Chicago Bears Coaches Corner: Week One

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18: Head coach Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears yells congratulations after a nice play against the Denver Broncos during an NFL preseason game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 18, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18: Head coach Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears yells congratulations after a nice play against the Denver Broncos during an NFL preseason game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 18, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Danny Trevathan #59 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after returning an interception against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field on October 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Panthers 17-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 22: Danny Trevathan /

Inside Linebackers:

The inside linebackers were mostly quiet aside from Roquan Smith‘s sack.  Danny Trevathan had 5 tackles and Nick Kwiatkoski had 4, but both are small numbers compared to what you would expect from starting inside linebackers in a 3-4 defense whose primary responsibility is to stop the run.

Trevathan got hurt at one point, but Kwiatkoski wasn’t injured, he was just slow to diagnose the plan and slow to the point of attack.  The best run defense play of the night came from Adrian Amos who timed his run perfectly and split through the offensive linemen to brine the ball carrier down at the line of scrimmage.  That is what these guys are paid to do, and they got shown up.

Moving forward, Smith should help with this, but giving up 3.8 yards per carry is simply not going to get the job done.  With that average, the Packers could have theoretically run the ball every play and still gotten a first down every time.  This begs the question, what happened?  With the continuity on defense, it’s hard for me to say that it was that they didn’t know their assignments, and as we said, they were relatively clean all game, so what was it?

Most likely it was new plays or some wrinkles in some of their older plays that caused the hesitation.  But in the end, their job is to be there and meet the ball carrier, that’s why they’re protected by the line, in this game, they just didn’t get it done.  Coach Pires will have to review it on film and try to see what the problem was.

Defensive Backs:

I was going to separate them into Safeties and Cornerbacks, but in the end, they were so similar that I decided to lump them all together.

Bryce Callahan had eight tackles, which led the team, but he failed to adequately play the ball on a few plays and they cost us.  Same with Amos and Prince Amukamara at 5 and 4 tackles respectively.  Kyle Fuller was relatively untested with only two tackles to his credit, but on the play where he had the ability to seal the game, he dropped the ball.  It hit him right in the middle of his torso, there’s no way he shouldn’t have caught that, period.

And that really does sum up how the night went for them.  Average all game, until they got burnt.  And they got Burnt more than a few times.  But the dagger truly came on the pass to Randall Cobb that went 75 yards for a touchdown to seal the win for the Packers.  It never should have happened…

Green Bay comes out lined up in a Shotgun, Twins Right formation with a standing TE.  Nothing too fancy in today’s NFL.  Cobb was the inside man of the twins, playing in the slot position, and he runs a simple in route at seven yards.

The Bears countered with the nickel formation putting Callaghan in the slot, and running a Cover-2 man-to-man defense with a blitz from Danny Trevathan to make the rush five on five.  This should have worked, but Robertson-Harris got ridden way around the play and provided no pressure at all, and Mack pulled out at the last-minute and appeared to drop into coverage after rushing.  Trevathan got stood up on his initial charge and Rogers was free to take an extended moment in the pocket to let the play develop.

This extended time allowed Cobb to reverse course and run right back along the same line, instantly creating separation between himself and Eddie Jackson who had come down from the safety position to undercut the route.  Rogers instantly took advantage of the window.

The pass went past a diving and now out of position Jackson, and hit Cobb’s hands as both Fuller and Callaghan were running in the completely opposite direction and had to turn around 180 degrees to give chase.  In fact only Amos was in a real position to defend the play, but he took such a narrow initial angle the ball, he’d have finally caught Cobb almost 3 yards past the back of the endzone.

After correcting, he ended up getting blocked mildly by Montgomery who had just “blocked” (but not really) a flailing Floyd.  In fact, the person in the best position to make the play ends up being Mack who had already pass rushed before going 75 yards down the field to attempt to make the saving tackle.  I don’t know if the defenders were gassed or just had given up, but there certainly could have been more of an effort made to get the runner down before he got to the end-zone, at least that’s this writer’s opinion.  I hope the coach of each defensive position as well as Coach Vic Fangio express as much to their players during their meetings this week.

But contrary to popular belief, as much as this was a dagger, this wasn’t the play that lost us the game, neither was the dropped Fuller interception, those were both contributing factors, but the final play that lost us this game was the strip sack by Matthews when all we had to do was get into field goal range to win.  As I said at the beginning there is enough blame to go around.

Special Teams:

Special teams were good throughout the game.  Cody Parkey was 3-3 on field goals and 2-2 on extra points.  Pat O’Donnell had four punts for a whopping 50.2 yard average with a long of 63 and put one inside the 20.  Tarik Cohen had two punt returns for an average of 22.5 yards.  His long was 42.  Overall, Special Teams Coach Chris Tabor has to feel good about what his units were able to accomplish.  He was almost Dave Toub like in his efficiency.  Another high point for the team in the game.