Ciarán’s Comments: Bears v Vikings

Ciarán’s Comments: Bears v Vikings

I want to start my last 2017 regular season preview by telling all Bears fans one thing: We’ve almost done it. We’ve lasted the entire 2017 football season enduring a painful and excruciating offensive philosophy put in place by John Fox. This era of terrible Bears football will soon be over and I for one am so ready for something new.

The end is nigh Bears fans, we will all get our wish and our New Year’s present will be presented to us by Ryan Pace. It doesn’t have to be an offensive mastermind, a defensive juggernaut or a special teams ace. Ryan Pace, just get the right guy, do not include Ted Phillips in your decision. Do not let anybody in the organisation sway you in your judgement, this is YOUR HEAD FOOTBALL COACH. Ask the tough questions. Analyze their development plan of the most important commodity in Chicago sports, the quarterback.

The Bears will only realize the vast potential of Mitch Trubisky Ryan Pace makes the right decision. The Bears holy trinity for the next decade could be Pace, Trubisky and the new head coach.

If Pace hires the wrong head coach, he will be out the door in 2-3 years time. Get a bright mind, an aggressive coach and a leader of men. This is the charter franchise of the NFL and it is comically cruel how little impact this organization has had on the NFL in recent years.

That starts to change once John Fox is fired and Ryan Pace is given the autonomy to conduct a coaching search for someone he trusts will get the most out of this team. The game on Sunday other than draft position and home field advantage for the Vikings, is irrelevant in the greater landscape. The Bears organisation changes on January 1st 2018, when John Fox is announced as former Bears head coach.

The time has come for Bears fans to believe in their team again. That is why this hire is so important and why we have all put our trust in Ryan Pace to get this right.

Chicago Bears       20
Cleveland Browns   3

The Chicago Bears pulled out their 5th victory of the season with a 17 point win over the lowly Cleveland Browns. For as bad as both teams were coached throughout 2017, I can safely say and all Bears fans can be comforted, “WE ARE NOT THE NFC BROWNS.” Yes, the Chicago Bears have had their lowly moments in 2017, however they never looked quite as pathetic as the Browns. Every play the Browns made ended up coming back for some penalty or offside or holding. It was comical, just as the Browns had come back into the game with a pick six, they were offside on defense and it wasn’t the first time.

It is a very special feat to say that the Bears were not the most poorly coached team on Sunday. It is simple, the Browns are a dumpster fire with no help coming.

In the game the Bears showed promising signs for the future. Many of the centerpieces were impressive. Mitch Trubisky was very effective and was able to recognize and adjust to what the Browns were doing. It is what you want to see from a young signal caller. He went 14/23 for 193 Yards and a rushing Touchdown. However, the stats do not tell the tale. It was one of Trubisky’s most impressive performances from 2017.

The offensive line was banged up and he went out there and delivered for the Bears. He showed exactly why the Bears traded up for him in the 2017 NFL Draft.

His performance was a direct contrast to the performance of DeShone Kizer who consistently threw up dangerous balls and ended up with 2 Interceptions, one which looked like it was a pass intended for Kyle Fuller instead of his wide receiver. The two QBs are miles apart, Trubisky looks more composed and ready to take the leap to the next level in his development but Kizer has a long way to go.

Offensively, in the first half, it was a struggle on 3rd down. The Browns were blitzing and getting to Trubisky. That is all down to coaching, they were very late to react to what Browns’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams schemed.

It took the Bears staff an entire half of football draw up a screen pass on those 3rd down blitzes.

It is the lack of adjustments and just poor coaching that is holding this Bears team back and until Fox and Dowell Loggains are gone there is only so much development that this offense will make. The running game while producing TD’s was not very potent although the Browns do have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. However, it has been all too regular that the Bears have been below 100 Yards rushing. This will need to change in 2018.

Defensively, it is hard to not give the Bears an A grade. They got after Kizer, pressured him into mistakes and Kyle Fuller made pass breakup after pass breakup. The defense simply dominated the Browns’ inept offense.

The only slight knock I have on the 2017 defense is they have given up too many yards to RBs on short passes or screens. This needs to improve moving forward. However, overall it was a great effort from the defense which is solidifying its position as a top 10 NFL defense in 2017. Overall, the Bears did just enough to distance themselves from Cleveland because putting it very simple, it’s Cleveland.

Week 17:

Chicago Bears            (5-10)
Minnesota Vikings     ( 12-3)

The Vikings will go into the game knowing that a victory will lock up a first-round playoff bye. So, rest their regulars won’t happen unless they get a comfortable lead.

The Bears players go into the game knowing this is the last game of the Fox era. The players as a whole appear to like and enjoy playing for Fox who has always been considered a players coach. It is likely there will be a concerted effort by the players to play extremely well for Fox.

However, the Vikings are simply a more talented football team, make very few mistakes and are better coached. It is rare that the Vikings commit silly penalties. The Bears on the other hand have committed a sizeable portion of penalties in 2017. The Vikings like to attack on offense and on defense are a joy for football aficionados to watch. They are one of the most well rounded teams that will be on display in the NFC Playoffs as they have very little holes.

However, the Bears may show teams how to attack the Vikings and that is through their offensive line. There have been countless changes throughout the season and they have had a mixed season. In the first half when Bradford played against the Bears, the Bears were able to get to Bradford time after time. If the Bears are allowed attack Keenum, the game will not be as one sided as many experts predict it may become. In particular look at the right tackle for the Vikings, Mike Remmers, whose play recently has begun to worsen. In fact, the Vikings, who made a concerted effort to improve the OL, and did, but as a whole the unit is banged up.

The Bears defense held up well in the first outing between the two sides and I can see the same occurring on Sunday. By no means, do I expect the Vikings offense to go out and blow the Bears defense out of the water. I expect it to be a tough, hard nosed football game.

However, the Vikings possess a lot of offensive talent. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have become a potent WR combo and Case Keenum has looked like an MVP candidate.

On the defensive side of the football is where the Vikings stack up great against anybody, they are athletic, fast, aggressive and dominant. The Bears offensive line is banged up, too, and I expect the Vikings to come after Trubisky early and often. They will attempt to put the Bears in 2nd & Long and 3rd & Long to stop the ability of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen running the football. If the Bears can limit the mistakes and limit the penalties, this will be an enjoyable game to watch for both sets of fans, but in the end the Vikings will just have too much talent for this Bears team to come out with a victory.

My Prediction:

Minnesota Vikings 28
Chicago Bears         17

I have the Vikings distancing themselves from the Bears as the game gets to the 4th quarter as in the end talent rules all and in 2017, the Vikings are just more talented and are well coached. The loss is not a bad thing for the Bears as long as they play well. At this point of the season, draft positioning is more important than another victory. If everything goes the Bears way on Sunday, they could be drafting 6th overall, if the Bears win and everything does not go their way the Bears could be drafting 13th. So really, I would expect the Bears to lose this ballgame and be drafting in the top 10 in April of 2018 and that is not a bad thing with the way the 2017 season has played out.

Bold Predictions:

  1. Kyle Fuller has 5 PBU’s and 1 INT.
  2. Trubisky scores both a rushing TD and Passing TD.
  3. The Bears allow less than 3 sacks.
  4. Teddy Bridgewater plays more snaps than Pat O’Donnell.
  5. Both Case Keenum and Bridgewater throw an INT.

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John FoxRyan Pace

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