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Jonathan Wood: Grading The Roster/Offense


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Grading the Roster: Offense

5fb7dabcc9ddb6eb415d87bdfbe6736d?s=16&d= Johnathan Wood | July 19th, 2021

https://dabearsblog.com/2021/grading-the-roster-offense

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Camp approaches, which means it’s time for me to grade the roster. Like I did last year, I’ll grade on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst in the NFL, 10 being the best, and 5 being an average NFL unit. Let’s get right down to it.


Quarterback: 3

Key Players: Andy Dalton, Justin Fields

Roster Depth: Nick Foles

Veterans Andy Dalton and Nick Foles are not good. Rookie Justin Fields is Chicago’s best chance at getting good QB play this year, but rookie QBs aren’t usually good either. I mainly grade now based on proven production, so Fields’ draft status doesn’t factor in much here. If I was just basing it on certainty going into the season, this would be a 2, but Fields’ upside prompted me to round up.


Running Back: 7

Key Players: David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Damien Williams

Roster Depth: Khalil Herbert, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, CJ Marable

David Montgomery broke out as a sophomore in 2020, but a lack of explosive plays limits how good I think he is. The Bears were forced to rely on Montgomery heavily in 2020, so they spent the offseason improving the group of players around him. They get Tarik Cohen back from a torn ACL that cost him most of the 2020 season, and they added solid depth in both free agency (Damien Williams) and the draft (6th round pick Khalil Herbert). I’d give Montgomery a 6 – an above-average NFL starter – but the quality depth around him bumps this up to a 7.


Wide Receiver: 6

Key Players: Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller, Damiere Byrd, Marquise Goodwin

Roster Depth: Javon Wims, Riley Ridley, Dazz Newsome, Rodney Adams, Thomas Ives, Chris Lacy, Khalil McClain, Jester Weah

Allen Robinson is a stud. Darnell Mooney had a solid rookie season, and is somebody the Bears should feel pretty good about as a WR2. Anthony Miller took a step back in 2020 and seems maxed out as a situational WR3 for passing downs only. Javon Wims and Riley Ridley were awful depth last year, so the Bears brought in Damiere Byrd (who should even push Miller for playing time) and Marquise Goodwin, which should bump those two off the roster. Bears fans seem to love Dazz Newsome, but I’m not overly optimistic about the prospects of an unathletic 6th round pick. Anything he gives the offense will be a pleasant surprise.

This grade really hinges on Mooney, who needs to be the guy at WR2. If he can establish himself as a quality starter this year, the Bears’ WR group will be a clear strength.

 


Tight End: 5

Key Players: Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham

Roster Depth: Jake Butt, JP Holtz, Jesper Horsted, Scooter Harrington

Fans are really high on Cole Kmet, but his rookie season was less than impressive as a pass catcher. It will be a win for the Bears if he can be an average starter who isn’t a complete waste of space in the passing game. Jimmy Graham had a surprisingly solid 2020 season, finishing 14th among tight ends in catches and 19th in yards, but the Bears phased him out of the offense as the season progressed. He’ll do well if he can be a situational player who is a quality a solid red zone option. The depth behind those two is nonexistent, as nobody else has done anything of note in the NFL.

I debated between a 4 and 5 for this group, but the combination of 2 players close to starting caliber and an expected improvement from Kmet in year 2 pushed me to 5.


Offensive Tackle: 2

Key Players: Teven Jenkins, Germain Ifedi, Elijah Wilkinson

Roster Depth: Larry Borom, Lachavious Simmons, Tyrone Wheatley, Badara Traore

You might be surprised by how low this grade is, but what starting tackle do you feel confident in? Germain Ifedi is the guy at right tackle, but I have a hard time feeling good about that. He was bad as a tackle for 4 years in Seattle, and while he played ok in the last 6 games there in 2020, that was against a series of mediocre to atrocious defenses. It will be a pleasant surprise if he is an average player.

Starting on the left side is rookie Teven Jenkins, who was widely projected as a right tackle (the position he played in 2020) heading into the draft. The 2nd round has not been a fertile place for finding left tackles in recent history, which makes it hard to say with confidence that Jenkins will be a quality starter from day one.

In terms of depth, Elijah Wilkinson is the likely swing tackle. He has some experience from Denver, but I’ve yet to see anybody who follows the Broncos lament his departure. Fans seem really high on Larry Borom, but he was a 5th round pick for a reason and shouldn’t be counted on to contribute much as a rookie.


Interior Offensive Line: 5

Key Players: Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Sam Mustipher, Alex Bars

Roster Depth: Arlington Hambright, Dieter Eiselen, Dareuan Parker, Adam Redmond,

Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are slotted in as the guards, and the Bears should feel good about that. Whitehair is a long-time good but not great player, while Daniels looked like Chicago’s best lineman early in 2020 before being lost for the season. That duo would probably earn a 7.

