Chicago Bears defensive lineman Eddie Goldman is back in Chicago working out.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) July 8, 2021
Yet again in 2020, we see that the Bears have one of the best defenses in the NF,L coupled with one of the worst offenses. This combines to give them a team that is not good enough. It’s Groundhog Day all over again, a continuation of 2018-19, all of the Lovie years, and the 1980s after Jim McMahon got hurt.
Normally I’d use the bye week to do an in-depth look at the numbers for Chicago’s offense and defense, but honestly I don’t see the point. Their defense is really good, their offense is really bad, and you don’t need advanced stats to tell you more than that. I’m sure I’ll still do some of that analysis in the offseason but for right now I want to focus on a bigger question: WHY is the defense so much better than their offense?
The answer here is really not that surprising: the Bears are investing more in the defense. The table below shows how much money they have invested in the defense compared to the offense, as measured in 3 ways:
The table below shows the Bears’ values for offense and defense in each category, as well as the NFL average and where the Bears rank. All data is from Spotrac.
A few thoughts:
The Chicago Bear recipe for a successful 2020 season always included one absolute necessity: great defense. Three games into the season, they’ve been far from great.
The rankings? They don’t look that bad.
The biggest problem is the run defense, as the Bears have allowed a shocking five yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns. And numbers alone don’t tell the story.
The statistics don’t tell you about how in each of the Bears first three games, the other team was missing its best offensive player. They don’t tell you about the dropped touchdown in Detroit or the fourth down failures that allowed the Giants to get within 10 yards of a win. The numbers don’t tell you that Atlanta was without two of its top three wide receivers for the second half and went uber-conservative.
(In fairness, they also don’t tell you about the bad calls that took a pick-six away, or two very iffy roughing the passer penalties — one of which took away a strip sack. But you can bet every team has similar arguments.)
Tuesday, Eddie Goldman opted out of the 2020 NFL season. He wasn’t alone. He was joined by essentially the whole of the New England Patriots.
So why are players punching out of this season? A few things to remember about Covid-19.
First, this disease disproportionately impacts black and brown communities and roughly 70% of NFL players are black. While most of these young men will be unaffected by the disease, we still don’t know what the long-term impacts on the body come from the diagnosis.
Second, it’s not only about the health of the players themselves. These are young men and they have parents and grandparents dealing with the exact comorbidities that make them gravely susceptible to this virus. And cutting off from those relatives for a five-month period is simply a non-starter for most.
When a receiver in peak physical condition is exposed to the virus, he’ll likely see little to no health impact. When his diabetic mother is exposed, her life is at risk. That’s the decision these athletes face heading into 2020.
Does it suck for teams and fans? Of course it does. The NFL’s tight salary cap does not allow for depth at most positions. When Goldman opts out of the coming season, there isn’t another Goldman in the wings.
Does it suck for writers like me? It sure does. It’s getting a awfully difficult to engage this season with any real intensity when it feels like we’re one bad news story from the whole thing collapsing.
Usually I write a paragraph here, introducing the concept below. But doesn’t the headline do all that work? Do you really need further explanation of this piece? I don’t think you do. So read away…
(#5) Kyle Fuller’s Dropped Interception
Yes, this was a negative play. But it is the singular moment of adversity that seems to have inspired the entirety of the 2018 campaign. Every big play, every dance routine, every sack of the quarterback, seems to have been motivated by that Aaron Rodgers pass sailing off the chest of Fuller.
(#4) All Those Touchdown Passes Against the Bucs (tie)
After three games, 2018 felt like it was going to be a long, developmental-type season for Mitch Trubisky. Then Week 4 happened. 354 yards. 6 touchdowns. Yes, it was against the hapless Buccaneers but it was still the kind of explosive performance this organization was not using to seeing from the quarterback position. Seeing it was important for Bears fans, Bears players/coaches and for the quarterback himself. That game elevated expectations for the entire year.
(#3) Akiem Hicks Scores a Touchdown
Week 13, in the Meadowlands, Daniel handed the ball to Hicks at the goal line and the behemoth scored (easily). It was the play that best symbolized the sense of pure fun Matt Nagy has brought to this organization. He’s not afraid of comparisons to the ’85 edition of this franchise. Fridge be damned! He’s just out there calling plays, having a good time and inspiring his players to do the same.
Photo credit: New York Times.
Last night paid it off. Was it perfect? By no means. But on a cold night in Chicago the 2018 Bears provided their moment; their signature (regular season) victory. Rapid fire…
It felt way closer than it ever was, this Bears v. Lions game. And there was one reason for that. Rapid fire is coming!
Matt Nagy on if the #Bears will look at other kickers this week: “Oh no. There’s zero chance of that.”
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) November 11, 2018
Eddie Goldman will make the Pro Bowl.
I’m traveling in Dingle, Ireland years ago and I’m exhausted. This was my first day ever in Europe and I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 4:30 in the afternoon. My uncle turns to me and says, “Have a quick three. You’ll be fine.” I drank three Guinness in the span of a half hour. Seven hours later I’m dancing to a shitty Irish house DJ with Jenny Pye, a local lass who dreamed of being an EMT in New York City.
I’m very tired of this 2018 off-season. And incredibly eager for the season to begin. So I’m taking the quick three approach to each position group as we head into the summer. Not grading the groups or anything. Just making some points.