One of my favorite quotes is “the best way to avoid disappointment is to not expect anything from anyone”. That is why I went into the Chicago Bears 2015 season with limited expectations. However, after Sunday’s season opener against the Packers I feel much better about the direction this Bears team is headed. There were some good, some bad and some recurring things. Let’s break them down in this week’s JpPresser.
Let’s start with the Bears offense. We finally got a chance to see Adam Gase’s offense run effectively by the starting offense. This year the Bears look a little bit more up tempo, but more effective. The goal seems to be to get Cutler up to the line, make his reads and then get the ball out of his hands to his playmakers. Cutler looks more comfortable in this offense and it was evident from the start of the first possession. Cutler would finish the game 18 for 36 for 225 yards and a TD pass. The biggest concern is a little bit further down his stat line in the INT column. The one pick he threw would be the turning point in the game. That play was Cutler’s career in a nut shell. He will make some nice plays, but be on the lookout for the INTs.
Matt Forte continued to show why he is one of the best players in the NFL with another great performance on Sunday. The Bears established the run early and maintained a run presence throughout the game. The great thing about having a guy like Forte is whenever you need something, he can deliver. When I saw his numbers at the end of the game I almost fell off my chair. This new Bears regime understands that to win you have to put Forte in and let him spin. Running the football takes the pressure off Cutler feeling like he has to do it all. Forte would run for 141 yards on 24 carries. Note to Bears Coaching Staff: The best way to win, give the ball to your best player, especially at the 3 yard line.
That were some things I didn’t understand and I need to get them off my chest. FIRST: Why didn’t the Bears run the ball at least once in the fourth quarter from the 3 yard line? It was evident in the first half that Forte could punch the ball in. It seems like ever since Forte has been in Chicago, the offensive coordinators have never had faith in his goal line abilities. I don’t understand it. SECOND: Why wasn’t Martellus Bennett more of a focus throughout the game? Bennett snagged 5 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, which came in garbage time. The preseason displayed to me that he has to be in the mix as well if this Bears offense is going to have success. The guy is a match up problem. I would use him like Jimmy Graham down by the goal line. Who’s going to stop him…a defensive back? Come on now!
Coming into the 2015 season the Bears defense was looked at as a work in progress. Vic Fangio has tried to mix and match players in the Bears locker room to fit his 3-4 defense. They did the best they could to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high octane offense. My big take away was the Bears lack of a pass rush. If you can’t find ways to disrupt Rodgers in the pocket or move him off of his line you really have no chance of winning. The one thing that was evident was the Bears secondary is a liability moving forward. Alan Ball had a tough day trying to slow down James Jones. Their ability to defend the deep ball is suspect. If the Bears can’t find ways to get to the QB as the season moves on, it’s going to be tough for the Bears to win tough games like on Sunday.
The best thing that happened to this organization was the hiring of John Fox. As I was watching the game I saw a different mentality out of this team. A mentality I never witnessed the last 2 seasons under Marc Trestman. I saw a Bears team make adjustments as the game went on and play with confidence against a team that was supposed to blow them out. They stuck with it and played until the final whistle. That’s all I could have ever hoped for after watching Bears football the last few years. I know it is early in the season, but some of the things I saw on Sunday have given me hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve told you all that this team is rebuilding. I can actually say that if the Bears play like they did Sunday, it might not be as painful of a process to watch it all come together. Bring on Arizona! #BEARDOWN