Chicago Bears Week 11: Takeaways

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6.) Eddie Goldman played his best game as a Bear

At only 21 years old, Eddie Goldman was supposed to spend his rookie year as Jeremiah Ratliff’s understudy, but the 2nd round pick from Florida St was forced into the starting lineup after Ratliff’s meltdown and is showing signs of becoming a force inside. Goldman had a sack Sunday, got penetration to help stop a late 3rd & short run, and held his ground against double teams inside. It was the 2nd consecutive game that Goldman made an impact inside and he is showing flashes of being a potentially dominant nose tackle that the Bears can build their defense around.

7.) Chris Prosinski = Chris Conte?

Are we sure that Chris Conte didn’t just change his last name to Prosinski? Is there proof that wasn’t Conte wearing #31 on Sunday? It definitely reminded me of Conte as “Prosinski” missed multiple tackles and often looked lost in coverage.

8.) Ka’Deem Carey is solid

In his brief Bears career Carey has 66 rushes for 274 yards (4.2 YPC) and most of those yards have come on tough runs up the middle. Since Jacquizz Rodgers was sidelined with an injury, Carey has taken over as the Bears short-yardage back and he has flashed speed, power, and toughness inside gaining valuable yards up the middle against two of the best defenses in the league the last two weeks verse Denver and St. Louis.

The Bears were able to draft Carey in the 4th round last year due to a disappointing 4.7 40-yard dash time, but Carey ran for 3,814 yards his last two years in college and is starting to prove he can produce at the NFL level. He left Sunday’s game with a possible concussion after his head bounced violently off the turf, but if healthy Carey could be a powerful complement to Forte or Langford next season.

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9.) Shea McClellin shouldn’t be starting 

On a 3rd and 12 play early the game, McClellin missed a tackle on C.J. Anderson that would have gotten the Bears the ball back. There are a couple impact plays like this seemingly every game that McClellin just doesn’t make. It’s not that McClellin doesn’t have value. He’s decent at making tackles a few yards past the line of scrimmage, can cover slower tight ends and running backs, and plays an important role making the play calls for the defense. What he hasn’t done is make enough impact plays, cover anyone with decent speed, or blitz effectively. McClellin may actually be the most useless blitzer I’ve ever seen.

He doesn’t time his blitzes well, he rarely ever picks the right hole, and always seems to find a blocker to run into. It’s a risk to blitz an inside linebacker in Fangio’s scheme as it usually leaves a TE or RB uncovered. When McClellin’s blitzes are inevitably picked up by a blocker it leaves someone open which has been exploited repeatedly by opposing QBs.

Don’t get me wrong, McClellin is a decent ILB. He probably wouldn’t start for most teams in the NFL, but the Bears have one of the youngest ILB groups in the league and his experience has value to the team. This is the last year of McClellin’s contract though and he most likely isn’t a part of the Bears long-term future, so they might as well give promising rookie Jonathan Anderson or LaRoy Reynolds a chance to see if they have the talent to be part of the Bears core defense moving forward. As the Bears playoff odds gets more unlikely it doesn’t make sense to start a mediocre veteran ILB who won’t be part of the Bears next playoffs team.

10.) Punter Pat O’Donnell might be a bust

NFL teams rarely use a draft pick on a punter, so if they do you would expect that punter to be at least above average. The Bears used a 6th round pick on O’Donnell in 2014 and haven’t gotten the expected return on their investment. O’Donnell is 23rd in the league with a 40.2 net punt average after finishing 29th in his rookie season.

On Sunday O’Donnell may have had his worst game of the season averaging just 34.3 yards on 4 punts including a shank late in the game that gave the Broncos the ball near midfield. To put O’Donnell’s average in perspective the worst punter in the league this year averages 41.7 yards per punt.

It’s bad enough wasting a draft pick on a below average punter, but the 2014 draft was loaded and there were nine players taken after O’Donnell in the 6th or 7th round of the draft starting for their respective teams and around the same number of undrafted players are starting as well. It’s a good example of why former Bears GM Phil Emery is currently unemployed.

11.) The Bears had zero accepted penalties

In week 10 against the Rams the Bears had a season low four penalties, but they were even better against the Broncos this week with zero accepted penalties. There was a defensive holding on Christian Jones that was declined, but the Bears are playing smart, disciplined football for the first time in many years. It reflects well on the coaching staff that a team with one of the youngest starting lineups in football is playing clean, penalty-free football.