Category Archives: Rumors

Defensive Issues Show in Bears’ Week 4 Pro Football Focus Grades

Last week, the Chicago Bears got a better game from quarterback Justin Fields but it was not enough to overcome offensive line issues and an early deficit forcing abandonment of the run game and they lost 41-10.

Week 4 saw the offense put up 21 points in the first half, take a 28-7 lead in the third quarter, and Fields log the first 300-yard passing game of his career only to end up with a 31-28 loss to the now 1-3 Denver Broncos.

And even a cursory glance at the grades from Pro Football Focus shows one side letting down.

Pro Football Focus Grades Bears Defense Harshly in Week 4

Bears Young Secondary Surprises

First, no unit on the offense received lower than the offensive line’s 65.5 grade in Week 4, per PFF. Not one unit on the defense was able to reach even that mark, with the coverage units, perhaps surprisingly, grading out as the best unit with a 63.1 mark. That group was down three starters, including safety Eddie Jackson.

But two of the five highest grades on defense went to those fill-in defensive backs. The top spot went to nickelback Greg Stroman.

Rookies Tyrique Stevenson and Terrell Smith were the others.

There were several breakdowns in the second half, namely the fourth quarter with Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson bucking his trend and hitting receivers for gains of 25 yards and 48 yards on drives that led to scores.

It was in those situations that the absence of Jackson, Jaylon Johnson, and Kyler Gordon – who is on injured reserve – were felt the most.

Bears Place Kyler Gordon on IR, Sign Practice Squad DB to Roster

Defensive Line Falls Flat Again

Of course, while the secondary largely did its job, the pass rush was once again mostly a no-show. Chicago recorded just one sack on Wilson with four total hits. Starting EDGE rushers Yannick Ngakoue and DeMarcus Walker averaged out to a 53.6 grade at getting to the quarterback.

Their best performers were defensive tackles Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter Sr., and Zacch Pickens each of whom received grades of 63.7 (Dexter) with Picken leading the way with a 69.0.

But only Billings and Walker played the run well – no other linemen received higher than a 59.9 grade (Ngakoue).

The Bears invested a lot of resources in this side of the ball and the results have not followed.

Health has played a factor, but not in the front seven where the Bears have had everyone healthy and available since Week 1. Perhaps they need to get their backend back in order to buy their rush an additional hitch by the quarterback.

Bears Spent Big at Linebacker This Offseason

No linebacker graded out higher than Jack Sanborn’s 52.2 which is an issue if only because the Bears spent big money to bring in linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards to help solidify the middle of the field.

This is not to say that they played particularly poorly in Week 4, despite their grades.

Edwards led the team with seven solo tackles while Edmunds had six. The former also recorded two of the Bears’ four hits on Wilson while the latter logged a tackle for loss. But, since neither player is particularly adept at creating takeaways, their impact has not stood out as it otherwise might.

Bear Downs: 4 Things to Watch for in Week 4 vs. Broncos

In a matchup of two 0-3 teams, the Chicago Bears return home after back-to-back rough road games to host the Denver Broncos.

Both teams are coming off blowout losses.

The Bears lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 41-10 on the road. The Broncos lost to the Miami Dolphins, who set a new record for most points scored in a single game in 60 years beating Denver 70-20.

No matter which team wins this contest, they will not escape the pressure built up over their respective slow starts. It will take more than one win against a similarly struggling team to accomplish that much. But keep an eye on these four keys; they could point to who will come out on top on Sunday.

Watch These 4 Things in Bears vs. Broncos in Week 4

Russell Wilson Outplaying Narrative

There was a time when Russell Wilson was the rumored apple of the Bears’ eye. He was a ready-made, Super Bowl-winning quarterback who was seeking a new home.

Chicago made their offer, but to no avail and Wilson ended up getting a trade to Denver. But things have not gone smoothly with the Broncos firing head coach Nathaniel Hackett after one season. A season in which Wilson’s play contributed heavily to the team’s myriad issues.

This season, under former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, has also started poorly.

But Wilson’s play has not been nearly as detrimental as it was last season. That could spell trouble for a banged-up Bears secondary that will be without Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson in addition to Kyler Gordon who remains on injured reserve. An inexperienced secondary and non-existent pass rush loom large.

Chicago ranks 30th against the pass and 28th in pressure rate, per Pro Football Reference.

Wilson is completing 70.6% of his passes when kept clean and a still-efficient 66.2% when he’s not blitzed, something the Bears will be hard-pressed to do down three starters in the secondary.

