LAKE FOREST – The record is the same, but the feel sure is not.
Perhaps because of that, the Bears’ players decided to have a little time to hash things out among themselves this week.
A number of members of the team confirmed that a players-only meeting was held to address some of the shortcomings of the team’s play in their 3-3 start. It comes after a particularly ugly 36-25 loss to the Saints that wasn’t as close as the score indicated, nor was it indicative of what the team’s been capable of doing at times under Matt Nagy.
“It was good,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, but didn’t divulge any details. “We’re gonna keep that in-house. It was players only for a reason.”
Receiver Taylor Gabriel, who first spoke about a possible meeting on Tuesday before it happened on Wednesday, wouldn’t go into much detail either. Yet he tried to give an idea of the format of the meeting of the players, which did not include anyone from the coaching staff.
“It’s just us talking amongst players. It’s us talking amongst our brothers,” said receiver Taylor Gabriel of the meeting. “It’s just hashing out anything that anybody had on their chest and wanted to say so.”
Head coach Matt Nagy said on Wednesday that he supports the players-only meeting for the group ahead of their seventh game against the Chargers on Sunday. On Thursday, Nagy went into some of the players he sees taking on leadership roles on the group, including Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen on offense along with Danny Trevathan, Eddie Jackson and Khalil Mack on defense.
“Everybody leads in different ways and when you’re in certain times, there’s some that do it by yelling and screaming and there are others that do it by just playing the right way,” said Nagy.
A Switch for Roquan
A year after being named to a Pro Bowl as a rookie, Roquan Smith’s sophomore season has been a bit slower.
He was a late scratch against the Vikings due to a personal matter that remains a mystery. Smith’s play slipped the last two games, lacking those big tackles near the line of scrimmage that made him effective early in the season and in 2018.
Because of that, perhaps, a minor tweak has been made of Smith’s position.
During his media availability this week, fellow middle linebacker Danny Trevathan revealed that he is now the “Mike” linebacker or strong side with Smith playing the opposite of him at the “Jack” position.
“He’s picking it up right now and, you know, he’s having fun,” said Trevethan of Smith. “Our defense is honing and we’re flying around right now.”
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said that by playing the “Jack” position, Smith may not be involved when it comes to run defense since Trevathan goes to the strong side with the tight end. That puts Roquan into more coverage than before, yet Pagano downplayed the shift, supporting his middle linebacker through the roughest stretch of his young career.
“Roquan’s going to be fine,” said Pagano. “Everybody’s worried about ’58’; I mean, I’ve got to worry about me. ’59’s’ got to worry about ’59.’ We’ve got to get the whole thing squared away and get everyone on the same page.”
All About The “W”
If anyone had a reason to be upset about the Bears’ lack of a rushing attack last week, it’s the main running back on the team.
Of those seven runs the team had in the loss to the Saints, David Montgomery only got two of them. One came in the first half and another in the second half, and he fumbled that one away, gaining just six yards on the two carries.
While so many inside and outside the building were upset, Montgomery wasn’t calling for immediate change.
“It can help,” said Montgomery about the running backs getting more carries. “But if we would have won, the conversation wouldn’t have been ‘Why can’t we run the ball?’ you know. Like, the game comes with wins and losses. We lost, and if we won, it wouldn’t have been a problem.
“Like I said, get back to the drawing board and figure out how we can get to a win. I could care less about the rushing yards. I could care less about running the ball a lot in a game. I just want to do whatever for my team and the small things, and things I can pay attention to the details to try to help to get a win. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: 3
The difference in wins for the Chargers in 2019 compared to where they were just a season ago. Last year, Los Angeles was 5-2 after seven games while this year they come to Chicago at 2-5.
So things could be a little worse, Bears fans.