If only. I mean seriously, if only. The Lions would be 12-0 right now if D’Andre Swift would have caught that ball. Yet here we are. The Lions are 4-7, they fired their head coach and GM and their injury report is a half a mile long. Still, optimism is running wild right now.
Everyone wants to know what this Lions team is going to look like under interim head coach Darrell Bevell. Count me in that group as well. Will the Lions offense explode? Or will nothing change and mock draft season begin?
Meanwhile in Chicago, things are going nearly as bad. The Bears are 5-6 and have two bad quarterbacks who are laughably bad. That’s what we know. But we wanted to know more, so we got in touch with our frienemy Jeff Berckes of Windy City Gridiron for answers. Here’s what he had to say:
1. What’s going on with the Bears quarterback situation?
“~Takes a deep breath~
Well, you see, the Bears took this guy with only one year of college starting experience and it didn’t work out. So, they acquired a guy that the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) didn’t want anymore this offseason for a 4th round pick and gave him a new contract, guaranteeing him $20M. That guy, who has never started 16 games in an NFL season, surprisingly got hurt behind an offensive line starting replacement-level talent (or worse) and he wasn’t really doing much good the last few games anyway. So, now we’re back to that first guy who has no chance to be on this roster in 2021 and kind of hoping he can finish out the year so that the second guy doesn’t hit his contract escalators and cost the Bears more money next year in a bad cap situation.
In other words, not good, Mike.
Trubisky has done well against the Lions, that much is obvious, but was it the Lions or Matt Patricia? That’s really what this weekend is all about.”
2. What are the Bears’ currents strengths?
“The best position group on this team is the secondary. Jaylon Johnson has played well this year while Kyle Fuller has been able to keep his high level of play. Eddie Jackson’s stats aren’t as sterling as they have been in the past, but it’s worth noting that he’s had two pick-sixes called back. That’s a great start to building a top coverage unit. Buster Skrine, the NCB, has been the weak link this year and is a likely cap casualty in the offseason. He’s the guy Matthew Stafford is going to want to zero in on this Sunday. If the Bears choose not to trade Fuller in the offseason and they’re able to get one of their young guys to step into that NCB role, they could be the best coverage unit in the league next year.”
3. What are the weaknesses?
“Right now it feels like everything else. It was pretty amazing how quickly things fell apart with Akiem Hicks watching from the sidelines last Sunday night. They had been getting gashed in the run game early in the year but seemed to have that under control as of late. ILB Roquan Smith has really elevated his game to a new level and until the Packers ripped off chunks of yardage on the ground last week, I had thought that issue was “fixed.” It’ll be interesting to see if the Lions can get anything going with their stable of backs.
Pretty much everything on offense right now is broken. As a Bears fan, it feels like I’m a subject matter expert on bad offense and this is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. I think it comes down to Matt Nagy not understanding how to design a running game and how to marry that running game with PA and his passing attack. Nagy’s offense has revealed itself to be a collection of plays he likes. Some of them are well designed, but they don’t form a cohesive offensive approach. It certainly doesn’t help that the shallow depth at the offensive line was exposed after James Daniels was lost for the year in the Bucs game, but the flaws are everywhere on this side of the ball.”
4. Can we skip this game and get to free agency?
“Oh man, I want that so, so much. I’m extremely curious to see if the Bears and Lions will enter the GM and HC search together this offseason. If that happens, it will be interesting to see how the two franchises approach the offseason and what their focus will be.
Free Agency might be rough for both teams as there’s a potential for the Lions and Bears to lose their WR1’s. It really might not be pretty.”
5. Who’s winning this thing?
“The Packers. They get to coast to another division titles because the rest of the division can’t get out of their own way. I’ve said before but I’ll say it again, I’d love to see some other team in this division figure it out to knock that green and yellow crew out. Let’s hope this next rebuild will work for one of our favorite teams.”