For what it’s worth, Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy saw what you saw on Thursday.
The disparity in Bears plays that were passes and runs in Thursday’s opening night loss to the Packers was jarring. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky dropped back to pass 53 times, while ball-carriers David Montgomery, Mike Davis, and Cordarrelle Patterson combined for a grand total of 12 rushes. That is as far from a balanced offensive attack as you could get.
Nagy acknowledged the one-dimensional offense wasn’t what he had in mind for an offensive game-plan. As for why things turned out as slanted in favor of the passing attack as they did, Nagy offered up something of an explanation.
Nagy once again said they need to run the ball more, but this was interesting too: "You guys gotta hang with me on some of these. We have some RPOs. So, when I’m calling runs and a throw is made, you guys think a pass is called. And there’s runs that are being called."
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 6, 2019
RPOs are run-pass option plays. Those particular play-calls are designed to give the quarterback an option to run or pass depending on what he sees from a given defense after the snap. If the quarterback sees a front that has clear running lanes, then handing it off to a ball-carrier is the play to make. But if rushing alleys are clogged, then the quarterback can pull back, survey throwing lanes, and sling it to an open receiver. Pretty neat, eh?
These types of versatile plays are difficult to stop when a defense shows a tendency to commit to either stopping the run or preventing a pass. When executed properly, they are tough to stop. But when poor decisions are made, well, it looks like what we saw unfold at Soldier Field on Thursday.
I would come short of saying Nagy is throwing shade at Trubisky, though the head coach comes through loud and clear essentially saying: “You misdiagnosed some of those, young man.”
So much of the offense is in Trubisky’s hands. It’s not just when to throw it or who to throw it to, but also when to turn a run into a pass play or shift from a throwing situation into a hand-off. Trubisky has more ownership of the offense now than he did last year, but needs to do a better job in reading what is in front of him in order to get this offense moving in the right direction.