4.) The defensive line is getting worse
The loss of Goldman to injury might be the most impactful loss the Bears have suffered this year besides maybe Jay Cutler. Goldman was becoming a force inside and had led the Bears defense in allowing less than four yards per rush through the first two games. Even opposing players like Texans guard Jeff Allen and Eagles center Jason Kelce have been complimentary about Goldman’s presence in the middle of the line.
Without Goldman the Bears turned to backup defensive end Will Sutton at nose tackle. It didn’t work out well to put it nicely. The Bears gave up 199 rushing yards, most of which came between the tackles, at a clip of 4.9 yards per carry. It wasn’t just Sutton’s fault, but without a presence in the middle to occupy blockers, the Bears inside linebackers were neutralized by blockers more often which led to big gains on inside runs.
With Goldman out a couple weeks and versatile DE Mitch Unrein banged up as well, the Bears will be relying on at least one backup in Sutton and possibly more with reserves Cornelius Washington and Jonathan Bullard getting more time at defensive end. Both players have promise and unlike Sutton are playing their natural position at DE. At least one, if not both, of them need to step up or the Bears defensive line will get gashed again verse the run.
5.) I’ve seen enough of Deonte Thompson
Last season Thompson was a pleasant surprise, averaging 29.2 yards per kick return which would have been good for the 2nd best average in the league had he enough returns to qualify. So far this season, Thompson has been a disaster. He’s averaged just 20.9 yards per return and has made the wrong decision to bring the ball out of the end zone on over half of his returns.
It’s like no one told Thompson that teams start on the 25-yard-line now on touchbacks. His decision making was a little better in week three, but he still didn’t do much with the one kick he brought out of the end zone, gaining just 22 yards and costing the Bears a few yards of field position.
The Bears recently signed running back and return specialist Raheem Mostert, who is one of the fastest players in the league (4.28 40-time) and could get a chance to take Thompson’s job as early as this week against Detroit.
6.) I have week nine in the Dowell Loggains firing pool
There are very few positive things to say about Dowell Loggains first three games as offensive coordinator. The Bears are last in the league in rushing attempts with just 53 carries, despite averaging the ninth best per carry average in the league (4.1 ypc). They have been terrible on third downs, consistently running screens and dump off passes on 3rd & long. The only downfield plays that have worked so far are jump balls to Alshon Jeffery which aren’t a sustainable strategy.
It’s only been three games and possibly too soon to be judging the Bears new offensive coordinator, but to me the play-calling has looked high school level simple. Regardless of what it looks like the Bears just haven’t been effective, ranking 30th in the league in both total yards and points scored. I’m sure the Bears management will give Loggains a long leash, but if things don’t improve by the halfway point of the season that could be it for the Loggains experiment.
When HC John Fox was asked about Loggains, he responded with an ominous, “Not good enough”. It’s looking like the Bears may be out of playoff contention by their week nine bye and if they aren’t comfortable with Loggains at the helm of the offense, then they might as well try a new coordinator and give him a head start on implementing his scheme for 2017.