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RunningVaccs

2019 Bears: How will it go?

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Watching the dog**** that happened in the ProBowl, I couldn't help but watch our boy MT and wonder again if he's any good. So much hinges on his development, but it's not the whole picture.  I truly believe if the Bears had gotten a few breaks they could be playing next weekend.  It got me thinking about next season, and specifically what could be really good, and what could sink the team.  

Why the Bears should be contending next year:

-The offense has a chance to gel, and all the young players get more experience and training.  Imagine Trubisky refining instead of learning?  Imagine Miller getting crisper on his routes. Imagine Shaheen reaching toddler levels of balance.  The offense wasn't great, but showed flashes.  With a little more experience, could they be really good?

-The defense still has an absolute quiver of great players.  Even if they were to lose both Amos and Callahan, they still have studs at corner, ILB, safety, OLB and DL.  And some of those players are still developing like Smith, Jackson, Nichols. No big injuries to recover from in the offseason.  They are LOADED.

-Nagy has showed he has the mindset to adapt and self correct.  He had a few blunders this year that cost the Bears, but he seems like the kind of guy that's got to take his mistake, pick it apart until he gets it, and then find the solution and tuck it away for next time. I really like this guy.

Naturally, since this was inspired by the the Squirrel-a-pult QB play of the Pro Bowl,  the mind can definitely find some cracks in the armor next time around.

-It starts with Mr Biscuit. He seems like an awesome guy if a little bland, and you always want the kind hearted hard workers to win, but he showed enough good and bad this year to convince both poles of opinion that they were right about it.  Even if you like him,  you can't say you're certain about him.  It was _weird_ how inaccurate he was this year, especially as his draft pedigree was based on accuract, and he was supposedly in a QB friendly system (Note:  I think a lot of people, myself included conflated "innovative offense" and "QB friendly" offense.  In actuality I think this is actually a very difficult offense for a rookish QB) It was concerning to say the least; if you need a reminder go back to the GB1 game thread... yeesh!  Aside from Mitch likely never getting to the ridiculous Mahomes level people expect of him,  I think his mistakes are correctable and showed improvement, but you do have to wonder if he's just taking a lot and a bit slow to grow, or if he just might not be very good.  

-Pagano. I heard his press conference today playing bumper cars in the snow on the Hoge/Jahns (excellent!) podcast.  He does not have the track record of Fangio, and is starting off adapting to someone elses system.  And he sounds... I don't know how to call it, but a combination of gratitude to be a coach again and desperate not to **** it up.  He was very forthright and earnest, but I couldn't help be reminded of someone getting sober and telling you all about it, and then two weeks later you see them lit.  Is he up to this?  

-Luck  (not Andrew)  The Bears played great and were electric, but a lot of things went their way (just not kicks, ha! ha. <sob>)  They had great injury luck, they played a schedule that kept working out favorably.  I feel like they had well above average lucky breaks, and the odds of getting two years in a row are unlikely.

 

 

Not trying to be wishy-washy here, but really have a lot of thoughts about next year.  Mitchly is the most important factor next year. If he plays even slightly above 2018 level I think the Bears can be very good again.  It would be great to get those motions settled down and get more comfortable when seeing something new. If that happens I think the Bears can be a playoff team again.  If he doesn't make that step, it's not going to be so good. I will be happy if the D is a top 5 unit next year, but don't take it for granted. Without some insane heroics from the D, the 2018 Bears would have been incredibly lucky to make 9 wins. I personally have the feeling that he's going to pay off and improve over the next couple years, which should keep the Bears in contention.   If I had to guess right now I think the Bears will be 9-7 and make the playoffs. 

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Gotta lotta thoughts about next year, too, but no time to share now.

Why the hell would you be put off by Trubisky in the Pro Bowl? O.o

Edited by Heinz D.

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I'm expecting around a 10-6 season with the roster as is. That's with assuming the offense takes a small forward and the defense takes a small step back (expecting them to be historically great again is not realistic).

I'm perfectly fine going into next season with the same exact starters as this year (minus Parkey) and it's been a VERY long time since I was able to say that with a straight face. This ofcourse is still contingent on the Amos and Callahan situations but I'm fine with everyone else. (Kareem Hunt would be a huge bonus).

Mitch is obviously the most important part on offense but Nagy is the driving force and this year will show whether or not he able to learn from his mistakes and adapt accordingly. Based on the creativity he showed this season and how good he was at drawing up script plays (his highlights), I believe he can and will until he shows me otherwise.

People talk about Mitch and how he still learning his position, but those same people need to also realize that Nagy is do the same thing too. He has only been a head coach for 17 games and has only called plays on offense for 23 total games in his career. So he too is still going through a learning curve himself and he showed enough this season that I see no reason to doubt him. 

