The elephant in the room:
At this point the Trubisky travails have been Analyzed, Scrutinized and diagnosed from stem to stern, front to back, up and down. Finding new angles to this is Damn near impossible. It is what is. A young Quarterback in the second year of his NFL career learning a new system from last season’s who yet has a ways to go in his development.
As a fan you can either choose to fret and ring your hands about his development or even sell your Trubisky stock, or you can realize this is going to be a process that requires patience until it plays itself out. The fact is, the Bears will have to walk that fine line of developing their young Quarterback, and maintaining a winning record to compete for a playoff spot with a team ready to win now even though it appears Trubisky is not.
Do the Bears dumb it down for the sake of the rest of the team and to the detriment of Trubisky’s development, or do they go full on with Trubisky and accept his growing pains and hope the rest of the team does enough to bail him out until he finally catches up? That will be worthy of monitoring going forward. Will they sacrifice the short term success for the long term and risk the wrath of an impatient fan base and in turn get criticized relentlessly from a sensationalistic media always looking for a headline? Answers lie in the months ahead to those questions and many more.
Defensive slow start:
To say the defense is playing well is the same as saying breathing is essential to live. However, they did give up two early scores against a struggling Cardinal offense. The first score was kind of flukish.
On the play, the Cardinals had what looked like a power run lining up in a heavy look with three tight ends on the right side with one in an H-back role offset from the line of scrimmage who eventually motions to the left side in a single back look. Bears countered with four downlinemen with Aaron Lynch and Kahlil Mack on the edges putting six on the line. Behind they had Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith about five yards off the line of scrimmage with Kyle Fuller in off coverage to the left of the defense and Prince Amukamara in press on the right. Adrian Amos was hoovering around the line inching towards it about 6 yards deep next to Smith and Eddie Jackson in a single high look favoring the right hash.
At the snap, the Cardinals execute a play fake. Trevathan bites and heads towards the flow of the play fake. The motioned H-back releases off the line and Lynch pushes him right into Trevathan knocking him back a couple steps which leaves the H-back wide open in the flat and Trevathan unable to cover him and that results in 6 points for the Cardinals.
The other score came immediately after a Trubisky fumble deep in Bears territory towards the end of the first quarter. Trevathan actually was the victim again when he was beat by David Johnson for a 21 yard Touchdown. Looked like Trevathan thought he had help over the top from Amos and he just let him go passing him off in a zone defense and gets behind him even though he initially had em keyed. Cardinals with a good design on that play By the way. They ran a receiver on an out route to occupy Amos and keep him out of the vicinity of Johnson.
That’s about all I wanted to cover post game as most everything has been covered to death by now.
Moving on to the Bucs:
It’s pretty obvious what the game plan against the Bears will be for the Bucs. Same as everyone else. Stack the box and force Trubisky to beat them. Add in blitzes both scouted and unscouted and force Trubisky to think more and forcing him into mistakes rushing to get the ball out before the pressure gets there. This is yet another step in the evolution of the Bears young franchise Quarterback against a very talented defense particularly their front four. It’ll be up to the Offensive Line to keep Trubisky clean and open up some holes in the running game.
As for the latter, it’s clear the passing game has to go vertical and with successive strikes downfield in order to clear the congested box. Once the passing game adds consistency to it’s vertical routes it will make the horizontal routes gain more explosive plays as well as the run game. Once that happens the Bears will be able to step up to the big boy table.
On offense the Bucs will have to rely on their quick game. It’s doubtful they’ll be able to run the ball versus the Bears ferocious defensive front seven. So expect a lot of West Coast type stuff like quick slants to take advantage of their big Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as well as Tight End OJ Howard. Also, rub routes to create yards after catch opportunities to their quick twitch athletes like Desean Jackson. Hopefully from their perspective backs that Bears rush down giving the Quarterback enough time to hit his targets down field on Dirk Koetter’s vertical routes.
Game planning for two:
While the Buccaneers have a big decision looming it’s one that ultimately affects the Bears as well. As in having to game plan for two Quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick likely gets the nod over Jameis Winston but his poor first half performance Monday night versus the Steelers resulting in three picks put enough doubt that it wouldn’t be a complete surprise Winston starts versus the Bears. Regardless of the starter it is highly possible one replaces the other due to ineffectiveness. So this will force Vic Fangio and his defensive staff to prepare for both.
One man’s injury is another’s opportunity:
The Bears are dealing with a couple significant injuries for the first time this season since losing Adam Shaheen before the season opener to IR. Both Wide Receiver Anthony Miller and starting Right Cornerback Prince Amukamara are listed as day to day until the injury report comes out later on today as mandated by the league. However, with a separated shoulder and hamstring strain respectively you expect them to be questionable at best.
If either are out that gives some players a chance to step up and make an impression. Least of which would be former number seventh overall pick and Ryan Pace‘s very first pick Kevin White. Thus far, White has been placed on the pay no mind list with few snaps and even fewer targets available to him. If Miller is out expect White to assume Miller’s workload.
The other Receiver who may benefit from Miller’s absence would be this years seventh round pick Javon “Juice” Wims who may be activated for the first time this year. If he does and balls out on special teams he might find himself as a regular on the active list. Forget if he makes plays on offense.
As for Amukamara’s possible absence from the lineup Sunday look for Kevin Tolliver to get some snaps. With veteran Marcus Cooper still on the mend it’s very possible Tolliver takes starter snaps on the outside or even the slot if the Bears choose to start Bryce Callahan at RCB. Either way expect Tampa Bay to attack that side of the field if either start there. Maybe even between the hashes if Tolliver takes the Nickleback spot.
Tying a bow on it:
Look, it’s pretty simple, if the Bears win and go 3-1 to start the first quarter of the season and Trubisky Continues to struggle the Bears may have to consider putting Trubisky’s development on the back burner and put making the post season at the top of the mission statement. Before you @ me I am not suggesting benching Trubisky. However, the game plans may have to get real simple and emphasis may change to playing field position and power running. Start running quick hitting runs without all the motions and empty sets to more dives, power O’s, traps, and attacking the A gaps.
In the passing game ditch the RPO’s in favor of a more traditional West Coast offense with minimal reads and emphasizing quick slants, crossing routes, rub routes, and the occasional deep strike on simple fly routes off play action. Lose the razzle dazzle and slow developing plays lessening the responsibility of their Quarterback and plays that make blitzing less effective. At least until Trubisky learns his hot reads and settles down in the pocket once becoming more knowledgeable and comfortable with the offense. I personally prefer they stay on course and make Trubisky priority one, but organizationly it would be hard to piss away an opportunity to ride their defense to some meaningful Janurary games.