Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles at the Line: 2019 Opening Night

compiled by Andrew Potter

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around emails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those emails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these emails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors solely to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

We start, as is now tradition, with this Opening Night special.

Green Bay Packers 10 at Chicago Bears 3

Bryan Knowles: I think this should cover all my Audibles contributions for this year.

Dave Bernreuther: I raced into the room in order to sit down in time to watch what I hope will be a very exciting Packers offense. That ... was not it. I blame Aaron Rodgers' cartoon villain moustache.

That said, the second-down screen attempt to Aaron Jones looked like it was a really effective design, as the play by Roquan Smith to trip him up kept him from hitting what appeared to be a very large open space.

Both teams open up with a disastrous pitch play; Tarik Cohen didn't catch his, and the Bears got bailed out by a defensive holding call I didn't really see. I hate pitches. Too much risk for very little reward. Just hand it off.

Bryan Knowles: I love pitches, but a half-yard spread between quarterback and running back is probably less than ideal.

We kind of suspected coming in that Green Bay's offense would be a work in progress, with Matt LaFleur taking over the reins. Through a half-quarter, my most trenchant insight is that it sucks to be a work in progress against a defense as talented as Chicago's, projected regression or no projected regression.

Dave Bernreuther: If Rodgers is going to throw short passes into the turf at the feet of his receivers at the line of scrimmage and continue to take sacks on every third down like last year, it won't matter how different the design of LaFleur's offense is.

Credit for that second sack goes mostly to Khalil Mack, even though he got held (a lot) and thus couldn't wrap Rodgers up himself. In the replay, Cris Collinsworth talked about the Bears "surprising people with Khalil Mack." Um, how do you surprise someone with Mack?

Rodgers has made two throws so far and both have been bad. The Bears being good enough to hold you to three three-and-outs is not surprising. That, however, is.

Aaron Schatz: Have the Packers considered just punting on third down in honor of our celebration of the NFL in the 1920s?

Rivers McCown: The Mike McCarthy defenders have Logged On.

Vince Verhei: Five drives into the NFL season, and every team that has played so far has negative net passing yardage.

Dave Bernreuther: Whatever they're doing with the cameras on this drive -- it appears to be using the SkyCam but from a lower version of the normal sideline angle, then moving it mid-play -- needs to stop. Immediately. It's incredibly distracting and a little bit nauseating.

Bryan Knowles: Hey, it turns out, "throw deep, Aaron" is still a pretty good play call. Just took the Packers a quarter to figure it out.

Maybe Rodgers just had some rust to shake off after sitting out all preseason. Packers take a 7-3 lead after the big bomb to Marques Valdes-Scantling.

Scott Spratt: I like that when Mitchell Trubisky breaks football convention and throws across his body, it's nearly intercepted. But when Aaron Rodgers throws off of his back foot into traffic, it's a touchdown.

Dave Bernreuther: So following a brutal dropped pick by Kevin King, which was one of those throws bad enough that you wish there was a stat to use to penalize the quarterback more than just incomplete, the Packers wake up, completing a 47-yarder and then a jump ball to former basketball player Jimmy Graham. A lot happened on that deep ball. First, the Pack used more misdirection in one play than I remember in years. And man did that open up the pocket for Rodgers. Second ... well, I hate to say it, but he left that ball short. If you're Aaron Rodgers and you get that pocket, I expect better. Third ... my goodness. They really need to cut the crap with this camera. It almost missed the play.

The Bears just lined Cordarrelle Patterson up in the backfield, and I said "oh cool, a nice homage to his role with the Pats." Then they ran him straight up the gut as if he was Jerome Bettis. I guess there could've been some value in the deceptiveness of that move, but, uh ... burn that play, Coach Nagy.

Derrik Klassen: So, aside from whatever the hell happened on Chicago's first play, Tarik Cohen has zero carries, but has three targets. They also just had him in motion from a wide receiver position on that last third-down play. Don't think it's any surprise Cohen is being used this way and not as a runner, but it's still interesting to see Matt Nagy commit to it so strongly, so early.

Aaron Schatz: My girlfriend wants to know when the commentators are going to discuss some players that aren't Aaron Rodgers.

