The Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) and Chicago Bears (3-4) are set to play at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. In order to preview this Week 9 matchup, I reached out to our associates over at Windy City Gridiron. The pleasant Patti Curl kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at her answers. Also, don’t forget to check out my side of the Q&A exchange over at WCG.
1 - The Bears have lost three in a row after starting out 3-1. What’s gone wrong?
It sounds like the Bears started strong and fell off a cliff, but the truth is the Bears have been playing like a .500 team all season and the record finally reflects that. The next question is why is a 12 and 4 (last season) team playing like a .500 team? In short, the offense has comprehensively devolved and the defense, though playing well, can’t win games on its own. Most blame play calling and Trubisky for the offensive struggles, but execution has been poor across the board. My theory is Matt Nagy tried to add too much to this offense in year two and player’s aren’t playing comfortable and fast because of it.
2 - What’s the confidence level in Mitchell Trubisky right now? To what extent is there doubt about him as the long-term answer at quarterback?
It’s definitely at an all-time low. Most Bears fans entered this season optimistic that Trubisky would progress considerably in his second year in Nagy’s system. Week by week, as the offense has struggled, a plague of doubt has slowly consumed that optimism. At this point, you can’t walk a block in Chicago without hearing a wild new suggestion about who he should be replaced with: Cam Newton? CJ Beathard? Mike Glennon? Chance the Rapper?
For what it’s worth, my opinion on Trubisky hasn’t changed as much as the rest. He has all the physical tools, but he gets in situations where he’s uncomfortable and loses confidence for reasons I’m not qualified to diagnose and he makes bad decisions and bad throws. He seems able to let that all go and play his best on last-minute drives: you saw that in the final drive in wild card weekend and we saw the same thing this Sunday when he again set us up for a game-losing field goal miss. If Trubisky can get his head right and play with confidence for the majority of games, I think he still can be the answer. The probability that will happen seems to diminish by the week as the losses pile up and the city sours on our crumbling Mr Biscuit.
3 - Is there any regret about the Jordan Howard trade from the Bears’ end?
Only for sentimental reasons. Loved that Bear. I’m sure you’ll find someone clamoring about it considering how poorly our run game has performed, but most people identify the offensive line and the play calling as the culprits there. Jordan Howard is definitely a better pass blocker than David Montgomery, and we’ve missed him there at times. It’s just the least of our worries.
4 - What’s the best thing the Bears have going for them right now?
Now and forever the best thing going for the Bears is their team name and mascot. While half of the NFL has to cheer for one silly bird or another, Chicago gets to claim the most majestic beast to ever set its paws on this beautiful earth. To clarify, that’s a Bear.
5 - If you were building a game plan to beat the Bears, how would you attack them on both offense and defense?
The Bears offense is drowning in self-doubt and particularly vulnerable to disguised coverages, stunts, and aggressive blitzes. Don’t give your secondary time to lose the game for you and the Bears offense will likely hand you a comfortable victory.
As far as our defense, there’s no shame in doubling Khalil Mack, especially now that you don’t have to worry about Akiem Hicks. Get the ball out quickly and you can probably even get away with a turnover or two as long as you don’t let the defense score on you.
6 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Bears season?
9 out of 10 Bears fans think the Eagles will win this game, but you got the 10th. The Eagles defense stacks the box and forces Trubisky to beat them with his arm and he finally does, leading a game winning touchdown drive: Bears 24 Eagles 21. Trubisky grows to a league-average level throughout the season, and the Bears finish embarrassingly tied with the Lions at the bottom of the NFC North. That’s just good enough to commit to Trubisky for the long haul, and he plays just bad enough to keep the Bears out of contention as their great defense regresses piece by piece. The Bears next Super Bowl window comes in 2085.