Yes, Nagy needs to find a way to adjust his scheme slightly to make it less noticeable at times and make it better suitable for players like Howard but all that comes with time and experience just like anything else.

Moving on to other offensive skill players besides Mitch and where I see a big improvement -- Progression from Miller, Wims, Braunecker and a better run game. 

--I know we have not seen him much but I really like what I have seen from Wims thus far. His ceiling has not even shown itself yet IMO. White is gone and he had 170 snaps this season on offense, Bellamy had 321, while Wims had just 30. I could easily see Wims taking snaps from both players next season (200-250) and truly show why he can be a threat before bursting out in 2020. Now this could possibly end being another Aromashadu(sp) case but I have hopes for him in his development.

--Similar to Wims, Braunecker, while still raw, has shown he has upside given the proper chance as a receiving target but not much as a blocker and we already have a TE in Burton for that role. We need someone else who is not just good in one area and below average in another. We need some who can atleast be average in both areas to throw off the defense.

This is was supposed to be Shaheen but I'm starting to worry about whether or not he is going to work as expected as a legit target for Mitch. He appears to have the physical tools and is a solid blocker but his frail body do not seem to be able to withstand the punishment. I still think he has some value as a blocker in a 21 personnel or similar. But unless he shows alot as possession TE, not only is going to offer much next season but he will also be gone in 2 years as well.

I don;t know the answer at this point. But I really like Braunecker so far and ideally would like to see him gain a few pounds and start to work on his exterior and lead blocking abilities so that he could fill this spot on offense.

--Miller is going to be a beast in this league!!! That is if he can get his shoulder right so he can play all game (a bit hyperbole because it don't happen every game but you get it). And also, for the love of god, stop with the unnecessary shenanigans that costs the offense valuable yards which happens a few times this season. 

That aside, Miller is extremely gifted and can do alot of the same things that you see in the top WR's today just on a smaller scale as he progresses. not saying he WILL be a top WR but he certainly has the intangibles to do so. He can line up all over the field (perfect for a Nagy Offense),  great body control, a catch radius out of this world, is 6'0 but plays like he's 6'4 (can also play smaller in tight spaces), can take a hit while maintaining control and is deceptively fast in and out of his breaks (a zone coverage nightmare).

These were some of things he showed in college and rolled over into this year which is good sign for him moving forward.  Beating press coverage is where he still needs the most work IMO, but that's pretty coachable. 

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2 hours ago, Heinz D. said:

Gotta lotta thoughts about next year, too, but no time to share now.

Why the hell would you be put off by Trubisky in the Pro Bowl? O.o

I din't watch the pro bowl or the skills challenge in their entirety but he did not look good at all either of them from the clips I saw.

Edit: But yeah, using the pro bowl is not a very good reference either.

Edited by JustAnotherFan

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Mitch

GB-Exceptional

SF-Really good outside a couple of throws

Min-Exceptional

Phil-Exceptional 2nd half

 

That is all we need to be focused on.

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17 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

Mitch

GB-Exceptional

SF-Really good outside a couple of throws

Min-Exceptional

Phil-Exceptional 2nd half

 

That is all we need to be focused on.

I agree, and I really think that an upgrade at running back will do big things for his development as well. The predictability tipped to the defense when Howard was or was not in the game made things significantly harder on Mitch IMO. That’s not restricted to running plays either - the significant limitations on the screen passing game when Howard was on the field placed some unnecessary restrictions on both Mitch and Nagy. One way or another that’s gotta get rectified this season. 

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10 hours ago, JustAnotherFan said:

I din't watch the pro bowl or the skills challenge in their entirety but he did not look good at all either of them from the clips I saw.

Edit: But yeah, using the pro bowl is not a very good reference either.

Guys I don't think you understand;  the Pro Bowl is composed of only the best players, so represents the pinnacle of football performance!

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If we make HUGE splashes in FA we will end up regressing ..  if we only tinker with it (another pass rusher and quality depth) AND bring in a great kicker we'll be in the Superbowl and maybe even steamroll over league like 85

This last season could be viewed as the season prior to 85 ..  tough playoff loss, budding D and overall roster ..  McMahon was very young and on way up

The less we hear about FA this off-season the better imho

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Everyone will improve on offense simply by increased experience in the offense and familiarity with each other.

 

How much? I do not know. But 2018 was the worst this offense will look while the player stay the same.

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11 hours ago, JustAnotherFan said:

I din't watch the pro bowl or the skills challenge in their entirety but he did not look good at all either of them from the clips I saw.

Edit: But yeah, using the pro bowl is not a very good reference either.

He looked really good in the skills challenge.  The game itself was bad for everybody not named Mahomes or Anthony Sherman.

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I thought MT looked good throwing the football in skills challenge.  It's a silly deal, but he threw some nice balls.   Only Russel Wilson looked better and I'm not talking about who scored most points.   He looked like he threw better than Luck or Watson.  

