Pinpointing the Bears Weaknesses: A Position by Position Review of the Offense


By Bryan Dietzler

The Bears are sitting at 1-6 right now and it appears as if there is no end in sight to their slide.  The pre-season was promising as the Bears got some great performances out of a few of their top guys.  Jordan Howard had a nice training camp and Jay Cutler appeared poised to continue playing well after having a pretty nice 2015 campaign.  The defense had been retooled and there was plenty of talent there.  This had to be a better year for the Bears.

Year two of the John Fox era has come and it hasn’t been what anyone expected.  The fans expected improvement but instead it appears this team is going in reverse.  There have been several factors that have limited the Bear’s success this season.  Injuries to key personnel could be the biggest issue the Bears have run into.  Poor execution, poor play calling and missed opportunities have also caused serious problems for the Bears this year.

In this article, we will examine what has happened to the Bear’s offense.  We will look at what role the offense has played in helping the Bears to a 1-6 record.  What factors have played into the ineffective play this group has put forth so far this season?

The most important position on the team, quarterback, has been a tumultuous and injury filled problem causer this season. Their starter, Jay Cutler, went out of the lineup with a thumb injury in the team’s second game of the season.  Enter Brian Hoyer.  Hoyer was a very good game manager, in the games that he played in but he wasn’t good enough to win games (he helped the team win just one against the Lions).  He got hurt this past Thursday night and will be out for eight weeks.

The quarterback instability has hurt the team but the position should be stabilized again as Cutler plans to be back in the lineup for the Bears next game (against Minnesota).  This might give the Bears the boost they need to win some games and at least get out of the cellar.  Jay will be rusty but he’s the best option the Bears have now that Hoyer is on the bench for a few weeks.

It will be interesting to see what direction this team heads in now that their primary signal caller is back.  Will the arrow be pointing up for the offense or will they continue their downward slide?  Jay is sure to give them a spark but will it be enough?

The coaching staff hopes that they will get better play and more production out of the quarterback position now. If Cutler can play well and stay healthy, the Bears have a great chance of winning at least a few more games this season. If Cutler gets injured though, they will have to roll with third stringer Matt Barkley.  If that’s the case, it’s going to continue to be a rough road for the offense.


The best group on offense this year so far has been the running backs.  Granted, there have been some games where they haven’t put up a lot of yards but if you look at the other units on the offense, this is the best of them.  All the players available, Jeremy Langford, Jordan Howard, and Ka’Deem Carey are all pretty solid guys who can carry the ball effectively.

Langford, the starter at the beginning of the season, was hurt early on.  That gave way to Howard who has had a pretty nice go of it so far except for the last couple of games (the rushing offense as a whole has been “off” recently).  Howard looks like the back of the future for the Bears. Langford should return and needs to earn his starting job back but may not with the way that Howard is playing.  Carey has been steady and strong when given the opportunity.

The biggest concern with the running backs has been the lack of production at times this season.   There are a few factors that have contributed to this. One is that they have faced some tough rushing defenses.  That will stop a rushing attack cold.  Still another issue this team has had running the football is that they tend to move away from it and go with the pass.  Even though they may be in the lead or close to their opponent, they drop the running game and go with the passing game.

You aren’t going to win games by not running the football.  The Bears need to get in the habit of doing that.

The wide receiver position has much maligned over the course of the season.  It started out promising with Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery as its two primary players.  The change in quarterbacks didn’t help matters any and neither did the injury to White.  Things got even weirder after that.

When Hoyer was in at quarterback, he didn’t utilize the Bears primary receivers that often.  Jeffery, the Bears number one guy, didn’t see that many passes thrown his way over the course of the last few games.  Jeffery was always there ready to catch passes but they just weren’t coming his way.  White had some up and down moments and was starting to find his way in the offense.  Then was injured and out for good.

Instead, a new number one target emerged (at least for Hoyer).  It was Cameron Meredith.

The Bears got a lot good production out of Meredith and he has emerged as a go to target.  This may all change, however, as Cutler will be the starter at quarterback from Week 8 forward and may prefer another receiver over Meredith.  Cutler has always liked throwing the ball to Jeffery so maybe he will find comfort with him.

The Bears leading receiver so far this season is neither Meredith nor Jeffery.  It is tight end Zach Miller.  Miller has managed to stay healthy and has been a very reliable target for Bears quarterbacks.  We will see how he does when Cutler returns but hopefully he continues to target Miller and involve Jeffery more.

