Monday, November 29, 2021

Extra Thoughts On The Bears’ Embarrassment In Cleveland


ORLANDO, Fla. — I’d like to start off by apologizing that your weekend was so bad, Bears fans.  Because the garbage that you witnessed on Sunday, I got a temporary reprieve from.

While all of you were apoplectic during the Cleveland Browns’ demolition of your favorite team at First Energy Stadium, I was off celebrating my fiancee’s and my sixth anniversary.  Our location of choice?  Harry Potter World in Orlando.  Needless to say, it was a lot better time than having my eyes bleed of the carnage on that football field.  (Although the heat and humidity were downright disgusting and should be outlawed.)

I finally got a chance to watch the wreckage this morning before another day of frolicking in the Islands of Adventure (and I have to say, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is probably the greatest ride I’ve ever been on).  Here were my initial thoughts on that game:

(It’s a shorter thread than usual.)

But I did want to elaborate a few more points below.  Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Some Extra Thoughts

  • The biggest story out of this game, nationally and locally, is Matt Nagy.  His game plan and play calling are being universally panned by experts, and at first glance, I get it.  The peripherals and the numbers don’t look good.  But as I said in my thread, the blanket statement of needing more rollouts is a great Twitter discussion point, but more difficult practically.  Keep in mind, Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are two of the game’s best and fastest edge defenders.  A rollout-heavy game plan when they *expect* it is difficult to make work.  Couple that with Justin Fields’ tendency to hold the ball, and I get why they kept him in the pocket early.  But I wanted to see more screens, slants, and other varieties of plays.
  • That said, Fields struggled with every single opportunity that he *did* have to make plays.  Here’s an example:

This goes back to a habit that showed up in his college tape.  Fields hesitates and holds onto the ball too long.  NFL windows close quickly.  He *has* to speed this up moving forward, whether it’s this season or for another head coach / play caller.

  • The Bears would do well to figure out a contingency plan for Sam Mustipher — quickly.  While the attention is on the tackles today (Jason Peters and Germain Ifedi struggled against two elite rushers), Mustipher struggled yet again.  He has yet to play a game in which he was even an average blocker.  He is not cutting it, and the Bears can’t afford to have their interior protection destroy their quarterback.  My suggestion?  Put James Daniels back in his natural position, slide Alex Bars in at RG, and continue on.  (Also, how’s Teven Jenkins’ back doing?)
  • The Bears had four tight ends active for this game.  There was zero impact.  Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham have not impacted a game positively at all yet.  For an offense that loves tight ends, this is an alarming trend.  Nagy hinted last week that there were several calls for TEs that were taken away by defenses.  My question: Why can’t any of these TE, especially Kmet, create separation/mismatches for themselves?
  • The defense was outstanding yesterday.  Robert Quinn truly looks reborn this year and is wrecking game plans entirely.  Do you know how hard it is to beat the Browns’ offensive line that badly so often?  To sack Baker Mayfield that often?  Remarkable effort yesterday.That said, big credit to Kevin Stefanksi and the offense for quickly identifying that the Bears’ edge rushers were winning consistently and finally countering with screens.  The Bears had no answers for Kareem Hunt.  (To be fair, most teams don’t.)
  • The Bears have faced two Super Bowl contenders on the road in 2021 and have been soundly beaten in both games.  They have a long way to go.
  • Matt Nagy said today that “everything is on the table” with respect to evaluation on how to improve this mess.  When he said that last year, he switched play callers.  With a divisional home game on Sunday that is about as must-win as humanly possible for a coach on the hot seat, I expect certain changes made this Sunday.  That game in Cleveland was an embarrassment, and the McCaskeys don’t like embarrassments.  If they lose to the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field… Nagy might not make it to the bye week.
  • Please stop with the Mitch Trubisky apology theatrics.
  • Listen to our postgame podcast episode for more reaction:

Dhruv Koul
Covering the Bears, Cubs, and Bulls @SportsMockery. Chelsea FC fan. Jay Cutler stan.

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