After the 2021 draft, everything seemed to be all smiles from the Bears camp, and why would it not be? Drafting Justin Fields, stealing Teven Jenkins in the 2nd round, getting Larry Borom to bolster the OL options and picking a lot of great potential ballers in the later rounds (a Pace speciality it seems).
However, after a solid win against Miami we were brought crashing back down to earth when the Bills went rodeo on us as if we were the proverbial china shop, blowing our defense away 41-15, with a 34-6 halftime score. Adding insult to injury, Mitch Trubisky came back to complete 20 of 28 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown.
This readers, is where our story begins…
Trubisky, a constant professional throughout his time with the Bears, was not the answer. Not favoured by Nagy and was only really the starter for because the backups were even worse. So where did this half of football come from? Was it really a summer in the Bill camp that was able to release this new found ability? Or did the Bears defense leave the door open for him rather than slamming it into his face?
SEAN DESAI: RECAP
For those unsure, Sean ‘Doc’ Desai was appointed to be Defensive Coordinator, after the retirement of Chuck Pagano. Sean Desai, with a doctorate in educational administration, had multiple years of coaching experience prior to joining the Bears in 2012. In our 12-4 2018 season he worked with the Bears’ defensive backs and linebackers; in 2019 he helped guide Eddie Jackson to a 2nd Pro Bowl in a row with 60 tackles and 2 interceptions, whilst also getting 78 tackles and 2 interceptions out of a fresh Bearfaced Clinton-Dix; and last season he helped the defence keep passing attacks to below 250yards per game. Not to mention, he learnt from Vic Fangio.
So the Bills happened. Trubisky had a great half, the Bears were torn to pieces and it’s all over… not so much. Though the score line looked flattering, there were a number of things to take into consideration.
Firstly, the Bears were without the returning Eddie Goldman, after he opted out in 2020, and both linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith. Yes the Bears played with a lot of their known starters, but with the three aforementioned players out, you lose a considerable section of this defensive spine. This is especially after Smith and Trevathan were the core Linebackers for all of 2020.
With them gone, there is a loss of structure, ability and presence that could affect another player’s instincts of where to go, when to go, who to read. If you know the players beside you inside/out, you have a certain focus. Without them, there’s an element of “What if…?”. So without 3 from the core of the defence, a few players may have been unsettled.
Then there is also the point about need. Preseason can be a lot of things for a lot of people. Rookies looking to make a name for themselves, coaches trying something new and more often than not, it’s all about reps. Getting the heart going and the blood pumping, but without the risk of serious injury. It would have been wonderful to see Robert Quinn step up and prove his talent after last year’s disappointing 2020 season with a spine-tingling 20 sack game (exaggerated of course).
But I would much rather see that against Green Bay and see him fit enough to be there, rather than breaking down because he chased down a backup Bill’s QB on a 2nd and 20. You could see that the need wasn’t there. Why would Johnson need to risk breaking his arms diving for an interception? There is no Win-Loss record or NFC championship to worry about, so let’s not. Get the intensity in, shake off the summer rust and be ready for the Rams.
Final point, is that Sean Desai is new. Brand new. Fresh out the wrapper. Everyone wants to see how good of a coach he is, especially opposition coaches. They have nothing on a Sean Desai playbook. They may have hints or feelings, but nothing in the way of concrete plays or past tapes to delve into. And Desai would probably want to keep it that way. There is no chance that he would want to give an advantage to anyone in this league and that’s the way it should be. Let people think about 41-15, because they’ll soon be feeling it for real.
So, What’s up ‘Doc’? I would say nothing. It’s all going according to plan and I for one can’t wait to see it unfold. Go Bears.