If the Chicago defense is going to establish itself as a good unit, Sunday in New Jersey is the perfect time to do so.
The unit’s numbers are a bit mixed, which probably best describes their performance. The team is 11th in points allowed and 20th in yardage. They’re 9th in passing defense, 30th against the run. That’s all fine, especially considering their talent. But a deeper dive is less encouraging.
They are 17th in points allowed per drive, 22nd in yardage. However, because they’re seventh in takeaways – The Eberflus Effect – they are 11th in DVOA.
At the very least, this defense is mediocre. They have a chance to be better than that. They struggled in the first half against San Francisco and Green Bay and had some issues early against Houston. But they have been lights out in the second half, another effect of having Eberflus at the helm. (A lot of this is due to Kyler Gordon’s second half performances being far superior to his first halves.)
They need to put it together for four quarters. Sunday is a prime opportunity.
The Giants aren’t terrible, largely because they have Saquon Barkley averaging six yards per carry. Daniel Jones is completing 64% of his passes but has two interceptions and one fumble on the season. Jones is just another guy at the position and his receiving group is a combination of ill-tempered and injured.
We know the team’s offense isn’t good and, realistically, we shouldn’t have expected it to be (BTW, the Bears are averaging more points per game than the Packers), but if Eberflus is going to be successful as the Bears head coach it’s going to start with defense. There are certainly signs they are heading in the right direction.
Fields Struggling Predictable, But This Bad?
Regular readers of this space know that Justin Fields struggling isn’t a big surprise, but to this extent is shocking.
The hot topic this offseason was that the Bears were going to play to Fields’ strengths, but few (except yours truly) realized that this offense is completely different from what he did in the past. Even veteran quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan struggled switching to this offense.
But there is no excuse for Fields being this bad. Calls for his benching are probably premature, but not completely unwarranted. He is having a hard time throwing the ball.
It begs the question: he was certainly advancing as a passer last season, what happened? While this regime has regularly said they like Fields, they have regularly shown that they don’t.
The Bears are sure to have a high pick next April, it isn’t too early to start looking at quarterbacks.
Few Answers Coming in Passing Game
Herbert has been awesome carrying the rock, but he has the second-worst passing yardage differential on the team. The Bears average 3.11 fewer yards per pass when Herbert is in the game – and only 0.78 yards more per rush. The same is true for Khari Blasingame; they average 1.57 fewer yards per pass with the fullback, though 2.10 more per rush, so still a net positive.
It’s up to Luke Getsy and the coaching staff to figure out a way to pass the ball when those two are in the game.
The One Who Got Away?
This game will be a good early look at the coach the Bears hired vs. the one fans wish they would’ve hired.
Brian Daboll was a hot name in the coaching cycle, and many thought the Bears should do whatever it takes to get him, despite his spotty record as an offensive coordinator.
What will be more interesting is the Flus and Alan Williams defense against Brian Daboll’s offense run by Kafka.