The Broncos’ passer has been kept clean on more than 59% of his dropbacks this season, per Pro Football Focus.

Justin Fields Bounceback Spot

There are only four teams that have a lower pressure rate than the Bears this season, and the Broncos are one of them. Not just that, but their 10.8% rate (compared to 16.7% for the Bears) is the worst mark in the NFL through three-plus weeks. And it’s not particularly close, with the second-worst mark being 14.2% by the Las Vegas Raiders.

Wide receiver Chase Claypool said he expected a big game out of Fields this week and a clean pocket would go a long way towards that.

Bears’ Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool Weigh In on Justin Fields

Fields has been kept clean on better than 52% of his dropbacks, and he has completed 65.5% of his passes in those situations. The biggest dropoff from Wilson’s play to Fields’ is how the two are handling pressure.

Wilson is completing 55.6% of his passes still to just 43.3% for Fields.

It will still be on the Bears quarterback to get the ball out in a timely fashion. But that could look a lot different this week than it has in Weeks 1-through-3.

The Bears continue to talk like a confident group. And they are beginning to get whole on offense with right guard Nate Davis set to step back into the starting lineup. He missed Week 2 and served as a backup in Week 3. It won’t help them this week, but starting left guard Teven Jenkins also looks to be on track to make his return sooner rather than later once eligible.

Backfield Carries Split

Through three weeks, starting running back Khalil Herbert has rushed for 93 yards on 23 carries. That is a 4.0 yards per carry average and the third-fewest yards of any back with at least that many totes this season.

His 52.2% success rate ranks 14th among that same group of 38 players. It could also point to a need to lean on the backfield a bit more when possible.

But there appears to be a shift in the backfield.

Rookie Roschon Johnson has rushed for 90 yards on 17 carries – a 5.3-yards-per-carry average and a 55.9% success rate. And, while it was Herbert who drew the start in Week 3, it was Johnson who received the first touch out of the two: a carry up the middle that he took for five yards.

Herbert went on to outsnap Johnson for the second consecutive week after the latter received the lion’s share in the season opener after it got out of hand. But the disparity from Week 2 to Week 3 went from 10 to five.

If Johnson continues to prove himself, that disparity could continue to shrink and even trend back in Johnson’s favor.

Offensive and Defensive Play-Calling

It would be easy to point to one side of the ball and say they need to pick it up. But that would be as foolhardy as pointing to just one player. The real issue is that everyone needs to be better and that starts with the coaches.

This is not an opinion.

Two players – Claypool and fellow wideout DJ Moore – have either come out and said or agreed with sentiments that they are not being utilized properly. That is a charge that, again, falls on the quarterback to get the ball to his playmakers, all of whom have expressed their confidence in him.

But it also falls on the shoulders of offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. He has to call plays that help Fields get into the type of rhythm early that will have him playing freely late.

History shows the Bears can keep this game close at least into halftime.

The Bears were tied or trailed by one score at halftime 11 times since the start of last season. And they have found themselves tied or trailing by one score through three scores six times. They are 2-9 and 2-4 in those games, respectively.

Even at its best, the Bears’ offense struggled to keep the pressure on opposing offenses to keep up. And the defense’s failures to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks has similarly been a recurring issue. How will interim defensive coordinator – head coach Matt Eberflus – adjust to produce the desired and needed results?

Insider Floats Timeline for Justin Fields as Bears’ Starting QB

If things don’t turn around soon, the Chicago Bears might need to start thinking about alternatives under center for next season.

“Justin Fields probably has a few weeks,” NBC Sports’ Peter King said on the “Parkins & Spiegel Show” on September 26 “Right now, obviously it looks like they’re going to have to draft somebody. But I still think that there’s definitely time to consider the future at quarterback.

Peter King: Bears’ Justin Fields ‘Probably Has a Few Weeks’ to Turn Things Around

“As of right now, I don’t think it makes any sense to throw Justin Fields out with the garbage. You can’t just say in one month we have made a categorical decision on the quarterback. I think you gotta give him time. … When you look at the Chicago Bears, and you look at, let’s just say the next six or seven weeks … this is not a schedule where you say, “Yup, it’s impossible, let’s just move one. We know enough about Justin Fields.

“There’s no sense to do that. You gotta let him play.”

