The Chicago Bears find themselves in mild disarray following a disappointing Week 1, and some cracks between top players and the coaching staff are already starting to show.
On Wednesday, September 13, reporters asked newly-acquired defensive end DeMarcus Walker why he and teammate Yannick Ngakoue weren’t on the field on a third-and-goal play from the one-yard line, on which Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones scored a touchdown.
Walker’s initial response indicated he was unhappy with the coaching decision made on that play, before realizing the territory he was entering and attempting to walk his comments back a bit.
“I know exactly what you’re talking about,” Walker said, per Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Chicago. “No comment on that one. I know exactly what happened wrong. We just have to be more efficient, be more … we’ve got to be ready. I know exactly what happened.”
DeMarcus Walker Among Top Performers for Bears in Week 1
The one bright spot for Chicago last Sunday was actually the run defense, which might explain Walker’s frustration with not being on the field during a goal-line scoring play.
Chicago held the Packers to just 92 rushing yards on 32 attempts for an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Walker was exceptional against both the run and the pass during his Bears debut, according to advanced analytics that measure pass-rushing success.
Per Next Gen Stats, Walker was fourth in the NFL in Week 1 with an interior pass-rush get-off time of 0.75 seconds.
Chicago produced six tackles for loss against Green Bay, three of them coming from Ngakoue (2) and Walker (1). The sole sack of the afternoon belonged to Ngakoue.
Bears Secondary Will Be Key Against Bucs in Week 2
Tampa Bay didn’t run the ball well against Minnesota, picking up just 73 yards on 33 carries. However, the Vikings defense couldn’t stop quarterback Baker Mayfield when it counted, as he went 21-of-34 for 173 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday.
Chicago’s secondary struggled against the Green Bay passing attack, allowing quarterback Jordan Love to throw for 245 yards and three touchdowns. While the Bucs weren’t overly impressive moving the football through the air or on the ground, it’s clear that the most dangerous elements of their offense are wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
The Bears have a young secondary, save for safety Eddie Jackson, that will be called upon to step up if the team hopes to get back on track and even its record to 1-1 on the season. Continued pressure on Mayfield, like the kind Walker and Ngakoue were able to muster at times against Love, will also be crucial to helping the defensive backfield cover the Bucs’ tall, athletic receivers.