Wide Receiver: (C)
I almost feel terrible about this grade because I want to say not getting targets wasn’t their fault. Many media and fan discussion boards played it up like the Wide Receives couldn’t get open which I did not see. It’s hard to tell if that was the case or not because Glennon rarely looked past his primary targets which were designed to go to the backs and Tight Ends. The only downfield throw of note went to Tarik Cohen. And on that throw, Cohen had to slow up which allowed the initially beat Line Backer to catch up and make the play for the incompletion. Only nine targets to Wide Receivers? I know they blocked well that’s for sure. I think the Bears will miss Kevin White as a downfield blocker almost as much as a potential target. he is a monster. The big Tarik Cohen reverse field run was extended because of a devastating block by White and you see him still going after the Defensive Back well after the block and you can see the Defensive Back wanted no part of mixing it up with White.
The play I’m about to isolate was he one White was injured on. Here, it shows both the act that White did actually get open as he was wide open on this particular play and you can see how slow Glennon reacts and how long it takes him to release the ball from his windup. This allowed the defense to get there sooner to actually inflict damage on him as White was fighting for extra yardage. A quicker decision by Glennon could’ve got White the ball with plenty of operating space to make a big run after the catch and probably avoid the punishment he eventually got because of the delay in getting the ball from his Quarterback.
Below you’ll see the Bears in a shotgun formation in an 11 personnel look despite having two Tight Ends on the field on this play. Here, Zack Miller is basically playing the X (split end) with Joshua Bellamy nearest the Right Tackle as the Y (slot) and White flanked out wide as the Z (Flanker). Atlanta is in a weird coverage scheme in a 4-6-1 look.
As you see the play develop you can tell Atlanta is expecting the play to go to the left side as the single high safety is leaning that direction and most of the coverage rolls to that side in spite of 3 receivers to the right. Bellamy running a crossing flag route and cuts it off into a flat curl and kinda takes coverage with him there and away from the right side of the field too. The Cornerback on White is way off the line of scrimmage expecting White to run a fly route. As Miller runs a dig route into the seam and takes the SAM Linebacker with him.
White reads the coverage and makes the sight adjustment and breaks his route off and runs a short crossing route along the line of scrimmage and as you can see is wide open. No one on defense even notices this yet as they’re either focused on their man or getting over to their landmarks. Glennon clearly oblivious to this as he is focused strictly on the left side of the formation and on Tarik Cohen and Dion Sims on a high/low combo route and completely misses a possible big play here. This was at least a first down if he makes the right read and gets the ball in White’s hands. How nice would it have bee to see White running full speed with space? As you can see he had an abundance of directions to run in with the right sideline probably his best option that could very well have ended in a touchdown.
This still is about a full 2 seconds later than the previously posted still. As you can see he is still extremely open with the nearest defenders at least 5 yards away, but they now are well aware of White and headed towards while Glennon still hasn’t looked in his direction. Only when he’s forced to move from a pressure does he turn and look in the other direction almost getting sacked. Only a stout anchor by Charles Leno prevents a sack here.
On this view, you can see Glennon eye balling Chen &/or Sims from the snap, drop and plant and obviously missed the read White did not miss.
By the time Glennon finally sees White and throws it to him two Linebackers from the front converge on White and he bounces off one tackle but the Defensive End comes all the way from the left flat full steam and hits White with a 20 yard start from behind as he attempts to turn it up field after he shakes off the first tackle and in turn breaks Whites shoulder blade and sends him to his third consecutive IR stint in three seasons. Although inadvertent Glennon’s lack of field awareness gets White killed and you only hope he doesn’t get anyone else severely injured because of his lack of vision and slow trigger.
Tight End: (B)
This group was solid. They blocked well and caught the ball which will need to continue if the Bears wish to move the ball in the air. Miller and Sims were especially good and Glennon waited far too long to incorporate Sims who didn’t get a catch or a target until the second half. Even Adam Shaheen performed well in his 8 snaps. All of them in the role of blocker and he executed them all.
Below is one of the better passing plays of the afternoon. Sims and Kendall Wright run a nice combo route where it’s a borderline rub route. Here the Bears are in shotgun formation in 10 personnel. Sims and Wright on the left side of the formation Thompson and White on the right side.
