When you score three points on offense, the only place you can go is up.
The Chicago Bears will face-off against a familiar defense on Sunday when they take on the Broncos in Denver. Vic Fangio, former Bears’ defensive coordinator, now head coach of the Broncos, will be calling the plays on defense for his team.
Last season, the Bears had a historic run, especially when it came to forcing turnovers. No one knows quarterback Mitchell Trubisky better than Fangio, which is concerning considering the QBs performance last week.
Trubisky threw the ball 45 times, completing just 57.8 of his passes for 228 yards and an interception. The stats don’t tell the entire story though. Trubisky didn’t look like the player that made major strides in 2018.
Instead, he looked like the 2017 John Fox version of Trubisky. If the first read wasn’t there, the play was in trouble. Trubisky also stared his receivers down at times, especially Allen Robinson, who liked the 2015 version well before the ACL tear.
Trubisky wasn’t the only bad thing about the Bears’ offense on Thursday. The offensive line was downright ugly and Matt Nagy, the play caller had a rough night. That combination isn’t going to be successful in the NFL.
The Bears will have to be better on Sunday to avoid starting 0-2 for the first time since 2017. The good news is the Broncos will also have to better after losing to the Raiders 24-16. Wanna here a crazy stat? The Broncos didn’t register a single quarterback hit with Bradly Chubb and Von Miller.
Yea, Fangio’s defense has a lot of work to do.
Each week during the regular season and hopefully, postseason, I will scout the Bears’ opponents. It will be broken down into two articles per week.
Let’s get started with Fangio’s Bronco defense.
Defensive Coordinator – Ed Donatell
Scheme – 3-4
Players to Watch
–Bradley Chubb is going to be a very disruptive NFL player. He’s also playing with Von Miller on the same defense run by Vic Fangio. Yea, things couldn’t be much better for the second-year Pro. The entire Broncos’ team needs to step up after their Monday night loss. The Bears offensive line will have to stop Chubb and Miller if they want to have a shot at winning on Sunday. In 2018, Chubb had 12 sacks and 41 solo tackles, good for 6th best in the NFL.
— IG: Aye_Artiiee (@Aye_Artiiee) September 10, 2019
–Von Miller will also have to step his game up after a quiet performance on Monday. Look for Fangio to put him in unique situations on Sunday to throw off Trubisky and get Miller going. Last season, the former Super Bowl MVP recorded 8.5 sacks at home where the Broncos will be on Sunday.
–Bryce Callahan still has not fully recovered from an injury he suffered last season. That means the Bears could have a mismatch if Callahan doesn’t suit up, which at this point, doesn’t look like he’s going to. CB Isaac Yiadom would get the start…more on him later.
When Chubb and Miller combine for 0 sacks and 8 tackles, it’s hard to call them the strength of the Broncos’ defense heading into week 2. Instead, I’ll go with Vic Fangio, who got the chance to go up against Bears’ starting QB Mitchell Trubisky almost everyday in practice last year. NO ONE, knows Trubisky better than Fangio, and that’s a problem.
You bet Fangio will throw a bunch of different looks at Trubisky. We will again learn a lot about the third-year QB on Sunday.
Weakness: CB Isaac Yiadom/Short Passes
If healthy, Bryce Callahan would be the Broncos second best corner behind Chris Harris Jr. The Bears will want to stay away from Harris Jr. He’s been one of the best defensive backs in the NFL for quite some time now.
Instead, they can target CB Isaac Yiadom, who was bullied by the Raiders. Say what you want about Jon Gruden, but he knows how to find the +EV matchups. Targeting Yiadom was one of the most successful things the Raiders did on offense that night.
Another thing, was getting the ball out quickly. If there is one weakness to Fangio’s defensive scheme, it’s quick, short throws. We’ve seen Aaron Rodgers take advantage of it for years. Let’s just say the Raiders did something similar.
Carr was getting the ball and getting rid of it, neutralizing the Broncos’ pass rush.
“Grab the ball and throw it, grab the ball and throw it, grab the ball and throw it and then line up the extra tackle as a tight end and run it. It’s a tough offense.”
Derek Carr's average time to throw against the Broncos was 2.33 seconds, tied for the third-fastest among starting QBs in Week 1, per @SportradarUS.
Carr averaged 2.55 seconds last year.
2019 WEEK 1
Cam Newton: 2.24
Jimmy Garoppolo: 2.31
Jacoby Brissett: 2.33
Derek Carr: 2.33
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 10, 2019
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) September 12, 2019
How Can the Bears Exploit It?
The Raiders targeted Yiadom 11 times, most coming in the first half. If the Bears want to have success on offense, they will consistently target Yiadom and put him in difficult situations. Take this play for example:
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) September 12, 2019
Imagine if the Bears can get Allen Robinson or Anthony Miller lined up across from Yiadom. That’s something easy to recognize, even by a QB that has had his fair share of issues like Trubisky. Nagy will find ways to exploit Yiadom in the secondary.
If Callahan doesn’t play, which seems more likely than not, then the Bears have an easy target on the Broncos’ defense.
There has been a lot of talk about Fangio’s defense and rightfully so. With that being said, he doesn’t have the same personnel he had in Chicago. We can expect Miller and Chubb to be better than they were last week, but expecting the defense to make a 180 turnaround from week 1-2 is a bit of a stretch.
Fangio knows Trubisky, which gives everyone in Chicago their fair share of doubts.
The Bears need to clean up their game on offense, get the ball out of Trubisky’s hand, run the football and block. If they do those things they will have a much better game in Denver, at least on offense.
Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com. He is also a Chicago Sports fanatic, avid sports bettor, fantasy sports nut, and totally didn’t try to sell his soul on eBay (which he’s still waiting to get back by the way). For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS.