*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Two kinds of FFM people watched the game last night…
(1) Completely bought into the Bears uprising story…bet on the game, have money on the Bears ‘over’ 6.5 wins this season, bet on some/all of Cohen-Gabriel-Burton for fantasy, waiting to see if Mitchell Trubisky is as good as I say he is.
(2) You didn’t buy any of the Bears hype, you have no money on the team for this game or the season, you might have one or none of Cohen-Gabriel-Burton for fantasy, waiting to see if Mitchell Trubisky is as good as I say he is.
The common denominator…’Trubisky Watch 2018’.
Everyone has now weighed in, and everybody has deemed him terrible. If they weren’t there before this game…then this game clinched it. So, no reason for me to give my two cents…because, I mean, everybody is on one side of this trade. Everyone has arrived at the same place, so need for me to waste time on a forgone conclusion. So, we’ll skip any talk of Trubisky.
Oh, wait. I forgot. I’m always right on quarterbacks, nearly infallible and almost always on the opposite side of the scenario all alone or just way ahead of everyone to the party. So, what I think does matter…and we’ll get to that in the player section.
As far as this game goes, I watched it live with the mindset of a bettor…a bettor for the long haul. Am I going to get my 7 wins (to beat the 6.5 line) or not? This should have been a layup game for the Bears…at home, banged up/bad Seattle team – if Chicago lost this game I feel like I’d be screwed on getting 7 wins and it means this team is worse than I have projected. A win would make total sense and keep the ball moving on the Bears getting to 7-8-9 wins and a possible playoff appearance.
So, as a bettor, watching this game…I’m happy. This team is going to get to 7+ wins. It’s a good team.
Watching this game back today as a fantasy projector of things, one pushing for a radical Bears offense that would affect fantasy for several weapons -- that ‘upside’ mindset for the Bears, it took a ‘loss’ in my mind. Any Matt Nagy is junior Sean McVay thoughts…dead. I’ve seen two weeks of work, and I’ve seen enough – Matt Nagy left Kansas City and stole Andy Reid’s 2015-2016 playbook and philosophy. He didn’t steal the 2018 Chiefs new era. He’s cosplaying 2015-2016 Andy Reid.
What is 2015-2016 Andy Reid football? Chiefs fans can attest (and it’s a similar philosophy about 25+ NFL teams run)… Clever playbook for the very first drive or two, try to get a lead and sit on it with a safe 1980s passing game with 2010+/modern receiver alignments, but still running the 1980s routes. You can lineup guys all over the field, but if they run the same exact pass patterns over and over – the defense doesn’t care if you spread out or bunch up. It’s the routes and mismatch creation.
I watched a lot of ‘all-22’ overview on this game, as a Bears-centric person, and it was sickening. Two guys go deep on the outside, two guys go medium inside. I guess they hope coverage is forgotten by someone to open it up, but it rarely is. When the Bears don’t do that tired passing approach, then they send everyone straight but some of them stop after five yards and quickly turn for a timing pattern pitch & catch short gain. Very scripted and when you need 3rd & long…DBs are running the routes for the receivers. Five-yard timing passes tend not to convert on 3rd & 8+.
The frustrating part is…the Bears jump out of the gates on the first drive, now two weeks in a row, with an up-tempo, aggressive, cool misdirection’s type of play calling and the offense looks sweet. Remember the Green Bay game…the Bears went right down the field on their first two drives and got quick scores and jumped up 20-0 on a defensive TD and then they disappeared into dullsville. The Bears went right down the field in this Seattle game for a quick TD to start the game and then fell asleep again. The 25-hour workday for coaches is worked all week to make a really cool, creative first drive and then it’s back to the old playbook and playing it safe -- try to sit on a lead and make it never go away. Try not to lose after getting the lead is the Andy Reid philosophy before 2018…and the philosophy of 28+ other teams in the NFL. He’s not alone.
Remember the playoffs…KC 21-3 over Tennessee at the half and cruising. They ended up getting shutout the second half and losing inexplicably. That was Matt Nagy as ‘play caller’.
If something is working, like the Bears initial drives, then you DEFINITELY don’t use those plays again. If a player is a homerun hitter, you give them 1-2 chances to hit a homerun and then stop using them…even if they hit a homerun. Does anyone remember Tyreek Hill 2016? One carry, 50+ yard TD in the first quarter…and then he would never get another carry in the entire game. How is that possible? How do you not give Tyreek 2-3-4 carries as a rookie when every other time he gets he scores a 50+ yard TD? I don’t know, I just know I see it with most every team every week of every season. Matt Nagy had a front row seat to it…and he’s adopted the philosophy as his own.
