The champion measurement to measure players is to spot what they do against awesome title successful captious moments.
You tin besides study a batch astir your squad by seeing really it plays erstwhile nan playoffs are nary longer a motivating factor.
The aforesaid goes for a coaching staff.
We person nary thought wherever president George McCaskey and president/CEO Kevin Warren are successful their evaluations of wide head Ryan Poles, coach Matt Eberflus and nan full operation. We’re not judge what still matters for Poles arsenic he assesses Eberflus and backmost Justin Fields. We don’t cognize what’s near for Eberflus to see erstwhile analyzing violative coordinator Luke Getsy.
But there’s a crippled connected Sunday, against different squad pinch only draught position to interest about. Whether aliases not nan Bears’ capacity tin beryllium meaningful for those high-level decisions, connected a micro level, galore players should person plentifulness of inducement to put together beardown performances. And hey, possibly immoderate of those franchise-altering decisions could hinge connected nan last 3 games.
If nan Bears show that effort they pridefulness themselves connected and execute good connected apical of it, possibly it reflects good connected nan coaching unit and tin still impact what’s to come.
This squad seems built to support fighting and to support building connected a instauration that is amended than what nan Bears person had successful caller seasons, from nan defense to receiver DJ Moore. On Christmas Eve, we’ll spot really that group handles a crippled that, for nan standings, intends little.
Now, connected to your questions.
Would you salary Jaylon Johnson large bucks knowing we person Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith astatine cornerback? Or would you usage that money connected different needs via free agency? — Richard C.
This is going to beryllium nan No. 1 free-agency mobility for Poles to answer. Similar to nan backmost question, he mightiness already cognize his plan. I wrote astir Stevenson and Smith this week. Poles’ drafting has created a heavy group of cornerbacks, and nan Bears consciousness really bully astir nan rookies, but there’s nary denying nan level to which Johnson is playing.
“He’s really smart. And smart group fig things out,” cornerbacks coach and passing crippled coordinator Jon Hoke said Thursday. “He has learned and understands nan crippled of shot very, very well. You astir apt don’t watch because I’ve done this for truthful long. But immoderate of nan plays that you don’t see, that aren’t scatter plays, jump retired to me. He knows nan way combinations. He understands what nan backmost tin and can’t do.”
The projected franchise tag for cornerbacks is $18.4 million, per Over nan Cap. The rarely-used modulation tag, which nan Bears placed connected Kyle Fuller, is projected to beryllium $15.885 million. The headdress abstraction is location to return connected that hit, on pinch immoderate would travel pinch a semipermanent contract.
Right now, nan measurement nan defense is playing, why messiness pinch it? Why not usage nan tag to support Johnson and dream to get a woody done? It makes sense, but it’s ne'er that easy, and if Johnson hits nan unfastened market, I ideate request will beryllium high. That’s erstwhile nan Bears mightiness group their value and beryllium comfortable pinch what they person astatine nan position.
Justin Fields and nan Bears grounded to link connected heavy passes successful Cleveland. Here's why
Is nan caller play of Gervon Dexter affirmative capable to opportunity that a three-technique is nary longer a “need” this offseason? — Benjamin F.
In Sunday’s nonaccomplishment to nan Browns, Dexter played 43 percent of nan snaps and Justin Jones, who leads nan squad successful tackles for loss, played 70 percent. If you’re fresh to boost Dexter into that starting role, you’d for illustration to spot him playing much astatine this constituent successful his rookie season.
Part of that is Jones’ performance, and nan seasoned has earned nan spot of nan coaches. Do nan Bears still request a veteran, aliases rookie, to grip first and 2nd downs, while utilizing Dexter mostly connected passing downs successful 2024? Dexter has played very good of late. Per TruMedia, he has 13 pressures and six QB hits successful nan past 5 games. I’m not judge he’s shown he tin grip that jump, but nan position besides mightiness not beryllium a awesome need. Someone for illustration Jones — aliases Jones himself — would beryllium a bully complement to Dexter.
There are already 3 coaching spots disposable heading into 2024 and immoderate are saying that number could spell arsenic precocious arsenic 7 aliases 8 erstwhile nan particulate settles. With 2 imaginable top-five picks and tons of headdress space, wherever would Chicago rank successful nan astir desirable opening rankings for a caput coach? — Steve B.
If nan Bears person a head-coaching vacancy, it should beryllium beautiful appealing. A caput coach would inherit an above-average defense and beryllium portion of an offseason that will see a top-two draught prime and an abundance of headdress space.
The backmost is besides a monolithic portion of it. I’m guessing a coach mightiness beryllium beautiful enticed by nan anticipation of drafting a backmost to beryllium aligned with, aliases possibly personification would beryllium intrigued by Fields’ accomplishment set. Neither of those, though, would beryllium much appealing than Justin Herbert and nan Chargers.
While it mightiness beryllium overstated astatine times, there’s still immoderate allure to being capable to say, “I’m nan caput coach of nan Chicago Bears,” too. Herbert makes nan Chargers No. 1 to me, but nan Bears would astir apt beryllium No. 2 — depending connected each nan openings.
Bears' nonaccomplishment to decorativeness disconnected opponents must beryllium portion of nan Matt Eberflus evaluation
Merry Christmas, Kevin. What has happened to nan moving crippled and why? Thought that was going to beryllium a spot of nan offense, but it conscionable seems to person vanished astatine this point. I cognize Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman were hurting, but what astir Roschon Johnson and Fields? Shouldn’t nan tally crippled beryllium nan cardinal that unlocks nan offense? — Timothy M.
The Bears do rank 5th successful nan NFL successful rushing yards per crippled and ninth successful yards per carry, but they had only 88 yards against nan Browns. The 3 moving backs mixed for 38 yards connected 17 carries. The Bears had to get imaginative pinch Velus Jones Jr. to get things moving.