The offensive line had been making some progress in each game this season but, towards the end of the Jacksonville game a couple weeks ago, they lost one of their top starters, Josh Sitton.  Sitton will be out for a few games so Chicago will lose the consistency of having him in the lineup.


Another much more critical injury happened in the Bears game against the Packers last Thursday night.  Kyle Long, the Bears Pro Bowl lineman, suffered an arm injury and at the time of this writing it is not known how long he will be out.  If he is out for any extended period of time, this unit will suffer greatly.  They were doing well and getting better but these last two punches to the gut are going to be hard for them to overcome.  Can the Bears survive without the loss of Sitton and Long?  We will soon find out.

Chicago does have some talent on the line that is doing well so far this season.  Rookie Cody Whitehair has been getting progressively better as the year has gone on and with Sitton and Long out, he becomes the line’s best player.  That’s tough to think about, a rookie being your best offensive lineman.  But this season has been a season of weirdness for the Bears so why not have something else odd happen?

There is one player on the line that seems to struggle game in and game out (he is also this writer’s favorite game to game punching bag).  That guy is Bobby Massie.  Massie has had a myriad of issues throughout this season so far but did appear to play a little better against the Packers.  Maybe he is finally getting used to the Bears offense?  Will he progress or regress?

The Bears have a lot of issues on offense.  Each position is not immune from criticism or blame as to how the Bears have played so far this season.  The quarterback position has been a carousel so far.  The running backs have been pretty steady but the running game has suffered, especially in the last couple of games.

The receivers are sure to have a better go of it with Cutler in the lineup.  The biggest factor will be how well Cutler is able to handle the issues he is sure to face with the beat up offensive line.  If the team can’t overcome problems there, it’s going to remain a long season.  Their first big test is coming up against the Vikings.  Will Cutler survive?

Next time, we will take a look at the defense and its part in the Bear’s downfall so far this season.

Cutler Says Relationship Between He and John Fox Has Always Been ‘Open and Honest’


After Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returned to practice Tuesday, he spoke to reporters for the first time since Sept. 19, the night he sprained his right thumb severely enough to miss the next five games, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports.

When asked about having coach John Fox’s support, Cutler said, “”He doesn’t have a choice, I guess, at this point. Brian is out, so I’ve got to go. I’ve had good conversations with Foxy this week, last week, the week before. There’s never been any strain in our relationship. We’re both very open and honest, and we’re on the same page. We just want to win football games.”

He was also asked how he felt when Fox opened the starting role up to Hoyer shortly after he was hurt. “It is what it is. Anytime you have a backup quarterback—and to Brian’s credit, he played well,” Cutler said. “I think as a team, we wish we would have won some more of those ball games. But Brian went in there and did a great job. My discussions with everybody that I have relationships with in here were positive, and whenever I was ready to go, I’d be ready to go. There was never any discussion regarding (whether I’d take back over) with me.”

Chicago Bears versus the Green Bay Packers Game Review


By Bryan Dietzler

The Chicago Bears, hoping to earn their second victory of the season over division rival Green Bay, headed to Lambeau Field hoping for a near miracle.

But remember, just last year on Thanksgiving, they had defeated the Packers in the last few moments of the game.  Would last year repeat itself Thursday night?

History was not going to repeat itself on this night as the Bears, who started out strong and kept the game close, eventually fell apart and went down to the Packers 26-10.  The game was filled with disappointment for the Bears, key injuries and it left them with many more questions than answers.

The game was relatively close for the first two and a half quarters as the Packers earned the first points of the game on a 32 yard Mason Crosby field goal in the first quarter.  The Bears would tie it up in the second quarter following a 39 yard Connor Barth field goal.

Green Bay would pull ahead by three as the quarter came to a close as Crosby booted a 40 yard field goal.  The score was 6-3 heading into halftime.

Chicago would go ahead for a short period thanks to a sack fumble by outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Floyd sacked Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the end zone and stripped the ball landing on it for a touchdown.  That put the Bears up 10-6.

Chicago’s lead wouldn’t last long, however, and soon Rodgers and the Packers offense were on fire.  Green Bay made it 13 to 10 following a five yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams.  This, coming in the third quarter.

Green Bay would put two more touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter. Adams caught another pass from Rodgers, this one four yards.  Randall Cobb would snag a two yard Rodgers touchdown pass (the kick failed) to ice the game.  Final score 26-10.


