Year 2 crew, new ground game tactics, fun facts about Roquan and other bear balls
It’s like a good day for grilling. The temperatures aren’t perfect, but I’m not one to turn down a sunny afternoon in the yard.
• I like Roquan Smith’s post here:
• While Smith has yet to make a Pro Bowl or earn first-team All-Pro honors, there’s no denying his excellence. And while racking up tackles in the modern game isn’t a sign of the greatness it once was, a deeper dive into the numbers helps tell the overall story better. Because it’s not just that Smith is a tackle machine, it’s that he doesn’t miss tackles or easily complete tight ends and backs. He harasses quarterbacks as a pass-rusher and pass-defender. Smith is a versatile player who does everything well.
• No wonder his extension is a priority for the new Bears front office.
• The duality of man:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 21, 2022
• Chicago’s new defensive lineup has me wondering how the Bears will pair linebackers going forward. Clearly, Roquan is cemented in his place. And while Nicholas Morrow is a free agent signing a one-year deal to “prove it,” part of me wonders if rookie Jack Sanborn can make some noise. Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report calls the Wisconsin product the Bears’ most exciting UDFA signing, and with good reason. Sanborn has been an eye-catching tackle throughout his collegiate career. To have 221 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks over the past three years is impressive. So does the nugget Sobleski drops on Sanborn’s ranking as the third-best Power 5 linebacker on Pro Football Focus’ scale since the start of 2020. Only highly rated Leo Chenal and Devin Lloyd had higher ratings. And when you’re on a roster that also includes Nakobe Dean, you’re definitely doing something right.
• The crew of year 2:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 22, 2022
• Justin Fields is obviously the Year 2 player we want to see reach new heights. However, let’s not lose sight of Khalil Herbert. Day 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Herbert has found a way to contribute as a kick return specialist and running back. The best draft classes have players participating in unexpected ways, and Herbert did that last year. We saw his use of kick returns dwindle when the Bears used him more on offense due to injuries that kept David Montgomery and Damien Williams out of the lineup. Based on the production he’s showcased in limited snaps, I can see the Bears further reducing his special teams snaps and giving him more offensive touches.
• It probably deserves a deeper dive at some point this offseason, but it’s worth asking now as we think about it – what does a best-case scenario timeshare look like for Montgomery and Herbert? I feel like new playmaker Luke Getsy should have a good idea of what it is could look like Chicago, if only because it had a similar enigma in Green Bay. Keep in mind that Matt LaFleur was the brainchild and offensive caller for the Packers. But maybe Getsy took notes on the instant share between Aaron Jones (51.79%) and AJ Dillon (42.65%). We could see something similar with Montgomery and Herbert this season. Stay tuned.
• A running game that deploys the ground attack with plays that build on something rather than calling a random assortment of plays because you collected then would help the Bears immensely – which was a talking point here :
The offense lacked fluidity. He had no identity. The pieces felt like they were called randomly. As if there was no rhyme or reason. Just a play call because I have it in my book. A semblance of a scheme with a purpose could do wonders.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) May 22, 2022
The 2022 Bears might have a 60/40 pass-to-run ratio, but the scheme lends itself to running play and nearly every pass will be married to an out-of-running play look. That’s what I’m most looking forward to seeing in Getsy’s attack. No more unnecessary random calls.
— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) May 22, 2022
• I’m on this view from new RB coach David Walker (via NBC Sports Chicago):
“Our running game has to complement our passing, and vice versa,” Bears running backs coach David Walker told reporters Tuesday after the Bears’ second OTA practice. “Justin will be a much better quarterback if we can be productive running the football. I think everyone understands that and knows that. So we’re trying to put a premium on the two, really, and the offense is established, so it sort of marries. The things that we do from a running game marry the things that we’re going to do from a passing perspective, the type of people that we’ve been trying to acquire fit certain roles in that particular offense.
“So again, Justin will play better if we as an attacker can direct the ball effectively. It’s going to open up a lot of things for him.”
• Tired: Set up the race for fun.
Inspired: Using the running game as part of a balanced offense rooted in plays that play against each other instead of the disorganized mayhem we’ve seen from callers since the start of the 2019 season.
Wired: Execute this triple option because no one will see it coming!
OK, maybe I went a little overboard with that one.
• The scoreboard looks pretty open for the Bulls. I’ll be curious to see who they cut it with before draft day:
Arizona Standout Bennedict Mathurin says he interviewed the Bullshttps://t.co/3Lsjq9ysqc pic.twitter.com/n3je99oyjv
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 20, 2022
If you missed the ugliness in New York or the following “explanation”: https://t.co/5iF7fSr3h2
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 22, 2022