Chicago Bears Week 4: Takeaways

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8.) Bears got contributions from rookies on defense – I haven’t watched the tape from the game yet, but on first viewing both DT Eddie Goldman and S Adrian Amos played pretty well. Goldman has a huge sack for a loss of 15 yards, hit Derek Carr after generating some interior pressure, and had a stop behind the line of scrimmage against the run. It was a solid all around performance from Goldman and he played a big part in holding the Raiders to just 70 yards rushing.

Amos’ best play of the game was ultimately wiped out on a phantom penalty, but on a 2nd half 3rd down Amos closed quickly on a short pass to Latavius Murray and made a solid open field tackle. On the day Amos had 5 tackles and for the most part was solid in coverage.

9.) “Good as Gould” is a thing again – Last season was the worst year of Robbie Gould’s career with a career low 75% field goal percentage and at 33 years old it seemed like the Gould era may be over. This year he’s off to one of his best starts ever with 9 field goals in 9 attempts including 3 from over 50 yards and 3 from over 40 yards, one of which was this week’s game winner from 49 yards out. Gould’s kick-offs are still an issue but as long as he keeps nailing clutch kicks from 40-50+ no one is going to complain. For the season only one kicker has made more FGs without a miss (Josh Brown, NYG) and he’s tied with Brandon McManus of the Broncos for most makes from 50+ with three.

10.) Charles Leno Jr didn’t embarrass himself – After a preseason where he couldn’t beat out recently released Jordan Mills and was so bad that the Bears were forced to move Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long to right tackle, I was pretty worried about Leno taking over for Jermon Bushrod at left tackle today. Not only was Leno playing arguably the hardest position on the line, but he was protecting a QB who could barely run, and was matched up with former Pro Bowl OLB Aldon Smith.  Leno didn’t shut Smith down completely, he gave up a sack, a QB hit and a couple of hurries but the Bears threw 43 passes and Leno kept Smith under control most of the time.

With current starter Jermon Bushrod dealing with a back injury that isn’t going away, it would be a huge boost for the Bears if Leno can hold his own at left tackle. I think the talent is there, I pegged Leno as one of my breakout candidates this season. He’s a much better fit on the left side where his quick feet are an asset and his lack of functional strength isn’t as much of a factor as it is on the right side.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

11.) Shea McClellin just can’t make any plays – It seems like McClellin is always a step or two away from making big plays. He had an interception in the end zone go through his hands, almost caught Carr for a big 3rd down sack, just missed making a tackle near the line of scrimmage on a 3rd down run that ended up going for 12 yards, and also badly whiffed on an open field tackle early in the first quarter. So not every play was close, but all season McClellin has almost made an impact but just can’t seem to get there. If it hasn’t happened after 3+ seasons, it’s probably never going to. If the Bears can get anything for McClellin on the trade market (doubtful) they should and give a young player like John Timu or Lamin Barrow a shot at ILB.

12.) Bears secondary played well today – For the first time all season the Bears top four CBs all played pretty well. They were beat for one deep score by Amari Cooper, but there is really no shame in that. For the most part all four guys played well. Alan Ball didn’t have his name called all day which is a win for a CB. Kyle Fuller wasn’t beaten badly for the first time all year and had a huge hit on a 3rd down in the red zone that forced a field goal. Nickle back Tracy Porter made a few good plays in coverage and dime corner Sherick McManis did get beat deep by Cooper, but was solid most of the game and just missed a huge interception. I haven’t re-watched the game yet but I bet the CB play will hold up on tape.

13.) The Bears lost two starters to injury today – Free agent safety Antrel Rolle has struggled so far this year, but the Bears don’t have anyone better on the bench. Rolle got his ankle rolled up during the game Sunday, initial reports are that it wasn’t broken, but the loss of Rolle for any significant length of time will probably make the defense worse.

Another recent free agent addition, C Will Montgomery, also suffered an ankle injury. It’s unknown how long Montgomery will be out for but it could be a big loss. The Bears used a 3rd round draft pick on a center in this year’s draft, Hroniss Grasu, but he was inactive today which forced the Bears to move LG Matt Slausen to center. There was a botched handoff that resulted in a turnover and a bad shotgun snap that Cutler was able to corral, but besides those two mistakes Slausen held his own. The need to play Slausen at center makes both the center and left guard position weaker so hopefully the rookie Grasu is ready to play.

Grasu was over-matched physically during the preseason, but if the Bears are truly rebuilding then they should give Grasu a shot and see what he can do. The Bears aren’t making the playoffs, so now is the time to figure out if Grasu (and Leno Jr) are good enough to be parts of the future O-line.

Next: Chicago Bears Who Could Be Traded

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