UA-59049186-1 2023 Week 1: Chicago Bears 20, Green Bay Packers 38 - Good if it Goes

2023 Week 1: Chicago Bears 20, Green Bay Packers 38

He was open. [Photo: Jamie Sabau, USA Today Sports]

Player Grades

The grading scale goes from -3 to +3 for each play. Screens are graded as runs. Penalties are counted in whatever phase they were committed. Pre- and post-snap penalties are in the “Misc.” column. “Short” throws are 10 yards or less, “Medium” is 10-20, “Deep” is over 20. Everything else (scrambles, throwaways, reads, etc.) is under “Miscellaneous.” Parentheses in a column denote grades/snaps from the opposite side of the ball and are not included in grades/snaps from the player’s usual side. Snap counts are from Pro Football Reference. Box score and other relevant info can be found at that link as well.

Note: There are no snap counts this week because grading stopped after the pick six. Always great to have the season start with one of these disclaimers.

Okay, you looked at the tape. Whose fault was it?

There were three major problems here: Justin Fields, Luke Getsy, and the interior offensive line, namely Patrick and Davis. This space assigns 40% of the blame to each of the former two and 20% to the latter. Davis and Patrick’s fault in the matter is obvious: those scores suck. Each man had multiple -2s and -3s to their name. The Getsy/Fields split is murkier. Somt things that the fan base was upset at Getsy for while watching the game live, such as only getting D.J. Moore two targets, were really Fields’ fault, as he missed multiple opportunities to get his new #1 wideout the ball. Other things, like screens that went nowhere, were legitimately Getsy’s fault. Also, some plays where Fields looked lost were because he truly had nowhere to go. Some of these route concepts were just nonsense. It’s like we were back to the Dowell Loggains days.

Did the staff break Fields?

I’ve seen this idea come up quite a bit. There is some merit to it; new Da Bears Blog Editor in Chief Robert K. Schmitz is analyzing Fields’ dropbacks on Twitter as I write this. Fields has clearly gotten slower and more deliberate in that regard since his rookie year. The belief among some is that the Eberflus regime’s desire to minimize turnovers is hurting Fields and making him skiddish, whereas when he first came into the league, he just played his game. There is some truth to this. I always thought that Nagy’s system was the ideal fit for Fields. I said as much when the Bears took him. This is why I wanted Fields to sit behind Dalton for his rookie year; that system is not an easy one to pick up. The problem, of course, with all of this is that Nagy didn’t really know how to run the system himself, at least not like Andy Reid does. The other issue is that Fields’ biggest problem coming out of college was going through his progression. Couple that with the problem that we’ve seen rear its ugly head upon making it to the NFL – not trusting his eyes –  and there’s no way that was going to work with Nagy and his offense. One particular idiot on Twitter kept trying to tell me that if Fields had been drafted by the 49ers, they would have won the Super Bowl by now. The problem with that line of thinking is that Kyle Shanahan’s system relies on a quarterback’s timing. That is not Fields’ strong suit. Nor was it Trey Lance’s, which is why that didn’t work. Why Dallas thinks it all of a sudden will I have no idea, but then again, it’s Mike McCarthy, so who knows why he does anything he does. The premise that the 49ers coaches could’ve developed Fields doesn’t even really work because of the aforementioned lack of trust in his own eyes. Until that gets fixed, Fields isn’t doing anything in the NFL. And I’m not sure it can be fixed.

It’s only one game, though. Way too early to give up on Fields.

No, it’s not just one game, it’s 26 games. In which he’s 5-21. At some point, you are what your record says you are. Look, this was supposed to be the point where there were no more excuses for Fields. Yeah, last year, he had no help. Okay, but now he does. And then Fields goes out and lays an egg in week one and the fans are back to excuses. This time, it’s the line getting the blame. Was the line perfect? No. Was it good? As a whole, also no. But Joe Burrow came close to winning a Super Bowl with a line worse than this. If the quarterback needs everything to be perfect in order to be functional, the quarterback isn’t good. I’m sorry, I know it’s not what any of us want to hear, but it’s the truth. I know we all want Fields to be good and we don’t want to start over, but I don’t see any other way at this point. This is just who Fields is. He doesn’t understand that college open and NFL open are not the same thing. He doesn’t trust his eyes. He’s still slow going through his reads. There is no reason that he should look like this in year three and year two in this offense.

What if they structured the offense to Fields more?

The downside to two high looks is that it leaves you light against the run. Running Fields more could, in theory, encourage opposing teams to deploy more single high looks to stop the run, thus opening the door for deep shots and Fields does throw a nice deep ball. HOWEVA, if he’s not going to pull the trigger at the right time, then none of it matters. And that’s where we’re at. Until that issue gets cleaned up, there’s no system that he truly fits in.

The Packers didn’t find another one, did they?

No. No, they did not. This is the truly frustrating part of this loss – Jordan Love isn’t any good. He made one truly impressive throw – the fade to Doubs for a touchdown. Perfect ball placement, nothing Tyrique Stevenson could do. Beyond that, anything Love hit was either wide open or he had all day to make the throw or both. Speed him up at all and what followed was either a bad throw, a bad decision, or both. The MVP of this game for the Packers was Matt LaFleur.

Does our defense stink?

The Tampa-2 is an incredibly effective tool in today’s NFL when done right. During the game, the broadcasters (who got worse as the day went on, shame that, since I used to really like Greg Olsen) mentioned that Love’s pedestrian completion percentage wasn’t really an issue because completion percentage in today’s NFL is akin to batting average in baseball today; in both sports, teams and players are looking for the explosive plays. Know how to combat that? Tampa-2 and the like. Bend, but don’t break. Tell the other offense that if they want to move the ball, they have to do so a few yards at a time, over and over. Make completion percentage matter again. For the system to be run effectively, however, you need to be able to get pressure with four. This team can’t. They have exactly one legitimate pass rusher right now. Dexter and Pickens both have potential and I liked what I saw from Andrew Billings, but none are game changers in the passing game right now. Beyond that, there were multiple instances of things just looking disjointed. Jack Sanborn took some bad angles, going for the ball when he should have been keeping contain. After I saw him do it a couple times, I thought that maybe that’s just what he was getting coached to do, but Edwards wasn’t doing it, so I don’t know. There were multiple coverage busts with guys not on the same page. Frankly, I’m done with Alan Williams. This is how you come out week one?

What does this mean going forward?

Before the season, I predicted 7 wins. After this, I would put the number at 4. If they lose to Tampa Sunday, 0-17 is legitimately on the table, not just because it would portend bad things about the rest of their matchups, but because this locker room could become a mess not seen since the Trestman era.


Braxton Jones was great, aside from some penalties. Darnell Wright acquitted himself very well in his debut. The tackles are officially not a problem, so that’s nice. Billings and Edmunds looked like great signings. Jaylon Johnson wants that new contract. Kyler Gordon looked good before leaving with an injury that put him on IR for at least the next four weeks. Tyrique Stevenson had a very nice debut. Darnell Mooney played well and found the endzone. D.J. Moore was open, even if Fields didn’t throw it to him. Big Dog blocked well.


Chase “Loaf” Claypool’s effort was appalling. Any self-respecting organization would’ve cut him before he even got back to the locker room. Fields stunk. So did Patrick and Davis. Sanborn was disappointing.

Four Stars of the Game

4star Braxton Jones

3star  Tremaine Edmunds

2star  Andrew Billings

1star  Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon (0.5 to each)

Whatever Elmo’s calling it nowThreads: @312sportsguy

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