MONSTER’S MASH: Smaller playbook? No problem for Mitch

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GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears runs onto the field followed by his teammates prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Things can get a bit complicated in a creative offense like the one Matt Nagy has with the Bears. Sometimes, a little easier can make things a bit better.

The Bears’ head coach has hinted that the team may try to simplify the playbook in an effort to jump-start the offense. The unit, led by Mitchell Trubisky, struggled inside the red zone last Sunday against the Cardinals, and needed help from their to pull out a victory.

So as the Bears prepare to face the Buccaneers on Sunday, would Trubisky be upset if the playbook gets dialed down a bit?

On Wednesday, he made this analogy to show that he wouldn’t be unhappy with that decision.

“If the teacher goes ‘Do you want an easy test?’ you’re going to say ‘Heck ya!’ Less you are going to study, so you’re going to ace this test,” said Trubisky when asked if he would be upset if the playbook was simplified. “Maybe that’s the comparison you make. We’re gonna pull back this week, do I play fast, do we play better? I guess we’re all going to see. Like I said, I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do to the best of my ability.

“So I’ve got to continue to study and if it’s not the plays, it’s studying more film.”

Finding the Zone

The big problem with the offense so far is finding the end zone in the red zone. In fact, the stats are not great.

So far the Bears are just 4-for-10 when they get inside their opponent’s 20-yard line, with just one conversion in the win over Arizona on Sunday. It’s a big reason why the Bears have averaged only 21 points in their first three games, which is 18th in the NFL.

Fixing their issues in their opponent’s end of the field could be a case of tweaking the playbook, yet Kyle Long and others on the offense point to simple execution as a quick fix for the issue.

“The basics, focusing on the basics and understanding the importance of the moment,” said the offensive guard of what the offense can do to move forward and punch more into the end zone. “Each play in the game dictates the outcome. It’s not like ten plays, you can take a couple of plays off, it’s every play, laying it out there, and giving our offense a chance to score points.”

Preparing For Both

This week the Bears’ defense have had a somewhat difficult yet common problem in preparing for their opponent – the possibility of two quarterbacks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been strong in his first three games as the starter for Tampa Bay, but this week the preseason starter Jameis Winston returns to the lineup after suspension. Naturally the Bucs are keeping the decision close to the vest all week, so Vic Fangio has had to prepare for each quarterback during the week.

Fitzpatrick has given head coach Dirk Kotter a good case to remain the starter, considering that he’s thrown for 1,230 yards with 11 touchdowns compared to four interceptions in helping Tampa Bay to a 2-1 start this season. But Fangio tried to downplay the difficulty or preparing for two different starters, pointing more towards the scheme the run.

“They run the same offense with both guys. Obviously Winston is a little bit more of a scrambler, more active in the pocket. But Fitzpatrick is too,” said Fangio. “So I don’t think their offense changes with either guy.”


The amount of forced fumbles the Bears have had in their first three games of the 2018 season, the most in the NFL.

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