During the game, Chatbot500, and the most useless football analyst in the history of football, Jason Witten, yucked it up about Matt Nagy and his big whiteboard with all the plays he has drawn up on it in his office. NFL head coaches are into plays and not players, by and large…the players ruin these great plays. The Bears are a playbook over talent team. That can get you 8-9-10 wins with a good roster, and Andy Reid has been a winner. 25+ other teams are playing the same style, so you just have to out-do them at it…and then the Patriots come along and drop you on your head and go to another Super Bowl over and over and over and over.
The Bears should have beaten Seattle by 20+ last night but they puckered up with the lead once again. They let the other team hang around. They had Green Bay down 20-0…and blew it. They dominated wounded Seattle all game…and had to sweat the final score to the end for no good reason.
It’s not that the Bears won by 7, covered the -3.5 spread, and looked dominant on defense. No, the story of this game is – why didn’t the Bears win this by 20-30+, which is the same question I ask of them in Week 1.
No radical offense. No killer instinct on offense. Overly scripted offense. Playmakers not getting the ball enough. A quarterback being locked in a cage.
The Bears are ready to win 8+ games this season, but the Bears are not ready for the big-time yet. They are only going to get better this season, and maybe Nagy gets more comfortable as well…but right now there is no spark with this team on offense and that’s what Nagy was supposed to bring. He and his playbook are frauds, to be compared to Sean McVay.
As for Seattle, who also played in this game, barely – they are terrible, one of the worst teams in the NFL. A good, young roster coached so poorly…but we were all looking at Chicago so much we barely noticed how truly terrible Seattle’s coaching is – a disaster on the offensive line and Chris Carson as lead RB is a joke. Russell Wilson, like Aaron Rodgers, is the only thing keeping this from being a 2-14 team laughing stock. Seattle is a joke, and it’s not for lack of talent…it’s a coach who lost control of his star players years ago because of no leadership, just rah-rah clapping (see Jason Garrett) and players were also to varying degrees frustrated with the coordinators and game plans (Lynch, Sherman, Thomas trying to leave this year). Pete Carroll took a potential dynasty and let it slip right through his fingers. Look how bad this team has become. Unbelievable.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- So, Mitchell Trubisky (25-34 for 200 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs), he’s a disaster, right? He’s not. He may not be hitting my lofty claims right now or all season…but there is fantasy hope here. He’s not dead and buried.
You don’t believe me. I can tell by the look on your face.
Let me go through Trubisky, the talent, and then discuss Trubisky the fantasy entity.
First, I wish Trubisky was firing on all cylinders like Patrick Mahomes. He’s not. Not even close. The problem is, and not an illegitimate problem/desire, you want results now…we expected him to be better by now. Did you see that one interception he threw? Did you see that one overthrow when Taylor Gabriel was wide open?
Here’s the problem…Trubisky has played two games this season. Both of them in a solo night game – which allowed all of us to make some popcorn, put on our favorite Snuggie, cozy up to the TV and watch every single play undistracted by all the other games that play during Sunday…meaning you got to lord over every single play/throw Trubisky made. You want it to be great. You see ‘not great’ results and you’re ‘done’. Your two games of scouting in his 2018 and his disappointments in 2017, and the media chirping about how he sucks, is enough. You’re locked in…final answer…he’s not as good as I said, right?
I’m not saying I can’t be wrong here, but I heard this same thing on Jared Goff last season. An utter disaster his first year once he got in, similar to Trubisky’s first season – both initially working for a disaster head coach and getting crushed. Goff was declared a bust by EVERYONE…media and fans…after his partial rookie season. They didn’t ‘like’ him prior and now they hated him, they just KNEW they were right. Then a new coach his 2nd year. New offense. New weapons. New everything.
Goff played safe in his 2nd-season (2017) in Week 1 in a blowout over Indy. He then lost Week 2 to Washington, throwing a pick-six late to cost them the game. The Rams started the season 1-1. Goff was declared a full-scale joke by every football analyst and fan after the pick-six. Available on almost every fantasy waiver wire in 17-man or less roster leagues. Eric Dickerson demanded Sean Mannion get put in.
