The Chicago Bears mailbag for this week is heavily focused on the obvious huge matchup with the rival Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
As it should be too. This is the biggest game the Bears have played in the month of November in six years. First place is on the line in the division. Chicago beat Detroit last week but everybody knew this was going to be the matchup that determines how far they’ve really come and how far they may still have to go. Learn about that and other questions from Bears fans everywhere.
At this time of year, the fear of the injury bug is real. If it bites, what position groups have the most depth and the least for the Bears? Aka what’s the “oh shit” position group?
Right now the position group that I think can probably absorb an injury is safety. DeAndre Houston-Carson was excellent in the preseason and he’s healthy now. If Eddie Jackson or Adrian Amos went down, I’m confident he could step in and at least keep the train from going off the rails. As for the other side of the coin? The Bears really don’t want to find out what life could be like if Mitch Trubisky went down. Chase Daniel is a smart veteran but given his lack of actual experience in games and the struggles of the Bears rushing attack, it’s not a favorable outcome.
Adam Shaheen, will he be activated and if so, can he make any type of impact coming off of an injury with little playing time?
Shaheen is a rare specimen in that he’s not only big and strong but athletic and fast for his size. In this offense, with its ability to create matchups, I expect he could have a huge impact. Especially in the red zone where he proved dangerous last year. The key is whether that ankle is 100% or if it might take time to grow comfortable going full speed on it. That’s what these practices are trying to determine. If Shaheen is pain-free? That Bears offense just got more dangerous.
Is the lack of a running game a scheme flaw or has the line forgotten how to run block?
There are a couple of things in play here. One is a coaching flaw and the other is blocking. Nagy is a tremendous play caller as the previous weeks have shown. He remains committed to running the ball, which is great. He just hasn’t done it effectively. One of the big problems with him is he’s constantly calling for runs between the tackles. History shows that neither Jordan Howard nor Tarik Cohen are those types of runners. They’re much better running off tackle.
The other part is blocking. It just hasn’t been good enough and that’s partly because the guys they have aren’t known for power in their games. James Daniels? Cody Whitehair? They are big athletes who do their best getting on the move and picking you off in space. Kyle Long was their only blocker who could create movement with power and he may be done for the year. When you call power-type running plays with a line that isn’t equipped for it? You’re seeing the results.