LAKE FOREST – Let’s start here: The Bears’ game tapes are well worth watching again.
Through the first three weeks of this season, there have been some remarkable performances from Khalil Mack, Prince Amukamara, Akiem Hicks, Roy Robertson-Harris, Kyle Long, Allen Robinson and others worthy of our attention, and with a club whose arrow is pointing up but still has a lot of room to improve, it’s time for all of us to get back to studying the tape and watching these guys grow.
The Arizona tape is not kind to Mitch Trubisky, but when you study the full body of work, it’s not as awful as some would have you think.
Trubisky made a few gorgeous throws Sunday, most notably a 39-yard dime to Robinson, and his athleticism and footwork on the move in the pocket was actually very good.
Trubisky’s problem is it’s clear the game just hasn’t slowed down for him yet. He isn’t seeing things he should down the field, and at times he doesn’t keep his eyes down the field long enough for plays to develop.
More seriously, what was supposed to be his greatest asset, accuracy, just isn’t there right now.
We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact he has been good enough to be 2-1, but In Arizona he was a C.
It’s fair to wonder if coach Matt Nagy is asking him to do too much trying to install the entire offense at once.
Bears running backs rate a B for their performances in Arizona.
Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen both had their numbers diminished by five runs for losses – four of which were caused by well-timed run blitzes from Arizona – and a number of no gains, but when there was a crease or a hole, Howard and Cohen found them.
Receivers earned a B- against the Cardinals.
While Trubisky’s development is the biggest issue with the passing game, it was hard to find a lot of open receivers Sunday. Pass catchers are doing a nice job holding onto footballs that get to them, but without knowing the play calls, it’s hard to say how good the route running is.
Arizona’s game plan appeared to be to take away the run and Robinson, and other than the one big hit on the 39-yarder, for the most part the Cardinals succeeded.
Tight end Trey Burton’s talent is undeniable and exciting, but he can’t run a 4-yard route on third-and-5.
Wideout Anthony Miller appeared headed for a breakout game when he got hurt.
The offensive line also deserved a B-, with that grade dropped a notch because of the number of no gains in the run. The run blitzes aren’t on them. That’s just good defense.
Kyle Long continues to make at least a play or two a game that jumps out at you, but Charles Leno was the Bears’ best blocker against Arizona, a lot of the time in a matchup with Chandler Jones that he clearly won.
On defense the front seven earned an A-, while the secondary was a B.
Khalil Mack easily was the best player on the field for the third straight week, and Hicks, Robertson-Harris, Bilal Nichols, Aaron Lynch and Danny Trevathan all contributed splash plays and were stout all day.
Leonard Floyd hasn’t got a sack yet, but he did a lot of nice things against the Cardinals and is looking more and more like he’ll be the player the Bears thought they were drafting when all the protection comes off that injured hand.
The secondary again played well, with Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller each having his best game this season, but someone blew a coverage on the Cardinals’ first touchdown, and they became vulnerable when Amukamara went down and the Cardinals started to test Kevin Tolliver, although the kid wasn’t bad.
Nagy’s game management was again “curious” at times, particularly when he threatened to go on fourth-and-1 with 4:31 to play instead of kicking a 43-yard field goal for the lead, and then wasted a timeout before kicking the winning three-pointer.
But when you win on the road with subpar quarterback play, it’s hard to give the coaches anything less than a B.