Chicago Bears Week 13: Takeaways

3 of 4

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

7.) It’s time for the Bears to bench Shea McClellin

I’m sure I sound like a broken record since McClellin’s incompetence is one of my takeaways every week, but he just isn’t bringing enough to the table this season to be a starting ILB. Shea led the team in tackles again, but again they were four or five yards downfield. According to the Tribune’s Marc Mulligan, McClellin has made just 1 tackle for loss all season.

Against the run McClellin just sits back and waits to see where the play is going before trying to make a play. Half the time he is too slow or takes the wrong angle to attack the runner like in last week’s TD catch by Eddie Lacy or this week’s 44-yard TD run by Blaine Gabbert.

If his hesitancy against the run isn’t bad enough, McClellin has struggled to cover both tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. He gave up a 26-yard catch to journeyman RB Shaun Draughn, couldn’t stay with 35-year old Anquan Boldin (who wasn’t fast in his prime), and gave up up a couple of catches to TE Vance McDonald who has a total of 31 catches in three seasons in the league.

As the veteran presence on a very young defense, McClellin does provide value as a play-caller who makes sure his fellow defenders are in the right place, but that seems like a job coaches can handle from the sidelines. The Bears have a couple of interesting young ILBs in Christian Jones, Jonathan Anderson, LaRoy Reynolds, and John Timu and it’s about time one of them get a shot to see what they can do in McClellin’s ILB role.

Both Reynolds and Anderson for example have multiple tackles for loss already this season despite playing way less snaps, including Anderson’s 4th & 2 stuff on Eddie Lacy last week. With the Bears missing the playoffs this year all but a formality, it’s time for the Bears to see what else they have at ILB. McClellin is in the last year of his contract and from what he’s shown so far, he won’t be back next year so why not see if any of the other ILBs deserve to be.

8.) Conservative play-calling is hurting the Bears late in games

For the most part I am pretty happy with the impact HC John Fox and OC Adam Gase have had on the Bears team. The game prep, half-time adjustments, accountability and the overall team attitude have been significantly improved since last season, but some of the late game decision making by the coaching staff has cost the Bears at least a win or two.

Late game play-calling and clock management were two of the biggest knocks of Fox while he was with the Broncos and Bears fan are already seeming glimpses of the issue in Chicago just over half-way through his first season with the team. There have been multiple games where the Bears had a lead late and instead of going for the throat and putting the opponent away, Fox and Gase have been content to just sit on the ball and put the game on the defense.

That may have worked well in Denver where they routinely had top ten defenses, but with a young Bears D it just doesn’t seem like the smartest move and it has come back to haunt Fox a few times already. This week against the Niners was a perfect example. With the Bears up in the 4th quarter and again in their first drive of the overtime period, the Bears went to a steady diet of run plays that were stopped with relative easy by the defense.

Mixing in a pass play here and there late in the game could go a long way towards making the Bears offense less predictable and could lead to a game changing play and more points on the board for the Bears. Considering how close the Bears games have been this season it could be the difference in the playoffs or another season with a middling draft pick.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

9.) Rookie Adrian Amos missed a key tackle on Blaine Gabbert’s 44-yard TD run, but for the most part played another very solid game

I’ve been on a the Amos bandwagon since before the Bears even drafted him, but his open field missed tackle on Blaine Gabbert’s 44-yard TD run was a key mistake in the loss. Despite that one bad play, Amos payed his usual solid game with 4 tackles, solid coverage and a strong overall impact verse the run and pass. Amos is still in the running for the defensive rookie of the year in my opinion. If the Bears could ever find a quality safety to line up across from Amos it would go a long way towards solidify the secondary.

[nextpot st teaser=”More Takeaways” slider=”true”]