Because of Matt Nagy’s long-standing relationship with Louis Riddick, I’m looking forward to hearing what Riddick has to say about the Bears during tonight’s MNF showdown.
In the meantime, take a brief moment to read this from the Tribune’s Dan Wiederer:
Really enjoyed my discussion this weekend with “Monday Night Football” analyst @LRiddickESPN
Great insight and perspective on 5-1, the Bears’ offensive difficulties, the brilliance of the D, Nick Foles and more:https://t.co/t46QacLLTX
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) October 25, 2020
In his interview with the Tribune, Riddick highlights a slew of Bears issues. Riddick sounds off on the Bears’ quarterback problems, underscoring the importance of good quarterback play within the system.
“The volume of things that both Alex (Smith) and Patrick (Mahomes) were responsible for in making that offense and that system one of the most explosive we’ve ever seen is undeniable. You can’t overstate that,” Riddick said. “The Bears don’t have anybody like that.”
[Stares longingly into what could have been in the 2017 NFL Draft]
He also points out short-comings of skill positions elsewhere on the offense when it comes to execution.
“[T]here have been multiple times where receivers have been open in the deep part of the field on plays that would have ripped defenses and produced those plus-20 yard plays the Bears have missed,” Riddick explained. “Those were called right. They were schemed right. They just weren’t executed properly.”
I don’t want to absolve Nagy for some of his play-calling mishaps. Nagy has made a number of questionable decisions. However, we can’t ignore the times he made the right call, the right protections happened, and the play failed in execution. Sure, it happens from time to time in football. Even the best players miss plays every now and again. But it happens so often for the Bears, you can recall all the missed opportunities in your mind.
But hey, it’s not all bad! Riddick sounds like he really loves rookie Darnell Mooney:
“If you really want to get excited about a guy in that offense right now, the guy to get excited about is Mooney. He’s going to be a player. Mooney looks like a current-day version of a young Desean Jackson. He has that kind of stride and that kind of explosive playmaking ability. … He may be the biggest weapon they have.”
Giggity! The rookie from Tulane has been fun to watch on the outside. Mooney has blazing speed and go-up-and-get-it ability. He is just six games into his first season, but already has cult status in Bears fandom because of his game-breaking ability. Should he continue on this development path, he could be the deep threat Chicago’s offense needs.
In the end, the honest assessments of the Bears — both positive and negative —from a fresh set of eyes are refreshing.
Riddick’s candid commentary is what makes him a star on ESPN’s football broadcasts. But it’s his insights regarding this particular Bears team make me wonder if a media gig is just scratching the surface. Absorbing Riddick’s analysis has me convinced there’s a future lead front office guy in the booth. So maybe pay some extra attention to what Riddick says tonight.