Scott Spratt: Friendly reminder that Davante Adams converted 19 third-down catches in 2018. Jimmy Graham converted nine. No other Packers player converted more than six.

Vince Verhei: I know there's still the second half and 15 more games to go, but I can't explain how funny it strikes me that Chicago was so worried about their kicking game that they let their entire offense decay to ... whatever this is. Every time they pick up a first down or two, I think they've turned it around ... then I realize they're still inside their own 40.

Rivers McCown: I mean Chicago's offense was real streaky last year as well. It rides with Trubisky.

Vince Verhei: OK, replace "decay" with "stagnate" then. Point still stands.

On the other side, we have Matt LaFleur's first half: 21 pass plays, six runs, including one by Valdes-Scantling. iViva la revolución!

Scott Spratt: Gotta establish the run, Vince.

Derrik Klassen: It's kind of painful watching Matt Nagy's offense sometimes. Nagy himself is solid, he does some cool things, but the offense still feels handcuffed by Mitchell Trubisky. I have to imagine Trubisky's shaky ability from the pocket and slow processing rips a large chunk out of Nagy's playbook. The offense rarely feels like it's being pieced together and instead feels more like each individual play is designed to emphasize anyone but Trubisky. Maybe I'm too harsh -- and I've never been big on Trubisky -- but through one half, we've seen a lot of what scared us (or at least me) about Trubisky.

Tom Gower: Halftime, Packers lead 7-3. They've only had one really good drive, but it finished in the end zone. Chicago's offense has felt a little bit better to me, conceptually, but the triggerman has done nothing to make me comfortable. I thought the best reason to expect offensive improvement would be actually having Allen Robinson, a significant upgrade as their best wideout. He has been open a couple times and has the Bears' biggest play, a 27-yard gain where he won in the air on an inaccurate pass. But I still have the same concerns I had last year and that have been expressed in this thread.

Matt LaFleur started off the game for Green Bay trying to run like he was in Tennessee last year, with familiar-looking results. What I've seen out there seems a mix of Lafleur from Shanahan/McVay/Kubiak and some Mike McCarthy. But McCarthy was a West Coast guy and Shanahan also has its roots in West Coast stuff, so it's not like you're blending Air Raid and the slot-T or something. I don't really think outside zone is a real option to run against a team with this sort of defensive talent up front and speed at the second level, and I wonder if Lafleur's pass orientation is a reaction to those hopeless early runs.

Bryan Knowles: Trubisky just has terrible field vision. It kind of was highlighted most on that play where he ran out of bounds with a couple open(ish) receivers ahead of him, but it never feels like he's able to find receivers if they're not just where they're supposed to be.

Outside of that one deep shot to Allen Robinson, the Bears just have nothing going on.

Scott Spratt: Do we feel differently about the Packers defense after one half? They were 26th in projected defensive DVOA this year.

Bryan Knowles: Not particularly; it feels like this is more Chicago unable to get out of their own way rather than anything in particular Green Bay is doing.

Rivers McCown: In the sense that I already thought that number felt low, yes.

But I agree with Bryan that it hasn't felt like they've had to do a whole lot. A lot of Trubisky's passes have been late.

Tom Gower: Packers defensive backs looked to be extremely aggressive going after the ball in the first half. That seems like a good sign. I don't know how much of that is the opponent.

Derrik Klassen: Re: Packers defense: Maybe They did have a high ceiling (relative to what they were) with all those new pieces, but I'm more convinced for now that it's the Bears' offense just not getting it together.

Vince Verhei: I'm leaning towards bad offense more than good defense, but I will note that Green Bay has been using high picks on defensive backs for years, so it's reasonable that that tactic would start to pay dividends.

I'll also note that last year's Atlanta-Philadelphia contest was also gruesome to watch, so this may be a "season opener" thing

Scott Spratt: So David Montgomery is the first prospect who has copied the Le'Veon Bell style of waiting in the backfield, right? Is that going to be the NFL equivalent of Steph Curry shooting crazy threes? I similarly feel like it's not a great idea.

Vince Verhei: Bears still trail 7-3 late in the fourth quarter. Following a delay of game, they go for it on fourth-and-10 from the 33. Trubisky scrambles but comes up way short.

Anyone want to argue they should have tried a 50-yard kick?

