In dumpster-fire fashion, the Chicago Bears’ 2016 season is done.
The 2016-season focus is now on evaluating potential building blocks amongst the youth and planning to find a quarterback for the future.
Before looking too far ahead, though, the Bears’ front office MUST identify the cause of this season’s breakdown.
Of course, injuries have decimated the roster. The Bears have 15 players on injured reserve (IR). They lost key starters in nearly ever position group, including quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, and tight end on offensive. On defense, the Bears lost key starters on the defensive line, inside and outside linebacker core, and secondary.
Most teams would stagger after losing their starting quarterback for most of the season, let alone relying on their fourth-stringer to carry them through the rest of the season.
While injuries are an obvious culprit, the Bears’ front office can’t allow “the injury bug” excuse to neglect further scrutiny.
Coming into the 2016 season, many analysts considered the Bears to have one of the strongest coaching staffs in the league. Has this been the case?
The beginning of third-quarter play reveals the strength of a coaching staff. During half time, each team has an opportunity to observe two quarters of play. They use data points from the first half to determine tendencies, identify weaknesses, and game plan to exploit weaknesses in the opposing team.
How have the Bears fared in their second-half adjustments?
Excluding the two Bears’ wins of the season, let’s look at the first two offensive and defensive possessions of the third quarter in each game of season.
In the Bears’ 18 offensive possessions coming off of second-half adjustments, the Bears offense had just 1 scoring drive. Conversely, they were forced to punt on 13 possessions, had 3 turnovers, and missed one field goal.
OC Dowell Loggains simply isn’t getting it done with respect to offensive halftime adjustments.
Defensively, the Bears fared better. On the 19 defensive plays (including one extra possession in the Green Bay game in which the Bears forced a fumble touchdown), the Bears defense gave up 10 scoring drives, forced 7 punts, forced 2 turnovers, and had 1 defensive touchdown.
The defense performed better than the offense, but there’s still room for improvement.
Strong coaching staffs are able to make better halftime adjustments. It’s clear offensively, the Bears’ coaching staff is weak. Among the various changes that must be made for 2017 and beyond, the Bears need to improve their offensive game-planning and in-game adjustments.