Ignore These Bears Narratives After Preseason Week 1

Bears Narratives
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The Chicago Bears just wrapped up their first preseason game, a 19-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and the narratives will surely be flowing. The game saw the starters get about 20 plays. They then gave way to the reserves who actually made the early comeback. Patrick Mahomes led an 11-play touchdown drive on the Chiefs’ opening series before he left the game.

But we already know to expect a Mahomes-led team to be better than the Bears. This was just another form of confirmation.

However, the conclusions that should be drawn from this game are not many in number.

3 Chicago Bears Narratives to Ignore after Preseason Week 1

1. “Siemian Over Fields”

The old adage goes that the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town. We are sure to see that play out after the “starters” led by Justin Fields exited the game down a score. Fields finished having led three drives completing four of his seven passes for 47 scoreless yards.

Siemian fared much better.

But there is some much-needed context for both quarterbacks coming out of this contest that saw the Bears spoil Matt Nagy’s return to Soldier Field.

First, Fields was down several starting weapons including starting running back David Montgomery and tight end Cole Kmet, his most experienced teammates outside of Darnell Mooney.

Wide Receiver Byron Pringle was also out for this game as he battles a quad injury.

The Bears were also getting their first live-game look at rookie left tackle Braxton Jones whose exit with the 1s signals his place among that group is all but solidified.

Meanwhile, Siemian – a five-year veteran – was able to showcase his abilities against the Chiefs’ second unit. That is not to take away from what he was able to do in the Bears’ new scheme under Luke Getsy.

But there should in no way be any talk of a quarterback controversy, even in jest.

2. “Bears Don’t Need Roquan Smith”

Here’s the thing, what Roquan Smith brings to the table that, perhaps, very few others in the NFL can is an instinctual understanding of what the offense is trying to accomplish on any given play. That’s how he leads the NFL in solo tackles since he entered the league in 2018 with 348 solos.

He’s also third in total tackles with 524 since 2018.

While new MIKE backer Nicholas Morrow has displayed some wonderful leadership and natural ability throughout the entire camp process, he is still not the player that Smith is.

The Chiefs are a great offense. But there were a couple of plays to the tight ends where Morrow and fellow backers Matthew Adams and Joe Thomas would have benefitted from being a half-second quicker on their reactions.

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But, in the first preseason game, they fared well overall even coming away with a pair of takeaways.

How much should the Bears bank on that to continue as the preseason and, Heaven forbid, the regular season roll?

Not much.

Their contract dispute with the talented Smith became extremely public. The linebacker posted on social media calling Poles and the front office out for “negotiating in bad faith”.

There have been reports that Smith was seeking to reset the linebacker market. But his note specifically pointed to language in his contract that no other player has and how, if he accepted the Bears’ offer, it would have a negative impact on the market, generally a concern for the NFLPA.

But Poles has maintained that his intentions are to re-sign Smith and not trade him as he has requested.

However it needs to happen, the Bears might want to work with Smith to get a deal done before meeting the San Francisco 49ers and their diverse rushing attack in Week 1 of the regular season.

3. “Bears Should Stay at Soldier Field”

This is a bit nitpicky as it did not seem to have much impact on the game outside of commentary on social media. But who was doing the commenting is invariably significant. It was NFLPA president, JC Tretter who shared his take on the field conditions on Twitter. Needless to say, he was not happy.

The Bears have split the fanbase in the past few months. Their plan to build a new stadium in suburban Arlington Park is the cause. This has some fans cheering for the new venue and, for some, an easier commute to the game.

But for others, the nostalgia of Soldier Field is too strong to let go of.

News flash: the health and safety of the players are far more important than the venue which the Chicago Park District manages.

To that end, the city and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have been very contentious with the Bears in the media over the decision. It might behoove them to improve something as elementary as the condition of the playing surface.

What is worse is this is an improved version of what was regularly seen at the historic location in years past. There might not be any better sign that the Bears need to follow through with their rumored plans to move out of the city and into the suburbs, disgruntled fans be damned.

After all, “If you build it, they will come.”

Ignore Bears Narrative…For Now

The time will come when we can draw conclusions from what we witness in a preseason game but that is not in Week 1. Both Eberflus and Fields spoke after the game. Both continued to say they have a long way to go but that they like where they are and are seeing progress. Fields also said he spoke with Nagy but added that the conversation remained about life as opposed to football.

All in all, it was an encouraging win for the new regime if only because it was just that, their first victory. And, as one legend pointed out, it doesn’t matter when or how it comes, it still counts.

That, surely, has to feel good for everyone involved up at Halas Hall.

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