Pre-snap Sims motions from the far left sideline and stops behind Wright just to right.
Post snap Wright jets to his left towards the sideline taking his man there and Sims follows behind in the same direction than cuts inside leaving his man confused and Sims wide open and in full gallop.
On this play, Glennon does a good job of hotting Sims in stride with a full head of steam and runs over the first attempting tackler before finally getting caught behind for a 22-yard play. This is an excellent play design by Loggains.
Running Back: (A)
How can this unit get anything less than an A? Jordan Howard was solid and ran with power. He did have a drop at the one-yard line that was thrown late, but still, should have been caught. He simply took his eye off the ball to look for the defender who was bearing down on him and planted him on his ass just short of the goal line. he also cut off Leno from a block as I highlighted above. Those were the only two plays I saw that I could point to as being worthy of pointing out. Tarik Cohen was by far the Bears MVP on the offensive side and possibly the entire day. He was used as a receiver more than a runner and ran crisp accurate routes, showed good hands and made big plays. The running game averaged 6.5 yards a pop and was the most effective part of their offense. The Tight Ends, Wide receivers, and Offensive line contributed greatly to the success of the running backs as well.
Offensive Line: (B-)
I was dangerously close to grading them an average C, but they did create running lanes against an athletic speedy defense and protected Glennon better than he made it look. The biggest area concern came from Center Cody Whitehair. He was not very sharp last Sunday against the Falcons in the Bears season opener. He had several shotgun snaps go awry missed a block or two and had a crucial holding call go against although it wasn’t visible to the human eye as it looked like a good block to me. The tackles played well as did both guards. The stretch zone was working to perfection and they helped carve out holes to a tune of yards a pop. All in all, the line was fine.
Below Bears are in 21 personnel with Glennon under center and the Fullback and Halfback in I formation.
Post snap Cohen and Fullback Michael Burton move towards the right sideline. Burton kicks out the would be tackler with a nice block and Cohen makes a hard cut and slithers through.Sitton and Massie execute a combo block With Sitton eventually taking on the Defensive tackle solo on a reach block and Massie disengages the Defensive Tackle and put a hat on the Linebacker. Meanwhile, Whitehair executes a reach block on the other Defensive Tackle and Tom Compton gets downfield to block a Linebacker.
Outside Linebacker: (C)
The group was fine. They did nothing spectacular. Both Young and McPhee played sparingly McPhee with just 4 or 5 snaps and Young with 18. Leonard Floyd played a lot of coverage as Fangio zone blitzed a lot replacing the OLB with a blitzing MLB through the A gaps quite a bit. Acho did some of that as well and both were stellar at setting the edge and forcing the RB into the middle where Eddie Goldman Jerrell Freeman and Company were ready and waiting. In other words, an average performance which garners an average grade. Since nothing special was accomplished from this group I’m going to review a play where discipline in coverage was at play here. Along with a little help from Goldman.
Below the Bears are in a 5-4-2 alignment with Fuller and Cooper playing press man. Callahan off coverage in the nickel, Floyd and Acho on the Edge in 2 point stances with the safeties in a 2 man look with Demps up a little closer in case of a short pass or run and Jackson deep on Julio Jones’ side to help Fuller in case of a deep ball.
Post snap Floyd and Acho drop into coverage. Goldman splits the middle beating the RG to the spot and powering past him and right into Matt Ryan’s face. This forces Ryan to throw the ball before the blocking can develop and Ach being where he needed to be makes the tackle for the loss. On this play, it seems like the Falcons center expected e]Acho to rush the passer and did not help on Goldman allowing him a free run to Ryan while Mack had no one to block. Nice play design and execution on this call.
Inside Linebacker: (B)
The only thing preventing this group from getting an A is really one play. Freeman who was excellent all game long made a selfish decision it would appear and decided to stay in even though he was apparently concussed and it affected his play call and his decision on the big broken coverage play to the Falcons TE. Other than that Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski and Christian Jones joined Freeman in shutting down the running game and disrupting the passing game as rushers and in coverage.
Here, the Bears start in a 4-3-4 look.
Post snap the Bears have the deeper routes covered and Ryan checks down to his back and Freeman is in perfect position to meet him and get him down for a meager 2 yard gain.
