Fields Trending Up, Patience With Poles, Tank Watch, and Other Bears Bullets

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Fields Trending Up, Patience With Poles, Tank Watch, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Well, I suppose this is a different way to get folks to tune into Thursday Night Football:

Call it a hunch, but I think this might be the most entertaining third quarter of the TNF season.

  • It’s been one week since you looked at me the Bears’ Thursday Night Football debacle and I’d like to take a wellness check. How are you doing? What have you done for yourself in the last week? Did you do as I suggested and take yourself out for a nice treat? You deserve it. We deserve it. The football season is only 17 games. But there are moments when it can be grating and drag on a fandom. A three-game losing streak that has featured a game-changing fumble by the Bears in each game — including two in a five-day stretch — can do numbers on the football-loving soul. Here’s hoping we’re all back at full strength as we head into Monday Night Football.
  • Now that we’re far enough removed from the game, I feel comfortable enough discussing it as a tank win. The numbers really didn’t show it, but we saw Justin Fields show some improvements. They came mostly in the form of engineering what could’ve been a fourth-quarter game-winning drive in which he threw two passes that should’ve been game-winning touchdowns. There is something valuable to take away from seeing a developing quarterback get their team into that position and execute, even if it didn’t end the way any of us wanted to when the final buzzer went off.
  • At this point, you’re probably curious about what that loss did for the Bears’ draft situation. Given that the bad news is that the Bears lost to a Commanders team they should’ve beaten, the good news is that it helped their draft position a ton. Before the loss, ESPN’s FPI was projecting the Bears to have a record that would land them the 5th overall pick. But the loss nudged them to a place where the forecast has them finishing with the 3rd worst record. Meanwhile, Washington remained steady with the 7th worst projected record. That’s a pretty significant swing in the Bears’ favor.
  • Moreover, it is worth highlighting that the Bears’ odds to get a top-5 pick (per Football Outsiders’ estimations) went from 23.6% before losing to the Commanders to 43.2% after the defeat. On the other side of the coin, Washington went from having a 46.1% chance at a top-5 selection to 36.2%. Again, this was a significant outcome in the grand scheme of things. So while I’m not all in on an obsessive tank watch, I feel like I’m on the cusp.
  • This mock draft doesn’t reflect projected standings, but it gives us an idea of what the top-10 could look like next April:
  • Because I know you care, this particular projection has the Bears snagging USC wide receiver Jordan Addison with the 11th overall pick. Addison has 39 catches, 585 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns through seven games. He has been rolling of late, too, with two 100-yard receiving efforts in his last three games. The Bears need some of that in their life.
  • This feels like as good of a time as any to reiterate that this appears to be another draft class loaded with top-end pass-catching talent:
  • Even though I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, I found this Justin Fields data to be interesting:
  • On the one hand, I don’t want to make too much out of that second set of numbers. I know better by now than to put too much stock into a small sample. But on the other hand, it isn’t a stretch to use these numbers to showcase that Fields is showing incremental signs of improvement. And in a year where his top targets are who they are, and those blockers are who they are, small signs of growth are as important as ever.
  • Some quality football conversation here:
  • This is the perspective I was needing when this came across my timeline yesterday. It will take time and patience to turn this ship around. So while I understand Ryan Poles has to take some accountability in setting up this roster the way he did, we also need to be cognizant of the holes he is digging out of upon arrival. I’ll be curious to see how Poles’ approach changes after his first foray into free agency and the drafts.
  • Oh, come ON:
  • The NFL cat-and-mouse game will always pull me in no matter what. In one corner, we have Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) writing about Bill Belichick being Justin Fields’ biggest challenge to date. And in the other corner, we have Josh Schrock (NBC Sports Chicago) outlining the challenges that Fields’ mobility can put on Belichick’s plate — particularly if the Bears follow the blueprint left behind by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in Week 3.
  • I think designing too many runs could put too much on Fields. Not to mention put him at risk by throwing him into harm’s way. But whatever it takes to win, right?
  • At least opponents are putting some respect on Roquan Smith’s name:
  • And why wouldn’t they?
  • Fun with sample sizes: Roquan is playing at a 17-game pace of 187 total tackles (including 113 solo), 8 tackles-for-loss, 6 quarterback hits, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions. Smith has been a stat-sheet stuffer through six games this season. There have been some game-changing moments, but we’d like to see more before the Bears decide on unloading the bag on the talented linebacker making him the centerpiece of this defense.
  • Remember when the Bulls beat the Heat without Zach LaVine? Thank DeMar DeRozan, who is just built different:
  • Finally, some good news for season-ticket holders who have gone through a brutal stretch since the end of the 2018 season:
  • Bring on the trade rumors:

Author: Luis Medina

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