Fields is still nan motor that makes nan tally crippled go, and a batch of those large plays travel from scrambles, but defenses are doing a overmuch amended occupation containing him this season. His yards-per-carry mean is down from 7.1 to 5.1. His violative unreserved EPA (expected points added) is down from 1.31 to 0.07, per TruMedia.
Foreman hasn’t been nan aforesaid since his midseason spurt, perchance slowed by nan wounded that kept him retired of Week 13. Johnson missed clip pinch a concussion and hasn’t gotten a ton of carries — much than six only erstwhile since Week 4. Herbert, arsenic you mentioned, missed 5 games pinch an ankle wounded and hasn’t been nan same. It’s been a operation of not having backs astatine 100 percent and defenses doing a amended occupation keying successful connected nan run.
It’s still an important facet of nan offense, and successful these last 3 games, I’d beryllium willing to spot if Johnson tin get much bid arsenic a lead back.
What is Luke Getsy's domiciled successful Justin Fields and nan Bears' struggles connected offense?
Please prevention america from nan changeless QB chat and reside nan punting. — Daniel A.
OK, it’s taken agelong enough. I’ve been bullied into talking punting — but it has been an rumor this season. Second-year punter Trenton Gill ranks 37th retired of 37 punters successful nett yards per punt (37.2). His wide mean is 45.4 yards, which is 27th. His nett yardage is down 3 afloat yards, which is simply a large drop. If you’re into punting stats, a group has formed “Puntalytics” to effort to champion measurement punters, and it doesn’t look awesome for Gill.
Week 15 punter rankings, folks pic.twitter.com/brGICjL8R4
— Puntalytics (@ThePuntRunts) December 19, 2023
I was beautiful impressed by Gill arsenic a rookie. He did person a season-high 10 punts successful Cleveland and a nett of 40.5 yards, his second-best full of nan season, and that was successful reliable conditions, but I wouldn’t beryllium amazed to spot a punting title adjacent outpouring and summer.
Kyler Murray and nan Cardinals hit nan Bears nan past clip they played astatine Soldier Field. (Jamie Sabau / Getty Images)
Bears-Cardinals nosy facts
• The Bears lead nan all-time bid 57-29-6 making love to 1920.
• The Bears person played much games against nan Packers, but that bid began successful 1921. The Chicago Cardinals hit nan Decatur Staleys 7-6 connected Nov. 28, 1920, to statesman this series.
• The Cardinals past came to Soldier Field connected Dec. 5, 2021, and they won 33-22. Kyler Murray was 11-for-15 passing for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed for 2 different scores. Andy Dalton threw 4 interceptions for nan Bears.
• The Bears person mislaid 3 successful a statement astatine location to nan Cardinals. Their past triumph complete Arizona astatine Soldier Field came successful 2003 erstwhile Brock Forsey ran for 134 yards successful a 28-3 victory.
Game picks: Bears (-4) vs. Cardinals, 3:25 p.m. connected Fox
Kevin Fishbain: Bears 29, Cardinals 26
(8-6 consecutive up, 7-5-2 against nan spread)
Maybe it’s nan Christmas spirit, but I could spot some teams lighting up nan scoreboard. The Cardinals had 436 yards of discourtesy against nan 49ers past week, and it mightiness beryllium asking a batch for nan Bears defense to put together different stout effort aft giving it everything they had successful Cleveland. The Bears yet participate a crippled pinch much blue-chip players connected nan field, and that’ll beryllium nan difference.
Adam Jahns: Bears 24, Cardinals 16
The Bears defense should person different bully day. It should nutrient much takeaways. But this crippled is besides a favorable matchup for what nan Bears want to do offensively. Arizona ranks 31st successful tally defense, allowing astir 140 yards per game, and 31st successful opposing backmost passer standing astatine 103.8.
Dan Pompei: Bears 24, Cardinals 17
Now this is thing we haven’t said often this play — nan Bears intelligibly are nan superior squad successful this game. This is only nan 3rd clip successful 2023 they’ve been favored (they besides were favored successful nan play opener against nan Packers and against nan Panthers), and nan first clip they person been favored by much than a section goal. Skeptics are concerned nan Bears will beryllium dragging aft blowing a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead against nan Browns. But nan Bears person shown they tin shingle disconnected a nonaccomplishment that looks devastating. After they blew double-digit, fourth-quarter leads against nan Broncos and Lions, nan Bears responded pinch victories complete nan Commanders and Vikings.
Jon Greenberg: Bears 30, Cardinals 13
I’m back location successful Ohio, wherever I utilized to watch shot pinch my grandpa Curtis. His acquainted refrain when we’d be watching Barry Sanders aliases Emmitt Smith was “He’s nary Biggie Goldberg!” That was his aged classmate astatine Pitt. Goldberg, arsenic Cardinals historians know, was later portion of nan “Million-Dollar Backfield” for nan Chicago Cardinals. It’s a shame they moved, isn’t it? How nosy would Chicago beryllium arsenic a two-team town?
Doug Haller (Arizona writer): Bears 24, Cardinals 16
Despite their record, nan Cardinals person fought. They won astatine Pittsburgh 3 weeks ago, truthful it’s not for illustration they don’t person a chance. Kyler Murray is getting much comfortable successful a caller discourtesy and tight extremity Trey McBride has emerged arsenic a threat. That said, this squad has nary separator for error. Injuries person constricted their violative punch and nan defense is wearing down. Murray will support it close, but that’s astir it.
(Top photograph of Jaylon Johnson: Todd Rosenberg / Getty Images)
“The Football 100,” nan definitive ranking of the NFL’s champion 100 players of each time, is connected waste now. Order it here.