It’s been awhile since I’ve written so I was trying to find some new angle on this Bears thing that hasn’t been overly discussed or blatantly obvious. Then, I thought why would I not give my spin on this whole offensive failure thing. It is afterall the biggest issue facing the Bears.
You can go into specifics about the offensive failure and when you do divide it up Mitch Trubisky clearly ends up with the biggest slice of the blame. Not too far behind is Matt Nagy, however. While the system he wants to run is severely hampered by the limitations of his Quarterback Nagy still has the ability to re-adjust and run a more conventional attack.
Most football people will tell you that you can’t change an offense in the middle of the season but I have to somewhat disagree with that. While personnel plays a huge role in that line of thinking in this case it appears Nagy is not using his personnel to their strengths. This offensive personnel has the ability to execute plays on the NFL level.
You just have to run the plays in the offense that your roster is best at. I find it hard to believe that it’s all personnel. There is a reason why most thought this was one of the best rosters in the NFL and many were high on the offensive weapons that Nagy had to work with. Among the accolades being showered on the Bears the offensive line got it’s fair share showered upon them. Lately however, they’ve been taking a beating.
It’s almost as though they’ve been getting scapegoated. I actually read and hear fans and some media personalities refer to the Bears offensive line as bad. Just last season the Bears were graded among the best lines at pass blocking efficiency. Pro Football Focus had them ranked second coming into 2019 just behind the Steelers, and according to their calculations had the least pressures allowed in 2018.
Sure, most people have issues with the run blocking more so than pass blocking and it’s fair to look at the line when running the ball is ineffective, however, in this case I feel the critique is a bit misguided. When your line doesn’t have the volume of run plays it’s difficult to have consistency.
That’s on the mastermind of the offense Matt Nagy. Number one, he calls the plays. So, when he says we’d like to run the ball more he’s really saying after the passing offense has built a lead and they need only to kill clock and run it out. While the concept is sound it’s also dependant on situation. When your passing offense is struggling it’s not exactly a mind blowing revelation to look to the running game to help out and carry a big part of the responsibility.
When defenses are playing the short passing game first, run second because they have no respect for anything being completed to the intermediate level and beyond, running a strict zone scheme is a difficult ask to beat defenses with. Especially when it’s almost exclusively inside. Predictability is tough to overcome. It may be time to go with a few more Man/power blocking schemed runs. Just pick a man, put a hat on him and drive him as far back or sideways as you can and get positive yardage.
Not saying abandon the zone scheme entirely. Just mix it up. For those who want to say you can’t just teach a new scheme or techniques used in those schemes I will simply say bullshit. Look, all of these players have run power blocking schemes. It’s not difficult.
For those who say this line hasn’t shown they deserve trust and more run plays I say they haven’t been given enough trust. Run blocking is about repetition. Not just in game but it starts in the meeting rooms and in practice. It takes a commitment. The more you do it the better you get at it.
I also feel they need to be more diverse in the running game. Run inside zone sure, but also run outside zone, and man/power, mix in some traps, run left as well as right, more jet sweeps, more delays. Maybe, dare I say, run some planned QB sneaks. Get the defense wondering where and how you are going to run it at them. Eventually this will open up some things downfield off of good old play action.
Of course, Trubisky will have to complete those plays which he has struggled with which is why you want to be less reliant on him. Dropping back to pass 45 times or more a game with a Quarterback that has not proven he can be the franchise Quarterback you envisioned makes no kind of sense.
In conclusion, it’s not been proven the Bears can’t run it’s they won’t run in my opinion. Nagy needs to change the message. It’s time to play time of possession and let the better unit be the playmakers. It’s time to fully commit to the run.