Johnathan Wood | January 23rd, 2018
In his rookie season, Mitch Trubisky got to play 12 games and throw the ball 330 times. In those 330 attempts, he threw 7 interceptions, which is actually pretty good. That rate – an interception on 2.1% of his throws – was 12th best in the NFL among qualified passers, ahead of established veterans like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers.
As that list above shows, there’s more to being a good quarterback than simply not throwing interceptions. But avoiding interceptions is an important part of a quarterback’s job; in no small part because they can be game-changing plays that make it a lot harder to win.
But not all interceptions are created equal. Sometimes it’s the quarterback’s fault, sometimes it’s on the wide receiver, and sometimes it’s hard to tell. In general, I think you can group them all into one of four categories:
- Bad decision. These are throws that should never be made because the receiver isn’t open and a defender has a good chance at an interception. Bears fans have seen plenty of these in the last 8 years from balls being chucked up into double or triple coverage.
- Bad throw. The target is open, but the pass is off target. The problem here comes not in the choice to throw but in the throw itself.
- Miscommunication. The quarterback thinks the wide receiver is running one route, the wide receiver runs another route, and the defensive back is the beneficiary.
- Receiver error. The receiver is open, the pass is good, but the ball bounces off of the target’s hands and gets intercepted.
The first two are both the fault of the quarterback, though in very different ways. The third one makes it pretty much impossible for us to assign fault. The last one is the fault of the target.
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Tagged: Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Chicago Bears, Daniel Brown, Data Entry, Detroit Lions, Dontrelle Inman, johnathan wood, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Matt Ryan, Minnesota Vikings, Mitch Trubisky, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Tre McBride, Zach Miller
Johnathan Wood | November 26th, 2017
Well that was ugly. This one felt like a few drubbings the 2014 Bears received after the Bears had quit on Marc Trestman. The John Fox era is officially over, though we almost certainly still have to endure 5 more games before it becomes official. Hopefully those games aren’t all this ugly.
The Bears were never going to win on the road against the best team in the NFL, but they looked completely unprepared in every possible way. They picked up penalties, had zero creativity or imagination anywhere, and were generally outschemed, outcoached, and out-executed.
I’m not going to focus much on coaching, because this staff is obviously finished, but one particular atrocity deserves special attention. Facing 3rd and 17 from their own 1 yard line, the Bears called time out to save half a yard from a delay of game penalty. That’s bad enough, but the worst is the offense had only 10 men on the field after an injury time out gave them more than 2 minutes to prepare. That’s a team with comically inept coaching.
I’m going to focus most of my specific observations on the first half, because quite honestly I didn’t pay as much attention after that. The 24-0 halftime deficit meant the game was over by then anyway (honestly, it was over well before halftime).
- Mitchell Trubisky threw an early INT on an inaccurate throw, and it caused the coaching staff to turtle back into their worst habits. It was a long time before they let him throw past the line of scrimmage again, and even then that only came on 3rd and long. Instead, they chose to repeatedly run out of heavy sets into loaded boxes. You might be surprised to learn this was not an effective strategy.
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Tagged: Adam Shaheen, Adrian Amos, Carson Wentz, Chicago Bears, Data, Dion Sims, Dontrelle Inman, Eddie Jackson, John Fox, johnathan wood, Jonathan Bullard, LeGarrette Blount, Marc Trestman, Marcus Cooper, Mitch Unrein, Mitchell Trubisky, Nelson Agholor, Pat O'Donnell, Philadelphia Eagles, Tarik Cohen, Tracy Porter, Tre McBride
Johnathan Wood | November 12th, 2017
Chicago came out of the bye flat, acting like nobody actually wanted to play a football game against their biggest rival. Their terrible kicker was good, but nobody else really was. The only thing that kept this game somewhat close was the fact that Green Bay is terrible, but they still won fairly comfortably on the road.
Let’s break down this embarrassing effort.
- The first drive was simply awful. After two weeks to prepare, they ran into a loaded box on 1st down and lost a yard. After a nice pass picked up a first down, they again ran into a stacked box and lost a yard. The next play was both an illegal formation and a hold, setting Chicago up in 2nd and 21. At that point, the drive was over thanks to a combination of poor play calling and dumb penalties.
- Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky actually had a pretty good start to the game. He made good throws and got the ball to players in space. That changed as the game wore on and Green Bay dialed up the pressure. Trubisky got happy feet and starting pulling his eyes down from scanning the field too quickly. He also refused to throw the ball away, making him completely inept under any sort of pressure.
- Green Bay’s five sacks weren’t all on the offensive line, but they were bad today too. Hroniss Grasu, making a start at center and shifting Cody Whitehair to right guard with Kyle Long out, was routinely pushed back into the backfield. The unit also picked up way too many penalties, with a nice mixture of pre-snap, during the play, and after the play mixed in.
