The embarrassing 38-20 loss against the Green Bay Packers at home was a massive reality check for everyone associated with the Chicago Bears. Leading up to the game, plenty of Bears players, Justin Jones and Jaquan Brisker, talked smack about the Packers. It's actually good to see the younger players understand and embrace the rivalry, even though it has been so one-sided for many years. The bar has been raised. If they can play as well as they can talk, then the 2023 Bears season is going to be a promising one.
The loss on Sunday was a huge reality check for Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles
Instead, the fans were treated to the same beatdown they had been accustomed to. But this loss had a totally different feeling. A huge red flag. The efforts were totally lacking, and there was no enthusiasm and energy as the game went on.
Matt Eberflus' press conference after the game did not alleviate any concerns about his team's effort. He did not do himself any favors by allowing only starters to play a few series the entire preseason. That may have fostered a sense of entitlement among players, who have accomplished nothing to this date yet and were served a huge slice of a humble pie.
While Eberflus and his staff must rally his players from losing confidence and prepare for a road game in Tampa Bay, General Manager Ryan Poles is not without blame in the season-opening debacle.
Ryan Poles deserves just as much blame for what happened last Sunday against the Packers. The team he put together looks far from being competitive.
Witnessing the Bears get pushed around the line of scrimmage on both sides in person had to be a rude awakening for Poles. A former offensive lineman himself, he preached the importance of building the trenches. He spent the entire off-season upgrading the talent on both sides of the ball. While there are holes remaining on this roster, he certainly did more than enough to upgrade this team through the draft and free agency.
Instead, they have now lost 11 straight games dating back to last season, and the ninth straight game to the Packers.
Poles had to be discouraged by the performance of two players in particular: Nate Davis and Chase Claypool. Davis was a prized free-agent addition who was going to stabilize the offensive line. Instead, not only has he missed the entire OTAs, but he also missed the majority of the training camp and missed practice leading up to the Packers game due to a "personal reason".
As a result, Davis surrendered nine pressures, received a PFF pass-blocking grade of 7.2, and was thoroughly dominated by Packer defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt. Talk about making a terrible first impression. But I think we should not have been surprised by his rust. If Davis continues to miss practice for a "personal reason," then the Bears are better off sitting him until he resolves his issues and allowing backup Ja'Tyre Carter to play.
Meanwhile, we can officially declare the Chase Claypool trade a disaster after he displayed shoddy efforts against the Packers last Sunday, and he was deservingly eviscerated by the pundits both locally and nationally for his effort and attitude. Poles will likely never hear the end of having to give up the 32nd pick for Claypool.
Meanwhile, Poles not only has to be puzzled as to why DJ Moore, the prized addition this off-season, was targeted only twice during the game but an even more puzzling explanation given by both Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who deserves equal criticism for their game plan against the Packers and why he was only targeted twice all game. Twice.
And the reports coming out of Halas Hall this week were not very encouraging. Brisker did not do himself any favors when he stated they needed this loss and taking shots at Jordan Love, which made him sound like a sore loser. And let's not forget defensive tackle Justin Jones, another player Ryan Poles signed last season, talked plenty of smack about the Packers this off-season, and he barely made any contribution since becoming a Bear. Poles is probably seething that his players talk a lot but can't back them up.
Already, George McCaskey is pissed after an opening-season loss. But unlike in the past, new president Kevin Warren is in charge now. Let's not forget he did not hire both Poles and Eberflus. And they both report to Warren now. Warren might be busy talking to both business and political leaders about building the new stadium these days. But you can bet he will be hearing a lot about the Bears if they continue to make dubious headlines on the field, sapping any hope and energy from the city.
If the Bears lose to Tampa Bay, the dissent amongst the players will only grow louder. This is starting to remind us of the Marc Trestman-type level of incompetency back in the 2014 season. If the losing streak reaches an embarrassing level, Warren should not have any hesitation in pulling the plug on the Eberflus, making him the first Bears head coach ever to be fired during the middle of the season.
Turning around the Bears was never going to be an easy task. Poles preached patience as he was going to build the team through the draft. It's only week 2, but the Packers gave Ryan Poles a huge reality check. He also suddenly finds himself being put on notice, much like the head coach he hired.