Add to that: earlier tonight, the Bears punted on fourth-and-3 from the Green Bay 41.

Aaron Schatz: I'm definitely curious what the EdjSports GWC model says about that fourth-and-10.

Vince Verhei: In the last five years, NFL kickers are 570-of-719 (79%) from the 32-, 33-, or 34-yard lines. It's the kind of thing that gets missed all the time. And if he had hit it, they still would have been behind.

On the other hand, the Bears offense has been so terrible tonight, I wouldn't have counted on them to win the game there anyway. They're way more likely to win with two field goals then with a touchdown.

Yeah, I would have kicked.

Bryan Knowles: I think I would have kicked as well -- but if I wasn't going to, and was going to go for it on fourth, I think I would have run the ball on third down rather than targeted Cordarelle Patterson. Two of Patterson's three targets have come on third down; I can't imagine that he's the best target they have there.

Aaron Schatz: Looks like the EdjSports GWC model has going for it on fourth-and-10 as a 2.4% win probability error, preferring that the Bears had tried the field goal.

Tom Gower: Can we also get what EdjSports thought of the earlier decision to punt on fourth-and-3?

Aaron Schatz: That decision to punt was a 2.9% error.

Derrik Klassen: I am almost certain Aaron Rodgers just shouted "Iced Coors, iced Coors, iced Coors," and Green Bay ended up running split zone. I have no idea if this actually means anything but now it is my mission to find out.

Bryan Knowles: NFL first: a (regular-season) pass interference challenge.

I think it's pretty clearly not going to work, but hey. Gotta start somewhere.

Carl Yedor: We have a pass interference review! Call stands. Curious choice to challenge that in my opinion, but I do think it's useful in general to have that as a data point for what officials will consider "clear and obvious" enough to turn non-PI into PI. It's only a first step in that regard, but hopefully we have a better understanding of what is and isn't reversible before long. Knowing the NFL, that might not be until the end of the season, but we can only hope.

Aaron Schatz: Playbook doesn't have a lot of plays for first-and-40.

Bryan Knowles: After yet ANOTHER Bears penalty, we have a first-and-40. Since 1994, there have only been four first-and-40-plusses -- once for the Raiders in '97, and then twice in 2017 (Saints and Vikings).

Vince Verhei: That first-and-40 was set up by what might have been Trubisky's worst throw of the night, which should have been intercepted, but the defensive back jumped too early, giving up Chicago's biggest play of the game, but then the receiver was called for OPI. Almost everyone involved played badly on that snap.

Bryan Knowles: Not a lot of plays have a high chance of converting on third-and-40, but the wide receiver screen ain't it. Throw it at least medium length; maybe you'll draw a holding or something.

Dave Bernreuther: I wonder if they'd have challenged that non-interception if they hadn't just lost the one on the pass interference challenge. It did touch the ground, but only barely, and while he had it as under control as is possible by the fingertips. I've seen worse upheld as catches/picks.

Of course, at first-and-FORTY, the Packers may end up with better field position even without that.

Aaron Schatz: Really would have been a great opportunity for a quick-kick surprise punt.

Dave Bernreuther: Exactly, Bryan. Either throw a pass that can draw you a penalty and freebie, or you might as well just punt it on third down; might even make more sense to, since it could keep more time available for a comeback, given that it's the fourth quarter and you're trailing.

Vince Verhei: Conversely, I think Green Bay made the correct decision to kick a short field goal on fourth-and-2. Now Chicago has to score twice to beat you, which feels impossible the way they've played tonight.

Bryan Knowles: For the first time all night, the Bears offense starts looking good, as a combination of up-tempo offense and three-man rushes actually gives Chicago room to throw and space to make plays. Maybe we're headed for something exciting here...

... and then Trubisky lobs a rainbow into double-coverage, and Adrian Amos, fresh from Chicago, makes what is, in all likelihood, the game-sealing interception. Whoops.

Scott Spratt: There isn't enough time left, but in future games, teams will always challenge those interceptions in the end zone looking for defensive PI. What's the downside other than fan annoyance?

Aaron Schatz: I look forward to more discussion on Twitter of Trubisky's inability to throw to his left.

Not sure why the Packers threw in an RPO -- and Rodgers threw on the play -- which handed the Bears an extra timeout for their final drive.

