I know what you’re probably thinking—the Bears won the game and, in fact, have won back-to-back games, so why can’t you be happy, Bob Warja? After all, a win is a win. Well, first of all, I am happy they won, but no, a win is not a win. Some wins translate better than others.
Look, the way the Bears play on offense just won’t get them very far long-term. In fact, even short-term it will be a problem, as the Saints are up next, and they will almost certainly require more points. I’m thinking that the Bears aren’t prepared to score on offense because they are playing scared football—scared to throw the ball downfield because they don’t want to turn it over.
I know the defense is playing out of its minds, and that is great to see. They have already won as many games this year as all of last season. But putting the ball in the air seven times just won’t cut it against a high-powered offense like New Orleans. That whole “winning ugly” thing may have worked well for the White Sox a long time ago, but in today’s NFL they just can’t continue relying on the defense to score.
The problem with winning this way is that: 1) it is not sustainable; and, 2) it is not developing Mitch Trubisky, franchise QB in waiting.
How can Trubisky learn to win games with his arm when all that arm is doing is handing the ball off to the running back? I understand dumbing down the offense and running the ball, that’s a smart plan for a rookie QB. But you have to let the kid throw the ball once in awhile. Hey, a monkey can hand the ball off to a back all day.
Plus, the Saints are the type of team that not only scores a lot, but their defense, while not very stout overall, does take the ball away. Which means that the Bears may be in a position where the offense is gong to have to do something big.
Plus, teams will continue to stack the line to stop the run.
Now, I realize that there are very few options for Mitch to throw the ball to, given the current state of the receiver corps in Chicago. Even after trading for Dontrelle Inman, it’s more barren than a food pantry in Ethiopia. But hell, at least stretch the defense by throwing a bomb once in awhile. Give the perception that it may happen so that the defense has to at least respect the pass.
I know that by limiting his throws, the Bears are also limiting the opportunities for interceptions, and let’s face it, turnovers are one of the things that killed Mike Glennon. But Trubisky isn’t Glennon. He looks like he is a better QB. And he is more mobile than Glennon and can throw on the run.
Maybe this would have been a more prudent offense for Glennon than Trubisky. Eventually, Mitch is going to be in the position where he will have to win a game with his arm, but my fear is that the kid won’t be ready.
I feel that this is one of the reasons that John Fox has got to go. Afraid of losing his job, he will do whatever it takes to eek out a victory, even if it stunts the growth of his QB. But hiring someone new, along with the assurance that they will be around awhile no matter the W-L record, would afford that coach more latitude not to worry about this season and instead focus on developing Trubisky.
Make no mistake—this season is supposed to be devoted to Trubisky. I know that Aaron Rodgers’ injury opens the door for almost anyone to win the NFC North. The Bears are 3-4 and in last place, though only the Vikings are more than one game above .500 on the season so far.
But I’d rather finish out of the race if it meant that Trubisky is more ready for next season and beyond. Fox, however, knows his job is on the line. And that’s why they continue to play SCARED.
On Sunday, Trubisky was just 4/7 passing for 107 yards, yet no turnovers, which is key. Tarik Cohen had a 70 yard pass play, but did not run the ball. Howard averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, so overall, with numbers like that, one would think the Bears lost the game.
However, the defense was outstanding. Fourth round pick Eddie Jackson had an interception and a fumble recovery—both for touchdowns!—while Danny Trevathan had a pick. They sacked Cam Newton five times, and while he had a couple of good runs, he was hit 11 times and never seemed to be comfortable in the pocket all day.
It’s great having the defense win the game, but at some point the offense is going to have to step it up. And that starts with letting the QB throw the ball. After all, who knows, we might just have ourselves an honest-to-goodness real NFL QB for once.
Now that’s a scary thought!
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