The Bears started Brian Hoyer at quarterback for this game and he started out poorly.  His night, and quite possibly his season, was soon ended after he was hit and broke his arm.  There is no timetable on his return.  The Bears will most likely bring Cutler back from his injury (thumb) much sooner now or sign someone with more experience to start until he comes back.  Matt Barkley didn’t do a great job on Thursday night but he wasn’t really expected to.

Chicago’s rushing attack was anemic minus a few medium length runs that kept fans excited, at least for a little while.  Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey got all of the work and Carey seemed to have the hot hand in this one but the Bears couldn’t seem to get much of anything going on the ground.  It appears that the coaching staff is ready to roll with the running game at the start, then moves away from it as the game goes on despite the fact they are in the lead or close.  Strange.

The Bear’s wide receivers had a poor game but that was due to the issues at quarterback.  With Hoyer out and Barkley throwing the ball, guys like Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith didn’t see that much come their way. The team’s leading receiver, tight end, Zach Miller, didn’t see that much in the way of passes either.  It was a down game for this group.

The offensive line was without starter Josh Sitton so he didn’t get to seek his revenge against his former team.  No storyline there.  The line played poorly most of the time.  However, my favorite punching bag Bobby Massie had some good plays.  Aside from Cody Whitehair, he might have been the best one out there.  There was some injury trouble however as, on the same play that Hoyer was injured, Kyle Long went out with an arm injury.  He didn’t play the rest of the game.  It’s not known how long Sitton will be out yet and there isn’t much of an idea about what is going to happen with Long. Stay tuned here.

The defense had a great first two and a half quarters and then broke down like they have been lately.  They had Rodgers pegged and even though he was throwing the ball a lot, he wasn’t doing much damage.  You have to give them credit for holding the score down so low for so long.  Green Bay found the secret to breaking the Bears defense though, and soon the mini rout was on.  The defense can find itself for two plus quarters but seems to collapse in third to mid-fourth.

Chicago’s defensive line played well and got pressure at times but didn’t put enough pressure on the elusive Rodgers.  He burned the Bears on several occasions escaping potential sacks all game long.  Rodgers is a notoriously shifty quarterback who has the unusual ability to get around defenders and win.  The defensive line couldn’t do much against him Thursday night.


The best group on the team, the linebackers, had a pretty decent night.  The star of the game for this group, or any other group for that matter was Floyd.  He had two sacks including the one where he stripped Rodgers of the football and landed on it for a touchdown.  Floyd missed some time with an injury (the last couple of games) but was back and living up to the hype he was given when he was drafted.  The Bears may have found a real gem with him.  The rest of the guys, Willie Young, Danny Trevethan, Jerrell Freeman and Sam Acho did very well.  This is not the problem area on defense.

The secondary continued to struggle against the passing game and had a pretty tough go of it Thursday evening.  There were several defensive pass interference and holding calls.  Adrian Amos, one of the more solid players in the group, had a big interference call go against him.  Da’Vante Bausby had a pretty horrible game all together.  This group is really suffering despite the fact it has good depth.  Things just don’t seem to be going right for anyone in the secondary and this unit is only aiding this team in losing games.

Special teams were good enough to help keep the Bears in business early on.  An interesting fact, punter Pat O’Donnell is not having that strong of a season.  And it showed.  Kicker Connor Barth didn’t miss a kick which was nice.  Return teams were ok as were coverage teams.  There aren’t too many issues with this group.

The coaching staff was very consistent, once again, in not rushing the football as often as they should have in such a close game.  This time they needed to run the ball more their starting quarterback hurt but they didn’t.  There is not much explanation as to what is going on with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggins. He has called one good real game this year (the Lions game) and been mediocre in other games calling an offense that can move the ball but can’t score.  The defense is also suffering but there is a lack of execution and not a lack of coaching talent there.

Overall, the Bears had a pretty decent defensive effort for two and a half quarters but the offense couldn’t keep up.  Granted, a lot of the issues there were due to the fact that Hoyer went out of the game with a broken arm but the defense could have played better to help keep it close.  The running game would have been a good idea to push more after the injury to Hoyer.  That didn’t happen.  It was another myriad of issues for the Bears.

It has been a season full of problems.

The Chicago Bears will host the Minnesota Vikings next Monday at Soldier Field.  The Vikings are one of the NFL’s hottest teams and will be a tough opponent.  Can the Bears beat them?  We will find out next week when a full preview of the game will be posted.