Vince Verhei: Because it's more fun to win after Trubisky throws up on himself again.

Seriously, though, if you're going to throw, I can understand doing it on second down when it's less expected. If they execute better and pick up the first down we're praising their aggressiveness.

Tom Gower: That looked like a coverage-related audible by Rodgers, not a called play. But if he can call it and you'll take it if you get the look, it's part of the game plan.

Final, 10-3. The Packers had one good drive in the second half. The Bears had a couple of non-awful offensive possessions. One ended in that fourth-and-10 should've-kicked it. One ended in an incredible series of penalties. The other ended on a Trubisky lollipop to the end zone. It's possible this game looks a lot better than it does. I mean, I still don't see any reason to have confidence in Trubisky in tough situations, but Allen Robinson is fantastic and while you can quibble with some of what Matt Nagy did, I maintain he still had the better offense in this game. Overall, the big winner of the night may be our projection of the Lions to win the division, but that's a thing you can say before the Lions have played.

Vince Verhei: Oh, I must disagree, Mr. Gower. The Bears occasionally moved the ball on their own side of the field, but could barely function once crossing the 50. Their only score came on a drive that gained 16 yards of offense. Let's not crown Green Bay's ass, but I can't say that they were the worse offense tonight.

Tom Gower: Well, which team had the better offensive performance and which team was the better-designed offense are different questions. My take on this game is that Green Bay had the worse offensive design but has the better quarterback, whereas Mr. Trubisky's struggles really hamstrung the small- and large-scale efficiency of what was overall an offense that produced a better schematic advantage.

Vince Verhei: Fair enough.

Bryan Knowles: Hey, at least the Bears kicked a field goal.

In a division as close as we're projecting the NFC North, divisional road wins are worth their weight in gold.

Rivers McCown:

Comments

90 comments, Last at 08 Sep 2019, 11:09am

45 That's one of the things…

That's one of the things that really set Manning the Greater, Brady, and Brees apart; the disciplined mechanics into an advanced age. Might of helped that none of three ever had otherworldly throwing talent.

49 At this point, I don't think…

At this point, I don't think Rodgers can operate an efficient offense utilizing quick drops, option routes, and route combinations. 

 

Rodgers has just been way too successful playing as he does that I don't think you can do anything but try to build around his specific skillsets, namely invest heavily in the offensive line and blocking tight ends and let his receivers work off his pocket mobility. 

53 He's always had his…

He's always had his characteristic playing style with the tendency to hold the ball, but he also used to be much more mechanically-sound - he's talked before about how he taught himself to throw without setting his feet, in part from watching Favre, and he's clearly relied on that more and more over time.

I don't think he has to learn anything he doesn't already know how to do, or at least once knew how to do, but I'm sure it's a tougher task to re-shape your game in your age 36 season. In all honesty I thought offseason work in a more strictly-structured offense would be helpful in refining some of those things - maybe not. The offense still looked pretty un-structured last night too. Long way to go.

54 I guess I have sort of given…

I guess I have sort of given up expecting that from Rodgers. The 2011-2014 Rodgers ship may have sailed. He's still a freakin amazing player. At this point, it might be better to maximize your sb chances by just letting the offense remain unstructured and playing awesome defense. Here I am envisioning a supercharged version of the Seahawks. 

24 I dont like killing the…

I dont like killing the bears for drafting MT. Watson had critics, including those who felt his size and arm strength were below stnadard and there was a sense he wouldn't have the toolset to consistently beat nfl defenses. This was definitely different than Wilson(who at the time was purely about height). It all looks laughable with hindsight, but they've levied similar criticisms at other qbs like Troy Smith and Jason White and those were spot on. I don't watch CFB, but I tend to believe the scouts over time, even if they are stupendously wrong. Its a super uncertain business. As for Mahomes...he was considered a reach at the time. He had the profile of Kaepernick, but I heard he was a system qb who put up lots of numbers in a wide open offense that didn't require much in terms of read progression and route combinations. He was basically the anti Watson - all toolset but raw. I think Mahomes' career to this point has been the most shocking of any qb since Kurt Warner came out of nowhere with no pedigree to become what he did. All that to say, I can defend the MT pick at the time. I can also see how this kind of move now looks like the proverbial pick that costs the bears a championship. They have a sb contending team right now, but with no obvious way to replace MT.

