How are we a little more than halfway through September already? Where has the time gone? I’m not ready for sweater weather just yet. Please advise.
• Of course the Bears had two of the three fastest ball-carriers in Week 1:
The five ⚡️FASTEST⚡️ ballcarriers from Week 1!
— NFL (@NFL) September 16, 2021
• The Bears spent last offseason looking to bring speed onto the roster. It was long overdue, but better late than never. Using free agency (Damiere Byrd, Marquise Goodwin, Damien Williams) and NFL Draft (Justin Fields, Khalil Herbert) to add some fresh faces was a good start. As was David Montgomery’s offseason speed training. But now that the Bears quenched their need for speed, does Matt Nagy know what to do with it? I’m not asking rhetorically, either. Because, while having raw speed is nice, merely being fast won’t win games. It is up to Nagy and Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor to implement the speedsters into the game plan, then unleash them into situations where they can be at their best. Otherwise, being fast – in isolation – is worthless.
• Maybe Chicago can start leveraging this speed against Cincinnati on Sunday. Starting safety Ricardo Allen will miss the game due to a broken hand and hamstring strain, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. After putting all those short and medium passes on tape last week, this week would make for a swell time to bust out some double moves.
• Marquise Goodwin’s critique of how things unfolded with the offense was eye-opening. Damning, even. But after watching (and re-watching) the game, it feels like this was a plan enacted as a response to how the Rams were defending them:
Bears WR Allen Robinson acknowledged he saw the infamous @NextGenStats route chart for him on Sunday.
"We knew what we were trying to get accomplished with trying to get the ball out and trying to get more yards after the catch rather than air yards, I guess, in certain spots."
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) September 15, 2021
• I’ll gladly be in the minority here, but upon further review, I didn’t hate the Bears’ offensive game plan. One of the biggest (and most fair) criticisms of Nagy’s time as a play-caller is his stubbornness in not taking what defenses are willing to give. And on Sunday, we saw the Bears doing exactly that with how they were attacking. Run it with Monty when they’re playing with just five guys in the box. Attack the middle of the field with slants and comeback routes when opposing DBs are squatting deep. Where Chicago’s failures came was when it was tasked to finish drives with points. Andy Dalton threw a red zone pick on an opening possession that should’ve put at least 3 points on the board. And the Bears went 0-for-the-world on 4th down tries. But that shouldn’t mean they should stop plugging away. There should be more opportunities to stretch defenses vertically against a defense the plays far less two high-safety looks than the Rams. If the Bears don’t do it, then I’ll join the party with a pitchfork of my own.
• On the other side of the ball, first-year defensive coordinator Sean Desai has his work cut out for him. Not only is his “D” preparing for Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins, they’re doing so after putting out some of the worst tape a unit could put out there. Surely, Burrow and the boys are licking their chops after seeing Bears-Rams game film. Colleen Kane (Tribune) and Mark Potash (Sun-Times) outline the climb Desai and the Bears defense have ahead of them as we roll toward Week 2.
• On a much lighter note, this is awesome:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 16, 2021
• The Bears and the city of Chicago (which operates Soldier Field) haven’t gone as far as folks in Vegas, who are mandating vaccination to enter Raiders games. But I feel as if this is a nice step in the right direction:
For those attending Sunday's game at Soldier Field:
Advocate Aurora Health & the #Bears will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations in the Fan Zone located at the Stadium Green on the southeast side of the stadium from 9:30-11:30 am. No game ticket is required to receive the vaccine.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 16, 2021
• A different type of double doink:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 16, 2021
• Let’s start a petition to move Bears-Packers games to Florida. Statistically speaking, it’s the smart thing to do:
Aaron Rodgers last 2 games in Florida:
📉 40.2 PFF grade
📉 0 TDs/4 INTs
Last 17 games in other states:
📈 95.7 PFF grade
📈 53 TDs/4 INTs
Rodgers is projected as Week 2 QB1 vs the Lions in Green Bay 👀
— PFF (@PFF) September 15, 2021
• Jerrell Freeman has long been retired. But with his suspension expiring, there was a little bit of bookkeeping to maintain with the Bears releasing Freeman from the reserve/suspended list, per NFL insider Aaron Wilson.
• There is never a “good” time for an injury, but the timing of this stinks:
Demarcus Lawrence broke the fifth-metatarsal in his foot and will need surgery, source said. If all goes well, he should be back in November. A big loss, but not season-ending. https://t.co/EB8Sb8nLsD
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2021
• If the Cowboys would like a Robert Quinn reunion in the wake of Demarcus Lawerence’s foot injury, I’m not sure it would cost much to coax a cap-hungry team like the Bears. Just saying.
• Steve “Mongo” McMichael is no longer alone at the top of a list of weirdest baseball ejections:
This is incredible. An umpire gave the Orioles grounds crew the boot. https://t.co/e6XClhPvIr
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 16, 2021
• Lonzo Ball brings the heat:
Lonzo Ball almost took Southpaw’s head off with a first pitch heater!
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 16, 2021
• Over at BN Blackhawks, the battle to back up Marc-André Fleury has no shortage of competitors.