The grade drops due to the uncertainty at center, where Sam Mustipher seems locked in despite what could most charitably be referred to as mediocre play in 2020. While Mustipher had his moments, he also struggled at times, especially against bigger, stronger players. This matches somebody who went undrafted in 2019 due to a lack of athletic ability. If Mustipher emerges as even an average starting center, the interior becomes a strength, but right now it’s hard to view him as anything but a question mark.

Alex Bars is the top backup on the interior, and he played well enough in 2020 to feel decent about him in that role.


Overall Offense: 4

Those 6 groups average out to a 4.7, which should round to a 5, but I rounded down because the 2 lowest rated groups – QB and OT – are among the most important on the offense (it is worth noting that Chicago’s top 2 draft picks are at those positions, so they could end up much better than this if those 2 can hit the ground running). The offense also lacks top shelf talent, as only Allen Robinson can be viewed as a surefire top 10 player at his position.

Honestly, this is better than I expected when I sat down to do the grading, and it speaks to real improvement in the offense over the last few years, largely due to the improved depth and emergence of young talent at the skill position spots. The offense also lacks top shelf talent.

This remains an offense that has a wide range of outcomes, largely depending on what they can get out of young players like Justin Fields, Teven Jenkins, Darnell Mooney, Sam Mustipher, and Cole Kmet. All have real upside, but none can currently be counted on as surefire average or better starters. If they can solidify their spots, and maybe even have 1-2 emerge as stars, the offense could surprise, but for now I’m going to play it safe and look at this as a below-average unit.

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Sounds like the grade for offense that could be anything from up and coming to earning a top 10 draft pick.  Sounds about right!

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Knowing from the title this won't be a super positive thread = Sad

 

Agreeing with pretty much every point =

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Granted Fields and Jenkins put my score higher automatically, but IDK when he will get to play. I see what he means though by grading off production only, but that has to have some tempering done. How many people expected Nelson, Garrett, Bosa to suck? Sometimes you can estimate at LEAST average play.

 

I hope Mustipher gets stronger too. He played well enough but is JAG to me at this point, I think he did great for his lack of draft position, but that still is a low bar.

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26 minutes ago, Heinz D. said:

Good lord.

More garbage. Putrid nonsense. 

It's highly subjective, no doubt. I'm not impressed by our offense though honestly, I do hope Nagy doesn't find a way to make Cohen the WR/HB combo though, that experiment busted bad.

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Posted (edited)

Wood's grading may seem harsh but remember he's an analytical type and if you go by the numbers as he does and not simply intuition or gut feeling collectively this offense has yet to prove itself over the course of a single season save maybe the 2018 season.  There have been some periodic flashes but many came against some of the NFL's weakest offenses and let's not forget how badly they've been shut down some games.

14 hours ago, soulman said:

Those 6 groups average out to a 4.7, which should round to a 5, but I rounded down because the 2 lowest rated groups – QB and OT – are among the most important on the offense (it is worth noting that Chicago’s top 2 draft picks are at those positions, so they could end up much better than this if those 2 can hit the ground running). The offense also lacks top shelf talent, as only Allen Robinson can be viewed as a surefire top 10 player at his position.

As bold faced Wood does admit that should the play of our OT (Grade/2) and QB (Grade/3) rise above the levels he's graded them at those two positions alone would push the overall grade much higher.  Let's say OT play to a grade of 5 and QB to a grade of 5 as well. That would raise the overall grade from 4 to 5.5.  That might be a more fair grade based on gut feel and expectations but not based on analytics which can only use past performance as a basis.  Let's be honest.  This was not a very good offense over the past two seasons.

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20 hours ago, soulman said:

As bold faced Wood does admit that should the play of our OT (Grade/2) and QB (Grade/3) rise above the levels he's graded them at those two positions alone would push the overall grade much higher. 

Well, ummm...yeah.

The grades are moronic. He must be one those, "Shoulda kept Leno!" dumb****s. Plus...grading Fields as a below average QB? Ridiculous. 

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2 hours ago, Heinz D. said:

Well, ummm...yeah.

The grades are moronic. He must be one those, "Shoulda kept Leno!" dumb****s. Plus...grading Fields as a below average QB? Ridiculous. 

Well like a I posted his grading is based an a backward looking analysis not forward looking predictions which may or may not be met.

Wood does consider those possibilities but things that have not happened yet are the kind of speculation that can't be added to a grade especially when two rookies with no previous NFL experience or stats are a major portion of the grade.  I get it but then I'm another analytical much like he is and reports I have done on investments are much the same.

