Chicago Bears Week 15: Takeaways

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10.) OLBs Willie Young and Lamarr Houston continue to play well

Young had a sack for the fifth straight game and had two tackles for loss against the run. He’s playing as well as any pass rusher in the league the last few weeks and is looking like a steal under contract for around $3M next season.

Lamarr Houston is about twice as expensive as Young but is also adjusting well to the OLB position. He had a sack today that was wiped out by a neutral zone infraction (on himself), but generated a consistent pass rush today, had five tackles against the run, and even made a nice play in coverage on a slot receiver.

Both players are proving that they can make the transition from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB and in rotation with Pernell McPhee give the Bears three OLBs who have the strength to bull rush, enough quickness to get the QB, and better ability than I thought to play the pass from a stand up OLB position.

11.) Chris Prosinski isn’t a starter

Even I got a little too excited about Prosinski’s play against the Packers, but in three of his four starts he’s been a below average safety. Prosinski missed quite a few tackles today and appeared to have a few coverage gaffes as well. I think Prosinski has value as a backup safety who can contribute on special teams, but the more he is on the field, the more his lack of strength and athleticism are exposed.

Free agent Antrell Rolle was a disappointment even before he went on injured reserve. Rookie safety Adrian Amos may be hitting the rookie wall, but is still holding his own. Amos needs a quality safety next to him and neither Rolle nor Prosinski is the answer for 2016. The Bears have a lot of positions to target in the off-season but a quality safety to pair with Amos should be one of them.

12.)  How could the Bears start this slowly two weeks in a row?

After last week’s embarrassing start against the Redskins, one would think the Bears would come out with some fire this week… That was not the case as they went three and out in their first two drives between allowing a 13-play, 93-yard TD drive to the Vikings. Like last week the Bears were down two scores before they showed any sign of life and the same thing happened this week.

I don’t know if that’s coaching or just a lack of motivation on the players part, but either way it reflects poorly on both the players and the coaching staff. The Bears have a winnable road game in Tampa next week and if they don’t come out with some urgency to start the game, it will be a significant negative mark on the new coaching staff.

13.) The Bears spent $3 million on cornerback Alan Ball this off-season

That was money poorly spent. At least it was only a one-year deal. Good riddance Alan!

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14.) TE Zach Miller continues to make Martellus Bennett obsolete

Miller’s five game TD streak was snapped, but he still contributed with a solid 6-catch, 57-yard performance. He also did a decent job chip blocking which was considered his biggest weakness coming into the season. Jay Cutler clearly trusts Miller and he’s become his safety-valve receiver over the last six weeks.

Granted some of Miller’s stats came in garbage time, but Miller caught every ball thrown his way and continues to show the ability to break tackles and gain yards after the catch. Assuming Miller’s health (knocking on wood), he could be the Bears starting TE next season if/when the Bears trade Martellus Bennett.

15.) The Bears have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs

For what it’s worth I thought that would have happened by week 10 this year. The Bears coaching staff deserves some credit for putting a competitive team on the field despite a significant talent gap between the Bears and the rest of the league.