Happy Halloween! I hope Bears players dress like winners today.
• Today would be a great day for some clarity from the Chicago Bears. Winning is preferable to the alternative. But I spent a chunk of my morning trying to figure out how I was hoping for the Bears to look today. Is the best-case scenario a convincing win under an acting head coach? Are we hoping for players to seize a new opportunity that arises simply because Chris Tabor represents a different voice is leading the room? Or that there are new eyes on some old problems? Don’t get me wrong. I realize Matt Nagy had his hands on this team (virtually!) throughout the week while he sat out due to COVID protocols. But what if the Bears secure a double-digit win, play with an energy that hasn’t been seen before, and look like a team that had a weight lifted from its shoulders? Then what?
• How are we supposed to react if/when Tabor is shown looking at an offensive play sheet? I’m trying to figure this out ahead of time. 🙃🙃🙃
• A winning formula starts with Justin Fields getting the passing game going in the right direction. And getting the ball rolling there begins with protection along the offensive line. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see who starts at right tackle this afternoon. Germain Ifedi (IR + COVID reserve list) remains out, but Elijah Wilkinson (who was starting in Ifedi’s place) and Larry Borom are available. The Bears activated Borom from IR on Saturday, just as left tackle Jason Peters was hinting at earlier in the week.
• Chicago’s coaches thought enough of Borom to make him the top LT backup after Peters went down with an injury in Week 1. So it’s not difficult to envision the team having confidence to start elsewhere. Putting a fifth-round rookie on an island with Nick Bosa lurking sounds dangerous. But maybe this maakes for a nice trial by fire situation. Let’s see what the youngster can do while facing an ultra-stiff challenge.
• The most encouraging thing giving me hope for a Bears win came from Eddie Jackson earlier in the week. It was refreshing to hear the safety show some public accountability. Let’s be real. It’s tough facing criticism. But to do so in a public manner suggests that Jackson gets “it” — which isn’t inconsequential. You’ll want to read this from the Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser for further perspective.
• Let’s see if Jackson and his teammates back up what they’re putting out there (via BearsWire):
⇒ “I feel like that has a lot to do with the type of guys we have in the locker room. We all rally around each other; we all pick each other up. We don’t let no one walk around and hold their head down no matter how tough the times get.”
⇒ “Honestly, we don’t care what the offense is doing. We put it in our mind that we have to go out there and win the game as the defense. That’s just our mindset going into the game. No matter what they do, we have to go out there and clean it up, make our plays and win the game on defense.”
• Because Kyle Shanahan like to make his presence felt, I feel as if a Trey Lance package is coming today. The Niners made big moves in order to secure the third overall pick to draft Lance this past spring. And while San Fran would love to put Lance on the Patrick Mahomes plan, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport thinks Lance’s time is coming soon. Then again, I vaguely remember reading a similar lines of thinking in 2017 during the Chiefs’ midseason stunble. Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane:
Chiefs coach Andy Reid is benching….himself. He has has planned to hand over play calling to OC Matt Nagy for today's game vs. Jets although Reid will continue to have oversight, per team sources.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 3, 2017
Alex Smith has had Reid's support all week but his performance against the Jets also will determine how short his leash gets with rookie Patrick Mahomes in waiting, the sources also say.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 3, 2017
• A sputtering K.C. offense could have looked to Mahomes to spark something that wasn’t happening. Instead, Andy Reid handed play-calling over to Matt Nagy, the Chiefs went on a run that finished with a division title, and the rest is history. Spooky how that all turned out.
• This is pretty wild:
Fun fact: Matt Nagy (31-24) has a better coaching record than Kyle Shanahan (31-39).
— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 25, 2021
Career winning percentage:
Matt Nagy .563
Frank Reich .556
Kyle Shanahan .449
— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) October 25, 2021
• Gosh, this criticism feels awfully familiar:
I think Kyle Shanahan is probably really sharp but the problem is Kyle Shanahan also thinks Kyle Shanahan is really sharp.
— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) October 25, 2021
• Something to keep in mind for those of you enjoy wagering responsibly:
Kyle Shanahan is now 10-21-1 against the spread as a favorite…
Since becoming coach of the 49ers in 2017, he’s the 2nd-least profitable coach as a favorite ahead of Mike Tomlin (19-30-1 ATS) pic.twitter.com/QD96EPQ6Tz
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) October 25, 2021
• I don’t want to throw stones while posted up in a glass house, but Shanahan’s teams have three 10+ loss seasons in four years. And if the San Francisco football team residing in Santa Clara drops to 2-5, Shanahan could be on his way to another such season. I’m not sure what to make of this, especially when considering how he is lauded for his play scripts and designs. No wonder this game feels like football’s answer to the Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme.
• Perhaps, along those lines, the AP’s Rob Maddi seems to come to the conclusion that rookie coaches need more time for evaluations. Generally speaking, the trend has been to not give coaches as much leeway as they did previous eras. On the one hand, it’s a sign that ownership groups aren’t afraid of pulling the plug early, hitting refresh, and forging a new path. But on the other end, it shows how impatient teams are growing to become in modern football. Everyone wants immediate satisfaction. Who doesn’t? However, not getting it, then making quick decisions that might set your team back further is a real risk.
• Oh. And the Niners will be short yet another cornerback, as Deommodore Lenoir is OUT due to personal reasons (Matt Maaiocco)
• That punch which led to Bilal Nichols’ ejection in Week 7 cost him $10,815, per NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. Now, let’s (1) play nice and (2) avoid punching an opponent wearing a helmet for the fourth time in the last calendar year. This shouldn’t be a tough ask, but…
• In a span of three years, Taylor Gabriel was on the wrong side of a blown 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl and the Double-Doink. Talk about bad beats:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) October 31, 2021
• Getting the bounce-back win against the Jazz doesn’t make me feel less bitter about losing to the Knicks. HOWEVA … getting these notifications at some point last night brought a smile to my face:
Enhanced Box Score: Bulls 107, Jazz 99 – October 30, 2021https://t.co/LEFYfiYXVJ
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) October 31, 2021
zAcH aNd DeMaR cAnT pLaY tOgEtHeR
LaVine: 25.4pts, 5.2reb, 4.4ast
DeRozan: 22.0pts, 5.4reb, 4.6ast
Bulls: Take down undefeated Jazz and move to 5-1.
— Elias Schuster (@Schuster_Elias) October 31, 2021
• It’s nice to see Jorge Soler shine on a big stage:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 31, 2021