Welcome Back! Best and Worst PFF Grades, Roquan vs. Mitch, Post-Bye Tweaks Are Coming, and Other Bears Bullets

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Welcome Back! Best and Worst PFF Grades, Roquan vs. Mitch, Post-Bye Tweaks Are Coming, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Did anyone else get a late start on their holiday shopping? Or is it just me?

  • Happy game week! The Bears are set to take on the Eagles this week and I’m pretty geeked about it. There are some back-to-school vibes surrounding this team as it returns from the bye. Like when you came back from winter break with a fresh outfit and a new pair of shoes. You can’t tell me those vibes aren’t there right now.
  • Those Sundays without Justin Fields just don’t hit the same. And even though they’re 3-10, it’ll be good to have the Bears back. Most of that has to do with getting to see Fields back in action. Of course, the downside is that the Bears’ defense is back in action, too. You don’t love seeing the Bears open as a 9-point underdog to start the week. But those are the breaks.
  • Coming out of the bye, BearsWire’s Alyssa Barbieri lays out Pro Football Focus’ best and worst grades for Bears players. Each side of the equation has some surprises. For instance, I didn’t think I’d see DT Justin Jones and DE Trevis Gipson in the bottom 10 coming into this year. But considering how porous the defensive line has been this year as a collective unit, the lowly grades don’t come as a surprise. On the other end of the spectrum, Teven Jenkins being the Bears’ highest-graded player is fun to think about. This is a player who went through so much this offseason (multiple position changes, trade rumors, an early season platoon) that to pop as the team’s top-graded player is impressive.
  • In case you were wondering, Fields’ 72.8 grade from PFF ranks him 7th on the Bears — and 14th among all quarterbacks.
  • Past performance does not indicate future results, but the Bears’ offense averaged 31 points per game in the four games coming off their post-TNF mini-bye earlier in the season. In those games, Fields put up these numbers: 59/92 (64.1% completions), 620 passing yards, 8 TD (8.7 TD%), 2 INT (2.2 INT%), and a 103.5 passer rating. And he tacked on 50 carries, 467 rushing yards, and 5 touchdowns on the ground for good measure. Now I’m imagining what Fields and the offense can do when given a full bye.
  • One thing to look forward to down the stretch: Some different looks out of the run game, as NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock writes the Bears plan on tinkering with their ground attack. After losing to the Packers, Head Coach Matt Eberflus discussed the team’s use of wildcat formation and plays to get players like Velus Jones Jr. carries in an attempt to take the burden off Fields. I’ll be curious to see what other ways the Bears will go about doing this, because (1) it’ll be nice to see what other players can do with the rock in their hands and (2) making Fields do all the heavy lifting down the stretch would be nonsensical.
  • Watching Sunday Night Football put this stream of thoughts in my head:
  • I’ll do it as politely as I can when I ask for GM Ryan Poles to please, please, please spend wisely this offseason. And draft well, too. The Bears are a strong offseason away from networks crawling over each other to put this team in primetime. Think about it. NBC put the Bears on SNF in Week 2. ESPN put the team on MNF (and the ManningCast!) during the first half of the season. Same for Amazon Prime’s TNF broadcast. It isn’t much of a stretch to see where the networks do that again if the team has a bunch of shiny new toys alongside Fields. And if the team proves itself, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision NBC and ESPN (MNF is flexible starting in 2023!) flexing the Bears into primetime in the second half of the year.
  • Can you believe we got Roquan Smith vs. Mitchell Trubisky during the Sunday noon slate? So much for Bearslessness on a Sunday. (P.S. Roquan won bragging rights).
  • “The standard is the standard” in Pittsburgh, but their QB situation ain’t it. Trubisky has completed just 63.3% of his passes, has more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4), and a 78.4 passer rating that would be his lowest showing since his rookie year in 2017 (77.5). Pickett hasn’t been much (if any) better. The rookie is completing 65% of his passes, has twice as many interceptions (8) as he does touchdowns (4), owns a crummy 74.9 passer rating, and is close to earning the injury-prone label after getting banged up in multiple games. Yikes.
  • What if I told you the Steelers (minus-66) have a worse point differential than the Bears (minus-63) going into Week 15?
  • You know who else has a negative point differential? The NFC North-leading Vikings (minus-1). That team is bound to suffer first-round playoff heartbreak. And I can’t wait to see it unfold.
  • On the one hand, these Christmas Day matchups don’t look all that appetizing:
  • But on the other hand, there are some major tank ramifications that could come from the Rams-Broncos game. I suppose we’ll watch that one with great interest (at least, I will when I’m not turning over a lechon — as is Christmas tradition).
  • Some notable stat lines from players I thought it was important to keep tabs on yesterday: Cowboys RB Tony Pollard (14 touches, 62 scrimmage yards, 1 TD), Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz (6 catches, 87 yards), Giants RB Saquon Barkley (11 touches, 48 scrimmage yards), Eagles DT Javon Hargrave (1 QB Hit), Eagles CB James Bradberry (3 solo tackles), Broncos DT Dre’Mont Jones (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 QB Hit).
  • I didn’t end up putting eyes on Niners-Bucs. However, it is worth noting that San Fran’s quarterbacks weren’t sacked at all. So … should we give RT Mike McGlinchey some credit for his efforts in helping that 49ers line thrive?
  • This might go down as the Chiefs’ play of the year, but seeing LT Orlando Brown Jr. beaten pretty badly at the top of the screen is a rough look:
  • But, hey, no left tackle wins every rep. Even the best ones take an “L” from time to time. Keep that in mind when attempting to evaluate offensive line play.
  • The Cubs are throwing cold water on whatever is left of my holiday spirit:
  • Something to watch for tomorrow night:


Author: Luis Medina

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