Bears Rallying Around Justin Fields, Each Other Amid Turmoil

King cited Bears general manager Ryan Poles only committing to giving Fields the opportunity to prove himself as a franchise quarterback this season. Poles did not draft Fields and has two first-round picks in the 2024 draft after trading out of the No. 1 slot this season.

“As a staff, we talk about what we need to see,” Poles said on August 30. “But they’ve had those conversations, and he kind of knows what’s expected of him. And, really, he’s a goal-oriented guy, and he’s competitive. I’m sure his stuff is more aggressive than what ours is, which is good. That’s what you want your guys to be like.”

Justin Fields Under Heavy Scrutiny.

Fields was a preseason darling. But he has come under heavy fire for his slow start to the season amid heightened expectations for the team with an improved roster.

The third-year quarterback has completed 58% of his passes for 536 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Perhaps most concerning, he is not running like he did last season. Fields set the Bears’ single-season franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback.

He and the Bears coaching staff emphasized playing from the pocket this offseason but the results have made Fields play “robotic” by his own admission. Fields set out to play freer in Week 3 but found similar results.

“It’s getting to this point where it feels like Justin is going to be the perfect scapegoat,” said former NFL quarterback Tim Jenkins on Bernstein & Holmes on September 26.

“There’s so much more dysfunction than Fields. But when you’re a quarterback in the National Football League, and you’re drafted high, that tends to be the thing. … At the same time, I’m like I don’t know who on Earth as a quarterback could fix what’s going on right now with what seems to be the Bears’ issues.”

Justin Fields ‘Running for His Life’, Insider Says

“I think there are a lot of scouts, front office people, people who evaluated Justin Fields before the draft a couple years ago and thought he was okay,” King said before making a couple of notable comparisons for Fields.

“You look at some quarterbacks in the NFL – you look at Steve Young. He was a great mobile quarterback … You look at Lamar Jackson. Excellent mobile quarterback,” King said. “The difference is, that Steve Young can play a complete game from the pocket. That Lamar Jackson can play 90% of a game in the pocket and tear you apart and win the game. And Justin Fields just hasn’t shown that yet.”

King is also not putting the full weight of Fields’ struggles on his shoulders.

“It’s hard to do that when you’re running for your life,” King said. “I can’t totally blame Justin Fields because, when I watch the Bears play, he’s running for his life too much.”

PFF Grades Paint Telling Picture of Bears’ Offensive Woes

Perhaps his day was saved by that final drive that saw Justin Fields march the Chicago Bears down the field, going 5-for-6 and finding DJ Moore in the endzone for a meaningless and yet still-needed touchdown. Before that, Fields was 6-for-16 with just 51 passing yards and an interception on the day.

This after a week that saw the quarterback note that he felt he wasn’t playing his type of game, overthinking the lessons he was being taught.

In Sunday’s 41-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, very little if anything was different. But the Bears’ grades from this game courtesy of Pro Football Focus, while not gospel by any means, do paint a very telling picture of an organization that could be on the brink of making a monumental decision:

Potentially moving on from Justin Fields

PFF Grades Show Justin Fields 2nd Best Bears Player in Week 3

Fields checked in with the second-highest grade of the game for the Bears in Week 3, finishing just behind fullback Khari Blasingame with a 69.9 overall score. The third-year passer also recorded a 69.2 passing grade, marking his best game of the season, per PFF, despite him attempting his fewest passing attempts and throwing for his fewest yards of the season so far.

His passing grade is the third-best mark of his career, and the overall grade his best since Week 16 of last season.

After the game, Fields was at a loss for the reason behind his struggles this season. But he did note that defenses had a plan for him – Sunday that was Kansas City using a spy – and that it was working.

For all of his struggles, a couple of former players came to his defense in one form or another.

“The Bears offensive tape is a disaster,” posted former NFL quarterback-turned-ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky on September 24. “And Fields is the least of the issues.”

“You can’t fix it until the season, probably, is over,” Hall-of-Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw said after the game. “They’re not going to fire their coach in the middle of the season, that’s not their style. I do believe if this continues, and it looks like it will, they’re going to get a new coach.”

Offensive Line Woes Amid Injuries

Chicago used its third starting offensive line combination of the season with Larry Borom taking over for the injured Braxton Jones (IR, neck) and Ja’Tyre Carter reprising his role in place of Nate Davis who was active but in a backup role after missing most of the week’s practices.

On Sunday, Carter received the second-lowest grade of the afternoon, finishing ahead of only wide receiver Darnell Mooney who had just one target that went incomplete.

