Pompei: Observations From Bears-Texans

By Dan Pompei–

(CBS) If all games were as easy to predict as the Texans’ throttling of the Bears, Vegas would go broke.

What happened to the Bears in a 23-14 loss to open the season Sunday is exactly what everyone should have been expecting. For many reasons, the Bears weren’t ready for that challenge.

Here are my observations:

1. If J.J. Watt had been himself, they’d still be picking pieces of Jay Cutler out of the artificial turf.

2. The sacks and quarterback hits were the result of a really good defense and an offensive line that hasn’t had a chance to come together. But you have to wonder if Cutler would’ve been sacked five times and hit 13 times if offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was calling plays the way Adam Gase did last year. Cutler was sacked as many as five times only twice in 2015, and the most he was hit in a game was eight times. The Bears went through a four-game stretch in which Cutler was hit only 11 times and on average in 2015, the Bears gave up 4.9 quarterback hits per game.

3. Recognition, adjustments and working together were bigger issues than physical execution for the Bears’ offensive line.

4. The Bears have no better leader than Kyle Long, who’s playing with a torn labrum. He’s a leader any way you can measure a leader. The fact that he wasn’t voted a captain is a joke.

5. Judging by the look of Josh Sitton, navy blue is slimming.

6. You could see pretty quickly how a player of Sitton’s caliber can make players around him better.

7. It’s no surprise that rookie center Cody Whitehair had a low snap. Young players are going to make mistakes of inexperience.

8. It’s also no surprise that Kevin White ran a wrong route. In addition to learning how to be a pro-style receiver, White still is trying to understand the nuances of the Bears offense. It’s going to take time.

9. The Bears can’t afford for Cutler to treat White the way he treated Devin Hester.

10. It’s becoming clear how important Eddie Royal is to this offense. He provides an element that no other receiver on the team can.

11. It’s interesting that Leonard Floyd led the outside linebackers in playing time. He performed well enough, but you have to wonder if the defense wouldn’t be better served with Willie Young and Lamarr Houston playing more and Floyd working his way in more slowly.

12. Tracy Porter rose to the challenge against an exceptional opponent in DeAndre Hopkins. He didn’t win every battle, but he did his job well.

13. The good news? If the Bears stay healthy, they’re going to be a better team in October than September.

Dan Pompei has been covering the NFL since 1985 and is a regular contributor to 670 The Score and a host on 670’s Bears pregame show. He writes for Bleacher Report and theatheltic.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.

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