I can’t believe it’s actually happening. After all we, as a country, have been through in 2020, we’re finally getting Detroit Lions football this Sunday. It’s going to be a completely weird situation to see the game played in an empty stadium with fake, piped-in crowd noise and masks along the sidelines. But if this is what needs to be done to get football, I’m all for it.
The Lions open their season against their NFC North rivals, the Chicago Bears. We had a ton of questions about this Bears team. Most of them were Mitchell Trubisky related, but we settled on just five questions and asked our pal Jeff Berckes of Windy City Gridiron to answer them. Here’s what he had to say.
Trubisky has been granted the starting gig again, did the Bears make the right move?
“At what point? Did they make the right move to trade up to get Trubisky in the 2017 Draft? Obviously not. Did they make the right move to acquire Nick Foles and an unattractive contract from Jacksonville, a team clearly wanting to unload him? No, not a fan of that either. Did the make the right move in picking Trubisky over Foles? No idea.
I hate preseason football but this is the one year that it might have been nice as a fan to see the competition on the field instead of secondhand reports from beat writers who weren’t allowed to film or livestream any information. We’re going off of little real information and picking between these two guys who at this point don’t get me terribly excited.
But, I do trust Matt Nagy, and if this was truly his decision, then I’ll believe that Trubisky has looked improved and/or Foles simply wasn’t ready with the limited camp. It sounds like Foles is an awesome teammate and obviously has been able to come in off the bench to great success in a similar system. If Nagy is behind Trubisky, I’ll trust it, but Foles will be in the minds of many Bears fans if Trubisky strings together a couple of bad outings. The old adage rings true - if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.”
After a step back in 2019, do you predict the Bears defense is ready for a bounce-back year?
“Yeah, I really do. The Bears defense wrecked teams in September and then Akiem Hicks went down with an injury in the London game and they went from great to good. Hicks is back and healthy and the Bears added another legitimate pass rush threat in Robert Quinn. I believe they did that to protect their best player, Khalil Mack, to be able to go hunt. After the Hicks injury, Mack consistently drew the focus of game plans. It will be much more difficult to do that with Quinn and Hicks in the mix.
The key to it all might be rookie second-rounder Jaylon Johnson, set to make his debut at corner on Sunday. I’ll be paying close attention to how he fares against the Lions’ excellent receiver tandem and how much help they shade over his way. Kyle Fuller should still be the All-Pro he’s proven to be on the other side but if the Bears can get solid play out of Johnson, there really isn’t a weakness on this side of the ball.”
What’s the biggest strength of this team?
“Obviously, it’s on the defensive side of the ball and specifically, I believe it will be the pass rush. I’m incredibly excited to see what Mack, Quinn, and Hicks can do to opposing QBs. Complementary pieces like Roy Robertson-Harris and Bilal Nichols could be in for good matchups as well. I hope Chuck Pagano takes advantage of the talent along the front 7 and unleashes fire and brimstone. The Bears are going to need the defense to create plays— either scoring themselves or setting up the offense with great field position—for this team to get to where it wants to be.”
What’s the biggest weakness?
“I mean... do I really need to answer this question? Your audience already knows the answer. Quarterback play.
Trubisky needs to improve on a number of things to be successful this year but it all starts with reading coverages and deep-ball accuracy. If those two things take a leap (a huge if), he could quickly dispel a lot of concerns and run this offense successfully. If not, I think they will have to move on to Foles by midseason when the schedule gets more daunting.”
Who’s winning this game?
“In games like this, it seems that more often than not the squad that scores more points comes out on top. I’m not sure this one is going to be any different...
Okay, honestly, low scoring game, I’ll take my team by 3. Good luck to the Lions and Lions fans this year. Stay healthy.”