Bears vs Packers NFL Week Seven Capsule



STREAKS   4 of past 5
COACHES VS. OPP. John Fox: 3-5 Mike McCarthy: 13-7
LAST WEEK L 17-16 vs. Jacksonville L 30-16 vs. Dallas
LAST GAME 11/26/15: Bears 17 at Packers 13. Chicago QB Jay Cutler passes for 200 yards & TD. Bears WR Alshon Jeffery has 7 receptions for 90 yards & RB Jeremy Langford rushes for TD.
REFEREE John Parry
BROADCAST CBS/NFLN/Twitter (8:25 PM ET): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli. SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (Chi), 81 (GB). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (Chi), 225 (GB)


PASSING Brian Hoyer: 130-189-1396-6-0-100.8 Aaron Rodgers: 109-181-1170-10-4-88.4
RUSHING Jordan Howard (R): 66-330-5.0-1 Eddie Lacy: 71-360-5.1-0
RECEIVING Zach Miller (TE): 31-265-8.5-3 Randall Cobb: 28-293-10.5-1
OFFENSE 375.2 331.8
DEFENSE 341.2 339.0
SACKS Willie Young: 6 Nick Perry: 4.5
INTs Tracy Porter: 2 3 tied: 1
PUNTING Pat O’Donnell: 42.8 Jacob Schum: 40.8
KICKING Connor Barth: 35 (11/11 PAT; 8/11 FG) Mason Crosby: 42 (12/12 PAT; 10/10 FG)


BEARS: QB BRIAN HOYER has 300+ pass yards in all 4 starts with Chi…Rookie RB JORDAN HOWARD had 1st career rush TD last week. Has 100+ rush yards in 2 of past 3…WR ALSHON JEFFERY had 7 receptions for 90 yards in last meeting. Has TD catch in 3 of past 5 vs. NFC North. WR CAMERON MEREDITH had 11 receptions for 113 yards in Week 6. Aims for 3rd in row with 100+ rec. yards. TE ZACH MILLER had TD catch in last meeting…DE AKIEM HICKS has sack in 2 of past 3. LB JERRELL FREEMAN has 7+ tackles in 9 of past 11. Leads team with 53 tackles. LB WILLIE YOUNG had 2 sacks & FF in Week 6. Had sack in last meeting. CB HAROLD JONES-QUARTEY aims for 3rd in row with PD. CB TRACY PORTER had INT in last meeting. Had INT in Week 6. S ADRIAN AMOS had 9 tackles in last meeting. S CHRIS PROSINSKI had 6 tackles & FF in last meeting…PACKERS: QB AARON RODGERS is 12-4 as starter vs. Chi. Has 14 pass TDs with 1 INT for 127.0 rating in past 4 meetings…RB EDDIE LACY rushed for 105 yards & had TD catch in last meeting. Has 6 TDs (4 rush, 2 rec.) in 6 career games vs. Chi…WR DAVANTE ADAMS has TD catch in 2 of past 3 at home. WR RANDALL COBB had TD catch last week. Has 6 TDs in past 5 vs. Chi. WR TY MONTGOMERY had career-high 10 receptions & 98 rec. yards in Week 6. WR JORDY NELSON is averaging 140.3 yards per game in past 3 vs. Chi. & has 4 TDs. Has 12 rec. TDs in past 11 at home. TE RICHARD RODGERS has TD in 3 of past 4 vs. NFC North…LB CLAY MATTHEWS has 6+ tackles in 6 of past 7 vs. Chi. LB JULIUS PEPPERS had sack & FF last week. Has 2.5 sacks in past 3 vs. Chi. LB NICK PERRY has 4.5 sacks in past 5. CB QUINTEN ROLLINS had sack in last meeting. S MORGAN BURNETT led team with 10 tackles & INT in Week 6. Had FF in last meeting.

Chicago Bears Player Profile: Willie Young


By Bryan Dietzler

After signing a contract extension this past July, the Bears had hoped that the mostly consistent outside linebacker, Willie Young, would have a stellar season.  To start, Young’s 2016 campaign was a rough one.  He had only one sack in the Bears first four games.  He finally broke out against the Colts recording three sacks.  The Willie Young fans know and love so well was back “fishing” again on a regular basis.

