Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
After falling to the Detroit Lions last week at Soldier Field in disappointing fashion, the Chicago Bears find themselves in a David vs. Goliath type situation as they prepare to face the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles have become the top team in the NFC with only one loss all season. Bears fans will not have many more chances for excitement this season and if anything they are waiting for some answers when the offseason arrives.
Many watching this Sunday will have hopes that the Bears can follow a similar path and make as much progress as the Eagles have done from quarterback Carson Wentz’s rookie year to his sophomore season. It is also a week where the beginning of a new thought process from the organization, a loss this week would only emphasize the need for the Bears to get started on next season.
On top of trying to win games, the organization has to evaluate every player and start working on projections for next year. The other thing the organization needs to evaluate is the people leading the team in the future aka the head coach and GM.
Although this week looks impossible for the Bears, they have a lot of winnable games coming up but as far as John Fox’s job security, it seems a victory this week is a must after the disappointing losses the last two weeks. It will not be a game where the Bears will have any advantage that they can use against the Eagles. The Bears will have to succeed by playing great defense with a turnover or two and controlling the clock.
It should be a tough challenge for the Bears but at this point they have nothing to lose and they can play the role of overlooked underdogs by giving it to Goliath.
Repeat last week’s first quarter for 60 minutes — Last week the Bears came out of the gate swinging. Mitch Trubisky lead a couple scoring drives and the defense had all but shut down the Lions. Now it was early and the game changed on the last play of the first quarter when the Bears fumbled the ball away.
Nonetheless, it was the inspired play of the team with offensive drives of good play calling and execution with complimentary defense that was surprising to see. The Bears will need that type of play calling and execution for a full 60 minutes if they are going to compete with the Eagles.
Take advantage of any and all opportunities — The Bears will not have many opportunities to create big plays themselves, they haven’t been able to do it all year.
They will have a couple chances to put some pressure on the Eagles with big plays as long as they don’t self inflict mistakes like penalties and missed assignments. Of course it won’t be enough to win if the Bears do not get some help from the Eagles. Last week the Bears had been given help by Matt Stafford with some throws they were able to get their hands on but unable to complete the interception.
By no surprise, if the Bears had made a couple plays on the football then they may have won the game. It is not enough to be in the right spot, players need to finish plays and that is what separates winning playmaking teams to teams that are drafting early in April. The Bears may only get a couple opportunities to turn missteps by the Eagles into mistakes and it is a must this week if they are going to win.
Need the rookies to continue to improve — Last week was a good week overall for the Bears rookies.
It seems like Eddie Jackson has continued to improve and hopefully we will see him make some plays on the football while it is in the air, that is the only thing we haven’t seen Jackson do so far in his early career.
Adam Shaheen had been a noticeable missing in action for most of the season but since Zach Miller went down, he has gotten more opportunities to make plays and had a nice touchdown catch last week against the Lions. Shaheen hasn’t been featured like Trubisky and Cohen but Shaheen’s increase in snaps with flashes of big plays is a great sign for the hopeful future starter at TE.
Tarik Cohen had a chance to make some plays last week and got 44 yards off of just nine carries. Cohen had seemingly fell off and no longer a top playmaker for the offense so it was nice to see some flashes. Ultimately, Cohen is a change of pace back after Howard has impacted the defense. Cohen can be used in other ways besides a running back to help generate big plays but a player like Cohen has to be used properly by an offensive coordinator to be successful.
Finally, Mitch Trubisky has to continue his play with the hopes he improves even more. Mitch has played his best two games the last two weeks and with the flashes of brilliance there has been teachable moments.
Trubisky has to continue to get better at making quicker decisions and his accuracy in the pocket. Trubisky has seemingly gotten a little better each week and hopefully he can take a big step forward this week.
Be ready for a fight — For the Bears to even have a chance in this game, it starts with their attitude. It has been highlighted about the talent gap of these two teams. And all the coaching in the world may not be enough to win this game.
It starts and ends with the Bears preparing themselves for a straight up smash mouth fight for 60 minutes. There will be times when things break down for the Bears and times when opportunity is knocking and in either case the Bears cannot get too high or low just have to keep moving forward and fight hard.
The injuries have mounted for the Bears and they will be without Trevathan and Floyd but could also be without top WRs Bellamy/Inman and Hicks/McPhee on defense. It has to be a mindset this week to throw away the records and go out play hard because no one is giving the Bears a chance.
It’s underdog time: so cue the Rocky music and use plenty of the eye of the tiger, lion, bear or any other ferocious mammal and bring the fight to these Eagles.
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