Chase Claypool, Lucas Patrick, and Cody Whitehair also finished with bottom-six grades. But it wasn’t because of their pass-blocking with all three linemen contributing positively to the team’s highest pass-blocking grade of the season. Was that because of Fields’ late drive or vice versa?

What happened to the league’s best rushing attack from 2022?

The Bears are still without starting left guard Teven Jenkins and having rookie right tackle Darnell Wright learn on the fly. That pushed Whitehair back to guard after he worked at center throughout training camp. After previously brushing aside the concerns over a lack of preseason reps, head coach Matt Eberflus pointed to the lack thereof due to injuries as a hindrance.


A week of turmoil leading up to a showdown against the reigning champions was always a recipe for disaster. Being unable to get the running game established because of the early deficit did not help matters. How the Bears navigate the next few weeks will be critical, for the organization and Fields.

Bears Schedule Lightens Up

While the Chiefs in Arrowhead were going to be a tough ask regardless, it appears that the league underestimated the stability around Jordan Love easing his transition. Likewise, Baker Mayfield’s assimilation into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been more fruitful than anticipated leaving the Bears’ opening salvo less depressing, if only slightly.

But they have three games against teams who failed to make the playoffs last season in the next four weeks, starting at home with the Denver Broncos in Week 4.

Three of their next four opponents are also winless; the other has quarterback issues of its own.

Bears Downs: 4 Things to Watch For in Week 3 vs. Chiefs

The Chicago Bears can put a rough week behind them with a strong performance on Sunday while not even needing to get a win.

They enter Week 3 against the hosting Kansas City Chiefs as massive underdogs, ranking 24th in scoring and 31st in points allowed. The Chiefs’ offense ranks 22nd in scoring and the defense ranks third in points allowed.

The last time these two teams met was in 2019 and the Chiefs won the matchup 26-3. Chicago could be hard-pressed to prevent a repeat performance. They are navigating injuries to multiple starters including safety Eddie Jackson who suffered a foot injury in Week 2 and left tackle Braxton Jones who joins Kyler Gordon and Teven Jenkins on injured reserve. Then there is the sudden resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams leaving head coach Matt Eberflus as the de facto DC.

Still, Chicago has to put forth a more complete effort on both sides of the ball. Here are four things to watch for as they work towards that end.

4 Things to Watch for When Bears Face Chiefs in Week 3

1) Chris Jones vs. Bears’ OL

Second-year Bears guard Ja’Tyre Carter should be on high alert for this one if starter Nate Davis cannot suit up after being listed as questionable on the injury report. Chiefs All-Pro lineman Chris Jones recorded 15.5 sacks last season and had 1.5 in Week 2 despite missing the entire offseason program, preseason, and Week 1.

The Chiefs line Jones up all across the front including as an EDGE rusher. That means rookie starting right tackle Darnell Wright and Jones’ fill-in, third-year man Larry Borom, will not avoid matching up with the four-time Pro Bowler.

Jones’ presence opens things up even more for the likes of Mike Danna, and Steve Spagnuolo is also one of the more blitz-happy coordinators in the NFL.

Kansas City boasts the sixth-highest blitz rate in the league through two weeks.

2) Justin Fields vs. Himself

Fields was at the center of some controversy this week when his comments regarding playing robotic and not feeling like himself were misconstrued as attacks on his coaches. But he had noted that they were “doing their job” giving him all of the information, noting that it was incumbent on him to not think about that on gamedays and instead just play.

To that end, Fields has to get the ball out quickly this week with Jones and the Chiefs pressure unit ready to attack a beat-up offensive line.

Spagnuolo’s mixed coverages won’t make things any easier.

Fields’ average time-to-throw was 3.45 seconds last season, per Pro Football Focus, including during the streak of games that saw the offense average 26.7 points per game. He is down to 3.18 seconds this season and can help himself more by being more decisive, even on runs.

3) Bears Running Backs vs. Chiefs’ Defense

Kansas City ranked eighth against the run last season, and they rank 12th against the run so far in 2023. But they have not faced teams that are necessarily as committed to the run as the Bears can be when they stay on schedule. That has been rare for Chicago in 2023, as they rank 22nd on the ground this season after leading the NFL in 2022.

Through two games, Khalil Herbert leads the team in carries with 18, and he is tied for the lead with Fields with 62 yards on the ground.

He is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry. But he also boasts a 56.3% success rate on his carries, per Pro Foot Ball Reference, leading the Bears and ranking as the seventh-best mark in the NFL.

