Hoge’s Week 3 Rewind: Struggling Bears Need To Play Rookies More

Bears rookie cornerback Deiondre' Hall. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Bears rookie cornerback Deiondre’ Hall. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Here are some takeaways after reviewing the coaches’ film from the Bears’ 31-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night:

– Some of the Bears’ snap counts were confusing. Sam Acho (74 percent) played the most out of all the Bears’ outside linebackers. Rookie Leonard Floyd only played 40 snaps (59 percent) and only rushed the quarterback 11 times, according to Pro Football Focus. Promising fourth-round cornerback Deiondre’ Hall didn’t play a single snap on defense. Fellow fourth-rounder Nick Kwiatkoski got the start at linebacker for Jerrell Freeman, but only played 18 snaps despite doing this:

Monday, head coach John Fox said,  “We’ve been thrown some tough cards as far as lineups in each one of these games.” And yet, in a game that was a blowout early, a number of his rookies didn’t play enough. I don’t necessarily have a problem with Leonard Floyd’s snap count (after all, I thought he played too much in Week 1), but he was drafted to rush the quarterback. Yes, Dak Prescott is a quarterback you need to contain, but you have to rush your No. 9 overall draft pick more than 11 times on a night when the defense was on the field for 68 plays.

As for Kwiatkoski, the Bears were primarily only using him in the base package, and rotated Jonathan Anderson and Christian Jones in there at other times in the game. Maybe Kwiatkoski’s conditioning isn’t ready for a full game, but don’t the Bears already know what Anderson and Jones are? 18 plays for the rookie wasn’t enough.

(Update: The Bears waived Anderson on Tuesday.)

And Hall not getting a single snap on defense? I don’t understand that one at all. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s shown enough promise to continue to learn on the fly. Especially on a night when Jacoby Glenn was struggling.

I will give the Bears credit for one thing, though: playing rookie Cre’Von LeBlanc in the nickel over Sherrick McManis.

– Brian Hoyer graded out like he should: as a solid backup quarterback. Overall, he was fine. Other than a bad decision on a read-option on the first play of the game, he made smart decisions and was mostly accurate. It helped that the offensive line protected very well and most of his throws were short.

– Safety Harold Jones-Quartey has to do a better job of wrapping up — for the sake of his own health and others. There were way too many times Sunday when he just threw his shoulder in there to make a hit instead of wrap up and tackle. Ultimately, he left with a concussion.

– Running back Jeremy Langford’s ankle injury was an odd one. It didn’t look at that bad and he immediately popped up off the ground and started walking before reaching down with his hand like he was going to grab his leg. But that was it. He left the stadium in a walking boot and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Langford is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

– Go back and watch the defense’s second snap and you’ll see Akiem Hicks absolutely manhandle two-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick. Hicks was actually double-teamed on the play, but still managed to shove Frederick straight backwards into Prescott. Unfortunately, the quarterback was still able to complete an 11-yard strike to Dez Bryant. That was the play Bryant got hurt on.

– The little things in football:

This could have been costly had it not been just a 29-yard field goal. Barth made the 34-yarder after the penalty.

– There was also a big penalty called on the very next play. Barth appeared to execute a perfect on-side kick (recovered by Sherrick McManis), but the officials ruled Jonathan Anderson offsides. A look at the All-22 angle shows this was a very questionable call.

Adam Hoge covers the Chicago Bears for WGN Radio and WGNRadio.com. He also co-hosts The Beat, weekends on 720 WGN. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.