Now that the Bears are officially out of the playoffs it’s time to pick apart the carcass that is the 2019 Bears season. Everything the Bears do from here on out will be towards rebounding from a season that began with high hopes and ended on a frozen Lambeau field with a thud. All that’s left is evaluation and development. I expect more reserve players to play a higher amount of snaps and perhaps a few promotions from the practice squad and see what they can do when live bulletts are flying.
Some would argue 30 games into the Matt Nagy era should give you enough of a timeline to show you what you have and what you need at this point into it. However, first they must assess what they have now and to determine if it’s beneficial moving forward to continue investing the time and resources to develop them in Nagy’s vision.
Which leads me to probably the number one topic with the team. That’s should the Bears invest in Nagy’s system or in Trubisky’s talent reconfiguring the scheme entirely to take advantage of Trubisky’s talent, and a cap friendly contract relative to the current quarterback market.
There is a wave of criticism by a lot of the local media and analysts in how Nagy has not built a system to benefit Trubisky’s skill set. However, I think there are factors not being taken into account here. There seems to be this narrow minded thinking going on here. They’re looking at it from a Mitch Trubisky lens. There is more to the team than Trubisky.
Keep in mind, when Nagy was hired there was no doubt they were going to build around his system. When you invest in an offensive coaching staff with all the credentials and league wide respect you commit to development. Thus, you draft talent to implement into your scheme.
These past two seasons this team was built to fit that scheme. They were taught the techniques necessary to execute the system. Taught the concepts to the scheme in order to execute the blocking schemes and option routes in this offense. It is much easier intergrating one player into a scheme than conturing an entire organization to fit one player.
Even for a transcendent talent that’s a huge leap of faith. The question you have to honestly ask is has Trubisky done anything to this point to show you he is or at any point will be said transcendent talent? Some would argue transcending talents would fit in any scheme. Pat Mahomes was in what many called a gimmick offense. He now runs one of the most cerebral and diverse offenses in the league with an extremely high volume of plays and multiple options out of each play.
A lot of people have pointed to Baltimore and how John Harbaugh removed an entire offensive system firing Marty Morhingweg to bring in Greg Roman. Well, Harbaugh doesn’t have a system. He brought in Roman who has a system. His system actually fits a mobile Quarterback to a tee.
Many people know him for what he did with Colin Kaepernick but he also did it in Buffalo with Tyrod Taylor and even before that with Alex Smith who was known for his ability to run with the ball. Now, he’s running it with Lamar Jackson. Jackson has impressed with his brain as much as he has with his legs too. Did not take him long to relearn the new offense Roman brought over with him. Jackson did not even know they were installing a new system until he arrived at the teams first round of OTA’s.
Here’s a quote from Jackson in an earlier article on Cbssports.com.
“Coming in, I didn’t know we would have a totally different offense,” Jackson admitted, via the Ravens’ official website. “When I got here, coach was like, ‘Yea, we have a totally new system. You’re going to have go through this and that.’ It’s been getting to me a little bit.”
He did not take to it instantly either. Here’s another quote from him verifying just that.
“I’d say, my first day, I sucked. Second day, I did better. Today, it was all right but it could’ve been better,” Jackson said, via ESPN.com. “I’m always trying to be perfect in practice.”
I’d say he rounded into form rather quickly. To the tune of an MVP performance this season. Only question is can it be sustained. The other two stops on Roman’s OC tour did not last in both tenure and success. He’s likely going to get a job this offseason as a Head Coach which figures to affect Jackson. It’s also worrisome relying on the health of a Quarterback continuing to run so much. The mileage builds up quickly.
If a team does get a transcendent talent would they be willing to shorten their careers for short term success? History tells us Quarterbacks don’t last that long playing that style. Eventually, Jackson will have to win from the pocket and win with his arm. I see him as capable because Jackson is more than an athlete. He’s a Quarterback. Time will tell if Trubisky is but one thing is certain. He’ll have to do it running Nagy’s offense or he’ll be running someone else’s somewhere else.
Those blaming the lack of a run game and the offensive line might be disappointed to hear this but not much will change next year with the offensive line. Not sure it’s a certainty James Daniels goes back to his natural position at center but he will be starting there or at Left Guard. Same with Cody Whitehair. Charles Leno who’s been a scapegoat of sorts is going nowhere. Not only do the Bears like him they have the longest financial commitment to him as well. I think the Bears like Rashaad Coward enough to roll with him as a starter and would not rule out the possibility of him moving back to Right Tackle where the Bears were developing him before putting him at Right Guard after Kyle Long was shut down for good. Matt Bars will man one of those two spots most likely next season and they still have Cornelius Lucas who’s played well and Sam Mustipher developing on the practice squad. This may make Bobbie Massie the odd man out. Restructuring his contract may get him a guaranteed roster spot as they can split his cap hit in half with defering 50% of it into 2 seasons.
The Bears will rely on coaching and development to improve the line play especially in the run game. Would not rule out another young RB being added via draft. With the Browns falling apart perhaps the Bears can trade for Kareem Hunt who qas rumorwd at somenpoint to being a target foe the Beara this past off-season. All the movement on the line clearly has hurt their ability to execute as a cohesive unit due to lack of continuity on the line. That fact can’t be completely ignored.
In the micro there is a compelling argument to be made that Nagy may have minimized the teams chances of possibly making a post season run by not dumbing things down and eeking out a couple more victories playing an ultra conservative run run pass offense people were crucifying John Fox and Dowell Loggains for running, are now crucifying Nagy for not running it.
In the Macro Nagy may be doing what’s best for the team long term and believe it or not Trubisky too. People want Nagy to roll out all the time and do half field reads but a franchise QB does not take away a half of a field of options. Hall of fame Quarterback Kurt Warner told Pro Football Weekly’s founder Hub Arkush that very thing as he revealed on the score in a recent conversation the two had had when Arkush did the sideline work for this past Monday night football game in New Orleans.
The more you dissect this the more you realize the Bears biggest issue is at Quarterback. Whether it’s Trubisky or another that position needs to be solidified. It’s looking like if you roll with Trubisky you’ll have to win as a run first team and rely on your defense and special teams to win team. When Nagy was hired the Kansas City offense was what the vision was for this team. This is the decision that lies ahead for the team. Will it be ground and pound under Trubisky or scoring 30 points a game with explosive plays galore with what you see Kansas City running and even to a lesser degree what the Eagles are doing. What would you choose?