Herbert ranks 31st in yards among all running backs with at least 16 carries.

4) Bears Defense vs. Patrick Mahomes

This is arguably the top key for this game as far as the Bears are concerned. But Patrick Mahomes having success against the opposing defense is almost a foregone conclusion at this point.

He completed nearly 70% of his passes, threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for another score in his only other meeting with the team that passed on him in the 2017 draft.

Mahomes gets to face a depleted Bears secondary.

With Elijah Hicks set to fill in for Jackson and Greg Stroman filling in for Gordon, the Bears will need to deliver on the additional pressure they were able to get last week. They went from just three hurries in the season opener versus the Green Bay Packers to 21 versus the Buccaneers. But they could sack Baker Mayfield who is not as mobile as Mahomes.

Bear Downs: 4 Things to Watch for vs Buccaneers in Week 2

The Chicago Bears are looking to bounce back in Week 2 versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But they will have to overcome some late-developing hurdles to get a much-needed win before having to face the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3.

Keep an eye on these four key situations that will have a significant impact on how this week versus Tampa turns out.

4 Bears Things to Watch for in Week 2 vs. Buccaneers

Injuries Piling Up

The Bears have dealt with injuries all offseason, just as most teams have. They got healthy in time for the season opener but have regressed with several players now dealing with ailments including two starters: Teven Jenkins who will be out for at least another two weeks after suffering a calf strain and Kyler Gordon who suffered a broken hand in the opener.

Gordon’s hand required surgery which he underwent this week.

Jenkins donned a boot immediately after suffering the injury that he has since shed and says that he is feeling “good”, though he and Gordon are on injured reserve. Cornerback Josh Blackwell is also out for this game.

That will push practice squad call-up Greg Stroman into the nickelback role on Sunday. But it’s not just injuries keeping key players and personnel out.

Matt Eberflus’ Playcalling

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams is away from the team for personal reasons with no timeline for return. His absences will leave play-calling duties to head coach Matt Eberflus who did so for four years with the Indianapolis Colts before coming to helm the Bears before last season.

Williams’ defense came under heavy fire for a lack of pressure on Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love in the opener.

It will be interesting to see how different Eberflus’ approach is from Williams’, if at all. The two were in Indianapolis together, and it’s hard to suggest that it’s Williams’ scheme any more than it is Eberflus’

The Buccaneers’ offensive line is not as strong as the Packers’.

Justin Fields’ Protection

Quarterback Justin Fields took four sacks in Week 1. After tying for the league lead in 2022, it was an inauspicious start for him and the offensive line. The Bears re-tooled the front five, shifting Jenking from the right side, moving Cody Whitehair back to center, and adding Nate Davis and Darnell Wright and right guard and right tackle, respectively.

However, Davis could miss Sunday’s contest as he deals with a death in the family, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The matter has led to his previous absences this preseason, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.

Bears’ Braxton Jones ‘Super Confident’ Going Into Week 2

Chicago has utility interior lineman Dan Feeney on hand in the event Davis is out.

Still, with Jenkins – who was their best offensive lineman when healthy last season – already out, and their top offensive free agent in jeopardy of missing the game, too, it’s another challenge for the remaining linemen and Fields to overcome.

Chase Claypool’s Effort

Last week saw the re-emergence of negative narratives about wide receiver Chase Claypool after his lack of effort on several blocking plays was plainly visible during the game. He failed to catch either of his two targets on a day when the offense’s inability to sustain anything wasted a 10-point first-half effort by the defense.

Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert assumed some responsibility for getting Claypool back on track.

And Fields noted he will be looking in Claypool and DJ Moore’s direction more often. But the Bears are still looking for a return on their hefty investment to land the talented pass-catcher from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Perhaps an outing against a banged-up Bucs defense is the perfect remedy for this offense.

Prediction: Bears 24 Buccaneers 21

Bears: 4 Things to Watch for in Week 1 vs Packers

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are set to face off for the 207th time in history in Week 1. Both teams have undergone significant changes.

That is just one of several things to keep an eye on in Week 1.

6 Bears Things to Watch vs. Packers in Season Opener

1) JF1 vs JLo – Quarterbacks With Plenty to Prove

While they find themselves in vastly different situations, Bears quarterback Justin Fields and Packers passer Jordan Love have plenty in common. That is, aside from their agent and yearly offseason training routine.

