The space between games is typically filled with all kinds of words, sometimes with sound and fury signifying nothing, but sometimes revealing and, if you are an 0-2 football team, concerning.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, two games into his gig in place of Adam Gase, has underscored the John Fox philosophy of their team being a running football team. But if that is to be the Bears’ identity, it was not apparent from Loggains.
Instead of the Bears moving toward a team that can impose its will on a defense and run its plan, Loggains indicated that the Bears’ identity depends upon what an opponent lets it be. The sense is an offense that is reacting, not acting.
“Well I think it depends on how the defense is playing you,” Loggains said in response to an offense-identity question. “Some of the stuff, they're going to play single-high, there are things that are advantageous vs. it, and Philadelphia started playing a lot more Cover-2 and clouding Alshon [Jeffery] a little bit in the second half. It really depends on what the defense is doing to you.”
Defenses can dictate what offenses can do or be. If a team is willing to sell out to stop something, it usually can. If the offense is being denied its primary route to success, then it behooves the unit and its boss to exploit whatever weakness is created within a defense gearing to stop something.
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Through two games, in which the Bears were either leading (Houston) or down by two points (Philadelphia), only five teams have run the football fewer times than the Bears (38). This after the organization invested heavy capital in a physical guard (Josh Sitton) and shuffled the offensive line to work Sitton in.
One adjustment expected Sunday vs. the Dallas Cowboys is an increased role for rookie running back Jordan Howard, who flashed in his three carries in the loss to the Eagles but saw the offense turn back to Jeremy Langford. Howard is bigger and blessed with greater power than either Langford or Ka’Deem Carey, who is out this week with a hamstring strain.
After running the football 46 percent of the time last year, even with a 6-10 record, the Bears are running on just 37 percent of their plays in 2016 in spite of presumed upgrades at left guard (Sitton), right tackle (Bobby Massie), right guard (moving Kyle Long back to his preferred spot) and center (rookie Cody Whitehair, a No. 2 pick).
“We would like to be able to run the ball when we need to,” Loggains stated. “We want to stay balanced, we want to play the games on our terms, and right now, we need to run the ball better to play the game in our terms.”