Just arm I would say it was Wilson, MT, Luck, Watson.  MT and Luck were pretty much even though and Wilson wasn't much better than Luck and MT.

I didn't see pro bowl.

 

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I think they need to focus like a laser beam on running game in 2019 and self-scout what really went wrong in 2018 and how they can fix it.  

I have watched 2 plays now with a coaching eye and they had serious execution problems not talent problems.   The plays were there to be made if executed properly.  

I don't know if lack of execution is a coaching problem or a player problem or both.  But the mistakes are things that should that should not be happening with regularity at this level of football.  I would not accept that from 12 year olds practicing 2 hours a day 3x a week.  These guys are pros with meetings and camps and the whole ball of wax.    I have a job and a life, so I can't study like they can and should.  

I am beginning to suspect, but haven't verified yet because of lack of sample size, that the running game problem isn't or wasn't Howard.

Now is Hunt an upgrade?  Yes, most def.  Is Howard a sub standard receiver?  Yes.  Does that limit you?  Yes.  

But Howard has shown he is a good runner.  Players can regress of course, but I am not sure that is what happened in 2018.  Running theoretically should have been better given increased passing threat.  

If I get to 10 random run plays and 7 or 8 of them show execution based problems I am going to conclude that my hypothesis is indeed correct and Howard wasn't the problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think you're going to see a lot of very half hearted execution from the OL, especially the tackles.  Dudes coming in fast and barely having to swerve around Leno and taking Howard down for a loss. 

It's confusing too, since the consistency in players and vaunted bona fides of Harry Hiestand indicate this should be a strength. 

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But back to original question.

Unquestioningly, always barring too many injuries of course, Bears will be better team in 2019.  Injuries change everything, but on paper they will be much better.

1) MT will be better in his 2nd year in system.  

2) Robinson will be better 2nd year back from knee injury and will look like a true number one.

3) All receivers will be better 2nd year in system.

4) Miller won't be playing with a bum shoulder. 

5) Floyd won't be playing with a broken hand.

6) Shaheen won't be hurt most of season.

7) Players will have more time together in offseason than last year.

8) Offensive staff will be 2nd year in system.  

9) Offensive coaches will know players strengths and weaknesses better.

10) Roquan Smith will be with team for full offseason and day 1 starter and he is an uber talent.

11) Nichols will be better a year older and a year of experience and strength training.

12) Daniels same.  Daniels is capable of being an all-pro.

13) Whitehair, who I think never should have played center, will better at playing the center position.

14) I believe they will fix running game in 2019. 

15) I believe new defensive staff will employ more movement and aggression.  End results may not be as impressive statistically, but it is a necessary and proper move given talent at hand and strengths of that talent.  Roquan and Floyd are not power players.   As statically good as defense was overall they still left teams in games they should not have been in and lost a few.   Sometimes good D isn't about scorings or yardage stats, but toll physical play takes and getting teams behind the chains.  Turnovers can't be argued.  They are always helpful and huge.   The turnovers of 2018 probably won't be repeated.  Not out of realm of possibility though.  

Downside:

1) New defensive staff has to learn players.

2) Schedule is harder on paper and they have to go to London.  

3) Long continues to get more broken each season leaving a hole at RG.  

4) Secondary is losing depth and possibly, likely, 2 starters (Callahan and Amos). 

5) There is no depth at OT.

6) Turnovers will be lower based strictly on probability. 

7) NFC North is still one of toughest divisions in football.  They all have QBs in place which makes rapid offseason improvement always a real possibility.  

 

 

 

 

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So watching some of 2018 coaches tape on Game Pass.  

Bears are so incredibly frustrating.  They will make an amazing play and follow it up with an absolute bone head play.

For example just was watching a Miller 25 yard or so gain on a great ball by MT who was struggling wiped out due to an illegal formation on Gabriel.  Gabriel was only WR to his side and he lines up off the LINE OF SCRIMMAGE.  WTF?   That is just moronic that he did that and almost as moronic that MT snapped football with him standing out there off like that.  One of first things you teach receivers, when are 9!, is there has to be 7 men on LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, so if you are off you better make sure other guy next to you is on.  Gabriel had an off TE next to him.  Duh.  Kinda hard to miss him.  

MT will often thread a perfect near impossible pass through traffic to Robinson and then proceed to miss a wide open Gabriel cutting across field.  Passing aside the team mistakes and inconsistencies are maddening.  Blocking is just as crazy.  Great and then horrible.  

Also noticing every 4th and 1 Bears should just go for it.  Every one.  From other teams 45 on.  Just go.  In long run it will almost always be worth it.  MT should learn to do the Brady sneak and just take those.  

Just tuck behind Daniels on a surprise count and go.  I don't have data to back it up, but just watching the games going for it on 4th short (non-goal line) seems to just work out better than punting it away to other team.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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