For as stubborn as the game plan was in Week 1, I didn’t expect the Chicago Bears to sit on their hands and run it back again in Week 2. And while we won’t know the results of pending changes will look like until later this afternoon, it sure sounds like the Bears are shaking things up for this week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
During a pre-game hit on NFL Network featuring insiders Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero, and Mike Garafolo, there was some discussion about changes the Bears are making this week. Check it out:
From Tom Pelissero: “The Bears got off to a rough start last week against the Packers, but there’s no sense of panic right now about the offense or quarterback Justin Fields. They saw Fields have a good command of that offense in the game. He hit the touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney. There were a few other downfield opportunities where he didn’t take that shot, so a big emphasis today against the Bucs is going to be identifying those matchups and pulling the trigger. Also, look for some changes in the backfield. I am told D’Onta Foreman is expected to be a healthy scratch today. That potentially could mean more opportunities for rookie Roschon Johnson who impressed in his debut.”
Here come changes for the Bears offense
More on the inactives in a moment. But first, a quick few sentences about the multi-layered shakeup Pelissero is pointing to in his NFL Network hit. Firstly, it is notable that the Bears are putting an emphasis on shot plays. This comes just days after Fields said he was a bit “too conservative” with his throws and was openly advocating for more deep throws. I don’t expect an extreme overcorrection, but it felt like this type of change was coming after Fields had a week in which he failed to pull the trigger on a variety of potential deep ball strikes.
Also, I exhaled deeply after hearing Pelissero say the Bears aren’t panicking. The last thing they should be doing is panicking two weeks into the regular season. Make changes? Sure. Sizable ones? Hey, I’m down for sweeping changes no matter what time of year. But panicking would be problematic. That would be an ominous sign if Halas Hall was in full-blown panic mode after one regular-season game.
As for the players listed as inactive for today’s game, here’s the list:
Pelissero’s pre-game reporting was spot on. Running back D’Onta Foreman is indeed inactive for Sunday’s showdown against the Bears. The Bears brought in Foreman after David Montgomery signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency. Foreman played on just 21 offensive snaps, carrying it five times for 16 yards in Week 1 against the Packers. This should mean more looks for Roschon Johnson, who made the most of his 11 touches getting 5 carries, 6 catches, 55 scrimmage yards, and one rushing touchdown.
The Bears going with just two running backs might cause some to throw up some yellow flags. However, I’m seeing it as an opportunity to get others involved on the ground. Perhaps we’ll see more designed runs for quarterback Justin Fields. Velus Jones Jr. is active again after sitting last week. Perhaps he’ll get a chance to do more than just handle kick returns. Remember, Jones scored a rushing touchdown in Week 18 against the Vikings back in January. Perhaps there are some end arounds and jet sweeps in his future. Or maybe this is a sign the Bears will air it out more. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
We’ll have more for you in Pre-Gamin’ later this morning.