Chicago Bears Week 17: Takeaways

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 3
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

8.) Rookies John Timu and Harold Jones-Quartey struggled most of the game, but showed potential

Timu led the Bears in tackles again with 8 and has shown a knack for reading run plays that the Bears other ILBs haven’t. The problem with Timu is that he’s a step or two slow for an NFL linebacker and has gotten beat consistently in coverage the last two weeks. When Lions RB Joique Bell makes you look slow, that’s not a great sign.

Jones-Quartey has NFL speed (4.60), he is making a huge jump up in competition from DII Findlay College. After his solid game in week 16, HJQ² looked too amped up against the Lions. He over ran a few plays early in the game and was beat in coverage a couple times, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort or athleticism. I’ll always take aggressive mistakes over passive ones (looking at you Shea).

HJQ eventually calmed down and had 7 tackles and a QB hit on the day, so he did make some positive plays. Ideally he will have time to develop as a back-up or even on the practice squad next season instead of being forced in the lineup too early due to injuries.

Overall there were were more mistakes than good plays from the rookies, especially in coverage, but both players flashed enough potential to be brought back next season.

9.) Only one win at home is unacceptable

I don’t think anyone can argue that the Bears gave a more consistent effort this season, didn’t quit on games when adversity hit, and were just a more professional team and organization overall, but a 1-7 home record can’t happen again. The Bears have never had a season where they lost that many home games in their long history and the loyal fans who filled the stadium every week deserve better.

10.) I am cautiously optimistic about the Bears future

GM Ryan Pace and HC John Fox were a little too sunshine and rainbows for my taste during their press conference Monday afternoon. Sure there were signs of progress on the field this season, a better culture and atmosphere throughout the organization, and what seem to be viable schemes in place on both sides of the ball… but at the end of the day the 2015 Bears won only six games.

On paper this team should have been lucky to win even that many, but the reality was they were competitive in all but three of their games. There were seven games that the Bears ended up losing even though they had a lead or were within a score in the 4th quarter. They made crucial mistakes in the clutch, which is understandable for a young team in their first year of a new scheme that also lacks the same level of talent as their opponent.

There was a clear talent gap between the 2015 Bears and most of their opponents and the Bears new brass will have to prove that they can close it over the next year or two. They need to develop the young talent they uncovered this year, find more in this year’s draft, and hit on a couple of free agents before they will be consistent playoff contenders again. It’s a daunting task, but the Bears made steps in the right direction this season despite their ugly record.

I am not half as confident as Pace and Fox seemed during their presser, but I do think that the Bears have the right coaching staff in place to put them in position to win and that there are some good players on this team. Now Pace just needs to find more.

¹ I also picked Zach Miller, Eddie Royal & Marquess Wilson as potential offensive breakouts. Can’t win em all, but I’m happy with two of four.

² I’m not expecting Jones-Quartey to be good enough to ever have a nickname, it’s just too long of a name to keep typing out