Pompei: Observations From Bears-Jaguars

By Dan Pompei–

(CBS) The outcome of the Bears’ loss to the Jaguars was stunning, given the circumstances of the game. But I’m not sure there’s a general manager in the NFL who would take the Bears’ roster over the Jaguars’ roster as they were comprised Sunday. So really, the outcome was what it should have been.

Here are my other observations:

1. Unless Brian Hoyer beats the Packers or Vikings, there’s no way the Bears can’t go back to Jay Cutler when his thumb heals. If for no other reason, this team needs the jolt that a quarterback change sometimes provides.

2. As for Hoyer’s stint as a starter, every quarterback should be judged ultimately by what he can do with two minutes left and the game on the line. Everything else is window dressing.

3. Good on Hoyer for throwing to Alshon Jeffery on fourth down with the game on the line late. Bad for Hoyer for not leading him with the pass when the cornerback was in trail technique.

4. The Bears threw three passes to Jeffery in the end zone, which was as many as they had thrown to him all season previously. That’s progress. But of their 14 passes in the fourth quarter, only three were to Jeffery. They can do better there.

5. There’s much to look forward to with Cameron Meredith. When the Bears get everyone healthy, they’re going to have a very strong group of receivers.

6. If the Bears are going to run the ball 27 times, Jordan Howard should run it near 20 times. On Sunday, Howard had 15 carries. He’s one of those backs who becomes more effective with more chances.

7. And if the Bears are going to run 77 plays, they should run the ball about 38 times, not 27.

8. One of the reasons Howard was held to 2.3 yards per carry and the Bears were held to 3.4 yards as a team is they couldn’t loosen up the box. They had only two pass plays of 20 yards or more.

9. So far it looks like Willie Young may have been general manager Ryan Pace’s best offseason veteran signing. Sometimes — oftentimes — the best moves teams make are keeping or extending their own.

10. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio pulled out all the stops in an ambitious game plan. He even threw a couple of zero blitzes on the Jaguars’ game-winning drive, including one on the touchdown pass to Arrelious Benn. Given the personnel issues, Fangio is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

11. That was an impressive defensive performance right until the point when the game was on the line. Defensive deficiencies get exposed in fourth quarters.

12. This is good timing for a Thursday night game. The Bears need to rinse, spit and move on.

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 theathletic.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.

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