Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
Which Bears do you think deserve Pro Bowl consideration halfway through the season?
I’d say at this point the Bears players who deserve the most Pro Bowl consideration are outside linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, cornerback Kyle Fuller, running back Tarik Cohen and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Mack should be a slam dunk after he was named the NFC defensive player of the month for September assuming he returns from his ankle injury and plays anywhere near close to the same level. I thought Hicks should have been voted to the Pro Bowl last year, but he’s playing even better this year, defending the run and the pass and serving pretty much as the heart and soul of the defense. I think Fuller is performing as well as any defensive back in the NFL. He has been playing with incredible confidence and tenacity. He is tied for the league lead with four interceptions and he broke up two passes last Sunday in Buffalo that led to picks by teammates Leonard Floyd and Adrian Amos Jr. Trubisky, meanwhile, has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,949 yards with 16 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 96.1 passer rating. He’s thrown for more TDs than the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and more yards than the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, two of the NFC’s top quarterbacks. I also think Cohen deserves to go because he is an incredibly dangerous playmaker who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. Other Bears who also could garner Pro Bowl consideration by playing well over the next few games include safety Eddie Jackson, linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith, nose tackle Eddie Goldman, tight end Trey Burton, running back Jordan Howard, left tackle Charles Leno Jr., receiver Allen Robinson II, center Cody Whitehair and special-teams standout Sherrick McManis.
Why do you think that Mitchell Trubisky is getting criticized by some NFL analysts? I heard one say that he is the “Blake Bortles of the NFC.” What’s the deal?
In this era of shouting talking heads, it seems like everyone has to have their own extreme “hot take.” Many of those are ridiculous opinions that I believe are put out there simply to attract attention. Some of them have included criticism of Mitchell Trubisky, like the comparison you mentioned with Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Nothing against Bortles, but if you actually look at the two quarterbacks, Trubisky has a better completion percentage (64.2-60.3), has thrown considerably more touchdown passes (16-10) and fewer interceptions (7-8) and has a much higher passer rating (96.1-81.4). That doesn’t even factor in Trubisky’s better record and superior running ability. I know one of the analysts who recently criticized Trubisky famously said that Eagles coach Doug Pederson “might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen,” and Pederson followed by winning the Super Bowl. So, when you hear unfounded criticism of Trubisky or anyone else, I urge you to consider the source. It’s just noise.
How will the Bears approach playing the Lions twice in 12 days? Do you think they’ll hold some stuff back on offense and defense for the second meeting?
I’m sure the Bears are preparing for Sunday’s game against the Lions knowing that they will play them again on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Here’s what coach Matt Nagy had to say about facing them twice in such a short period of time: “You’ll have a strategy to how you go about that. They’ll have the same thing with that. There’s always leftovers from your call sheet that you didn’t get to, so it’s really not that challenging. We have so many plays, in particular on offense, that believe it or not you could probably play two games from plays that you don’t use. So, it’s not that big of a difference from the coaching side of it.”