Bears Vs. Buccaneers All-22 Defensive Review And Position Grades.

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As I mentioned in my opening on the offensive film review it’s pretty hard to determine a suitable grade for anyone but the Quarterback. Maybe throw in Cohen’s punt return gaffe, but other than that the Bears were not really outplayed by the Bucs. As a matter of fact, when not making tragic mistakes the Bears were actually very productive. Ah but those tragic mistakes, unfortunately, count as does the results from them. A blowout loss for the second straight season in the same place against the same team. The defense, special teams, and coaching could all have done a better job and these grades will reflect that.


Outside Linebacker:

The Outside Linebackers played well. The defense ran out of gas in the 4th quarter which is understandable. It was hot, humid, they’ve played a lot of snaps and were down big late. However, even though they played fine, fine is not enough. Not when your Quarterback is a big bag of bad out there. The Bears need this front 7 to step up and put the fear of  God in their opponent and the outside rush needs to be ferocious. So far they’ve been average. Average is ok when you have an explosive offense. Bears do not have an explosive offense. Unless 13 points a game has become explosive. No, Bears need a dominant front 7 that puts up video game pressure numbers. They are shutting down the run though so there is a foundation to build on. Leonard Floyd needs to get started on the superstardom we all expected from him.

Here’s a positive play. Pernell McPhee does a good job making an open field tackle and dislodging the ball from the ball carrier. Floyd picks it up and makes a nice run powering his way for yardage and having 2 men struggling to bring him down. Also on this play, Christian Jones puts on a nice pass rush and forces the check-down as Winston had him in his face.

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On the next play, the Bucs are trying to execute a screen to the back on the right side of the field, but the Bears sniff it out instantly. You can see the Wide receivers blocking downfield anticipating the screen pass was executed. This gives Willie Young the extra time to get to Jameis Winston who was just about to pull it down and take off with the ball. Looks like he had a lot of green ahead of him to. Young starts straight up the field and as he’s about to engage with the Left Tackle. Young uses a hesitation move and then a jab step to his left and then quickly cuts right and around the Left tackle with a mini club/swim move ducking under the Tackles punch attempt and dives at Winston’s ankles and brings him down for a 5-yard sack. Also on the play, Eddie Goldman sheds the Left Guard’s block by tossing him aside and also put some heat on Winston and may have gotten him should Young not have gotten there in time.

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Grade: C


Defensive Line:

The Defensive line played well too. Nothing special though and this game needed a special effort from the defense. They were dealing with a lot of adversity out there with the turnovers growing into a 26 point deficit by halftime. In the second half, you can see the Bears Defensive Line wearing down as they were in extreme heat and were on the field longer than you would want them to be. Bears lost the time of possession battle 33:11 to 26:49 overall, but with the short fields the Bears actually won the time of possession in the first half 16:36 to 13:24 so you can imagine how long the defense was out there in the second half with the Bucs in burn up the clock mode. Bucs pretty much put the game away eating the clock on their first two possessions of the second half. Their first drive was an 11 play drive and their 2nd a whopping 19 play drive. After that whatever fight the Bears had in them was squashed by fatigue and the inevitable loss that was about to be pinned on them with only 12:19 left in the game after those two drives.

Here, Floyd and Goldman work well together. Floyd puts on a speed rush bending well that forces Winston to step up in the pocket. Originally Goldman is double teamed by the Left Guard and the Center but the Left Guard inexplicably leaves the block to help the Left Tackle who did a good job running Floyd around the pocket. The Left Guard is left with no one to block as he is far too late to help the Left Tackle who didn’t need any. This leaves Goldman one on one with the Center and he simply overpowers him into Winston and sacks him for a 5-yard loss. Floyd recovers from getting blocked to the ground and jumps on top of Winston helping to force him to the ground but was not credited with the half sack. The statistician gave Goldman the full sack.

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Grade: C

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Inside Linebacker:

This may be the group that fared the least of all the groups on the Bears defense in this matchup. Danny Trevathan had two huge holding calls that extended drives on 3rd down that did not help the cause. Nick Kwiatkoski who seemed ready to ascend may be put on the injured list for a pec injury the week after their starting Inside Linebacker, group leader and Quarterback Jerrel Freeman had a pec tear that required him to be placed on the injured reserve and leaves him out for a minimum of 8 games. However, the news is positive on the Kwiatkoski front as it now appears he will not require surgery or a stint on the Injured Reserve. On the plus side Christian Jones stepped in and performed admirably and the group as a whole didn’t really get hurt in the run game or in coverage other than the two holding calls by Trevathan.

On this play, the backups show just how capable they are subbing in for the starters as Trevathan was being rested to preserve him for later battles and Kwiatoski with the previously mentioned pec injury. Christian Jones sniffs out the run play as does the entire defense really and he gets a running start at the line of scrimmage. Here, he shows off his athleticism and speed, as well as, his strength as he tosses the Left tackle aside like a rag doll and runs down the play from the backside. Meanwhile, Jonathan Anderson holds his position in front of the play to block off the running lane and give Jones the time to come around and make the tackle on a meager 2 yard gain.

