Young Bears stepping up; Aaron Rodgers doubles down: NFC North notes

Sure, the Chicago Bears offense discovered a rhythm not but seen with this new regime below the intense lights of Monday Night time Soccer. Nevertheless it overshadowed a powerful defensive efficiency that was led by gamers basic supervisor Ryan Poles added this offseason — rookies and veterans alike. 

The Bears managed 4 takeaways on the day, with three coming by interception and a fumble restoration added in. The one participant concerned in these performs who was on the roster final yr was Roquan Smith, who got here down with an interception off a tipped ball by rookie Dominique Robinson, so even that play had a rookie hooked up to it. The turnovers gifted Chicago’s offense with bonus possessions and helped them management the sport, profitable the time-of-possession battle 37:14 to 22:46 and in the end serving to them win the sport.

The primary interception of the day got here from rookie security Jaquan Brisker. Early within the second quarter, Chicago was up 10-0 on the Patriots, with quarterback Mac Jones having began the sport after a multiple-week absence on account of an ankle harm. Brisker’s interception of Jones can be the final play of Jones’ night time.

Head coach Matt Eberflus stated following the sport that that they had scouted and ready for each quarterbacks, which was evident provided that the opposite three turnovers his protection pressured got here off Bailey Zappe, the fourth-round quarterback who has began the final two video games for the Patriots and performed within the final three previous to Monday night time.

On the next Patriots possession after the aforementioned Smith interception, Zappe was picked off once more. This time it got here from Brisker’s fellow second-round defensive again, Kyler Gordon. The Washington product has maybe probably the most placed on his plate of any rookie because of him taking part in each outdoors and slot nook in Eberflus’ 4-3 scheme. The younger participant took his lumps early however has since figured issues out. It culminated in primetime as he stopped a second straight New England drive by interception.

Although the fumble was on a handoff from Zappe, the restoration was by Justin Jones, who the crew introduced in through free company when Larry Ogunjobi failed his bodily. Quietly, Jones has had a fantastic previous few weeks for the Bears. Along with his fumble restoration, he additionally batted down two passes on the line and registered two complete tackles from the defensive inside. He recorded a 77.6 go rush grade on Monday with two pressures and two hurries, in line with PFF.

Maybe the larger level right here is that this Bears offense and protection can coexist, and even thrive, concurrently, and it is due largely to new gamers on the roster. Who says youth must be a foul factor?

Lions dealing with stiff competitors

For as enjoyable as their offense was to look at within the first a part of the season, the Lions have sadly reverted again to being, nicely, the Lions with two lackluster performances on both facet of their Week 6 bye. They have been shut out by the Patriots, 29-0, in Week 5, and after promising to reset and create some tangible enchancment, they misplaced to Dallas 24-6 on Sunday. Their common factors per recreation has plummeted to 24.3 after being as excessive as 35 this season. 

I do not know if I can blame them a lot for faltering this previous weekend, given Dallas has the most effective defenses — if not the finest protection — within the league proper now. The Cowboys are giving up the second-fewest yards per play within the NFL proper now at 4.70 and their 12.24% sack price ranks first. For extra context as to how good their go rush is, the second-ranked crew (San Francisco) has a sack price of 10.86%. That is virtually two proportion factors decrease. The Dallas go rush has a league-best grade of 86.3, in line with PFF.

 However the Lions will not catch a break anytime quickly. They face Miami this Sunday, adopted by the Packers, the Bears (who not seem like a ‘gimme’), the Giants, the Payments, the Jaguars, the Vikings, the Jets after which lastly a winnable recreation towards the Panthers. That is not till Week 16. They’ve to shut the season with the Bears after which Packers once more. 

Rodgers doubles down, suggests benching teammates

Following Inexperienced Bay’s loss to the Washington Commanders, followers have been left wanting for a bit of extra accountability from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 18-year veteran talked largely about what these round him did fallacious, bucking the notion {that a} quarterback take the blame when his crew is underperforming.

“Outside of those two guys [Jones and Lazard] there’s too many mental mistakes,” Rodgers stated after the sport. “I talked about simplification last week, I don’t really know where to go when it comes to that. There has to be something inside that’s an accountability for performance, where we’re just having way too many mental mistakes.”

On his weekly look on the Pat McAfee Present Tuesday, Rodgers took {that a} step additional.

“Guys who are making too many mistakes shouldn’t be playing,” he stated. “Gotta start cutting some reps.”

He additional distanced himself from his teammates by mentioning that Sunday’s loss was his best-graded recreation this season, in line with quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

It even caught the eye of his former teammate Greg Jennings, who was on FS1’s First Issues First, reacting to the feedback.

Aaron Rodgers say Packers teammates who make too many errors should not play

Aaron Rodgers say Packers teammates who make too many mistakes shouldn't play

The QB stated: “Guys who are making too many mistakes shouldn’t be playing, you know.” Former Packers WR and teammate Greg Jennings explains why he disagrees with Rodgers’ feedback.

Jennings went on to say that even when he did not name out his teammates by title, calling for his or her jobs in a public discussion board outdoors the crew wasn’t the way in which to deal with it. He additionally introduced up that by calling for benching gamers can be an indictment on head coach Matt LaFleur and the way in which he handles the crew.

If Inexperienced Bay turns their season round a la 2016, this complete narrative will fade into the space. But when it would not, it could possibly be what stops the Packers of their tracks.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports activities. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Community and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Tremendous Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You may observe Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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