The Chicago Bears have lost four in a row, and it’s just about guaranteed that the team that was once expected to make a run in January very likely won’t get a whiff of the playoffs this year. Currently sitting at 3-5 and at the bottom of the division they won in 2018, the Bears have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this year.
And for Bears fans, team analysts, or people vaguely familiar with the team at all–this season is looking more and more like a gross amalgam of the John Fox-meets-Marc Trestman era of football they never hoped to see again. But alas, here we all are.
Bears Struggling Mightily on Offense
In the first half Sunday against the Eagles (a game they would go on to lose 22-14) the Bears managed to run a total of 15 plays on five drives for -10 yards of total offense (sacks included).
As he has all season, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky looked shaky through most of the game, but he wasn’t alone.
The entire offense was awful against the Eagles. Tarik Cohen, once a force on offense, dropped two passes and has twice as many drops this season as he does big plays.
The tight ends were either invisible or detrimental to the team (Trey Burton had no catches in a game in which he was named co-captain, and Adam Shaheen’s inability to avoid costly penalties coupled with his muffled catch on the final kickoff effectively ended the game).
The offensive line played horrid again, and Charles Leno Jr. picked up another holding penalty. Even the team’s two best offensive players, Allen Robinson and David Montgomery, dropped huge game-changing passes. The Bears’ once-feared defense also didn’t play as well as they hoped, allowing a physical Eagles offensive line to manhandle them for most of the game.
Considering how it seems as though nearly everyone on the team not named Montgomery or Robinson is regressing, the question that begs to be asked is: is the entire team playing lackluster football because they don’t believe in their starting quarterback? Or is it because they know Nagy won’t bench the struggling Trubisky?
On Sunday during the Week 9 game in Philadelphia, former NFL quarterback and current analyst Dan Orlovsky posed the question that could be at the very center of the current trouble in Chicago. Orlovsky tweeted that Matt Nagy had to ask himself a very important question at the half: “Do I wanna lose my locker room to try and save my QB, or lose my QB to try and save my locker room?”
When Trubisky came out to start the second half, many analysts were surprised that backup Chase Daniel wasn’t entering the game.
When asked Monday whether the team has lost confidence in Trubisky, Matt Nagy said what everyone would expect him to say: that his team absolutely still believes in his quarterback. But Nagy has to say that. If he says anything else, that would only create more panic and drama around his team, and he won’t do that.
While it’s obvious that Chase Daniel is not a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback, is he the best option right now in Chicago? One longtime NFL analyst thinks he could be the only answer right now.
Can Chase Daniel Give the Bears a Boost?
When asked on Twitter Monday how the Bears can right their steadily sinking ship, analyst and writer Peter King suggested that the team bench starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, saying that it would be both best for the team, as well as the “merciful” thing to do for Trubisky.
King may be right, but Bears beat writers are divided on the subject. Half seem to think there’s no value in seeing what Trubisky has at the expense of this team and a solid defense. Those that don’t think Trubisky should be benched rightly note that doing so would be a huge decision that would need the entire organization’s approval, including that of owner George McCaskey.
Benching Trubisky would also put GM Ryan Pace in even hotter water, and considering Nagy was supposed to turn Trubisky into a competent quarterback, benching Trubisky would reflect badly on Nagy, as well.
Thus, the current situation in Chicago is this: the team clearly isn’t comfortable with Trubisky at the helm. Half of Nagy’s play calls have to be the result of his current QB’S limitations, and it’s obvious that the team isn’t playing their best football with Mitch at the helm. And yet…
Will Nagy Actually Bench Trubisky?
King may be correct–Trubisky looks rattled, uncomfortable, and quite frankly, scared at times. His own coach has him watching televised games (on mute) to get a new perspective on his leadership–or lack thereof. Benching him might be the merciful thing to do at this point.
Benching Trubisky has also been suggested by former Bears center Olin Kreutz, who said that a benching doesn’t have to be a season-ending thing; it could be for a few games, or at least it could put a little fire under him–because right now, there is no competition for his job.
Nagy has said on multiple occasions that he isn’t benching him, and everyone knows how limited Chase Daniel is. But once the locker room is fully lost because the Mitch Trubisky experiment just had to go on…what are the Bears going to do then?
All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson said Monday that the team has not lost faith in their head coach, either:
Benching Mitch may be illogical to those who can’t fathom working outside of the confines of football norms–but it also might be the only way for Nagy to show his team that he cares more about them as a unit than he does about the one guy who may be holding them all back.