15 on 6: Forget Sunday, Bears Have Short Week

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15 on 6: Forget Sunday, Bears Have Short Week

Sunday, November 8th

You practice hard all week perfecting a game plan only to have it canned the first three drives against the Cardinals. Playing catchup is never the ideal position to be in the NFL, especially 31-6 at halftime with only 30 minutes to play. The Bears put up big numbers, but clearly have a lot to correct, which is difficult during a short work week. Here are three easy fixes Jay and the offense will emphasize before they face the 49ers on Thursday night:

1. Scramble drill: Today when Jay scrambled, the receivers did not work to get open. It does not happen through osmosis and the coaches do not teach what they displayed today. All 32 teams work the scramble drill. The deepest WR works back to the QB, shortest routed WR goes deep, and the intermediate WR works sideline to sideline with the QB in order to uncover. The coaches and Jay need to work this drill a couple times in practice. Even if the Bears are in 7-on-7 with no pass rush, just to get reactions from all positions to execute it properly.

2. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner said last week that he "wanted to scale back the offense." This is the week to do it. The Bears have a short week of work before they fly out to San Francisco for Thursday's game. The game plan will be as basic as it gets with the Bears only working one day to prepare. They will be given the game plan tomorrow with at most a walk thru of first and second down plays. Tuesday will consist of third down, red zone, and goal line installation. Hopefully, players' bodies are not too banged up on Tuesday that you can go at a good pace in practice to get the timing down. Wednesday they will travel.

3. Players must work on the mental approach to the game. Tomorrow they must be accountable. They will not watch the debacle against Arizona, there is no time. They must dive into the 49ers film and get to know their next opponent. They must also dive into the game plan mentally. During a short week, you cannot practice every play you are going to call in the game. Again, there is no time and bodies will not be fully recovered from today's game. You must make the most of your time. Study at night, on the plane, or in the training room. Whatever you have to do to get it down. It has never been more critical for this football team.

2017 Bears Draft class and remaining picks

2017 Bears Draft class and remaining picks

The Bears made some waves just 10 minutes into the 2017 NFL Draft, sending four picks to the San Francisco 49ers to move up one spot and select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky second overall.

That package included two picks from Friday's Day 2 of the draft — the 67th overall pick and the 111th selection.

So what do the Bears have remaining?

Ryan Pace and Co. can still trade down in the second round — something they did twice last spring. But as of Friday afternoon, this is where things stand:

Round 2: Pick 4 (36th overall)
Round 4: Pick 10 (117th)
Round 5: Pick 3 (147th)
Round 7: Pick 3 (221)

The Bears will also be short a third-round pick in 2018 as part of the deal for Trubisky.

On second thoughts: Looking deeper at Bears gamble on Mitch Trubisky

On second thoughts: Looking deeper at Bears gamble on Mitch Trubisky

Upon further review and in the light of day, some observations and perspectives on the Bears’ epic trade of multiple meaningful draft choices to move up one spot in the 2017 first round to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky….

…So much for expert analysis. Maybe the 2017 quarterback draft class wasn’t as bad as its advance reviews. Three quarterbacks went in the Top 12 picks, and all three teams selecting them (Bears, Kansas City, Houston) traded, not down, but up to grab their guys (Trubisky, Pat Mahomes, DeShaun Watson).

Meaning: Pace didn’t panic in making the jump; he’d gotten calls from those teams looking to deal up for a quarterback, so he didn’t get bamboozled by 49ers GM John Lynch. When Pace didn’t want to deal with the Browns, Chiefs or Texans, he rightly figured he wasn’t their last call, in fact probably was their first.

And the coaches involved the Chiefs’ and Texans’ know something about good quarterbacks. Andy Reid mentored Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb. Bill O’Brien followed Josh McDaniels as Tom Brady’s quarterbacks coach in New England, then was offensive coordinator before leaving to rebuild the Penn State program.

As a footnote, for as voluminous as the positives were on Watson (including those of this reporter), Reid thought Mahomes was better.

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…He doesn’t have a third-rounder this year, but what Pace does with the Bears’ second-round pick will worth serious watching, based on his history. His hit rate at that level is superb; Eddie Goldman in ’15, then trading down a couple times in ’16 and still landing Cody Whitehair, one of the top O-line nuggets from last year’s draft.

And Pace didn’t entirely gut his ’17 draft portfolio. As things stand at this moment, he still goes into Day 3 with a fourth-rounder – one of what he picked up last year in one of those trade-down’s in the second round on the way to Whitehair.

Pace’s tone and demeanor Thursday after Round 1 was noteworthy: He sounded anything but done being draft-aggressive: “There’s avenues, maybe we can acquire more picks, like we did last year. So you’re kind of weighing all that.”

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… No, the Bears didn’t overpay for moving from No. 3 to No. 2. A one-slot move inside the Top 10 is always pricey, and inside the Top 5 carries a huge premium. As I mentioned Thursday night, Cleveland gave Minnesota three later picks in the 2012 draft to switch places, the Browns going to No. 3 and the Vikings down one to No. 4. The picks (a four, a five, a seven) were less than the Bears paid (two threes, a four), but the Bears were going from 3 to 2, and it involved a quarterback, always a situation with a premium.

Also, and not intended as any slight of the players, but just using the results from Pace’s own draft history: The Bears traded Hroniss Grasu (third round, 2015), Jeremy Langford (fourth round, 2015) and Jonathan Bullard (third round, 2016) to improve their 2017 draft position and secure what they believe will be a franchise quarterback.

Picks in the 3-4 range can be huge hits: Olin Kreutz, Lance Briggs, Alex Brown. They can also be Juaquin Iglesias, Jarron Gilbert or Brock Vereen. Pace didn’t mortgage the future in a wild swing for a franchise QB by trading away, say, a No. 1 (Rick Mirer) or maybe two No. 1’s (Jay Cutler).

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…The Trubisky move doesn’t dislodge Mike Glennon from his berth as the starter, as long as Glennon is better than Trubisky. But for those hyperventilating with outrage over the signing of Mark Sanchez as a backup, the prospects for Sanchez just dimmed mightily if not all the way to black. Connor Shaw, who has a future, arguably has a better shot at a roster spot than Sanchez, who was insurance.

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…Were the Bears masking their real intentions with the mass migrations of staff to scout DeShaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and a couple other prospects? Don’t think so. There are less expensive and cumbersome ways to blow smoke and create misperceptions.

More likely, the closer they looked at the Kizers and Watsons, the more doubts they had and the more they liked what they’d seen with Trubisky. Pace personally scouted a handful of his games (a Tarheel buddy in North Carolina text’ed me early last fall and said, “Hey, just FYI: Your GM is here scouting our quarterback”), and the more he saw, the more he liked.

Apparently not so with the other guys.