Young is somewhat of a polarizing figure for Bears fans.  He has been one of their top performers since he arrived in Chicago and is a pretty interesting character.  But where does Young come from?  How did he get into the NFL?  How did he make it to Chicago?

The following is a look at the life and football career of Willie Young. There is a peek into where he can from, where he went to college, and where he played before he came to the Bears.  Some of his stats will be included as well.

Young was born on September 19th, 1985 in Rivera Beach, Florida.  Not much is known about his life before high school.  We do know that in high school, he played three sports.  He played football, where he was a defensive lineman, track and basketball.

He had some impressive statistics while he was in high school.  In his junior year, he racked up 60 tackles with 15 of those were for a loss.  He also collected nine sacks.  In his senior year at Riviera Beach, he had 65 tackles, 25 for a loss and 12 sacks.  Very impressive.

The high school football scouting service gave Young a rating of three out of five starts which isn’t that bad. Perhaps he was destined to have a solid college career.

Young ended up getting a scholarship to North Carolina State University.  He was redshirted in 2005 but played in all of the team’s games in 2006 (12 games).  He started five of those contests and his the highpoint of that season, for him, came when he returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown.

During the 2007 season, Young played in every game starting eight.  In 2008, he started in all 12 games and had an impressive 12.5 tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hurries and 6.5 sacks.

The pre-NFL draft rankings were fairly favorable for Young.  He was ranked 18th out of the 182 defensive ends in the 2010 NFL Draft.  He had an excellent chance of first, getting drafted and second, getting drafted in a higher round.


When the dust settled from draft, Young had been selected in the seventh round at number 213.  He was headed to the Detroit Lions.

Young’s first season as a pro was very uneventful.  He spent most of the time inactive on game day and participated in just two games.  He got some additional action the next season, 2011, seeing time in 14 games.

One of the most memorable moments of Young’s career with the Lions came in 2013.  The Lions were playing the New England Patriots in a preseason game.  In the game, Young had an encounter with famed Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady.  Young caused Brady to throw an errant pass.  When the play was over, Young proceeded to snatch Brady’s jersey and put his finger in Brady’s face through his facemask.

The play earned Young a 15 yard penalty.  He sat on the bench the rest of the game.

Young’s fortunes would turn in March of 2013 as he signed a three year contract with the Chicago Bears.  Young would earn nine million for the deal.  This was much better than the contract he came into the league with.

The Bears penciled Young in as a backup behind their starters, at that time, Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston.  Young did see some action early on in the 2014 campaign and earned his first sack in the Bears first game (against the Buffalo Bills).  Young racked up two more sacks the next week (against San Francisco) and got one more against the New York Jets.

The budding star went sackless the next week but still had an impact in the game (which was against the Green Bay Packers).  He blocked a kick.

Young’s sack streak started back up again the next week as he got Cam Newton to the turf once in a Bears loss.  Two more sacks were added to his season tally the following week against the Atlanta Falcons.  Young was turning into a bit of a superstar.

The rest of the season was hit and miss for Young.  He earned three more sacks, closing out the year with 10.  That was pretty good for someone who hadn’t seen much action during his first few seasons.  But change was coming for Young and the Bear’s defense.  Change that Young appeared to not care for.

The Bears changed coaching staffs the next season and brought in former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.  Fangio’s mantra was the 3-4 defense.  The introduction of the 3-4 defense meant that Young would have to move to outside linebacker.  This was a change that he appeared not to enjoy and stated that he didn’t want to be called a linebacker.  He was openly vocal about it.


In the 2015 season, Young played in a total of 15 games with eight starts.  All together he had six and a half sacks along with one interception.  That interception came in the Bears game against the Rams and the return he had on it is memorable. If you saw that game and saw Young return the pick, you would recall his rumbling down the sideline before getting belted out of bounds at the end it.  It was a “highlight” play from a dismal 2015 season for the Bears.

In July of this year, Young signed a two year contract extension.  This would allow him to continue on as a Bear and perhaps finish his career with them.

At the end of training camp, Young was named the starter at one of the outside linebacker positions.  This came after a strong training camp and preseason.

Fans seem to enjoy Young and his famous post-sack dance.  He likes to pretend like he is “fishing” following a sack.  He pretends to cast, pretends to hook the fish and then pretends to reel it in.  Very entertaining.

Young is a comical guy and fans seem to really like him.  He is a solid starter and appears to be getting better as this season progresses.  Hopefully he can continue to play well over the next few games and give the Bears defense a boost.  He’s definitely one of the players to watch.