You KNEW Goff was a bust too. You gave up on him. I started to get worried after the pick-six as well. I was so mad that I quipped he wasn’t as good as Trevor Siemian (who was 2-0, with 6 TD passes and looked like he was leading Denver to the title last season. My how things can change!).
…but then I watched Goff’s 2017 Week 2 tape in detail. Plus, I knew my college scouting and metrics on him. I was letting the pressure of everyone saying Goff was a bust get to me, but I know what I saw. Just a few days after his Week 2 debacle, and me slamming him, I came back and told everyone that I was wrong to slam him and that something was happening/developing. That Goff was starting to get it. I could see it on tape. The next week Goff dropped 292 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs. You still weren’t buying it. A few weeks later, Week 5, Goff loses to Seattle and has 0 TDs/2 INTs…and now you and EVERYONE was doubly convinced Goff was a joke and he failed in ‘the big one’ (at the time).
From Week 8 of last season to the 2 games this 2018 season, Goff has thrown 23 TDs/4 INTs (11 games)…8 of 11 games with 2 or more TD passes and five 300+ yard games. Now, you see he looks like one of the best QBs in the NFL…you see it, now, now that I stuck by him when everyone was trashing him Weeks 1-7 last season. Guess who hasn’t seen it yet? The national analysts and media…they still think he’s a joke.
When I said Nick Foles was amazing after I watched his first preseason, he struggled his rookie year thrust into play late in the season. He didn’t win the starting job contest his 2nd year. He was forced into play on a Michael Vick injury his 2nd season, and I said I see the ‘it’ as he posted 6 TDs/0 INTs in 3 games of relief…he then had a terrible game in a start against Dallas, less than 100 yards passing and I got all the nasty emails that I was sticking by a bad QB, that EVERYONE but me knows it! After 80 yards passing vs. Dallas, he missed the next game with a concussion. He came back Week 9, and dropped 7 TDs on Oakland’s ass, and went on a 20 TD/2 INT run carrying the Eagles from death to the division title.
Later, Foles would bust in St. Louis and that was new proof that his 2013 season was a fluke. Some of you agreed he was terrible, because the media was relentless about it. He then won a Super Bowl MVP when given his next chance.
Two things about judging Trubisky too heavy right now…
1) Let’s not bet too heavily on your track record over mine in these matters. When I don’t give up easy in the face of 100% opposition on a player’s abilities, especially at QB…I’m usually going to be proven right eventually. Long time readers, you know this.
2) Let’s definitely not bet on Rotoblurbs/the national football media and their echo chamber followers, i.e. your friends/league mates, opinions…because…come on? Are you kidding me already? The $8.00 an hour or unpaid volunteer headline writer for XYZ fantasy site who watches a lot of games and highlights when he can doesn’t like XYZ quarterback…thinks he’s ‘terrible’. We’re supposed to be swayed by that? I’m supposed to be swayed by that?
Let’s let me give my take on Trubisky (at this stage)…
I’m willing to wait and see more game tape. I see things I like, I see flashes of the guy I saw in college and in spots last preseason/this preseason. I see things that bother me…things that are out of his norm (for me).
What I like – you see flashes of ‘it’ in the first drive or two of both these games. The opening drives put you at ease/gets you excited…that guy exists, but he doesn’t exist for long in game so far this year. Trubisky has five-star tools…you see the arm strength, the release, the foot speed. He can move in the pocket. He can throw the ball on the money down the field…he’s not just a dump passer. He’s completing 69.6% of his passes so far this season and has rarely thrown a simple screen or quick check down pass at all – everything is down the field 5-10-15 yards and a lot over-the-middle where most QBs avoid.
What I don’t like – he’s hesitating to throw downfield on some plays. You see a little hitch/hesitation on a few throws. When I look at the ‘all-22’ tape, I see that everyone is covered on a lot of these throws and he has to decide to throw it away, run, or try to fit it in a tight window/impossible window. I think he wants to make the plays, but he knows it’s ‘not there’ but he’s being goaded by the coach, the fans, himself to push the ball. A lot of times it’s just not there. He should hesitate. He shouldn’t try to throw it, but he can’t keep holding the ball for forever. Something is not clicking with this WR group…either the play calls or the receiver’s ability to get open. I can see it on the tape.
