Ciarán’s Comments: Vikings Bears Preview

Ciarán’s Comments: Vikings Bears Preview

This preview of the Chicago Bears upcoming match versus the Minnesota Vikings is a little different from my past previews. Normally I’m commenting after a diabolically bad performance by the Bears. There was never any devil in the details. It was always clear what was burning up the Bears chances of winning football games.

However, I’m laying off the Packer debacle and the statuesque reason behind the loss. That’s because Chicago Bear football is now different. We are now in a new era. “Money Mitch” Trubisky has been officially named the starting quarterback and I can not be more excited. I have ranted and raved about how the Bears needed to put in the more talented QB and that’s what they have finally achieved.

Chicago Bears’ fans and Bears Barroom followers need to block out the negativity coming from the NFL Network, Chicago Sports Radio and some websites. The naysayers are focused on questioning Trubisky’s readiness. However, I would argue that Mitchell Trubisky was ready to take the reigns of this offense weeks ago and should’ve been starting day one. This does not mean I expect the whole offense and fortunes of the team to change. Trubisky is a rookie and there will be growing pains. The important part now is that Trubisky soaks up everything and learns from his experiences.

Bear fans too should soak it all up too and relish the very strong likelihood that their team will feature a franchise QB  every time they take the field. The Trubisky era has begun.

Bears v Vikings Preview

Coming into this week’s game the Bears have been below average for the majority of the season. Poor quarterback had a ripple effect on the team. But with Trubisky there is hope. Great hope.

However, this does not mean the Bears will go on a run. Trubisky simply gives the Bears a better chance to win football games than Mike Glennon did. The other half of the equation is Dowell Loggains’ play calling. The Bears need to use Mitchell’s strength by letting him move the pocket but it is essential the Bears do not abandon their identity and run the ball. With Trubisky under center there will be less 7,8,9 man boxes for the offensive line, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to handle. Additionally, there will be more opportunities if Dowell Loggains is balanced in his play calling. The use of the tight ends will be important and the promotion of Tre McBride to the active roster gives Trubisky another needed option in the passing attack.

Defensively, the Bears had no hope against the Packers after giving up an early 14-0 deficit. The defense was consistently on the field due to the lack of production from the offense and that needs to change. In the games against the Falcons and Steelers, time of possession aided the Bears defense in keeping Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger quiet and the Bears will need to build on that ball control especially with key defensive players missing against the Vikings. Jerrell Freeman, Quintin Demps and Nick Kwiatkowski are all out with injuries. Akiem Hicks is battling an injury and so is not 100% healthy for Monday night and Danny Trevathan is suspended for the game because of his violent hit on Davante Adams.

The offense and special teams need to help the defense by keeping them off the field and that can be done by protecting the football. That is where Trubisky has the upper hand on Glennon. He is able to keep drives alive with his arm and legs, something that Mike Glennon struggled with and led to turnovers.

The Bears are not the only ones with key injuries coming into the matchup, rookie sensation Dalvin Cook tore his ACL and he has been replaced on the roster by RB Stevan Ridley. Sam Bradford might be a gamete decision.

The Vikings will come into Soldier Field averaging just below 20 points per game. Without Dalvin Cook, the Bears need to focus on stopping any rushing attack from Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon and Ridley. It’s important for the defense to make the Vikings one dimensional and force them into mistakes. That’s a tough assignment because the duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen at wide receiving is the NFL’s most productive. Diggs leads the NFL with 391 receiving yards and Thielen is third with 358 yards. The Bears, meanwhile, are the worst NFL team in turnover differential at minus 7.

Countless times,the Bears have been punished for their own mistakes and now it’s time for them to do the same to the Vikings team and put the Vikings strong defense in a position of weakness.

Expect this to be a tough, hard nosed, low-scoring football game. If the Bears control the time of possession and Trubisky takes care of the football, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rookie comes out of his debut with a win for the Bears.

Key Points for a Bears Victory:

  • Control Time of Possession.
  • Employ a balanced attack
  • Stop the Run
  • Win the Turnover Battle

The Bears have been successful when balancing both the run and the pass. In recent years an over reliance on one form of attack has led to key turnovers that have cost the Bears on the win column. On Monday night against a strong defensive front, it will be important for the Bears to not only be strong on the ground game but also through the air. As the Chicago Tribune reported, “Bears wide receivers have combined for 426 yards. That figure doesn’t take into account yardage when running back Tarik Cohen was lined up in the slot or split wide. Calculating production for all 32 teams of players listed as wide receivers, only the Jaguars (410), Bills (282) and Ravens (251) have less yardage.”

The question will be can the offense make plays on third down and convert when they have the opportunity to put points on the board. The Vikings defense leads the NFL in stopping opposing offenses from converting on third downs.

Bold Predictions:

  1. Mitch Trubisky throws 2 TD passes to WR’s and throws for over 300 yards.

  2. Bears pick of 2 passes from the Vikings.

  3. Bears hold Thielen and Diggs to fewer than 10 overall catches.

My Prediction:

Chicago Bears 20
Minnesota Vikings 21

Overall while I am convinced the Bears will play better with Trubisky at quarterback at the end of the day he is a rookie and will make mistakes on Monday night. Every rookie does, even the great ones such as Peyton Manning and John Elway. I believe that Elway in his rookie season stood over the guard for a snap. This came from a No. 1 overall pick who was regarded as one of the highest rated prospects to come out of college. Deshaun Watson looked inefficient in his first start in the NFL. It is putting very high expectations on a rookie to go out and win from game 1. Mitch Trubisky has the ability to win but he still has to learn how to manage the game and mistakes will be made in 2017. However, the mistakes he makes will be necessary for him to come back as a stronger QB in 2018.

1st Quarter of the Season Performances – The Good

  • Offensive Line – Don’t listen to analysts when they say the Bears have no help on offense. Mike Glennon never helped his linemen. He stood still and walked into sacks where the offensive line did their job. With Kyle Long and Josh Sitton back, the offensive line has been solid. Charles Leno Jr. has had a decent start to the season. Only Cody Whitehair and Bobby Massie look average at best.

 

  • Defensive Line – Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman have continued to impress through the first 4 games of the season and were critical for keeping the Bears in the game in their week one game against the Falcons and their win in week 3 against the Steelers.

 

  • The Running Backs – Howard’s injured shoulder has hampered him a bit but the Jordan Howard- Tarik Cohen combination has been a headache for opposing defenses. The combo did all the heavy lifting on offense in their against the Steelers. With less 8 and 9 man boxes, expect the numbers for Howard and Cohen to increase over the next 12 games of the regular season.

1st Quarter of the Season Performances- The Bad

  • Mike Glennon – The plan from the Bears was to have Mike Glennon play until at least Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. However Glennon didn’t keep his side of the bargain. He was brought in as a bridge QB and a game manager. He failed to take care of the football and lost his job after 4 games. He consistently made poor decisions and limited the offense and made it easy for opposing defenses.

 

  • The WR Core – Drops has been a key weakness for the Bears offense. The Bears have the most drops of any team in the NFL and the WR’s while being limited with the play of Mike Glennon have ultimately failed to bring the offense forward. While there were many opportunities for Glennon to get the ball to the WR’s, the WR core when given opportunities failed to make plays. The Bears are really missing guys like Cameron Meredith and Alshon Jeffery with no real threat downfield.

 

  • Leonard Floyd – Leonard Floyd has been very quiet through the first 4 games of the season. He only notched his first sack against a porous Green Bay offensive line but otherwise has failed to show much in the pass rush department. While he has been asked to cover receivers at times he needs to show more to bring the defense forward.

 

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