Dowell Loggains

Why Dowell Loggains was pleased with what Mike Glennon did against Atlanta

Why Dowell Loggains was pleased with what Mike Glennon did against Atlanta

Dowell Loggains was quick to point out the No. 1 positive thing Mike Glennon did against the Atlanta Falcons: “We didn’t turn it over.” 

Not only did Glennon not thrown an interception, none of his 40 pass attempts were dangerously close to being picked off. In one sense, Glennon did his job, and had the Bears’ defense not blown a couple coverages in the fourth quarter, he might not have needed that last-ditch drive that ended five yards from the end zone. 

“We talked about it all week, how important it was against that team not to turn the football over, because the way they run to the ball, they swarm,” Loggains said. “But to get it to the two-minute drive, that was our goal the whole time. We felt like we could win it in the end.” 

Loggians was happy with how Glennon executed the offensive gameplan, which saw the Bears only take one shot downfield (an incompletion to Tarik Cohen) and rely more on their running backs than their receivers/tight ends until the final few minutes. Until Mitchell Trubisky is deemed ready, this is probably what the Bears’ offense will look like.

(When Trubisky is ready is a separate topic, with the Bears continuing to praise Glennon’s ability to win at the line of scrimmage — the area in which Trubisky needs the most work — they don’t think he’s there yet.)

While the Bears only scored 17 points, here’s something else to consider: After one week (an admittedly small sample size), Football Outsiders’ DVOA ranks the Bears’ offense 10th. Ahead of them are mostly teams that won’t surprise you, based on Week 1: Kansas City, Oakland, Atlanta, Minnesota, Tennessee, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Dallas and the Los Angeles Rams. By the advanced numbers, the Bears’ offense was 16 percent better than average, which isn’t a bad place to start a season. 

Even if you aren't an advanced stats fan or don't buy those numbers after just one week, they are worth noting given Loggains' evaluation. 

“Mike managed the clock, managed the game, really managed the game,” Loggains said. “When I say managed the game — sometimes that phrase can be misconstrued — he did exactly what he needed to do to play the game we detailed out to him, how we thought we could win the game and what was best for us and that matchup, that game. He handled all the situations, did a really good job.”

Bears Week 1 grades: Long looks needed for Mike Glennon, secondary

Bears Week 1 grades: Long looks needed for Mike Glennon, secondary

Quarterbacks: C+

Credit is due for Mike Glennon given what he did on the Bears’ final drive, even if it didn’t get in the end zone. With Atlanta head-scratchingly playing plenty of off coverage against an offense that barely tried to stretch the field throughout the game, Glennon took what was given and marched the Bears within five yards of the end zone with time running out. And Glennon, for what it’s worth, could’ve been a hero had Jordan Howard not dropped his pass and backed into the end zone on second-and-goal (more on that later). 

Another point in Glennon’s favor: Not only was he not intercepted on Sunday, he didn’t make any cringe-worthy throws that could’ve easily been picked off. 

But the Bears’ offense until late in the fourth quarter was “fine” at best, save for some flashes of brilliance from Tarik Cohen (again, more on him in a bit). Glennon was 7/9 for 41 yards at halftime, and the Bears ran 20 plays between completed passes at one point during the second and third quarters. 

Running backs: A-

Tarik Cohen was outstanding, sparking the Bears’ offense with a 46-yard scamper and a 19-yard touchdown when the team needed it the most (both those big plays came after Atlanta had scored a touchdown). Jordan Howard had 52 yards on 13 carries, but his drop on the 1-yard line of a possible game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter lowers this unit's grade a bit. 

Wide receivers: D-

This unit was targeted by Glennon only two more times (14) than Cohen (12) was, and the only deep ball Glennon threw was to the speedy rookie running back. The production just wasn’t there for this group, which combined to catch nine passes for 82 yards as it struggled to get open on deeper routes. Kevin White, prior to his injury, had a rough drop on a quick slant. Saving this group from an F: Kendall Wright and Josh Bellamy combined for four catches and 45 yards — so about half the unit’s total production — on the Bears’ final drive. 

Tight Ends: C

Zach Miller received the second most targets of any player (six) and had four catches for 39 yards, and Dion Sims caught two passes for 31 yards. This unit can be better, especially with the Bears possibly without their top two receivers in White and Cameron Meredith, but also didn’t do a lot wrong on Sunday. 

Offensive line: C-

Even if you allow for Glennon missing a protection here or there, the offensive line bears the most responsibility for the four sacks Atlanta totaled. None were more important than the last one, when Brooks Reed raced around Bobby Massie to sack Glennon (Massie, arguably, wasn’t overtly beat on it, but Glennon didn’t have room to step up — overall, the Falcons were able to sustain good pressure on the play). 