What’s killing Trubisky, besides these simple pass routes DBs are not fooled by at all – he’s not taking the easy dump passes. He could wriggle out of heavy downfield coverage by just flaring it out to the RB. He doesn’t show any signs of wanting to do that. Everything is down the field, down the field…his eyes are always downfield. It’s admirable, but it’s not always there in the NFL. He’s not helping his case by making things more difficult by trying to throw into tight windows/tight coverage all the time. He will become a failed QB if he does not learn how to take the simple, short option to set up the defense for downfield throws.
I’m not sure what everyone hates about this game for Trubisky. His 1st interception? Everyone was covered like glue and he decided to take the one-on-one shot with his mismatch WR, Allen Robinson going deep. He hesitated. He under threw it a bit, but Robinson just kept going instead of adjusting. It’s on Trubisky, but when you throw that ball…but you expect your all-star WR to fight for it. ARob misread it by a mile.
His 2nd interception? Tipped by a DL or it’s a sweet slant right up the middle to a receiver. It wasn’t a bad throw, it got tipped and a DB made a great diving catch of the deflection.
I look back at all his throws in this game and there were like 1-2-3 bad ones. Overthrowing Taylor Gabriel early…Gabriel was surrounded in a zone and Trubisky needed to place it perfect between four defenders five yards surrounding. He needs to make that throw but it wasn’t an easy throw…especially to a short (height) WR.
After two picks in the first 20 minutes of play, the second one a bit of a fluke, Trubisky gathered up and bounced right back firing away. When the game tightened a bit in the 2nd-half, Trubisky went 10-of-12 passing (and lost another completion to an alignment penalty) the final two quarters. Trubisky’s 2nd TD pass…that’s a nice play. Sliding from the pocket, a defender starting to get in range of him, Trubisky moves a bit and then fires a bullet in the perfect spot for a TD. No one cares about this throw because we want to hate him for some reason (the media howling about him, like Goff). You remember the overthrow of Gabriel and the long ball pick, but you ignore the scrambling from pressure touch pass to Tarik Cohen, a ball placed perfectly over and under defenders.
I think that Tarik Cohen 17-yard pass is everything for me on Trubisky right now. When Trubisky is on the move, the play is blown up and he’s moving around in the pocket and he has to ‘figure it out’, he does his best work improvising. When he’s confined, not improvising, he looks locked up/overthinking. One of two things will happen to correct this: (1) More time, the more Trubisky gets comfortable in the confining plays and realizes how to improvise within the play call. (2) Nagy will realize it and copy Andy Reid 2018 and not the 2016 version…and just let Trubisky get in the shotgun, no huddle and let it rip.
There’s a battle going on…the Trubisky of the exciting first-second drives of the last two games and the confined, hesitation, safe Trubisky that’s happening a lot of the rest of the game. The exciting Trubisky exists, we see it in all it’s glory two times now…just for two series to start the game is all. When Trubisky becomes four quarters of the guy he is to start games…then ‘it’s on’. He just needs a little more time in the oven to bake. He has all the tools and gifts. He’s not playing terrible, he’s just not being very good/great yet. Give him time to dial it all in.
Don’t judge him by the measuring stick of ‘not Mahomes already’. Let him unfurl like Jared Goff did. It took a few weeks of the 2nd year to figure it out/get comfortable and THEN the tools/talent took over for Goff. Goff has a better coach, so the learning curve may take longer with Trubisky.
It’s not like Trubisky is killing the Bears. He’s not a disaster. He’s just not putting them on his back yet. They should be 2-0 regardless of Trubisky. They are in/winning games.
For fantasy, before you bail…just know Trubisky is completing a high rate of passes this year. He has all the tools. His passer yards will continue to rise, maybe at a slow pace, but they’ll rise as will his TD passes. He had two last night, he almost had 3-4. He had two picks, one was a fluke. But the bonus with Trubisky for fantasy – you saw the run he had that first drive, right? He looks like a running back on the loose (or speedy TE), and again I remind us – he’s clocked as fast, as agile as Deshaun Watson, only a lot bigger physically. 28.0 rushing yards per game and has a rushing TD so far in 2018. He has three rushing TDs in his last 5 games. He’s a weapon with his arm, someday, but also a sneaky weapon with his feet right now.
Trubisky is not ready for QB1 work, yet. But his rushing ability draws him in as a decent QB2. As he puts the passing pieces together + the rushing, he’s going to get into the QB1 conversation before long because of his running skills propping him up.
