Message from the Chicago Bears from the AFC and NFC title games
Every football game teaches something about the teams involved and also about other teams.
Sunday’s conference championship games revealed some very obvious truths about the Bears and the direction they are headed under new leadership.
1. Bears committed the right offense
Matt Nagy had them in Andy Reid’s Kansas City offense. While it has worked for Reid over the years, the distinguishing factor has been Patrick Mahomes and not their offensive system. The Bears don’t have Mahomes, or at least don’t have someone like him yet. They’d like to think Justin Fields is better than they’ve seen him, but until he does more, they won’t know.
Meanwhile, three of the bottom four teams use offensive systems derived from Mike Shanahan’s offense. Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan run their own versions of the Shanahan offense. Bengals coach Zac Taylor is a disciple of McVay who now has his own version with a pretty fair sophomore quarterback.
And when the Bears signed on Saturday to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, they allowed an offense to start from the Shanahan family tree because Packers coach Matt LaFleur came from that same family tree. The Bears no longer use a system that succeeds largely because of a player they don’t have. They’re going to organize one that actually works with the rest of the NFL, so there’s hope for more points.
2. Year 2 can be big for Justin Fields
Joe Burrow at this time last year was recovering from a torn ACL after a rookie year when he averaged just 6.7 yards per pass attempt, although he was effective with odds passer of 89.8. Now he’s all the rage in the NFL once the Bengals have improved the offensive line somewhat and secured viable targets. The Bears need to do both before Fields improves. Still, Fields has the potential for drastic improvement. Doing what Burrow does is a reach, but remember who the Bears quarterback was when they beat the Bengals in Week 2. Fields was the one on the field in the second half to put away the win. A lot can happen to a quarterback in an offseason, and Fields doesn’t have to spend his offseason rehabbing like Burrow did.
3. Ryan Poles can overhaul the Bears offensive line
The Bears led the NFL in sacks allowed and were 21st in yards per rush attempt. They don’t just take the players they have in play and put them back on the field. There will be change to come. New GM Ryan Poles is someone who can fix the offensive line well enough to make his offense competitive or even better in the way the Bengals have been around their line from 2020 to 2021. Poles was an offensive lineman and was part of Kansas City revolving around its struggling offensive line from 2020 to 2021. Now the Poles have an assistant general manager in Ian Cunningham who can also help. He was also an offensive lineman and was in Philadelphia last year where the line improved significantly from 2020 as it contributed to a terrible season when Doug Pederson was fired and Carson Wentz was expelled from the city.
4. Sacks and Pass Rush Pressure still count
The Bears were fourth in sacks with 49. Both Super Bowl fighters were also ranked among the top sacks that year. In fact, three of the last four teams have done so as well. The 49ers were fifth in sacks, the Rams third and the Bengals 11th.
As long as they retain much of the passing rush they’ve had this year, the Bears can stay competitive. They will need any edge they can get on defense because in addition to converting to 4-3, they also need better personnel at cornerback, inside linebacker and different types of personnel at the back. inside the defensive line.
5. Pride Factor
If the Bengals beat the Rams in the Super Bowl, the Bears can say they’ve beaten the Super Bowl champion in each of the past two years. They beat Tampa Bay in 2020 20-19. What is the signification ? There isn’t, but it sounds good.
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