Coaching Points: Bears Making Corrections

The Bears' assistants have plenty to take away from a disappointing opener.

Chris Emma
September 10, 2019 - 4:00 pm
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Despite the kind of strong performance that it has built its reputation on, the Bears defense didn't take pleasure from a season-opening loss last Thursday.

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While the Bears held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to only 10 points and kept their lagging offense within one score from the second quarter on, the defensive players kept coming back to the plays they didn't make, those that could've won the game.

Inside its meeting room Friday morning, the Bears defense took ownership for the 10-3 loss to the Packers instead of pinning the outcome on the offense. The coaches felt the disappointment.

"How can we outplay the opponent?" Bears secondary coach Deshea Townsend said. "(The Packers) defense gave up three, so it was our job to give up two. That's how we have to approach it. That's what it's about. It's a team game. You got to go out and you got to perform. We didn't do enough on our side to win the game."

Bears inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone agreed with that.

"There were plays the defense could've made in that game that they didn't," DeLeone said. "We got to play better. We're excited to play Denver this week and make those plays."

The Bears contained Rodgers for most of the game, save for a four-play touchdown drive in the second quarter that was ultimately the difference. What irked the Chicago defense that led the NFL in takeaways in 2018 was that it didn't force a turnover as its offense continued to sputter.

Frustration was felt as a team and shared between the offense and defense. 

"That's what type of guys are in the building," Townsend said. "You have a bunch of men that want to win games. They want to do it the right way. Most of all, they're great teammates. That's what it's all about. 

"We've been in this game long enough. It's not one side that wins the game, it's the team. We have to do our part every week."

Ragone sees mixed results in Trubisky's play

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was especially hard on himself in the aftermath of the Bears' opening loss. 

Trubisky finished the game 26-of-45 for 228 yards and an interception. Along with coach Matt Nagy, Trubisky took ownership for the offense scoring only three points. What went into his shaky performance?

Bears quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone pointed to some of the unscouted looks presented by Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, which threw off the Trubisky's processing. Film review Friday and a 10-10-10 practice Monday offered Ragone and Trubisky the opportunity to begin fixing the mistakes.

"If you look at any of his good or bad places, they can usually be reasoned out of why they were good or why they were bad," Ragone said. "It's in every game. It just obviously happened at our position, things that we missed execution-wise, why did they happen? And then address that. 

"We just preach to Mitchell, don't make the same mistake twice."

Ragone also pointed to some of the positives from Trubisky's performance. In particular, he liked the connection Trubisky shared with top target Allen Robinson, who had seven receptions for 102 yards.

In Ragone's mind, it was the reflection of work Trubisky has put in with his receivers and their chemistry paying off.

"Giving his receivers chances down the field," Ragone said. "I know that's been a constant conversation with him. He's worked very hard on it. Some of the results were positive. Some, unfortunately out of his control, were not. But the things in my opinion, you see the connection he's starting to have not only with Allen Robinson but with other receivers."

No rush 

After admitting his faults in play-calling, Nagy said he hopes to establish the Bears' new-look running game. In order to do that, he planned on consulting with his offensive assistants.

Bears running backs coach Charles London believes part of the process to getting the ground attack moving is establishing a steady usage for their three top backs -- rookie David Montgomery, veteran Mike Davis and the explosive Tarik Cohen.

The Bears' three running backs combined to rush only 11 times for 37 yards in the season opener.

"We're still kind of putting some pieces together," London said. "They're all really talented players that have different skill sets that we can exploit. But we're putting it together a little bit. They can all run, they can all catch, they can all do a good job in pass pro. So, we're just trying to figure out as coaches the best spot to use them."

A third-round pick this past spring, Montgomery rushed six times for 18 yards in his NFL debut. That included just one second-half rush with the Bears trailing by only one score.

Montgomery's surprisingly light load wasn't any indication as to where the rookie is with his personal development, London said.

"He's doing a good job," London said. "David's really diligent, studies hard, asks a lot of questions. He's come in and really hit the ground running since he's been here for OTAs, rookie camp.

He's doing a really good job in the offense."

Bush push

The Packers took the lead against the Bears on a four-play, 74-yard scoring drive in which Rodgers methodically worked through the defense.

On first down that series, Rodgers ran a play-action fake that bought receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling time to get open down the field. He found a seam in the defense and hauled in the deep ball thanks in part to a broken coverage in the Bears defense. That was due in part to safety Deon Bush focusing on tight end Jimmy Graham instead, according to Townsend.

Bush was in for starter Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the Packers scoring drive as part of the Bears' plan to give him some action in an occasional changeup at safety. Bush took the field for five plays on defense in the opener.

Townsend defended the Bears' approach.

"I trust every guy that we have," Townsend said. "One thing that Bush has done, he deserves the right to play. He had a great preseason. And he's the next man up. 

"One play or one game does not define us. That has to be our mindset when we're playing."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.