Once again, Chicago Bears fans are left playing the “chicken or the egg” game when it comes to determining what, exactly, is the problem with the team’s offense. But there certainly is some evidence to suggest offensive coordinator Luke Getsy isn’t getting the most out of his players.
Justin Fields might be bad, but we know he is certainly capable of being much better than this. In his last four complete games of his rookie season, he passed for 975 yards and five touchdowns, with a passer rating of 85.9. Compare that to the first four of 2022, in which he has managed 471 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of, gulp, 58.7.
Fields isn’t even as effective as a rusher. In that same span, he ran for 257 yards, compared to 147 this year.
Somehow, the Bears offense is worse. They went from 27th in scoring and 24th in yardage to 31st in both. They are averaging 33 fewer yards and 2.3 fewer points per game. It is especially concerning when one evaluates Getsy’s performance in the passing game because, well, Getsy came to the team after being a passing game coordinator. It’s supposed to be his specialty.
It’s hard to see a major difference in the supporting cast; it isn’t as if the Bears didn’t have struggles at wide receiver and offensive line last year. And, while I have written several times about the difficulties Fields might have adjusting to an offense he has never played in — especially one that quarterbacks tend to struggle in — at least some of that should be offset simply by Fields no longer being a rookie.
The benefit of the wide zone offense Getsy was set to bring to Chicago is supposed to be the easy throws for the quarterback, but we aren’t seeing those. One can watch any Green Bay Packers game and see several examples of Aaron Rodgers taking a three step drop and making an easy throw for six yards. Do those not exist in Getsy’s version of the offense or is the quarterback not pulling the trigger?
Who can blame Matt Eberflus for being conservative on fourth downs when his offense makes gaining yards look so incredibly difficult?
Two things now suddenly seem relevant. The Bears went from having 32 years of experience coaching quarterbacks in 2021 to four years in 2022. And, in the last decade, 26 non-offensive coaches have been hired.
- Nine of those went with offensive coordinators who were new to the job.
- Of those nine, three were fired after just one season and two were canned during or after their second seasons.
- One was fired with the entire staff after the second season.
- Two others – Mike LaFleur and Scott Turner – could be fired this year.
- The only other example is Matt LaFleur.
There is certainly something to be said for Getsy getting his feet wet, but it’s time for the team to show improvement.
Is Nagy Winning?
Matt Nagy was already a lock to get a second look at being a head coach, but that could come as soon as 2023 if the current trend continues.
We’ve already covered what is happening with Fields and the Bears offense, but that isn’t the only factor.
With Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky went 25-13 with two playoff appearances. He threw 57 touchdowns and 30 interceptions with a passer rating of 89.8. With all other coaches he has gone 5-11 with nine touchdowns, nine interceptions and a rating of 76.7.
Then there is Allen Robinson, a frequent critic of Nagy who seems to have entered the Witness Protection Program in LA, with even some of his biggest supporters now realizing he has developed a fatal flaw.
Aikman is right that Robinson is still great at releasing off press but it really only is in short/tight spaces. And Stafford first looks for Kupp on those reads unless it’s the red zone I guess. Been saying on RP this year that Robinson doesn’t have vertical route speed anymore.
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) October 4, 2022
There is also the apparent return to form that we have seen from Patrick Mahomes; his passer rating is up ten points from a year ago.
There is a world in which Nagy holds on and waits for Andy Reid to retire, but there also seems to be a decent chance that Chris Ballard will come calling this offseason. That is, of course, if Ballard keeps his job, which is no sure thing.
The Bears reached a point where they had to move on from Nagy. His offense was broken, and he had shown no signs that he was capable of fixing it, but it’s also possible that he was getting the most out of what he had – which is probably a further indictment on Ryan Pace.
What is This Defense?
Last week I wrote about how the Bears defense had a chance to be pretty good, then they performed like that…
On the surface, allowing 20 points doesn’t look bad, but that’s why tape and evaluating the opponent are important.
This was just the second time in four games that the Giants have managed 20 points, they did so by running variations of the same concept over and over. They did so because Nick Morrow didn’t even slow Saquan Barkley down when he should’ve tackled him for a loss. They did so because 33-year-old Tyrod Taylor got away from Roquan Smith. Those two plays cost the team 10 points.
The Texans and Packers both reached season-highs in points against the Bears too, though Houston surpassed theirs last week.
The Bears have the worst run defense in the league and they’re 30th in yards per attempt. They have done some really good things and the ceiling is high but they just aren’t there yet.
The Minnesota Vikings might be better than any of the other teams the Bears have played so far, but a schedule break could help.
The Bears are getting the Vikings a week after the team went to England and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Vikings come out flat with a noon start on Sunday.
Defensively, Minnesota is similar to the Bears. They give up a lot of yards, but not a lot of points. The Bears should be able to run it against them, but they have to make some plays in the passing game to have a chance.
The Vikings are underachieving offensively, but you can expect they are going to get Justin Jefferson on Kyler Gordon as much as possible. This is the game Gordon needs to become step up if the Bears are going to have any chance at winning.