In redraft, no need to hold him. Everyone hates him. You’ll get him back when it’s time. In dynasty, don’t lose heart. Make the investment and just leave it in the bank to grow interest. Let him get you ROI. Don’t demand it today and get mad about missing it…wait for it. I think you’re going to get a payback, I really do.
If in 4-5-6 weeks, I see no progress…I’ll say it. I’m not going to defend something indefensible. I have no problem saying I’m wrong. I’ll be monitoring this closer than anything else, so I’ll know the pulse. Right now, be patient if you can.
-- OK, how does Trubisky’s struggles/Nagy’s play calling affect the related fantasy assets? Let’s go through them one-by-one:
Tarik Cohen (4-8-0, 1-17-0/1) is dead for fantasy for now. I’ve seen enough, I give up. Nothing is more of a coaching red flag than boasting about a player and talking about all the unique ways to use him and then never use him hardly at all, nor in any interesting way. I’m sure we’ll see Nagy saying, “We gotta get Cohen more touches” in reports this week. It’s the kiss of death statement of a bullshit artist head coach. Andy Reid was saying the same thing about Tyreek in 2016…and then never getting him more touches.
When something changes with Cohen, I’ll be first in line…but I can’t do this anymore.
Trey Burton (4-20-1/4) isn’t impressing me either. He is being sent on the worst routes…over-the-middle, stop, turn and squat like an Antonio Gates type TE. Burton has speed as a gift, he should be used like a traditional TE. He looks nothing like Travis Kelce. He’s a back-end TE1, not a top 5 threat.
Taylor Gabriel (3-17-0, 4-30-0/7) has my attention still. Four carries, seriously? That’s great. He had the ball in his hands 7 times. Now, he didn’t have a wow moment off of them, but he is getting the work. I’m still holding hope here. I’m encouraged by this…the one guy getting some usage like he should. He just needs to pop one for people to start believing.
Allen Robinson (10-83-0/14) showed he is Trubisky’s default mode throw. Gotta love the targets, but I don’t love how slow/not explosive he’s looking. I’m most encouraged by this game for ARob., but I’m expecting more than ‘old reliable’ timing stop and turn route guy. He’s working like Michael Thomas…without Drew Brees throwing to him.
Jordan Howard (14-35-0, 3-33-0/4) will be fine. I’m so encouraged by his improvement in the passing game. He’s going to be an RB1, a great ‘buy low’ guy. He’s proven in a bad offense for two years, so he should flourish as this offense finds its footing.
-- On the other side of the field, Russell Wilson (22-36 for 226 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) cannot be judged properly because he’s getting sacked every other drop back. Wilson still finds ways to make magic, so he’s a QB1 week-to-week but man does he have an uphill battle in this offense.
-- We saw Wilson start to treat Tyler Lockett (5-60-1/7) like his most trusted target. It’s going to be that way every game without Doug Baldwin. Whether Wilson can stay alive long enough to make throws downfield time after time is in question.
Lockett seems to be working deep only and that’s not good with no protection for Wilson. Lockett made a miracle TD catch in this game or you’d all be cutting him this week.
I’d be a seller on Lockett, not an excited holder/keeper. I don’t like this scene.
-- Will Dissly (3-42-1/5) was about to have a dud follow-up game from his Week 1 pop, but a late couple of targets and a TD saved the day. I like that Dissly is still so involved. He’s a fringe TE1 every week right now.
-- This Seattle running game is dead because the O-Line is so bad. But you saw what I was saying about Rashaad Penny (10-30-0, 0-0-0/2) taking that job by sheer force/talent, right?
Chris Carson (6-24-0, 0-0-0/1) is not a starting NFL RB, but Pete Carroll doesn’t think so…he loves him; for now. It will be a few more weeks before he gives up. The problem for Penny is – there’s nowhere to run in this offense. Still, soon it will be Penny taking 15 +/- carries and 5+ targets, and we’ll see what that’s worth on a bad offense…probably RB2-3 every week with the occasional TD to get to RB1.
Penny is the future, but Penny’s best days will probably be in 2019+.
-- The Chicago Bears-DST showed out this game. They were hot to start against Green Bay and then Aaron Rodgers performed miracles. The Bears crushed Russell Wilson from opening snap to the end. The Bears are a legit top 5 DST group. ARI-TB-BYE-MIA should be a decent run for them ahead.
The Bears are going to be good until Week 14. They have LAR-GB-SG Weeks 14-16. Terrible for the FF playoffs, pretty hot most of Weeks 3-13.