39 Just have to point out

that the criticisms are ones common to African American quarterbacks and have been for decades.

 

Look, I am not Mr PC but facts are facts. I am big10 person but even I was aware Watson was impressive and Will's mockery of those who questioned Watson's bona fides is totally justified. 

43 Which criticisms are you…

Which criticisms are you referring to? That's not intended a snark I'm just genuinely curious. The one I can remember a lot is saying he's too rudimentary in his knowledge of football... Which does feel like veiled racism.

 

 

44 Bingo

was his nameo.  That was such a crock.

 

And given how the NFL has been integrating collegiate game plays into multiple systems one could make the case that guys like Watson were ahead of many current NFL qbs. 

57 A criticism of Watson is…

A criticism of Watson is that he spent much of his career playing for a juggernaut, so it was really only in the Alabama rivalry (and the earlier FSU games) that he ever faced a defense as good as his own offense. A long list of Oklahoma, Miami, FSU, and Alabama QBs faced this problem when they got to the NFL and could no longer simply out-talent the opposition.

 

By contrast, Trubisky (like Mahomes, and as a successful example, Rodgers) played for a down program, which he basically carried to what success they had. You saw a lot of him playing with an overmatched offense against a better defense, so given parity, you could project some improvement.

 

Obvious it doesn't always come to pass that way, but you can see the thinking.

70 Trubinsky

I don't think anyone would have severely criticized the Bears for picking Trubinsky at #3. It was that they moved up one slot to get him. He had only played one year as a starter. That's small sample size for QBs these days. IIRC, the old LCF didn't even rate QBs with less than a two year history; just too much variability. And there were two other QBs with similar chances of success. It's why GMs need to stop obsessing over players; the risk/reward percentage incredibly favors the GMs who stay put or even drop a few slots for additional picks. Those additional picks often turn into more studs for your team. 

80 I think Mahomes' career to…

I think Mahomes' career to this point has been the most shocking of any qb since Kurt Warner came out of nowhere with no pedigree to become what he did.

I'm not really surprised by Mahomes, just because of the Andy Reid factor.  Out of all the people who have been given the "QB guru" label, he is one of the few that really deserves it.  He seems to have a knack for both identifying talented QBs, and for developing them to their fullest potential.  So when he thought highly enough of Mahomes that he traded up to get him (even though he already had a decent QB in Smith), I fully expected Mahomes to eventually become a superstar.  I will admit, though, I didn't expect it to happen quite that quickly.

86 The problem is less about…

The problem is less about picking Trubisky, and the fact that they traded up for him. First of all, there's almost no evidence that they needed to do so (I haven't heard anyone suggest that there was a team that was going to trade up with SF for Trubisky, specifically). And secondly, the fact that they traded up indicates that they really thought that he was strictly better than the other two, in a way that it would be unacceptable to miss out on. That indicates an understanding of how talent evaluation that is completely out of line with what we actually see in the NFL.

I was not a fan of Trubisky coming out of college, but I understood the risk involved with each of the top 3 QBs. I can understand looking at them and saying "hey, each of these guys has risks, but I prefer Trubisky over the other guys". But the Bears actions indicate that they didn't even consider Watson or Mahomes acceptable, and that's what I criticize them for. And so far, it seems like they deserve it.

29 Anybody who watched what…

Anybody who watched what Watson did twice against the best defensive coaching and talent college football has to offer, and concluded that he had a lesser chance of NFL success than what they saw from Mitch Trubisky, deserves significant criticism. It is a pefect example of falling in love with noncompetitive workouts to rank prospects.

(edit) To add on, you say you don't watch college football, so I understand where you are coming from, but I'd fire a scout who said Watson was similar as a prospect to Jason White or Troy Smith.

37 Actually, Johnny Manziel did torch

them twice, losing the second game by a point.  You are wrong about the month to prepare; both times Watson went up against Alabama it was the national championship game, so both teams played the week before.  Tebow didn't do as well statistically, which surprised me.  I have to admit, I was one of those who was high on Trubisky; he looked amazing his last year in college.  That said, Watson was a safer bet simply because he had more experience and a longer history of being good in college.  What's surprising is that Trubisky did better in Qbase than Watson.  Mahommes had the best Qbase rating with a pedestrian 656.  

