Joniak's Journal: Bears Aim To 'Finish, Finish, Finish' Against Seattle

September 12, 2018 - 5:52 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Jeff Joniak's latest obsverations on preparations for this Monday's Bears-Seahawks game. 

First Impression

It still stings.

“I think we’re on to Seattle, but I don’t think anyone can actually get over this game,” Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara said of team’s season opener loss in Green Bay. “I think you just push it back, back, back, back to the back of your head and still kind of remember it.” 

While excited about Monday in another primetime game -- this time against Seattle -- the first mission is to get the bad taste of the Packers’ loss out of their collective mouths.

One bad loss cannot be the reason for a second.

“Like Mitch (Trubisky) said -- we can’t let one game dictate the rest of our season,” safety Eddie Jackson said. “We’ve got to put that one behind us even though it was tough. We really wanted that one really bad.”

From Jackson to Amukamara to defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, they all shared a hint of regret. That is normal. Jackson said they want to come out aggressive against Seattle as they did in Green Bay, but this time, as he put it: “Finish, finish, finish.”

After watching the game for a third time, I keep finding plays executed properly, or without a foul, or without a mental error, or with a better decision, in all three phases that “could” have or “would” have led to a win instead of a loss.  All they needed to do was make “one” clutch play in any of the four quarters.

We all know what would have, could have and should have means: regret.

 

Second Thought

Veterans offer perspective, even three days after the game.

“There’s 32 teams in the league and half of them started – well, almost half of them -- started out with a loss,” said right guard Kyle Long.  “So, moving on this week, we have an opportunity to go 1-and-1 and defend our home field, so that’s all we can really aim to do.”

 

Third Degree

There is a reasonable expectation that rookie inside linebacker Roquan Smith will, at a minimum, get more than the eight snaps he picked up in Green Bay. He is ready for more.

“I felt fine for the little time I was out there,” said Smith. “Whatever Coach feels like is best for me as far as playing time-wise, if it’s one quarter to (the) entire game, whatever that may be, I am just with it.”

Smith’s speed, range, and explosiveness sideline to sideline and excellence dropping into coverage may be the way to go with Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker against Seattle’s pesky and mobile quarterback Russell Wilson.

Texts from friends and family swamped his cell phone after his first NFL snap turned into his first NFL sack of Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer. 

“It was awesome,” Smith said. “First snap actually having a sack, but it’s more to it than that.” 

Meaning Smith recognizes Khalil Mack’s dominance at the line of scrimmage as Kizer moved out of the outside linebacker’s path, allowing Smith to drop him for a nine-yard loss late in the first half.

Smith is confident. While the NFL is more complex in terms of schemes and how to use them, it doesn’t sound too big for him making the jump from Georgia.

“Obviously, people are bigger and a little faster, and I guess the mental side of things,” Smith said. “Other than that, I don’t really see any crazy differences.”

Smith said he felt ready to play physically and mentally. He knew the game plan cold. Knowledge is always power in the NFL.

 

Fourth-and-short

Gus Bradley was Allen Robinson’s first NFL head coach in Jacksonville. He practiced against the Jaguars defense for parts of three seasons. Doug Marrone took over for the fired Bradley during the 2016 season. Bradley was Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2009-2012, retained by head coach Pete Carroll for his 2010 debut season. It means Robinson has a good feel for what to expect from the Seattle scheme next Monday night.

“You know that they’re going to be fast,” Robinson said. “I have a pretty good grasp of what they like to do and the type of players in certain positions they like to have. It’s a real speed-based defense.”

Ken Norton, Jr. coordinates the defense for Carroll, but the “Legion of Boom” is a memory. Free safety Earl Thomas, linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright (knee injury) are about all that is left of the once-dominant defense. However, to Robinson’s point, they do have speed to respect at each level of the unit.


Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.