The Defense is Ready to Rally Around Their Coach's Criticism (And Other Bears Bullets)

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The Defense is Ready to Rally Around Their Coach’s Criticism (And Other Bears Bullets)

Chicago Bears

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d like to buy up some more candles because of the calming presence and soul-warming smells they provide.

•   It doesn’t sound like Matt Nagy’s ripping the defense is causing divisiveness within the locker room:

•   Well, at least that’s the case going into Week 13. The responses from the players who were made available for Zoom press conferences backed their coach’s message. They discussed how Nagy’s words were accurate, as well as how what was said could be used as motivation. From a fan perspective, I enjoyed Akiem Hicks’ retorts the most. You’ve gotta love when a player says he embraces hard coaching. Part of me still thinks Nagy was out of line for essentially bus-tossing his most productive group. But Nagy himself said the only reason he did it is because he knew they could handle it. To this point, Nagy’s assessment is accurate. We’ll see how much longer it lasts.

•   Maybe the players won’t take Nagy’s words personally. But for Khalil Mack, he’s taking the defense’s recent slide personally. Mack has gone back-to-back games without a sack. That comes after a four-game run in which he recorded 5 sacks, 6 tackles-for-loss, and 5 QB Hits. As far as I’m concerned, Mack is due. Although, he’s not really worried about raw numbers. “My game speaks for itself,” Mack told the Sun-Times earlier in the week. “It’s not really about me. I want to win. I know they’re going to come when they come and that’s always going to be my mindset — to do everything I can to help this team win games. Obviously getting to the quarterback is what I’m here for, and I definitely have to do that.”

•   Food for thought: Chicago is 15-6 when Mack records at least one sack, but 7-12 when he records none. The Bears win when Khalil Mack sacks quarterbacks. Admittedly, that’s an over-simplistic way to look at things. But it is what it is.

•   No pressure, Matt Nagy. But there’s a report that the Bears are likely to make a coaching change this offseason and have even targeted Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald as a potential replacement.

•   The Bears have their own issues, so it’s not like I’m throwing rocks from a glass house where I am. HOWEVER, as PFT’s Mike Florio points out: “[W]hatever the Lions do (with Matthew Stafford), it’s going to create a cap issue, and if they keep Stafford there also will be a cash issue.” Detroit doesn’t have a GM right now. But whomever takes that job has the unenviable task of figuring out what to do with a franchise QB who will be costly one way or another. Could we be on the verge of seeing Stafford’s last game at Soldier Field?

•   On this date last year, we were waking up and basking in the glory that was the best offensive showing for a Matt Nagy team:

•   It was Mitchell Trubisky’s best game as a pro. He played with confidence and swagger en route to scoring four touchdowns. Allen Robinson made two of the most ridiculous touchdown catches I’ve seen. Anthony Miller displayed his excellence int he open field. And the Bears won, boosting their slim playoff hopes. Who’s up for a repeat performance today?

•   Bears-Lions is obviously front-and-center for us today. But it’s not the only game we’ll keep tabs on:

•   Cardinals-Rams is arguably the second-most-important game on Sunday’s slate. Well, at least from a certain point of view. A Bears win and Cardinals loss bumps the Bears’ playoff odds to 33 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. And for what that’s worth, it would shoot Chicago ahead of Arizona (30%) when it comes to postseason probabilities. But a Bears loss and a Cardinals win drops the Bears’ playoff chances to 5 percent. In other words, Sunday’s Lions game is a must-win if the Bears want to have realistic playoff hope and they’ll need help from the Rams. This is what happens when you don’t take care of business when given a chance to control your own destiny.

•   Cordarrelle Patterson, the most electric kick returner in the game, wants to leave his mark on the game:

•   Patterson is a little more than halfway through the second year of his two-year contract with the Bears. But I struggle to find a role player who has endeared himself to the fanbase as quickly as Patterson. Between the passion he brings to the game, his social media presence, hard running style, and excellence in multiple phases of the game, there’s a lot to like. And while we’ve long focused on an extension for Allen Robinson, Patterson has made a case for himself to get another contract with Chicago. I’m not quite sure what it would look like, but considering his all-purpose contributions, whatever deal he gets (and wherever he gets it from) should be rewarding.

•   The #MyCauseMyCleats initiative brings awareness to things near and dear to the hearts of the players we root for weekly:

•   Seeing the 2012 Bears atop Bleacher Report’s list of worst late-season collapses since the turn of the century stings. This isn’t to say it isn’t deserved. It was. The 2012 Bears started 7-1, but lost 5 of 8 after that point and missed the playoffs as the Packers couldn’t beat a Vikings team that held a tiebreaker over the Bears. If there are any takeaways from this, it’s to (1) never leave anything to chance and (2) never trust the Packers to do you a solid.

•   So, do the Bears now get credit for one (1) hit on Aaron Rodgers last week?

•   Ah, well, nevertheless:

•   Yesterday was quite the showing for our favorite college football signal callers:

•   Tough pick to throw in that moment. That *should* drop him down to the middle of the first round:

•   #CollegeSpecialTeams was in peak form on Saturday:

•   Something to watch on the other sideline:

•   Yikes! The Ravens said they had four different strains of COVID-19 in their facility, which led to the organizational breakout:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.