Fields is going into a pivotal Year 3, but just the second season with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. A strong finish to the 2022 campaign has been washed away amid heightened expectations for the season ahead. Some of that is on Fields who said he will be the Bears’ first 4,000-yard passer.

But it’s also due to the overhaul of the roster around him, presumably giving him a true top target at wide receiver as well as improved production once Teven Jenkins gets back.

Love is going into his fourth season out of college but will be making just his second start.

He is a relative unknown, as are his wide receivers and tight ends for the most part. Love is also stepping in for a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But far more around him is known which will make the “quarterback battle” a fascinating study of player development between the two friendly rivals.

2) Protection Plan

The Bears will be without Jenkins for at least the first four weeks of the regular season. But they are uniquely positioned to withstand the loss of arguably their best lineman from last season thanks to their work last offseason. Chicago signed Lucas Patrick – from the Packers – last spring with designs on him being their starting center.

Injuries interrupted that plan, with Patrick playing in just seven games and mostly at guard.

With Jenkins out, projected starting center Cody Whitehair slides over to left guard. This elevates Patrick to the position he was intended to fill.

Losing Jenkins is far from an ideal situation. But the Bears have essentially gone from having two players man new positions in Jenkins and Whitehair – who played right guard and left guard last season, respectively – to none.

How this will work out is a different story entirely. Especially when the unit faces a live, game-planned pass rush for the first time as a group in Week 1. The Bears are far better equipped to overcome what would have been a catastrophic loss last season. Then, they were bringing in starters off the street to start camp.

3) DJ Moore vs Jaire Alexander

This is the kind of matchup the Bears acquired and need DJ Moore to win. Jaire Alexander is one of the NFL’s best cover corners. He also relishes the opportunity to matchup against the opponent’s top threat.

Moore’s ability to score from anywhere was one of the few things made evident for the Bears’ offense this preseason. Teams completed 59.8% of their passes in Alexander’s coverage, the second-highest mark of his career. But he also came away with a career-high five interceptions and tallied 14 pass deflections.

The last time Murray and Alexander squared off was in 2020 in a Week 14 matchup between the Packers and the Carolina Panthers.

Moore finished with two catches for 32 yards on three targets in a 24-16 Green Bay victory.

Chicago has not beaten Green Bay since the 2018 season. The Bears won just three games last season while the Packers were 8-9, though two of those wins obviously came against Chicago. This battle is arguably the second-most important behind the QB duel.

This could be a matchup that favors Chase Claypool against Rasul Douglas. Or, even more, Darnell Mooney against unproven nickelback, Keisean Nixon.

Tight ends Cole Kmet and Robert Tonyan could be in for big games as well.

4) Revamped Pass Rush

The Bears have spent a lot of money revamping their pass rush – $20.3 million to be exact – in hopes of tallying more than the 20 they did last season. Yannick Ngakoue alone will account for $10.4 million this season.

Last season, Chicago recorded three sacks in the first meeting between these two teams. But they failed to sack the quarterback once in their Week 13 rematch. Ngakoue and fellow starter DeMarcus Walker will be looked to against an inexperienced quarterback in Love to get him off his spot and uncomfortable when he is in the pocket.

This is also a spot for defensive coordinator Alan Williams to showcase his ability to mix up his coverages versus a player that was on the sidelines to see how the Bears operated last season.

Green Bay allowed the seventh-fewest sacks last season, though that was with Aaron Rodgers.

Bears HC Sets Tone for Season in Team Message: ‘It Matters’

Bonus Down: The Bears had the league’s worst run defense last season. Green Bay’s running game was 15th but starter Aaron Jones has routinely beaten the Bears in the passing game putting extra emphasis on Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards against the Packers.

Bears Roster Cutdown Castoff Clears Air on Trade Rumor

The Chicago Bears trimmed their roster down to 53 players at the August 29 deadline as mandated by the league.

Among their notable cuts was fourth-year EDGE rusher Trevis Gipson. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on August 26, Gipson “received permission” to seek out a trade. But the Bears former fifth-round pick took to social media to apparently clear the air over the trade rumor. It was the second part of a two-tweet goodbye message to the fans of Chicago.

“I never requested a trade,” Gipson tweeted following his release. He was heading into the final year of his contract and expressed optimism for the future.

