By Jeff Joniak–
(CBS) The Bears (0-2) are on the road to face the Cowboys (1-1) on Sunday night. Here are my observations leading into the game.
Bears second-year cornerback Jacoby Glenn was a bright spot on a bad night in Chicago’s 29-14 loss to Philadelphia on Monday. A Central Florida product, Glenn was physical against the run and good breaking down in the open field and making tackles. He led the Bears with seven solo tackles. Glenn finished third in the nation in interceptions and passes defended for a third-ranked defense in his redshirt sophomore season in 2014. He entered the draft early but went undrafted. While he lacks an ideal build for a corner, he’s more physical than he looks and is a reliable wrap up tackler.
Bears defensive backs Bryce Callahan and Deiondre Hall are athletic and competitive. They both made touchdown-saving pass breakups covering the tight end. Those plays came in the red zone, where the defense was stingy. Rushing yards were hard to come by for the Eagles. The third-down defense improved drastically from Week 1. The pass rush didn’t get home often enough, but the unit did play physical making some big hits. The problem is the Bears didn’t take the ball away. They’ve also been on the field for 140 snaps in two games, fourth-most in the league. The unit is going to get worn out.
The Bears need to run the ball, no matter who quarterbacks the offense. They are 26th in the NFL in rushing attempts and 19th in yards per carry. It has to start in the first half so it can pay dividends in the second half. A snap shortage is a legit issue in the final analysis but partially caused by not staying ahead of the chains and committing to the ground game. The Bears have run only 104 plays in two games. That’s not enough.
Here’s hoping receiver Eddie Royal continues to ride his early season wave of excellence. He’s playing inside and outside and returning punts, doing everything well. While Kevin White finds his way at the pro level, Royal is a productive complement to Alshon Jeffrey’s excellence. The bonus with Royal is the confidence he brings to the punt return unit. Clearly he can still run, given his returns in the first two weeks, and in a game in which ball security in the punt game is critical, it’s nice to have a sure-handed veteran back there fielding punts.
Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.