The Bears Can Really Learn Something From the Jaguars (And Other Bears Bullets)

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Trevor Lawrence game game parlay

The Bears Can Really Learn Something From the Jaguars (And Other Bears Bullets)

Chicago Bears

Sometimes, life feels like watching one of those big trucks making a right turn at a city intersection. You know that (eventually) that truck will complete that turn and traffic will resume its regular flow. But you also know it might take a little longer than usual. And that is OK. Just don’t let the traffic stop you for too long.

  • I’ve made a similar analogy in discussing Bears rebuilds of the past. This past year of Bears football has very much been like watching the truck navigate that tricky right turn. I’m trying to figure out where Justin Fields fits in that analogy. Is he the truck driver? OK, so I’ve got some kinks to work out. We’ve got an offseason to work through that, don’t we?
  • The Chargers went full Charger last night. And the result was Jacksonville putting together one of the wildest come-from-behind wins I’ve ever seen:
  • The Jaguars spent a boatload of money to upgrade their collection of pass catchers around Trevor Lawrence and they all paid dividends in Saturday’s win. Tight end Evan Engram was their leading receiver in yards (93) on an evening in which he hauled in seven passes and a touchdown. Receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones both pulled in eight catches and both scored touchdowns. The Engram-Kirk-Jones trio was given $59.25 million worth of guarantees this past offseason — and they earned every bit of that cash last night.
  • I keep coming back to something we explored in the offseason from PFF ranking the Jaguars and Bears’ receiving corps in the same tier. That the Jags and Bears pass-catchers were considered “likely a weakness” seems so far-fetched right now. At the time, I scoffed at the idea of spending all that money on guarantees to still be lumped in with the Bears. And now I look back and wonder how that even happened in the first place. OK, so it didn’t age well. We can take something away from that occurrence. For me, it provides a good perspective on how to assess offseason moves through a wider lens.
  • But more than that, the real takeaway is that the Bears should give Fields better weapons. Small upgrades are still upgrades. Incremental improvements are still improvements. And if there is anything we can learn from the Jaguars, it is that raising the floor is important, too. Kirk and Jones were floor raisers for Jacksonville. Engram was essentially a lottery ticket in the form of a post-hype sleeper who finally played like a first-round pick. The Bears need to find their own Kirk, Jones, and Engram this offseason. GM Ryan Poles and top assistant Ian Cunningham have their work cut out for them this winter and spring.
  • Sidebar: On the one hand, it was nice to hear Al Michaels call a big game. But on the other hand, pairing Michaels with Tony Dungy was a miss:
  • I understand his long-time partner Cris Collinsworth is working with Mike Tirico on the other NBC game this weekend. But there had to be another option because that wasn’t it. Ah, well, there is always next year.
  • Between the Jaguars’ second half and the entirety of the 49ers game, I hope Bears Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy was watching those playoff games and maybe even came away with some inspiration. This run by Christian McCaffrey had me GOING.
  • Because you might care: The next scheduled Bears-Jaguars showdown isn’t until 2024. Unless, of course, they meet in next year’s Super Bowl. Wouldn’t that be a treat?
  • This was such a fun moment (and an exceptional breakdown of what is actually important in play-calling, scheming, and execution):
  • Do you think Doug Pederson’s old friend Matt Nagy (who busted out the T-formation a time or two when he was calling plays in Chicago) cracked a smile when he saw Travis Etienne’s fourth-down run?
  • And now I’m imagining Teven Jenkins playing the role of pulling guard who clears space for Khalil Herbert (or Tony Pollard? or both?) to break off a huge chunk play:
  • There are times when the best decision you make is one that you don’t make at all. Not trading Jenkins when things were murky is one of Ryan Poles’ best decisions since becoming the Bears’ general manager.
  • I want to circle back to Nagy for a moment. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the Titans want to interview the former Bears head coach for their open offensive coordinator job. On the one hand, I don’t think that will work as well as they might think. Think about who the Titans’ best player is (running back Derrick Henry) and what Nagy failed to do most in Chicago (a commitment to the run when his team’s best and most consistent offensive player was a running back). But on the other hand, I believe in second chances. Maybe Nagy has learned some lessons since his firing at this time last year. If not, well, that isn’t our problem any more.
  • If you’re trying to pin down what positions the Bears need to address most this offseason, I think browsing through the Bears’ 10 worst offensive (and 10 worst defensive players) in 2022 will tell us all we need to know. Someone give BearsWire’s Alyssa Barbieri a fist bump for combing through the data. There are some truly ugly grades in that bunch.
  • Nah, man. But how did these Bears beat those Niners? (BN NFL)
  • AHEM!
  • Signing Trey Mancini gives the Cubs another interesting and usable piece of the puzzle:

Author: Luis Medina

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