Trevis Gipson Denies Trade Rumor After Bears Exit

Trevis Gipson ‘Looking Forward’ to Next Step

“Bears Nation, I have been released and now looking forward to my next step,” Gipson tweeted. “I appreciate all the love and support/memories!! Thank you to the fullest! Much love to the city of Chicago and you’ll forever have a spot in my heart!“

Head coach Matt Eberflus said that his method was to be upfront with players on where they stood before cutdowns. He had nothing but good things to say about Gipson when first asked about the latter’s request.

“I’m not going to really comment on that because I don’t know much about that,” Eberflus said on August 26. “I know that just came out but I can just say this: Trevis is an outstanding young man, and he works his tail off, and he’s he’s been great since we’ve been here.”

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams spoke to the media on August 27.

He did not have any thoughts on it beyond platitudes for Gipson, including lauding his forced fumble in Week 3 versus the Buffalo Bills, his second sack of the exhibition season.

“I like his play, I like the man, I like the player. Brings energy, productive,” Williams said”

He told the media he was feeling “good” coming into this season and even shrugged off chatter that the Bears were looking to add a pass rusher, which they did in Yannick Ngakoue.

“I’m more confident,” Gipson said on July 29. “I’m appreciative for the parts of my game that got exposed, as hard as that is to say. But I’m an honest man, and that’s how it is. When you get a weakness exposed, you have no other choice but to strengthen it. And that gives me confidence going into this year, knowing, especially, that I put in the work.”

Bears’ Yannick Ngakoue Offers Insight on Trevis Gipson, Dominique Robinson

Gipson, 26, finished the preseason as the Bears’ highest-graded defender, per Pro Football Focus, though he worked almost exclusively against backups, putting a damper on an otherwise impressive 2.0 sacks, 2.0 quarterback hits, and 10 hurries in three games.

The 6-foot-4, 263-pounder recorded 3.0 sacks in 17 games with 10 starts for the Bears last season. It was an admittedly disappointing year considering he flashed with 7.0 sacks as a third rusher behind Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn the year before.

Bears Cutdown Round-Up

The Bears’ other notable deadline cuts included Kindle Vildor, one of the few holdovers from the previous front office regime, and seventh-round rookies Travis Bell and Kendall Williamson.

Chicago added Rasheem Green and DeMarcus Walker in free agency too, and Los Angeles Rams pass rusher Terrell Lewis finished with the 10th-highest grade after recording three sacks and two forced fumbles.

Bears Can Win Potential Bidding War for All-Pro Pass Rusher

The name of the game in the NFL is talent, and for all of the moxie and grit in the world, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles knows that.

Poles said during the Bears’ preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills that his front office would remain “relentless” in its efforts to upgrade the roster. There was a caveat, though. It has to be done in a way that sustains success for a “long period of time”.

An opportunity to do just that might have just come up.

Bears Can Offer Godfather Trade for 49ers’ Nick Bosa

San Francisco 49ers EDGE rusher Nick Bosa has been away from the team as he seeks a new contract. He is in the final year of a four-year, $33.5 million contract. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Bosa could be seeking a deal worth at least $30 million. As it stands, 49ers general manager John Lynch says he is “uncomfortable” with how long this has dragged out and looks forward to a swift resolution, per Erin Walsh of Bleacher Report.

Bosa, 24, is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year after recording a career-high 18.5 sacks and earning his first All-Pro selection last season. Lynch and Co. are rightfully intent on keeping Bosa with the Niners.

“That hotline is closed,” Lynch said, per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times on August 25. That never opened.”

There is “optimism” that a deal gets done. But the Bears can come with a godfather offer with two first-round picks in next year’s draft.

Proposed Bears Trade Brings 49ers’ Nick Bosa to Chicago

Chicago has two first-round picks in next year’s draft and, if they wanted, they could offer both and whatever player assets they would have to part with. Only two other teams – the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans – have multiple firsts.

Arizona is San Fran’s division rival making any deal even less likely. Houston just forked over multiple firsts to take EDGE Will Anderson No. 3 overall in this year’s draft. But the Bears could start with the below, knowing they have that in their back pocket.

Bears get:

-Nick Bosa

49ers get:

-Trevis Gipson
-2024 first-round pick
-2025 first-round pick
-2024 second-round pick
-2025 third-round pick

EDGE rusher Trevis Gipson isn’t going to win any deals for the Bears on his own after the news that he was granted permission to seek a trade broke. He is young, however, and has been semi-productive.

His salary also allows the Bears to make the trade for Bosa now and figure out the long-term financials later.

