The Scare Bears

Last season the Chicago Bears came out reformed and strong. They gave the people of Chicago hope by making it to the playoffs as a wildcard. It was during the playoffs last season when Chicagoans had hopes of making it to the Super Bowl, but all of that was taken away when kicker Cody Parkey’s potential winning field goal resulted in a double doink. Bears fans were of course furious after coming up short and never let Parkey live down his missed field goal.

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At the start of this 2019 season, Chicago still believed in the hype, even Vegas believed in the Bears. But things have taken a turn for the worst. Maybe Parkey was the least of the Bears’ problems. Currently, the Bears are 4-6 and are third in their division. It would seem that the Bears’ offense learned nothing over the offseason and everyone has regressed. The Bears’ quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, has received a lot of criticism from fans and sports analysts as he has struggled to find success with his teammates. On October 24th, Trubisky was ranked last among NFL quarterbacks and, despite winning their last game against the Lions, people don’t have much trust in Trubisky to salvage his year. When Trubisky isn't failing to find the open man, he’s overthrowing or underthrowing passes. He constantly makes bad decisions either inside or outside of the pocket, and this often results in sacks. In his defense, sometimes he does make good throws but his receivers will fail to make catches. All in all, Trubisky’s efforts are not translating to wins and as the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, he has had a disappointing season. 

I would like to emphasize that as harsh as his critics have been, Trubisky is not solely to blame for the Bears’ troubles this season. Coach Matt Nagy also has a lot to answer for. Many have taken to Twitter to express their frustration with Nagy’s play calling this season and have urged Nagy to stop calling “cute” plays. It would seem that at times Nagy’s calls are unnecessarily complicated and don’t fit the mold of his players. Other times, it would seem that he simply does not have confidence in his offense. This would prove true when he grew frustrated and defensive during the post-game interview after the Bears went down to the Chargers 17-16. During the final seconds of this game, the Bears had a first down and a time-out to use, but instead Nagy burned down the clock and made Trubisky take a knee so kicker Eddy Piniero could hit a 41-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Piniero missed the field goal and the Bears’ record plummeted to 3-5. 

The Bears’ defense, while undoubtedly the strongest link of the team, has had their own struggles this season. Many analysts have attributed these struggles to the fact that they are on the field for long amounts of time, which is true. Since the Bears’ offense struggles to score and have been terrible on 3rd downs, the defense’s time on the field has been high this season. When all your offense does is punt, punt and punt, it can become exhausting knowing you have to take the field constantly. Sadly, this has been the reality for the Bears’ defense as they find their offense unable to get it going and put up points week after week. 

Combine it all, it does not help that the Bears can’t get their running game going and that their rookie kicker is put under constant pressure to hit game-winning field goals he can’t always come through with. It should also be noted that the criticism has gotten to Trubisky, and prior to the Detroit game he stated he’s trying to get the TV’s turned off at the facility. Indeed a lot of negativity has fallen on the Bears and the person getting the most heat is Trubisky. Currently, there are talks circulating that the Bears should trade for quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers who has had his own struggles with injuries in recent years. Others have urged the Bears to sign former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who will soon have an NFL work-out in Atlanta. While the Bears’ organization has not made any statements confirming these pursuits, frustration continues to grow and it is plausible big changes will come soon. 

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There have been many moments during this season when the Bears offense, specifically Trubisky and Nagy, have looked scared, uncomfortable and scary in a bad way. However, it might not be in the Bears’ best interest to replace Trubisky right now. For one, he hasn’t even been a starter for two years yet. Instead, Nagy needs to understand his quarterback and the rest of his offense better and start running plays that work for the players he has. It would also help if he believed in his offense more. The “cute” plays need to stop and the running game has to get going. It would also be in the Bears’ best interest to acquire either a star wide receiver or running back if they are going to give Trubisky a real chance to succeed and improve.  

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This may go without saying, but these are dark times for Bears’ fans. In fact, it is not a good time for any Chicago sports team fan as the Blackhawks and Bulls continue to struggle and the White Sox and Cubs finished with unremarkable seasons this year. At times these teams show glimpses of hope, but it looks like the nightmares will continue, and we’re going to have to wait a while longer for a championship team to emerge in Chicago.