict what organizational changes the Bears will make at the end of the season, or how profound they will be. It is impossible to gauge how any newcomers will feel about the core of the squad. The Bears will have decent play space after the season and the ability to create extra space with some moves, and only 27 players currently have a contract for 2022, according to spotrac.com. Add four players who will have exclusive rights. free agents and three restricted free agents, and this creates a ton of flexibility for a potential new regime. It also points to a situation where the roof space could be burnt in a rush if the team makes a few big signings to fill key holes like the wide receiver and corner-back.
If Justin Fields turns into the franchise quarterback that the Bears hope he will be, the franchise will reboot sooner rather than later. Elite quarterbacks have a way to raise the level of play for everyone around them and mask areas of the squad that might not be as strong. It’s impossible to say right now if this guy will be Fields. If it is somewhere in between, the process will take longer. If Fields isn’t the long-term answer, well, the Bears are back where they’ve always been, trying to find their way in a league that is nearly impossible to compete on a regular basis without an elite quarterback. The Bears have some building blocks for the future and some younger players to keep improving, but they don’t have many game-changing factors – players who can constantly change fields for them on Sundays – and that has shown itself this season. … again and again.
Attaching all of this to Fields is dishonest and not an accurate way of describing the situation, but when you talk about the Bears’ lineup and ability to fight for a playoff spot, it is the most important element. puzzle. His rookie season has been up and down, and the Bears are in desperate need of better attacks in 2022 if they want to win. As they do this, they must pay attention to the protection that is a shadow of what it was when Matt Nagy came on board in 2018. There is a lot of work to be done and while I would like to provide a more definite answer: too much unknown cloudes the future. At their best, the Bears are a threat in 2023, when young players are in place to give them the chance to grow and improve. With a shortage of draft capital in 2022, this will not be easy.
What prompted the NFL to keep the Bears-Packers at prime time? Why didn’t the league change the schedule and put the best game on this slot? – Doc K., Rosell
The short answer is this is a particularly bad weekend for matches. The league doesn’t have a complete set of games to choose from. Games on Thursday (Steelers-Vikings) and Monday (Rams-Cardinals) are closed and this is the last week that the teams say goodbye: Colts, Dolphins, Patriots and Eagles. So these are eight teams. The only game on Sunday between two winning teams was Bills at the Buccaneers at 3:25 pm on CBS. Fox and CBS receive a certain number of games each season that they can “block” to prevent the league from pushing them into prime time, and it would be mind-boggling if CBS hadn’t defended the Bills-Bucs game before the season began.
The rest of the table is me with some one-sided matches. Bears-Packers is one of six games that had a 7½ or more points spread on Tuesday morning. Crows by the Browns is AFC North’s battle with postseason aftermath, but NBC had the same pair just two weeks ago. Washington is gaining traction, winning four games in a row to 6-6, and hosting the Cowboys (8-4), but those teams are due to play on the NBC slot on December 26th. The Raiders will be hosting the Leaders this week. networks love to showcase Patrick Mahomes. But Executives was on NBC last week, and the November 14th Chiefs Raiders game also aired on NBC.
In fact, there is not a single game on the schedule that is even half attractive to the NFL, so the league has stuck with the largest television market with only one team, Chicago. Packers always work well with viewers at prime time.
This is only the third time since the start of the 2010 season that the Bears have played prime-time with a record of four or more games below 0.500. They were 1-5 when they went to Green Bay on October 20, 2016 and lost 26-10. The following week, they competed on ESPN’s Monday Night Football program and defeated the Minnesota Vikings 20-10 at Soldier Field. It was Jay Cutler’s last win as the Bears’ starting quarterback.
How is defensive backfield ranked compared to the rest of the league? – @ paulbau80770126
It depends on how you look at it. In general, the indicators of the bears against the pass are not bad. They are ranked sixth in the league at 207.8 yards per game and 21st yards per try at 7.01. They rank first in terms of the number of bags per pass with an indicator of 9.27%. They are ranked 22nd in the percentage of completed opponents (67.1%) and 28th in the rating of passing opponents (103.0). They tied for ninth place with 34 passes for 20 yards or more, and the breakdowns that plagued minor players early in the season are less common. Jylon Johnson played very well and continues to improve, while his cornerback teammate Kindle Wildor fought to the point of being replaced on the bench. Eddie Jackson’s free security certainly helped protect the transfer, and I think Tashaun Gipson’s solid security was average to good considering how much he gets paid.
The Bears need to pick up the nickel position and really need to take a close look at the minor players entering the offseason. Could it be better? Yes. Should be better? No questions. But given what defense coordinator Shawn Desai had to deal with – we knew depth would be an issue for the full-back at the start of the season – I think the passing defense was as good as you’d expect. One issue that worries the defense in general is the lack of conclusions. The Bears share 28th place with only 11 conclusions, and it is no coincidence that they share 29th place in terms of the difference in turnover from minus-8. With a heavy attack, it’s hard to play winning football like that.
Did we last see Allen Robinson? It starts to look like he has a “business acumen” and he will have it for the rest of the year, so as not to get hurt in anticipation of free will. Thoughts? – @ twashington1029
I understand what you are talking about and of course veterans heading to the open market are at risk of injury and do not want to upload bad records if they are playing, but not 100%. However, I don’t understand how Robinson works. Is he happy with the way things are with the Bears? No. He would have preferred a massive contract renewal to a franchise-branded game this season. But as Robinson said, only most of the situation was under his control. Robinson has always come across as the consummate pro, and he’s probably struggling behind the scenes to be available for the rest of the season. He was injured late November 8 in Pittsburgh, and depending on the severity, hamstring injuries sometimes take more than a month to heal. If this injury is not serious – and if that were the case, the team would probably have already placed him in the injury reserve – I believe we will see Robinson in action sooner rather than later. With any luck, he could be on the pitch Sunday night against the Packers.
What drafts will the Bears have in 2022? – Cliff D., Chicago
The Bears have their own picks in rounds 2, 3, 5 and 6. They have an extra choice in the fifth round through the Houston Texans as part of the Anthony Miller trade. The Bears have no picks in the first and fourth rounds to close a deal with the New York Giants to move up and recruit quarterback Justin Fields. They also sent their seventh round pick with Miller to the Texans to move up two rounds.
As such, the Bears have five picks, two of which are likely to be in the top 75. The Bears are not predicted to receive any compensation drafts.
One thing I noticed while playing Bears-Cardinals was that most Bears recipients chose to give up gloves due to rainy weather, while most Cardinals recipients did not take off their gloves. The Bears had trouble falling, while the Cardinals had fewer. How do you think the two teams ended up taking opposite approaches to the same problem, given that each team was provided with gloves? Does it all depend on the player’s choice or does every equipment manager help you decide? – Jacob K., Chicago
Fair question. But it seemed to me that almost all the players in the Bears position were wearing gloves. Tight-end Cole Kmet was gloved and had the most critical failure in the red zone, leading to a 77-yard interception back for Cardinals’ safety, Budda Baker. Darnell Mooney was wearing gloves. Jake Grant was wearing gloves. Damier Byrd did the same. This is a personal choice for players and some will wear gloves regardless of the weather. Some choose depending on the conditions. I don’t think the gloves – or lack thereof – played an important role in the game.