Bernstein: Poor Bears Offense Changes Psychology

Anything other than something terrible occurring is starting to seem fine.

Dan Bernstein
September 18, 2019 - 1:36 pm
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(670 The Score) It took me a while to figure out the reason I don't enjoy gambling, but it finally became clear. I hate the feeling of losing money and get no equivalent sense of euphoria when winning it, whether it be blackjack or slots, roulette or poker. Victory brings nothing but a sense of relief, the idea that the inevitable has been held at bay temporarily.

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And alas, that's how it's starting to feel watching the Bears play offense -- or at least when Mitchell Trubisky drops back to pass. Anything other than something terrible occurring is starting to seem fine, which is in itself really unfortunate.

It wasn't supposed to happen this way, not in the second year of coach Matt Nagy's program with the second overall draft pick of 2017 in more complete command. That trepidation was to have been replaced by a level of confidence that was rock solid if not swaggering, the presumption that this carefully schemed attack was a step ahead and each next throw another tantalizing possibility of scoring a touchdown, tearing off a big chunk of yards or setting either of those up.

Instead, we have missed blocks and missed receivers, poorly spaced screen plays, check-downs that happen a beat too soon and all kinds of near misses that look way more interceptable than they should. It doesn't help that some kind of cognitive editing system must be magnifying the negative results and suppressing any positive ones, but that's a "me" issue.

It all is, really, and I get that. But if you're not nodding along to some of this twisted logic, you're either not watching the same games this season or don't care as much as I still apparently do.

After that miserable first showing, we all clamored for a more robust Bears ground game, in large part -- I think -- to take some of this agita out of the experience as much as potentially make the Bears more likely to win. When we all got what we asked for in a notably conservative approach in Denver on Sunday, what it ended up doing was merely intensifying the pass plays and making each one feel scarier. That so many were coming off schedule and behind the chains certainly didn't help.

I've no idea if anything I'm projecting is real, but dammit, it's real to me, and it's no fun yet after a summer of reassurances that Trubisky was developing right along with all his new weapons in the pass game.

If Nagy is thinking at all like I am, he sure won't say it, because obviously he can't. But we'll know by how he sets up game plans and makes his calls from that diner menu he consults before covering his mouth with it so the opponent can't read his lips to get some precious advantage that can be exploited in the ensuing 12 seconds.

It doesn't matter how you or I feel about this passing offense failing to launch, but it does matter how Nagy does. If at some point he's still waiting in vain for it to reach some critical mass of awareness and execution and he starts asking Trubisky to limit the risk calculus and manage the game, it's an admission his guts are also in knots.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.