3 Things the Bears Need to Clean Up to Get the Offense Going
Aside from Allen Robinson and David Montgomery, the Bears offense has been atrocious. There are countless reasons the Bears offense hasn't performed well. The scheme, the offensive line play, and the quarterback play have all been underwhelming. Fans have been losing their minds across the Twittersphere, demanding the Bears trade for every player in the NFL. Realistically, the Bears cannot make any drastic personnel or scheme changes, but there are a few things the Bears can easily fix to help the offensive production. This article focuses on those easy fixes.
1: Catching the Ball
It seems like a stupid thing to say, but this article is about easy fixes, so hear me out. Heading into the bye, the Bears ranked 3rd amongst all teams in drops. They have eight dropped passes in five games, which is unacceptable. Four of those passes halted drives. If the Bears plan to win games on defense, they need to sustain drives at a minimum. Who knows how many of those drives would have ended with points on the board. Even if those drives resulted in flipping the field, and giving the defense another three minutes to rest, it would have been beneficial. There's nothing more frustrating than seeing a drive end because of a dropped pass. Well, maybe there is one thing...
2: Clean Up the Offensive Penalties
The offensive penalties are the only things more infuriating than the dropped passes. The Bears have accumulated 19 offensive penalties, which is third in the NFL. 1st and 15's aren't ideal, but they're manageable. When an offense gets a holding call, followed by a false start, and they're 1st and 25, it's nearly impossible to manage. It's hard to forget about that drive against the Packers. Trubisky gets criticized a lot, but he could have converted that 1st and 25 after completing a bomb to Taylor Gabriel. Instead, it was called back for offensive pass interference. A drive that would have put points on the board ended with a safe play call on 3rd and 40. Penalties not only put the offense in less manageable situations, but they also slow the tempo. The Bears want to run an up-tempo offense. It puts the defense on their heels and gives Trubisky more time for pre-snap reads. The penalties work against that. At a minimum, the Bears need to eliminate pre-snap penalties.
3: The Bears Need More YAC
The Bears were ranked 28th in Yards After Catch(YAC), going into the bye. Of their 1,014 passing yards, only 456 came after the catch(44%). A prolific passing attack like the Chiefs has 49% of their passing yards coming after the catch. I know it doesn't seem like a huge difference, but every percentage point counts. The Bears need to find a way to make this number go up, which is a little more scheme dependent. Bears fans are sick and tired of seeing the 6-yard curl routes. They are useful in down and distance situations, but can we get some crossing routes on first down? I am tired of seeing curl routes that have a defender barreling down on receivers after they catch the ball. It's time to get the ball to receivers in space so they can make plays.
There are many things the offense needs to clean up coming out of the bye. The Bears have put Kyle Long on IR, and we will see someone new in his position. I don't think that will solve all the offensive line issues, but its a start. Whoever plays still needs to win their one on one matchups. We don't know if that will happen, but fans need to remain hopeful. Until then, they can fix some of the easier issues. If the Bears drop fewer passes, commit less penalties, and get more yards after the catch, the offense should make a jump.