As the Chicago Bears enter week 2 of the NFL season, the pressure of the season is already mounting. A disastrous loss to long-time rival, the Green Bay Packers has the hope of the offseason slowly fading away. Head coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy have taken the brunt of the criticism, but if the players themselves don’t step up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 2 could be the beginning of a long season.
The Chicago Bears entered the 2023 season with the hope that there would be marked improvement on both sides of the ball, especially on the offensive side of things. The progression of franchise quarterback Justin Fields went hand in hand with a revamped offensive line and the acquisition of star wide receiver DJ Moore. However, after a 38-20 loss, the pressure is on Fields and the rest of the Bears roster to improve things quickly in Week 2.
5 Chicago Bears Who Need a Huge Week 2
As the starting quarterback and face of the franchise, Justin Fields is the most important player on the Chicago Bears. In his third season in the NFL, Fields needs to demonstrate to fans and teammates alike that he is the player most believe he can be. Fields’ talent has never been the question, but his ability to react to NFL defenses and not hold on to the ball for too long has. With plenty of offensive talent around him, including DJ Moore, Fields needs to ensure that his week 2 performance matches what fans saw in the preseason between the two players.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) September 11, 2023
While many are questioning the game plan established by Eberflus and Getsy, star players are supposed to overcome any challenges. Fields’ was stuck passing horizontally more than vertically, but when he did look downfield his passes were ineffective. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is still one of the league’s best and their blitzing style is something that has given Fields trouble. While no one is expecting him to suddenly turn into the league’s most prolific passer, a more efficient Week 2 is a must.
There is perhaps no player on the roster who is under more scrutiny heading into Week 2 of the Chicago Bears season than wide receiver Chase Claypool. When general manager Ryan Poles acquired Claypool at the trade deadline last year for a 2023 second-round draft pick, many fans liked the idea of adding a big, physical receiver to the offensive playbook. Unfortunately, nothing has worked out for Claypool. His performance in Week 1 of the season was abysmal. Two targets for zero catches and no yards was bad, but his complete lack of blocking on the many screen passes was worse. Receivers are not always in control of their stat line, but a greater effort is needed in Week 2.
Nate Davis was brought in as a free agent from the Tennessee Titans to help solidify the Chicago Bears offensive line. However, after a preseason that marred with injury, personal issues, and a lack of playing time, PFF graded him at a team-lowest 48.6 over 70+ snaps. The Bears were able to run the ball against the Packers with some success, but the passing game never got going. Fields looked like he was under constant pressure and with the likes of Vita Vea, Devin White, and Shaquil Barrett on tap, Davis and the rest of the offensive line need to step up for the Chicago Bears in Week 2.
Coming into the 2023-2024 season the Chicago Bears defense was filled with question marks, especially along the defensive line. The Bears used draft capital on the interior of the line, but how the team planned on attacking the quarterback seemed like an issue that the team would have to face all season. Then, at the end of the preseason, the team brought in veteran pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue and his 66 career sacks. Ngakoue was one of the few bright spots in their Week 1 loss, sacking Jordan Love once.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams never seemed to break from his cover defense, leaving only four rushers to get to the quarterback, thus putting more pressure on Ngakoue. For the Chicago Bears, Week 2 needs to be a game where they attack Buccaneer quarterback Baker Mayfield, and that begins and ends with the veteran defensive end.
The rookie cornerback has already established himself as a vital part of the young Bears defense. With the news of the long-term injury to Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson will need to continue to his rapid progression up the Bears depth chart. He began the season with a thunderous hit to Packers receiver Jayden Reed that fell right into Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S philosophy. While he later got burned on a touchdown by Romeo Doubs, Stevenson was one of the lone bright spots on the team. Going up against the likes of Buccaneer wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be no easy task, and the rookie will need to develop quicker than the team initially planned.
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