Jaguars game update: Young had a pretty nice game against the Jaguars this past Sunday.  In the game he had two sacks and a forced fumble that saved the Bears, at least for the time being.  Another excellent game in a Bears uniform by Young.

Hoyer’s Big Day Doesn’t Matter; Bears Fall at Home to Jaguars 17-16

Jacksonville Jaguars v Chicago Bears

Blake Bortles threw for 271 yards and hit a slipping Arrelious Benn for a 51-yard touchdown in the closing minutes, lifting the Jaguars to a 17-16 victory over the Bears on Sunday.

The Jaguars (2-3) wiped out a 13-0 deficit in the fourth quarter in a matchup of last-place teams. And the go-ahead touchdown might have been helped by the oft-criticized turf at Soldier Field.

Benn slipped as he caught a slant and so did Tracy Porter as he tried to tag the receiver. That allowed Benn, who spent the past three seasons on injured reserve, to get up and run untouched for his first touchdown in five seasons.

That gave the Jaguars a one-point lead with 2:49 left and sent the Bears (1-5) to another loss after they dropped the previous game to Indianapolis on a late TD pass by Andrew Luck. Chicago came up short despite racking up 389 yards.

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Jaguars at Bears NFL Week Six Inactives

Jaguars: QB Brandon Allen, CB Josh Johnson, RB Corey Grant, TE Neal Sterling, WR Rashad Geene, DE Chris Smith, OL Bryce Harris

Bears: QB Jay Cutler, CB Deiondre Hall, RB Jeremy Langford, S DeAndre Houston-Carson, C Eric Kush, NT Eddie Goldman, OLB Leonard Floyd

Chicago Bears versus the Jacksonville Jaguars Game Preview


By Bryan Dietzler

Fresh off of a heartbreaking 29-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears will return to Soldier Field to take on the 1-3 Jacksonville Jaguars.  Jacksonville is coming off of a bye week.  The week prior to that, they took on the same opponent the Bears had last week, Indianapolis, playing in England.  There, they beat the Colts 30-27.

Jacksonville was supposed to have a breakout season this year but they haven’t been able to “get over the hump” and win.  This team, coming in playing the way they are, could be just what the doctor ordered for the Bears.

Chicago has been having some good success at the quarterback position with Brian Hoyer playing for the injured Jay Cutler.  They have gotten consistency, error free play and great effort which is something that has been lacking over the last few years at quarterback.  But with that, what they haven’t been getting is wins.

Right now, Hoyer has just one win in his time as a starter (with the Bears) but he has kept the team in games and nearly delivered another victory.  Like we learned against the Colts last Sunday, he just can’t seem to come up with that one big play to seal it.  That’s what he failed to do against the Colts.

We can talk about there being a quarterback controversy all day long.  When Cutler is finally able to return from his injury, it is likely he will not be the starter.  Hoyer will need to play consistently over the next few games to prove he can remain the starter.  Can he sty consistent against Jacksonville?

The Jaguars are allowing opponents to pass for an average of 245.5 yards per game.  That is considered to be middle of the road.  Chicago’s offense is putting up some decent numbers throwing the ball.  They are averaging 281.6 yards per game through the air so things could shake out in the Bears favor on Sunday.  If Hoyer can continue to play well the Bears should see some success.

Similar to last season, the Bear’s wide receiver corps is working with second and third string talent.  Granted, they do have Alshon Jeffery healthy and available but the rest of the group is not overloaded with immense talent.  If the Bears plan to win this game, or any game coming, they need to get Jeffery more involved in the offense.  Through five games so far, he has caught 22 passes for 394 yards and no touchdowns.  That is far below what he normally averages and well below what he is capable of.  He just isn’t getting the ball despite the Bears are throwing a lot of passes.

The formula for success in the passing game is to get the ball to Jeffery.  Hoyer has had time, his protection has been good but he needs to get the ball to his big playmaker.  The other receivers (Cameron Meredith, tight end Zach Miller and others) are well adept at catching the ball and can make plays but not like Jeffery can.  And there aren’t too many cornerbacks in the NFL, or on the Jaguars for that matter, that can cover Jeffery.

Chicago’s rushing attack has been solid over the past two games and rookie Jordan Howard is having a good start.  One thing that was observed last week was that the Bears shied away from their rushing attack as the game progressed last week.  This despite the fact the two teams were close for the entire game.  Chicago could have run the ball and been effective but they chose to throw it much more.  If the Bears want to win this game, they need to give Howard the ball early and often to control the ball and the clock.

