Bears Takeaways: Week 5

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /
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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports /

7.) Bryce Callahan might end up being the Bears best corner this year

With veteran corner Tracy Porter struggling to both stay healthy and stay with receivers now that he’s 30 and the rest of the Bears corners all with five or less starts under their belt, slot corner Bryce Callahan might be the most reliable corner on the Bears roster. Callahan has struggled with injuries as well, but he’s been mostly healthy the last two weeks and has made impact plays in both games.

He’s undersized at just 5’9, 191 pounds, but makes up for a lack of size somewhat with a 43″ vertical and an aggressive playing style. Callahan has done a great job stuffing opponent’s WR screen plays by attacking before the receiver can make a move and has made two clutch tackles inside the five yard-line the last two weeks to force field goals.

The fact that an undersized, undrafted free agent might be the Bears best corner reflects poorly on the Bears talent at the position, but if the Bears can at least develop one starting caliber corner this year then they will be in a better spot than they were going into the 2016 season.

8.) Penalties are keeping the Bears offense mediocre

The Bears have gained 830 total yards over the last two games, but somehow have only managed to score four touchdowns in that stretch. The Bears have moved the ball with relative ease since Hoyer took over as the starting QB, but the offense has stalled in the red zone. Part of that has to do with the Bears dink & dunk offensive scheme.

Once the field shortens, the defense tightens up and the short passing game isn’t as open anymore. There is more to it than just a short field though. The Bears offense has self-destructed once they near the red zone the last two weeks. Of the Bears 11 penalties on Sunday, five of  them occurred inside of the Colts 40-yard line.

The Bears had multiple penalties the week earlier verse the Lions once they got into scoring range. The Bears don’t have an explosive or talented enough offense to make up for dumb mistakes and penalties, so will continue to struggle putting points on the board until they start playing more disciplined football.

9.) Connor Barth needs to go

After making his first two field goal attempts (35, 49), it looked like Barth finally had figured things out. Then he missed from 54, which is understandable, but due to a penalty got another shot from 49… and missed again. Barth’s troubles were magnified by 60-year-old (really 43) Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri making all five of his field goal attempts (including a 54 yarder).

Barth is now just five for eight on the season with another miss wiped out by a penalty. Barely over 50% is an unacceptable percentage for an NFL kicker and the Bears should be bringing in kickers to try out this week. With the Bears playoff chances just above zero, the Bears should look to find a young kicker to develop instead of a veteran who is clearly past whatever prime he had.