 

42 I don't know what you meant…

I don't know what you meant by your first sentence, but it appears as if you are saying that Watson has some responsibility for Alabama's points scored. Yes, Alabama had semi final games, but I'd be shocked if Saban wasn't installing a plan for Clemson as well in the break between the SEC title game, and the playoffs. As for Manziel, based on game tape alone, he would have been a reasonable 1st round pick, but any careful analysis likely would have revealed a trainwreck personality, absent the overwhelming physical tools of, say, Cam Newton.

It was the 2nd destruction of Saban's defense by Watson which really sold me. Alabama was fully aware of who he was, what he did, and had plenty of time to prepare, and Watson simply took them apart again. You just can't teach instincts like that. The notion that he holds the ball in a manner that will greatly increase his injury risk is valid, and something he'll hopefully get better at.

(edit) Sorry, not used to the new comment format that leaves subject line blank. I get what you are saying now. I'll stand by my remarks on Manziel, and note the difference between a midseason conference game, and a championship where Saban has a month to prepare for two opponents.

55 Yeah, the subject line stuff

is confusing, like this sentence.  Perhaps I'll leave it blank from now on instead of filling it in.  I'm still surprised how few people are bringing up Mahommes in this thread, since he's the obvious hit QB from that draft.

56 Nowhere in business or anywhere else

do people incorporate part of their first sentence into the subject. It's more than annoying. See how difficult it is to read a thread now that I'm copying this practice? I bet you immediately started to read the first few words wondering why I started mid-sentence.

 

Please either just go along with the site default which duplicates the first few words as the subject or use the subject as a summary for your thoughts. The long-time default always put the article headline as the default, but I guess they changed it after too many long article titles which forced users to shorten the title just to post their commentary. 

 

We've both been here for years and I've usually appreciated your commentary. But this new practice of yours is confusing to say the least. Nobody else is doing this and it makes following the commentary thread frustrating when I have to modify how I read comments differently depending on who is posting. 

59 Not the first time, but the…

Not the first time, but the second time they had two weeks and played Texas A&M in their second game. Given their first opponent was unranked, they likely did get an entire off-season to prepare for Manziel.

Manziel threw for 464 and 5 TDs, and ran for another 98.

In 2012 and 2013, the next best passing game was 340. Manziel's 562 yards are 100 more than the next best team.

33 I enjoyed watching this…

I enjoyed watching this because it showed that Lafleur was a problem with the Titans' offense last year. Not all of it, but with better WRs, a healthy Mariota, a healthy Delanie Walker, and an OC who has lots of experience with his QB, if not lots of experience at being an OC, the offense should look better.

The Bears' offense let Lafleur the playcaller off the hook, as individual brilliance trumps a better scheme design. I'd hate to see the Bears with a real quarterback, and it's a shame that Rodgers is in this offense. You're going to be in for a long year, Packers fans.

58 Thanks, Matt and Mitch!

Nothing I love better than chirping about the Bears on the FOMB hours before they embarrass themselves on national TV.

63 I feel bad though. They have…

I feel bad though. They have a lot of talent and its pretty impressive given the nadir they reached under Fox. I don't even think Fox was a bad coach - the bears really just sucked that badly. Seriously, which veteran players from that regime are even on this roster? Certainly no one of any repute.

 

Its a shame therefore to see the one weakness they have is the kind that puts a hard ceiling on a team, even one this talented and good. 

64 I assume by "one weakness"…

I assume by "one weakness" you mean Trubisky. Personally, I am concerned about plenty more than just him on the offense, including the TE and O-line, but most of all Matt Nagy. I'm seeing on Twitter that he made comments in today's press conference about how it was "weird" that they ran the ball so little last night, and literally abandoned it for the last quarter and a half.

Matt, YOU ARE THE HEAD COACH AND PLAYCALLER. The team will run as much as you want them to. And you made the same lame excuses after you did the same damn thing in the last high-profile game you lost.

69 Weakness meaning a severe…

Weakness meaning a severe neckweight. Ok, the tight ends are probably bottom tier, but you can live with that. The offensive line was bad last night, but I don't see it as a terrible unit. They were middle of the pack in RAP last year, but admittedly a lot of that stat is driven by the qb. 