The offensive line has progressively has gotten better over the course of the last couple of games except for Bobby Massie.  Massie has struggled greatly this season and should be looked at to be replaced sooner or later.  Sooner might be better.  Kyle Long is doing very well and doing it quietly.  The rest of the group is getting along well.  They are great run blockers, pretty stout pass blockers and have given this offense a good base from which to operate.


Chicago’s defense was a little bit porous against the Colts after being pretty solid against the Lions the previous week.  The Colts have a pretty good passing game and that ate away at the Bears defense till it broke and gave up a significant amount of yardage through the air.  This, despite the fact they were able to get good pass pressure on Luck.  Most of that pass pressure came from the linebackers.  To beat the Jaguars, the Bears are going to need to get pass pressure from both the line (as well as the linebackers).

The defensive line has gotten a little bit better at getting pressure and taking care of the run.  Right now, the Jaguars are averaging 75 yards on the ground per game.  This is not good (it ranks 30th in the NFL) but the Bear’s rushing defense isn’t the strongest.  Chicago is allowing an average of 118 yards per game so they haven’t been too stout against the run.  It all starts up front and the Bears should (and need) be able to shut things down up at the line this Sunday.

The Jaguars are gaining an average of 245.5 yards through the air per game.  That is good for 19th in the NFL so they are just under middle of the pack in that category.  The Bears have struggled keeping the opponents passing games in check this season so they need to get better.  They can’t allow the Jaguars to pass the ball all over the field Sunday because if they do, it will be another close game.  The Bears struggle to finish the close ones.

The true heart and soul of the Bear’s defense is their linebackers.  They have a solid group, when healthy, and these guys make a lot of plays.  Jerrell Freeman is the star and he should have his usual big game.  Danny Trevethan is back and will contribute.  Willie Young had a breakout (three sack) game against the Colts and can continue to play well against Jacksonville. If this unit plays solid, the defense will be solid.  It’s likely they will have their way with the Jaguars offense.

The secondary was quite suspect against the Colts and allowed a lot of yardage through the air.  The Bears are allowing teams to throw for an average of 227.6 yards per game.  This is a little less than what the Jaguars are getting via the pass.  If Chicago can get to quarterback Blake Bortels and apply pressure, forcing him to make mistakes, they could see a lot of success against Jacksonville.  Turnovers will also be key.  If they allow the Jaguars to throw the ball all over the field, like they did for Andrew Luck, they will lose.

The secondary has had some injury concerns (tarter Kyle Fuller is on injured reserve) and their depth, although good on paper, hasn’t been living up to it’s potential at times this season (especially last week).  If the guys can play better and the line and linebackers can get good pressure on the quarterback, Chicago’s defense should rise up and help the team win this game.  Jacksonville can be pressured and be forced into making mistakes.  Chicago’s defense needs to do that.


After last week’s kicking debacle, you would have thought that Chicago would have looked at other kickers.  But, they are sticking with Connor Barth, at least for now.  If he has a repeat of last week he could be gone next week.  The Bears, because they struggle to score points, need everyone to be able to contribute and be consistent. If they are missing three or six points a game thanks to the ineffectiveness of one player, that means they are probably losing games.  They can’t afford to have someone like that on the roster.

Other than Barth, the remainder of the Bear’s special teams are pretty solid.  Punting is great and coverage is pretty good. They need their star return specialist, Eddie Royal, to break another long one (like he did earlier this season).  Royal is a little banged up so it’s hard to tell what he will be able to do but he can be electric at times.

The coaching staff called a good game against the Lions two weeks ago but reverted back to the odd play calling that got them in trouble to start the season.  Then it happened again against Indianapolis.  They tend to forget the running game and go to the passing game hoping that will lead them to victory.  That was the Bear’s mantra last week and they can’t do it that way this week.  They need to balance it out, run the ball to start and control the ball and the clock.  If they can do that, they will win this game.

Just like last week, this week’s game puts two of the league’s worst teams together in a battle that will most likely be a slugfest.  You can expect this to be a close game but the Bears should end up being the better team.  You can also forget that the game is at Soldier Field.  Home field advantage hasn’t meant that much to the Bears over the past couple of seasons.

Prediction: Chicago 25 Jacksonville 17

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