Potential True Cost of Trading for Nick Bosa

Chicago doesn’t have the money to pay Bosa just yet. But they can easily get there a couple of ways with one or two, perhaps not-so-easy decisions. First, Yannick Ngakoue’s $10-plus million salary comes off the books at season’s end. But the Bears need more space with Justin Fields’ contract situation looming and, potentially Jaylon Johnson who is in the final year of his deal.

Veterans Bears Eddie Jackson and Cody Whitehair both account for $32 million against the cap next season.

Cutting them next summer clears $21 million in cap space. It would also weaken the team as currently constructed, though the concept of one or even both players being elsewhere next year is not new.

Chicago could instead try to rework some base salaries of its current players. But that just kicks the can down the road even further. This might be too lofty of a target given how methodically Poles has operated; first in stripping the roster and then in how aggressive he was in building it back up but waiting for Ngakoue.

Jackson and Whitehair are also still good to really good players.

Unless the Bears have confidence they can replace both players, weakening the roster in two areas – especially with one of them being the offensive line – is counterproductive. If there is another way to make it work that doesn’t include Fields, the Bears might want to look into it.

Bears Grant EDGE Rusher Trevis Gipson Permission to Seek Trade: Report

The Chicago Bears have permitted EDGE rusher Trevis Gipson to seek a trade, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on August 26.

“Defensive end Trevis Gipson has received permission from the #Bears to seek a trade,” Fowler tweeted on August 26 during the Bears’ Week 3 preseason finale matchup against the Buffalo Bills. “Gipson had seven sacks in 2021 and could be looking to get back to a 3-4 scheme.”
Gipson, 26, was the No. 155 overall pick of the draft in 2020. He is in the final year of his contract and had been pushed down the depth chart this summer.

Bears’ Trevis Gipson Granted Permission to Seek Trade

Trevis Gipson Flashed in 2021

He had a promising campaign in 2021, recording 7.0 sacks and forcing five fumbles as the third man off the edge behind Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. But Gipson was only able to record 3.0 sacks last season.

This summer, the Bears went about upgrading the position after recording a league-low 20 sacks last season. They signed a trio of free agents: Rasheem Green and DeMarcus Walker signed during free agency in March. Not yet satisfied, they signed veteran Yannick Ngakoue during training camp.

Gipson has played well this preseason, recording their second-highest grade through two games, per Pro Football Focus.

He did play in their preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills, though. He even got to Bills backup Kyle Allen for a sack.

Ngakoue talked up Gipson and fellow youngster Dominique Robinson after practice on August 14, noting that they were both taking well to the teachings of defensive line coach, Travis Smith.

“They’re coming off the ball really quick,” Ngakwoue said on August 14. “I’ve seen a lot of great things coming from those two guys.”

Gipson also had the faith of Bears general manager Ryan Poles after trading Quinn.

“On the business side it just made too much sense for what we’re trying to do,” Poles said of trading Quinn in 2022. “It’s going to allow us to continue to build a highly competitive roster. I think the other thing too…I just really trust Gipson, [Al-Quadin] Muhammad, [Dominique] Robinson, Kingsley Jonathan, those guys are going to continue doing a good job.”

Muhammad lasted just one season, Jonathan rarely saw the field as a raw project, and now Gipson could be gone.

Trevis Gipson Has Had the Right Mindset

Gipson said he felt good during training camp after being critical of himself after last season. Asked to grade himself after their Week 18 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in which several starters sat, Gipson was brutally honest, giving himself a ‘C’.

He showed appreciation for the trials and tribulations of last season, saying that it gave him the blueprint.

“I feel really good,” Gipson said on July 29. “Honestly, I’m more confident…I’m appreciative for the parts of my game that got exposed, as hard as that is to say. But I’m an honest man, and that’s how it is. When you get a weakness exposed, you have no other choice but to strengthen it. And that gives me confidence going into this year, knowing, especially, that I put in the work.”

However, with the emergence of former Los Angeles Rams pass rusher Terrell Lewis this season – fifth-highest defensive grade, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles – Gipson may have seen his opportunities diminish even further.

Potential Landing Spots

Teams can never have too many pass rushers, though it is unclear how much value Gipson has when his best work came as a tertiary option.

Bears HC Gets Candid About Roster Cutdowns Ahead of Preseason Finale

Still, teams like the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins have not shown much of a pass rush during the preseason after being mediocre-to-bad at getting to the quarterback last season. And the Bears scooping up Ngakoue surely left teams like the Denver Broncos could come calling.