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Tagged: Adam Shaheen, Benny Cunningham, Brett Hundley, Chicago Bears, Cody Whitehair, Connor Barth, Data, Data Entry, Dontrelle Inman, Green Bay Packers, Hroniss Grasu, John Fox, johnathan wood, Jordy Nelson, Josh Bellamy, Kyle Fuller, Kyle Long, Mitchell Trubisky, Tanner Gentry, Tre McBride, Ty Montgomery, Vic Fangio
Johnathan Wood | October 29th, 2017
The Bears played pretty evenly with the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints on the road, but a series of missed opportunities (helped by one atrocious call by the officials) cost them the chance to enter the bye at 4-4.
Perhaps most important to Chicago going forward, the loss was a costly one for the Bears. Four starters left the game with injuries and did not return, including guard Kyle Long (hand), center Cody Whitehair (arm), cornerback Bryce Callahan (knee), and tight end Zach Miller (leg). We’ll wait to see how serious the injuries are, though I can say fairly confidently that Miller’s gruesome leg injury means his season (and likely his career) is finished.
Still, the best news to me from the game was that they kept fighting. When they went down 17-6 early in the 4th quarter, I expected them to roll over and quit, but from that point on the defense forced two turnovers, the offense scored a touchdown, and the special teams picked up a big return to keep Chicago in the game. The attitude on the team is changing, and the importance of that can’t be overstated.
- The Bears were forced to ask for a bit more from rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this week, and we saw some of both good and bad, as should be expected from a young quarterback. We saw the talent leading to some big plays, and we saw the rookie mistakes leading to missed opportunities and/or negative plays. The overall stat line (14/32, 164 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 46.9 rating) looks ugly, but his performance was not that bad. Notably, Trubisky threw 2 touchdowns, but one of them was taken away by a terrible officiating call and one of them was inexplicably dropped by a wide open Jordan Howard.
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Tagged: Adam Shaheen, Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears, Christian Jones, Connor Barth, Daniel Brown, Data, Dion Sims, Dontrelle Inman, John Fox, Johnathan Bullard, johnathan wood, Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd, Mitchell Trubisky, New Orleans Saints, Tanner Gentry, Tarik Cohen, Tre McBride, Zach Miller
Johnathan Wood | October 10th, 2017
In rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s debut, the Bears got the ball to start, and marched right down the field. Trubisky looked sharp on several impressive throws, including one huge third down completion to Tre McBride that set Chicago up on Minnesota’s 9 yard line.
Except a holding penalty by center Cody Whitehair brought the Bears back to 3rd and 20 out of field goal range. One screen pass later, they punted, costing themselves at least three points.
That would lay the foundation for a frustrating first half of missed opportunities, when a long list of penalties (some more dubious than others) led to Chicago getting no offensive points despite passing midfield on four drives.
Unsurprisingly, those missed opportunities came back to haunt them in the second half, as a late Minnesota field goal led to a 20-17 win.
- They get their own section again, which usually means bad things. And we’re starting here, because it was terrible.
- John Fox took too long to decide whether to go for it on 4th and 2 in the first quarter, which forced the Bears to call a time out. Out of the time out, they took too long to get the play in, resulting in a delay of game and punt. That was an ugly sequence that was 100% the fault of the coaches. Then in the 2nd half, they had to burn a time out when the Vikings had 1st and 19 due to confusion with defensive play calls.
- The Bears were also incredibly sloppy early on, with several early penalties negating big plays and/or putting them behind the chains. Some of the calls didn’t seem particularly great by the officials, but overall they need to get out of their own way and stop beating themselves. That’s the mark of a poorly coached team.
- Dowell Loggains also had a terrible game. He fell into predictable patterns we’ve seen through four games, with obvious runs on 1st down and too many horizontal passes. They ran out of heavy sets and threw out of shotgun, with not enough variability mixed into those sets. This routinely set the Bears up in 3rd and long situations, which is not where you want a rookie quarterback (or any offense, really) to be. To his credit, Loggains did have a beautiful play call on a game-tying 2 point conversion in the 4th quarter, but overall he had a rough night.
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Tagged: Adrian Amos, Akiem Hicks, Andrew Dannehy, Benny Cunningham, Case Keenum, Charles Leno, Chicago Bears, Christian Jones, Cody Whitehair, Data, Data Entry, Deonte Thompson, Dion Sims, Dowell Loggains, Eddie Jackson, Everson Griffen, Jeff Rodgers, John Fox, John Timu, johnathan wood, Leonard Floyd, Markus Wheaton, Minnesota Vikings, Mitchell Trubisky, Pat O'Donnell, Sam Bradford, Tanner Gentry, Tarik Cohen, Tre McBride