The Chicago Bears did not start the 2023 NFL season as many had hoped. When we go back and watch the Week 1 game vs. the Green Bay Packers, there aren't many positives to be had. A few individuals stood out, but overall, the outcome was just short of disastrous.
Many wanted to blame Luke Getsy for the failures and I'm not about to stand up for him. The offensive game plan was worse than what my nine-year-old son comes up with when playing Madden. There is plenty of blame to go around though.
Justin Fields seemed gun-shy to throw it beyond eight yards. I'm not sure if he is being coached this way or if he is afraid to throw the ball into tight coverage, but he needs to be more aggressive vs. the Buccaneers and throughout the entire season.
Chase Claypool looked absolutely awful for most of the game. Nate Davis, who is not going to be playing vs. the Bucs due to a death in his family, clearly did not have his head in the game. I feel sorry for what he is going through, but I am looking forward to seeing Ja'Tyre Carter at full strength instead. Khalil Herbert struggled in pass-blocking again. D'Onta Foreman was meh at best. Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick were almost as bad as Nate Davis.
On the defensive side of the ball, T.J. Edwards looked shockingly bad throughout most of the game. The defensive front could not generate any pressure despite newcomer Yannick Ngakoue. Dominique Robinson, Justin Jones and the two rookies didn't make an impact. Jaylon Johnson played off the ball too much, whether that was his call or Alan Williams' call we will probably never know. Kyler Gordon didn't look bad, but didn't make enough impact plays and is now out for multiple weeks with a hand injury.
The Chicago Bears look to be lacking fundamentals
As you can see, the team had plenty of problems. However, there was one underlying issue and it was a big one -- especially since Matt Eberflus preaches his HITS principles. If you don't remember, HITS stands for Hustle, Intensity, The Ball (should just be Turnovers) and Smart. Well, the team did not do any of this consistently. Only a few players like Roschon Johnson and Tyrique Stevenson followed these principles. Almost everyone else seemed slow to the ball, didn't tackle well, whiffed on blocks, was out of position and more. They all seemed to be lacking the basic fundamentals.
If Matt Eberflus and the Chicago Bears want to turn things around, then they must get back to the basics. The team must find a way to maintain their gaps, make clean tackles, and do the basic things needed at every level. If they don't, then the game plan isn't going to matter much. They were outplayed and out-coached. The talent has improved drastically compared to 2022, but talent isn't enough. The team must improve or this season will look just as bad, if not worse, than last season.