This group played very well. Fuller and Cooper played a physical smart game and stuck to their receivers like glue. Not every play was a masterpiece but the overall result was Picasso like. Shutting down Jones, Sanu, and Gabriel is a monumental task and they lived up to the challenge. The Nickel backs had a so-so day but gave up no back-breaking plays.
On this play, the Bears are in off coverage on the edges and Callahan pressing in the slot. Cooper reads the play and nearly gets the pick six on the pass intended for Jones.
This grade should have been a B but missed tackles (2 by Demps including the big one on the missed coverage touchdown, 1 by Jackson) that went for big plays and factored into the loss greatly knocks their grade down to a C-. Other than those plays the coverage was good and assignments were sound.
Below, you see the confusion on the play call. The defenders are not lined up and Ryan is nearly ready to snap the ball. You can even see the DB’s looking for the coverage call with their arms out. This one is on Freeman mainly, but Demps is the Quarterback of the secondary and could’ve taken control and lined them up.
As you see it just pst sap you still see guys guessing with their arms out like they have no clue of their assignments. As the play develops yu see the TE come free by Freeman just releasing him to no one covering him over the top. Demps is sliding towards Jones on the double team and Cooper is one on one with his man as is Callahan and Jackson. Demps does get to the TE in time to thwart the Touchdown but get driven into the turf by a stiff arm and Hoper waltzes into the end zone to give Atlanta the 10 point advantage. If Demps makes the tackle the Bears have a chance to hold them to a field goal and maybe pull this one out. At the very least a timeout should have been called.
Defensive Line: B
The defensive line was dominant at times, but not consistently so. They did stuff the run which was a monumental task considering the Running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman that the Falcons boast. The only reason they did not get an A is that they weren’t as disruptive in the pass rush as I would have liked. Akiem Hicks Had the sexy stats and played well, but the kid that stood out in his first regular season game was Roy Robertson-Harris. He was disruptive in the passing and running game and even killed it on special teams. Jonathan Bullard was steady but clearly affected by the glute Muscle strain. Goldman was also effective and stout in the middle of that defense. Mitch Unrein played good assignment sound football and John Jenkins was a worthy contributor rotating in for Goldman to give him needed rest. Below I included a 1:00 highlight reel of Roy Robertson-Harris.
Special Teams: (B)
I was tempted to give them an A but there was no game changing plays. They played well in coverage and returns and Place Kicker Connor Barth hit a long 54-yard field goal and boomed some balls into the end zone for touchbacks. Pat O’Donnell had good ball placement and hang time on his punts and put 3 balls inside the 20. Very solid day for Jeff Rodgers unit. Here’s a hit on punt coverage by Nick Kwaitkoski who is gaining a reputation for a man that will put you on your ass.
This grade should be higher. The coaching staff did an excellent job preparing the team and all 3 coordinators had great game plans, but some mismanagement towards the end with timeout decisions and especially not calling the timeout out on the broken coverage play that went for what was the difference in the game as far as score is concerned. Also, they scored only 17 points and the defense had no turnovers and they lost which gives you an average score.
Putting a period on it:
The Bears were clearly prepared well for this game. The coaching staff and players did an excellent job preparing for this one. All phases were solid and played well enough to win. They also played deserving of a loss which is exactly what happened. Glennon has gotten some slap on the back atta boys, but he played an embarrassingly conservative game only a backup or a rookie forced into action because of injury to a starter should play. Made some bad decisions and missed some things. Glennon also showed zero mobility and all 4 of his sacks could have been avoided. Also had poor ball placement and his timing on the Bears anticipation routes was sub par. It’s clear that in order for this team to even be considered one with a viable passing offense either a miraculous metamorphosis will have to occur with Glennon or Mitch Trubisky will need to be inserted at Quarterback. Glennon wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t good either. I would classify his performance as below average for an NFL starter. If the Bears hope to stack W’s they will have to score at least the league average and that won’t happen without a downfield passing game &/or a turnover generating defense who can score, &/or a special teams unit who can kick in a few touchdowns of their own. They played decently, but moral victories just don’t cut it and fans nor media should hold this team to a lesser standard than one who should represent the city of Chicago and the Chicago Bears organization in the post season. Anything less is unacceptable. Rebuild or not.