Fundamental grading requires past performance.  Future projections are speculative and should be noted in that manner.

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19 hours ago, soulman said:

Well like a I posted his grading is based an a backward looking analysis not forward looking predictions which may or may not be met.

Wood does consider those possibilities but things that have not happened yet are the kind of speculation that can't be added to a grade especially when two rookies with no previous NFL experience or stats are a major portion of the grade.  I get it but then I'm another analytical much like he is and reports I have done on investments are much the same.

Fundamental grading requires past performance.  Future projections are speculative and should be noted in that manner.

If his point is "we don't know how to grade these segments of the team until we see them on the field"...then he shouldn't be grading ANYTHING.

To proceed otherwise is simply ridiculous. But...to give QB a 3 rating, when Dalton is there, regardless of Fields? Stupid. He's essentially claiming Dalton is garbage based on the Cowboys situation last year. 

It all sounds to me like he hated the Bears draft, and he thinks Dalton is absolutely terrible. Which is a putrid take, any way you look at it. 

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1 hour ago, Heinz D. said:

If his point is "we don't know how to grade these segments of the team until we see them on the field"...then he shouldn't be grading ANYTHING.

To proceed otherwise is simply ridiculous. But...to give QB a 3 rating, when Dalton is there, regardless of Fields? Stupid. He's essentially claiming Dalton is garbage based on the Cowboys situation last year. 

It all sounds to me like he hated the Bears draft, and he thinks Dalton is absolutely terrible. Which is a putrid take, any way you look at it. 

Heinz maybe the simplest way to approach this is to ignore it.  After all, it's just one man's opinion based upon how he grades and that part I've covered by way of an explanation.  If someone was paying me to provide an analysis like Wood did I would do it the very same way.

He's not projecting or speculating on the unknown and I would not either other than to comment on it as he has done himself.  Other than that any fundamental review has to be based upon data already known which is based on past performance. That's how grading is done.

Let's look at it another way.  Suppose during the first semester of a HS Chemistry class you barely squeak by with a passing grade.  Your daily work show you lack a complete grasp of the subject matter and your test scores have been averaging around 70% so you receive a D.

Should you be able to march into your teachers office and demand a higher grade based upon a protest that the second semesters work will be easier because you intend to study more instead of playing Xbox each night and you'll start acing tests from then on?

What kind of a response would you expect to get from that teacher?

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17 minutes ago, soulman said:

He's not projecting or speculating on the unknown and I would not either other than to comment on it as he has done himself.  Other than that any fundamental review has to be based upon data already known which is based on past performance. That's how grading is done.

No, it's not. How many other football media types gave the Bears draft an "F", or an "INCOMPLETE"? 

I haven't seen a single one. Have you? 

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1 minute ago, Heinz D. said:

No, it's not. How many other football media types gave the Bears draft an "F", or an "INCOMPLETE"? 

I haven't seen a single one. Have you? 

Yes.  I have seen grades of F and Incomplete given to teams and even individual players, position groups, and drafts.  Happens all the time.

My brother you and I are not gonna come to an agreement on this one and I can't describe it any better than I have.  Peace.

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16 minutes ago, soulman said:

Yes.  I have seen grades of F and Incomplete given to teams and even individual players, position groups, and drafts.  Happens all the time.

My brother you and I are not gonna come to an agreement on this one and I can't describe it any better than I have.  Peace.

And that's fine. Do you get what I'm saying about Dalton, though? 

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4 hours ago, Heinz D. said:

And that's fine. Do you get what I'm saying about Dalton, though? 

As Wood points out in his QB grading he's doing so based solely on past performance and Dalton's production hasn't been all that strong for the last five seasons.  Given the situations he's been in playing for Cincy and Dallas I might be a little kinder to him because I believe he's still capable of being a slightly above average NFL QB.  But all that would do is push the QB grade up a point to a 4-4.5.  The production to grade much higher just hasn't been there.

Is it possible that playing in this offense Dalton could bounce back and have a career year?  Yeah, and he may need to do just that in order to keep Fields from replacing him.  That's some strong motivation and if I was grading on that basis and tossing in some speculation about what both Dalton and Fields might be capable of the grade might go a couple of points higher still.  But has Wood states that's not how he's doing it.  His grades are based almost entirely on past production.

If the Bears offense wants a higher grade from Jonathan Wood they're gonna have to go out and earn it.

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16 hours ago, soulman said:

But all that would do is push the QB grade up a point to a 4-4.5.  The production to grade much higher just hasn't been there.

A 4.5 is much better (and realistic...whether I agree with the specific grading) number, is it not? 

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