If you’re like me, a Bears’ loss to the Packers ruins your entire f**king week, but it’s a new weekend, and thankfully so. That said, the organization has had a fair amount of issues this week. Luke Getsy is taking hits from all over for last Sunday’s unforgivable game plan, and a lot of fans have seen enough of Justin Fields. Nate Davis, who played like a guard who missed almost all of training camp, won’t play tomorrow due to a death in the family. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams will be absent, too, though the Bears say it’s a personal matter.
Some clarity on Nate Davis’ status, per a source. Davis is dealing with a death in his family that happened this morning. This family health situation has been on-going throughout the offseason and is the non-injury reason for his absence throughout camp/preseason.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) September 16, 2023
That’s not an indictment of Davis or Williams, but heading to Tampa Bay shorthanded doesn’t bode well for the beloved. Tomorrow doesn’t represent a must-win game for the Bears, but it is a pivotal tilt for a team that needs a whole lot of positivity. Head coach Matt Eberflus will call the defensive plays, while Getsy will look to atone for last week’s debacle.
The Bears would like to get a win because they travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs next week before returning home to square off with the Broncos. But, and I’ll repeat this until my jaws fail me, Bears fans should be looking for game-to-game improvement that isn’t necessarily predicated on victories. Yes, wins are nice, but Chicago is 3-15 under Eberflus and they’re not trending upward. The little stories behind the big ones are more important right now. The Bears have 22 players in their first or second years and nine new starters. They’ve just started making the soup while still waiting for the carcass left behind by the last regime to become its stock.
Mike Ditka was Chicago’s only continually successful head coach not named George Halas. He started with a roster that had future Hall of Fame inductees Walter Payton, Jimbo Covert, Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, and Steve McMichael. That team didn’t start winning regularly until Week 11 of Ditka’s second season. The current Bears do not have a single player that belongs in the group above. Patience, is, therefore, the word of the day. I believe the Bears will win tomorrow. If they don’t, I’ll settle for a competitive game and improvement by Fields, Getsy, and both lines.
Bears News & Notes
- Our own Sean Holland predicts the Bears will play better against Tampa Bay. He’s not as confident that Chicago will win, however.
- Expectations were high for Chicago’s offense, namely the Fields-to-D.J. Moore connection. However, reality didn’t meet those expectations, creating concerns about Getsy’s playcalling. Getsy addressed those concerns at his presser on Thursday.
- Fields had a 106.3 passer rating in the Bears’ first three drives (8-of-10, 95 yards), but a 67.1 rating in the final nine drives (16-of-27, 121 yards, one touchdown, one interception), plus a fumble for a turnover. His average depth of target was 3.7 yards.
- The third-year quarterback intends to be much more aggressive on Sunday.
- Sunday’s loss felt a lot like “same shit, different toilet.”
- The Bears put Sunday’s loss to Green Bay behind them. Hopefully, the team’s fans have, too.
- Chase Claypool is facing pressure to prove himself after virtually disappearing against the Packers.
- Claypool tallied two targets, zero catches, and one flop if you were keeping score at home.
- Khalil Herbert needs to step it up, too. Herbert led Chicago’s offense in touches but rushed for just 27 yards on nine carries. He also caught three of five targets for an additional 37 yards.
- Rookie Roschon Johnson was one of the bright spots in Chicago’s season-opening loss, and could eventually surpass Herbert on the depth chart.
- Getsy is facing an equal amount of pressure to right the offense.
- The Bears need to withstand and exploit Tampa Bay’s blitzes to beat the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers’ 21 blitzes in Sunday’s 20-17 season-opening win over the Vikings were the most by any NFL team in Week 1.
- The Bears flexed tackle Aviante Collins to the active roster to provide depth with Davis out.
- Kyle Gordon had surgery on his broken right hand and will miss at least four weeks after being placed on Injured Reserve.
- Buccaneers receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be a lot to handle without Gordon. Greg Stroman Jr. could replace Gordon. Rookie Terell Smith and Jaylon Jones also could fill that role.
There’s a Flag…On the Play
It’s hard to blame Fields for not staying in the pocket with such poor pass protection.
Chicago's Dawg. @justnfields does it all.
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2023
- The Buccaneers are rallying around the resilient and fearless mentality of quarterback Baker Mayfield.
- Tampa Bay could be short two defensive starters against the Bears.
- TE Ko Kieft, OLB Anthony Nelson, and DL Pat O’Connor enjoy barefoot gridiron strolls about 90 minutes before each home game.
- Starting Nickel Cornerback Christian Izien has been cleared from concussion protocol per Bucs Gameday’s JC Allen.
- The Buccaneers have played the Bears five times since 2016. In that span, Tampa Bay is not only 3-2 but won all three of those games in Raymond James Stadium.
- Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles said it “will take a team effort” to stop Fields on Sunday.
Izien went undrafted this year, earned a starting position in camp, and then made the play of the game.
Christian Izien with his first highlight play, RIPPING the ball out of KJ Osbourne’s hands for a TD saving interception. pic.twitter.com/nA35xEyTsC
— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) September 10, 2023
- Green Bay (1-0): The Packers will get a second-round pick for Aaron Rodgers, but the Jets do not currently control their first-round pick thanks in part to Brett Favre.
- Detroit (1-0): Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders announced a new documentary that will explain why he abruptly retired in 1999.
- Chicago (0-1): The Bears need Fields to bounce back against the Buccaneers.
- Minnesota (0-2): Running back Alexander Mattison received several racist DMs after the Vikings lost on Thursday.
NFL News & Notes
Fans at a Wisconsin bar were left stunned when the Bills beat the Jets on an overtime punt return. The bar promised to pick up every patron’s tab if the Jets lost.
Rodgers believes he can return this season if the Jets make the playoffs after innovative surgery for his torn Achilles tendon.
The Seahawks and Lions defied a recent NFL trend that says running backs aren’t worthy of first-round draft picks. Detroit selected Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 overall, and then Seattle chose Rashaad Penny, whom the Lions immediately tried to acquire in trade.
Publix, who make the best chicken tenders on the freaking planet, debuted four NFL-themed subs this week.
Three Yards & a Cloud of Dust
- Moore has never caught a touchdown when facing Buccaneers cornerbacks Carlton Davis III and Jamel Dean in coverage. Davis will not play on Sunday.
- Mayfield is seeking to join Ryan Fitzpatrick (2017), Rob Johnson (2002), and Shaun King (1999) as the only Buccaneers quarterbacks to win their first two starts with the team. I can’t believe Tom Brady is not on that list.
- Jaylon Johnson allowed just 13 yards in 27 coverage snaps last week.
2024 Draft Watch
The Bears would have the Nos. 5 and 12 picks in the 2024 draft if the season ended today.
From the Podium
- “I’ve [called defensive plays] for 12 years total. It’s really more about the operation of the game management side of it. When the offense is up, it’ll be normal business and then throwing challenge flags, being right there with Luke [Getsy] and the offense. When the defense is up, I’ll be giving the calls. And then when we’re off the field, to make corrections pretty quick, guys on the sideline are going to help me do that with the players. Really from there, it’s about setting up the next series for those guys and communicating that.” – Eberflus
- “Nothing changes at all. Everybody’s just doing their job. We play all as one and coach Flus [has] been calling plays for a long time; this is his defense. So it’s going to be a smooth process. We all feel good. We all feel comfortable so we’re ready to go.” – Jaquan Brisker