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Grade: D



The cornerbacks once again performed admirably if not spectacularly. For the second straight week, they held an explosive Wide Receiver group to minimal damage. Some of this was due to the situation as the Bucs parked the passing game on an as need basis in the second half due to a big lead and part of it was Winston simply did not play all that well. However, credit needs to be given to Marcus Cooper and Kyle Fuller as well as the nickel Corners Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc for shutting down their men in coverage. They were also assignment sound and played stout and physically in the run game. They get my highest positional group grade.

This play shows the tight coverage the Bears played on the Bucs receivers all game long. As a matter of fact, Fuller probably should’ve picked this one off. I believe the fact his man pushed off on him may have left him a little off balance and affecting his sight somewhat. Should have been a penalty on the rookie Chris Godwin. Bryce Callahan and Fuller had the play sniffed out from the start and both played the high/Low mirror routes as both receivers ran dig routes one at the goal line and the other around 5-6 yards in the end zone. Marcus Cooper had Mike Evans in check the whole play as he ran a half ass route that looked like a sluggo (slant and go). Hard to tell as there was almost no effort to sell it knowing there was a quick hitter high/Low and he wasn’t even in the progression. Of course, that should not have mattered as far as effort was concerned. Winston may have improvised and needed Evans to break free. Demps and Jackson had the Tight End locked down. Tampa motioned Godwin over to create a stack formation or trips left to cause congestion and maybe creating a pick but the Bears secondary was fundamentally and assignment sound and properly positioned in man coverage

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Safety: B



This group improved from week 1. Particularly the play of Quintin Demps who had a subpar debut. Both Demps and Eddie Jackson played well in pass coverage and in run support. The entire secondary played well against a real potent group of receivers. They played well enough last week as well but as I mentioned there were a couple bad missed tackles by Demps and one by Jackson. This group just like the Cornerbacks will grade high on my list.

Here you see Jackson start out playing as the single high safety expecting a pass. Pre-snap the Bucs have two Tight Ends on the right side of the formation and both shift to the left side. Jackson seeing this starts to move up in the box on the right side of the offense probably reading a key he saw in film study. Both line up on the left side of the line, but just before the ball is snapped one of the TE’s shifts again as an H-back turning this into a likely run play. This was an excellent read on Jackson’s part showing off his football acumen. What happens next shows off his explosive athleticism and speed as he shoots through the gap and blows past the block attempt by the WR who had no shot at making the block and Jackson drops the back for a 1-yard loss.

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Grade: B


Special Teams:

The special teams unit was fine. Once again neither bad nor spectacular and should have graded an average grade except for Tarik Cohen’s special teams error. That was a big one as it led to a touchdown the very next play after he coughed the ball up and after the extra point that followed the Bears fell behind 10-0 and that essential took away the run game and put it in the hands of Mike Glennon and we all know what that gets you. The punting, kicking, return and coverage units did an ok job otherwise. Still, no explosive plays there and that is a bad thing considering the Bears kept a lot of players to specifically play special teams. As a matter of fact, they added Deandre Houston-Carson to the 53 man roster and cut intriguing young wide receiving prospect Tanner Gentry risking losing him (who they resigned to their practice squad earlier today) to do it so they wouldn’t lose Carson to the Philadelphia Eagles who tried to sign him off the Bears practice squad. To make this much of an effort to keep orange players (players who are career backups but worthy of a roster spot based solely on their ability to play special teams) they had better excel on special teams units much the way the Bears used to under former Bears and current Kansas City special teams coach Dave Toub. So far that has not happened.

Grade: C-



Again, the coaching looks like they had a solid game plan in place but the results suffered due to allowing certain players to play when they should have sat. Oh, who am I kidding one player, Mike Glennon. For that decision alone this group gets a bad grade. The decision makers on the offensive end of it may have been hamstrung with the agenda of the Head Coach and General Manager but since I have no clue if that’s true the coaches have to catch hell for this decision. On defense, they played well but did not disrupt enough or take the ball away. Perhaps a more aggressive form of defensive football is necessary. On special teams, there were no big plays and one really bad one. So failure all around.

Coaching: D-

Final Thoughts:

This was an extremely disappointing effort and result coming off the week one game where the Bears should have won against the Falcons. So far nothing looks to have changed from the year before. Everyone who predicted the Bears would be a bottom feeding team look spot on and the fan base has already declared the season a loss after just the second game of the season. Something has to change and change quickly or the momentum of this season will begin to start spiraling down the chutes like a turd flushed down the toilet. This looks to be particularly insurmountable as they seem committed to staying with Glennon until at least week five. Pittsburgh can turn this season into another ugly scene if they come into Soldier Field and dominate. A loss will be enough to increase fans pessimism and apathy, but a blowout at home might send the angry torch-wielding mob headed to Halas Hall to burn the place down. Especially if Mike Glennon plays like the frightened timid frustrating Quarterback he has.


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