After six weeks of football, the Chicago Bears are 5-1 and in first place in the NFC North. Are you smiling? I'm smiling.
When the team's schedule was released months ago, I, like every other blogger and content creator, went through the campaign and predicted that the Bears would go 11-5. I'll admit, after I made those predictions, even I thought I was a bit crazy. I was banking on the team to upgrade their offensive line and have a legitimate approach to their quarterback situation, neither of which were necessarily completed.
With that being said, my opinion of this team is that the glass is half full right now. Let's dive into a few specific areas in this edition of Bears Opinion Batch.
The Foles Factor
I personally believe that making the switch to Nick Foles when the Bears were down in Atlanta was the turning point. I'm not even talking about Mitchell Trubisky playing poorly. I'm specifically talking about the differences in personality under center.
I've always said that it felt like Trubisky was a bit scatter-brained back there, or maybe it was that he always looked like he was in a hurry. Either way, it never felt like the Bears had a calm, cool, and collected quarterback. Foles, on the other hand, brings a sense of relaxation with the ball, a safer quarterback, if you will. At least that's my opinion.
Statistically, you could definitely make the argument that the offense put up larger numbers with Trubisky, but I think we can all agree that the offense as a whole needs work. The difference is, Foles seems to be able to relax the offense when they're on the field.
Defensively, the Bears are still a juggernaut. While there are compliments to go around, I have to note how well Jaylon Johnson is playing as the complement to Kyle Fuller. As a rookie, the Utah grad has been tasked with guarding teams' number one or two receivers and has shown that he belongs through the first six games.
One aspect that is helping the defensive unit is that they aren't on the field as much as they were last season. An armchair take on this is that their energy levels are a bit higher, so the personnel has a bit more juice to take chances at bigger plays. Of course, in order to keep this going, the unit has to stay healthy. If they can do that, they'll undoubtedly be a top-three defense as the year goes on.
Rotten Run Game
There's no way I could have finished this post without some pessimistic thoughts, so here they are: The run game is laughable. David Montgomery logged 19 carries for 58 yards against the Carolina Panthers and nobody was surprised. As I have mentioned before, there wasn't a coaching problem on the offensive line, but a personnel problem that needed addressing instead. I personally don't see a 100-yard game from Montgomery this season, but that doesn't fall on him.
The Young Bucks
Matt Nagy has used rookie receiver Darnell Mooney pretty heavily so far and second-round pick Cole Kmet caught a touchdown in the team's most recent victory, but I'd love to see Kmet utilized more despite the production from Jimmy Graham.
Here's my thinking behind this: if your run game is going to continue to sputter, you may as well dive deeper into your passing game and give Foles more weapons.
As we look ahead to the next few games, the Bears will face the Los Angeles Rams (October 26th) and the New Orleans Saints (November 1st). The pedigree that goes along with these teams may be daunting, but both matchups are definitely winnable games for the Bears. It will certainly be intriguing to see how those contests play out.
Thanks, everyone, for coming to my Ted (not Phillips) Talk. I just wanted to put some of my thoughts out there about this Bears team that is winning ugly right now, but the bottom line is that they're still winning. Be sure to check out Bears On Tap on Twitter and tune in to the podcast for further discussion about all things involving the Monsters of the Midway.