Cody Whitehair committed two penalties that put the Bears behind the sticks, which was a tough place for an offense lacking the ability to stretch the field, and a low snap while Glennon was in the gun led to a wasted play in the fourth quarter. There shouldn’t be a long-term concern about this unit — especially when Kyle Long returns — but it struggled at times on Sunday. 

Defensive line: A-

Akiem Hicks had two sacks, Roy Robertson-Harris generated some good pressure and batted down a pass and this group led the effort to hold Devonta Freeman to only 37 yards on 12 carries. Hicks in particular played at an elite level a day after signing a four-year contract extension, though the roughing the passer foul he committed in the third quarter led to a Falcons field goal. 

Linebackers: B-

This unit was the other half of the equation to stopping the highest paid running back in the NFL, with Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan both doing well to mute the run. Freeman did well in covering tight end Levine Toilolo late in the fourth quarter, preventing what would’ve been a game-clinching touchdown. Leonard Floyd didn’t get much pressure on Matt Ryan but broke up a pass and was solid as a tackler. 

Defensive backs: C-

The Bears allowed an 88-yard touchdown pass, and Austin Hooper’s 40-yard gain on third-and-10 late in the fourth quarter was rough (Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson missed tackles on that play). On the 88-yard score, the Bears were still getting set right up to the snap, and it looked like linebacker Jerrell Freeman thought he could hand off Hooper to a safety, but Quintin Demps went toward the far sideline to help Fuller with Julio Jones, leaving Hooper wide open over the middle. After the game, Demps took responsibility for the broken coverage. 

This grade isn’t completely ruined by those plays, though, because Marcus Cooper and Fuller combined to do well in limiting Julio Jones to four catches for 66 yards — and Matt Ryan only looked Jones’ way five times during the game. Even if Jones was merely a decoy on some snaps, that’s still a solid showing for these DBs against one of the best receivers in the NFL. Not only did Cooper and Fuller throw plenty of different looks Jones’ way, but they succeeded in making those looks successful. An example: with Atlanta facing a third-and-goal from the 10-yad line, Fuller re-routed Jones and took him out of a play that ended with an incompletion. Another one: Cooper came awfully close to a pick six in the fourth quarter when he aggressively jumped a throw toward Jones, settling for a pass break-up. 

Nickel Bryce Callahan deserves a mention for solid coverage and, on a blitz, drawing the attention of right tackle Ryan Schraeder, which freed up Hicks to envelop Ryan for his second sack of the game.

Special teams: B

Connor Barth tied a career high with a 54-yard field goal, his only non-PAT attempt of the game, but it’s enough to boost this grade. Deonte Thompson fumbled a kickoff late in the fourth quarter that the Bears, fortunately, recovered. 

Coaching: B

This was a relatively clean game for the Bears penalty-wise, though the three committed (two on Whitehair, one on Hicks) certainly hurt. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains deserves praise for hiding Cohen during preseason play — he wasn’t even targeted in three games — and unleashing him against a Falcons defense that looked caught off guard by the running back’s skillset at times. And the Bears responded well to Atlanta delivering what were two gut-check touchdowns, equalizing the game at 10 after Atlanta scored in the second quarter and getting within three points after the 88-yard calamity in the fourth. 

Perhaps Fox should’ve called timeout with the defense struggling to get aligned properly before Hooper’s touchdown, but he said after the game it wasn’t clear the coverage was going to be a problem until after the play began. 

What Dowell Loggains wants to see out of Mitch Trubisky in Thursday’s preseason opener

What Dowell Loggains wants to see out of Mitch Trubisky in Thursday’s preseason opener

Since the start of training camp, Mitch Trubisky has impressed with the physical skills that made him the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. His accuracy, arm strength and athleticism have flashed in Bourbonnais on a handful of highlight-reel plays, but also on the more mundane reps of training camp. 

During the live scrimmage portion of Family Fest on Saturday at Soldier Field, Trubisky showed those same traits in a slightly-more-intense setting. 

But things will change for Trubisky on Thursday, when he finally faces an opposing defense not wearing an orange “C” on their helmets. That means, among other things, Trubisky can be hit for the first time in a Bears uniform while likely getting a good amount of playing time against the Denver Broncos. 

What offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains wants to see is how Trubisky handles commanding the Bears’ offense in a game setting, as opposed to the more structured feel of practice. 

“We judge these guys on who can get us in the end zone,” Loggains said. “It’s really the job of the quarterback. It doesn’t matter how it looks, you’ve just got to score points. That’s his job, so getting out there and now you’re dealing with the shot clock, making sure that we’re getting lined up right. At some point he is going to be with the threes and now you’ve got young receivers, young guys. Can you have total command in the situation you’re given and run the offense effectively?”

As things were on Saturday — with Trubisky wearing an orange non-contact jersey — wide receiver Victor Cruz liked what he saw, and it fits with what Loggains wants to see on Thursday. 

“I think he handled it well,” Cruz said. “I think he controlled the huddle, he commanded the team well and he made some plays out there. So it was good to see.”