 

72 Yeah, I watched that game,…

Yeah, I watched that game, as painfully boring as it was, and my takeaway was "this Bears offense sucks real bad." Trubisky is clearly part of the problem, but I recall a lot of dropped passes, and some weird/stupid play calls. The receivers also didn't bother getting open, with the possible exception of Robinson, who Trubisky threw inaccurate passes to all game. On top of all that the offensive line looked weak.

Poor and sloppy offensive play comes back to the head coach first and foremost, well before Trubisky, as bad as he was.

78 Who do you blame for the loss?

Agreed.  My order of blame:

  1. Nagy
  2. GB DEF / Pettine as DC **
  3. Mr. Biscuit

 

** Trubisky really seems to struggle against elite secondaries.   His worst games last year came against such units.  ARI was a top 10 Pass DEF (Peterson, Buddha Baker,  A. Bethea), but avg DEF overall.  SEA was a solid unit.   BUF (#2 Pass DEF) and LARM (top 10 Pass D, 27th Run D).  In both games, Mr Biscuit had ~150 passing yards.  Some of the teams had avg DEF / pass rush but good secondaries (ARI, LARM, SEA).

Conversely, his best games of the year was against the worst secondaries in the league (TB, DET).

Point is, GBs secondary looked really good.  Rookie Darnell Savage seemed to be all over the place.  Maybe GB / Pettine turned around the DEF with an influx of talent?

89 This is probably true…

This is probably true. Trubisky is definitely not good, but at the end of the day he's your QB and you have to work with him. If he can't make the plays, you can't just throw your hands up and say "well, we can't win with him". You rolled with him, you gotta find a way to make it work.

Anyway, I thought the offense was poorly designed. I remember a lot of times last year seeing guys get schemed wide open, and there was none of that on Thursday. Trubisky missed some throws but the offense wasn't beating the Packers. Maybe the league is catching up to Nagy? That would be unfortunate.

88 Fox

There are some players still around from the Fox era; Fuller and Hicks are probably the biggest talents, although Fuller had not yet matured as a CB for most of Fox's tenure. Kyle Long, Danny Trevathan...yeah, the list isn't great.

Still, I wouldn't really defend Fox. He had a really bad approach for the team that he had. He tried to grind the ball, play defense, and win on the margins and with execution, on a team with Jay Cutler as its QB. I don't like that kind of approach in general because I think it puts a ceiling on your teams potential, but I think you have to understand that he didn't have the team to do that. I think the better approach would have been to just go YOLO and sling the ball around as much as possible to try to dilute Cutler's mistakes. In all truth, probably no approach would have won with those teams, but Fox's was doomed from the start IMO.

68 I couldn't watch the game

I'm in Europe on vacation (and sick in my hotel room), so my impressions are based on the ten minute highlight reel I watched on YouTube and commentary here.

I think the Packers offensive struggles were a combination of the interior O line being not as good as hoped and the Bears defense still being really, really good. The sacks I watched looked more like AR having no time in the pocket because pressure up the middle than his bad habit of holding onto the ball too long. AR got the throwing in the air habit from Favre; he may not have Favre's arm but it's still better than most QBs. Take out the sacks and from what I saw this offense has promise. Even Trevor Davis caught a pass; he'll be injured by mid-season, but it's nice to see he can be more than a returner.

I'm curious if the defense is really much better. They looked better in the highlights, but that may be the Trubinsky effect. Every defense will look better against a Bortles or Ponder-level QB. We'll see next week when they have to play against a better QB and two legit Pro Bowl-level WRs.

I didn't see Scott's punting, but apparently his punting was the talk of Packer Nation last night. They haven't had consistent punting since Craig Hentrich in the 90's. Good punters are often underappreciated.

Hmmm. I've suddenly gotten the old interface back for comments. Interesting.

79 Tramon Williams quote

The full Tramon Williams quote is even more damning of Trubinsky.

“We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback. We knew they had a lot of weapons. We knew they were dangerous. We knew all of those things. But we knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback, that we’d have a chance.”

It does seem like the Packers defense has a lot of respect for the Bears offensive potential. They just don’t respect the triggerman, especially as a pocket QB.