One of the more surprising takeaways from the Chicago Bears' loss to the Detroit Lions was seeing Montez Sweat on a lower-than-expected snap count. Sweat played 65% of the snaps in his first game after being traded during the week. That was the lowest snap rate of his season other than a game he left early with an injury.
Matt Eberflus has no excuse for lack of playing time for Chicago Bears edge rusher Montez Sweat
Sweat saw his snap count increase to a more understandable 73% on Thursday Night Football against the Carolina Panthers. With ten days off and with Sweat being fully integrated, the thought was that he would play around 75% of the snaps the rest of the way.
Instead, he was down to just 63% of the snaps against the Lions. He was notably not on the field on a few key moments as Detroit scored as well.
Matt Eberflus had an explanation for limiting his best pass rusher
"“You just got to platoon them and get them in there fresh, and when those lead dogs are fresh, you put them back in. You just got to do that because those guys are throwing their fastball every time. Sweat’s one of our best players, he really is, and that’s just how we do it. We platoon our guys and keep them fresh that way. That’s how we do it.”"- Matt Eberflus
This makes sense in some regard. The Bears added Sweat to make the depth better and now want to flex it. However, in others, it makes no sense. First, Yannick Ngakoue has played under 65% of the snaps just once this season. Even when DeMarcus Walker was starting, he was playing; he was under 64% just twice.
The added depth should have reduced the snaps of both of them if they were limiting Sweat. Still, Ngakoue ended up with a 73% snap share on Sunday.
Montez Sweat is the better-run defender and pass rusher. Ngakoue has been a disappointment, especially against the run. If any of the two needs to take on a lesser role to preserve themselves, it would be Ngakoue, and yet the Bears are not
What makes it even weirder is seeing the Bears go with rotation rather than scattering in the depth pieces. They had far too many snaps where both Ngakoue and Sweat were on the sideline, and it was Rasheem Green and Walker. Have Walker and Ngakoue rush or Green and Sweat. Maybe even Sweat and Walker or Ngakoue and Green. However, when Sweat sits, Ngakoue should be out there and vice versa.
The issue here is that Matt Eberflus was supposed to be the head coach, but now he is taking on the defensive coordinator job. He is splitting time between both, and both are worse because of it.