LAKE FOREST – There are plenty of things that fans may hear from the Bears when it comes to their offense and dismiss them as excuses.
This can’t really be blamed since the team’s offense has been a question mark during the entire Matt Nagy era and, frankly, the last generation of the franchise. Seeing Mitchell Trubisky not work out as a franchise quarterback after being selected second overall has only added to the angst.
Even with veteran Nick Foles in the lineup, the offense is still having more downs than ups as they’ve failed to establish consistency. They’ve been able to do just enough to get the Bears’ victories in five of the first six weeks of the season, with the defense doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
Foles has said a few times it’s not good enough, just like Nagy, but with a veteran’s perspective has continued to preach patience with the offense. As he stated enthusiastically after the win over the Panthers last Sunday, he believes there is potential within the unit to become a force.
But this week he acknowledges a fact that can’t be disputed: The quarterback needs time to develop with those around him. Traded for in March, Foles didn’t have the benefit of spending time in person with the members of the offense nor work out with them. He’s had just training camp and the season, and he didn’t start the first three weeks, so Foles knows there’s growth that still must happen.
“You’re with new people, you’re with a new offense, you’re in a new place, your family just move, there’s a lot of moving parts,” said Foles. “Getting the rhythm of where you are and for people to understand you and understand how things are going. I’m in this offense, but it’s not like I’m stepping into my Philadelphia offense and I can run it like I did in Philadelphia. I’m starting over from Phase 1.
“There might be some similarities to have that set foundation, but that takes time.”
Foles has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 878 yards with six touchdowns compared to four interceptions with an 80.4 rating.
SOLID AT THE CORNERS
One area the Bears don’t have any doubt about is their cornerback spot, where a veteran and a rookie are creating one of the best duos in the league.
Two-time Pro Bowler Kyle Fuller has continued the upward trend he started in the 2017 season. He’s got an interception, forced fumble, and five passes defended through the first six games of the season. He’s also had critical plays that might not jump out on the stat sheet, including an open field tackle on Teddy Bridgewater near the goal line that helped save a touchdown against the Panthers.
While he does his thing like the past, Jaylon Johnson continues to get the team and fans excited about the future. The second round pick from Utah has nine passes defended, which is tied for fourth in the NFL, and deflected a Bridgewater pass that was intercepted by Tashun Gipson on the opening drive of the game in Carolina.
“My confidence is always there, so I wouldn’t say it increases my confidence, but it definitely makes you more hungry to see certain plays that you wanted to make,” said Johnson of his quick start. “Honestly, it’s just about keep getting better and that hunger in you just keeps growing so I can make more plays.”
AN HONOR FOR CAIRO
When Eddy Pineiro returns from injured reserve, Nagy is going to have a decision to make.
Cairo Santos is the one making that decision quite hard for him.
The veteran kicker has shaken off a so-so start and has locked down the last four-and-a-half games. After missing a field goal on the first drive of the game against the Falcons in Week 3, Santos has hit his last seven field goals, including all three of his attempts in the win over the Panthers.
His efforts earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week as the kicker looks back to form after a couple of injury-riddled and inconsistent seasons.
“I love where it’s at,” said Santos this week when asked about his confidence. “I just felt I needed to get going with a couple of kicks; a nice sequence good kicks and we got that the last couple of weeks. Important kicks that definitely makes feel good and I like the way I’m striking the ball.
“I’m just looking to keeping that going and building on that streak.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: 3
The number of consecutive years that the Bears and the Rams have met on primetime, including Monday night’s contest at So Fi Stadium. In 2018 and 2019, the teams played each other on Sunday Night Football, with the Bears winning at Soldier Field the first year and the Rams at the LA Coliseum 11 months ago.