Joniak: Bears Stoic About Losing Streak, D Coordinator Chuck Pagano Says

Jeff Joniak
November 07, 2019 - 5:22 pm
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LAKE FOREST (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears (3-5) were back at work practicing Thursday as they prepare to host the Lions (3-4-1) on Sunday.

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Let's take a look at the news and observations of the day:

--Looking for solutions to a season-long problem requires significant reflection. Matt Nagy insists it is his weekly exercise. While he urgently analyzes his plan behind closed doors, the media peppers him with tough questions about process and options. It includes his play-calling, the viability of his quarterback right now and changes in personnel. Nagy is open. He answers everything save for strategy and scheme.

--“We’re going to look at a lot of different things,” Nagy said. “We’re always looking for solutions. I’m going to leave it at that.” It is Nagy’s answer to a suggested switch back to center for Cody Whitehair and James Daniels back to left guard. If such a switch is under consideration, we will not know until game day.

--The inconsistent performance of the offensive line throughout the first half of the season is probably my biggest surprise. I thought it would be a strength of the team. It has to be a strength moving forward.

--Whitehair represented the Bears as a Pro Bowl alternate playing center, and Daniels grew significantly settling at left guard in 2018. Despite his powerful build, it is fair to say Daniels' "snap to set" power is not transferring consistently. In Nagy’s search for the “why,” he is looking for the smallest spark to light the wick to a more explosive offense.

--"Whenever you’re looking at these position switches -- whatever it is, offense, defense, special teams -- we’re always talking about solutions," Nagy said. "So, if that’s something that we decide to do at that position or somewhere else, then there’s always a why behind it. There’s lot of things with this team right now that we just are always looking at. I think that for us, for the competitive advantage just keep everything with us in detail."

--Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is holding no pity parties during this four-game skid. "It stinks right now, it sucks,” said Pagano. “We’re not going to bemoan it. It isn’t a 'poor pitiful me' and point fingers, this, that, and the other. You got a job to do and everyone understands that, the whole team, the whole locker room.”

--Pagano is upset with the number of defensive offside penalties this season. “We had one defensive offside through eight games last year; we got ten,” he said. “Those are what we called the SINs (Self-Inflicted Negatives). The ball moves, you go, being disciplined there, we got to get better there.”

--Special Team Coordinator Chris Tabor is making it clear to kicker Eddy Pineiro the cold weather will affect the ball. “It’s not going to fly as far,” said Tabor. “It will feel different on his foot.  We went down to the stadium (Soldier Field) yesterday and kicked, and he did real well and it was windy down there. It’s just something he’s going to have to go through. I think it’s all a part of the learning process with him.”

-Despite Detroit’s poor defensive ranking in virtually every category, receiver Allen Robinson has respect for the unit. “They may be 30th-ranked, but they have a good defensive play caller, they have a good structure, they have a good scheme.” Robinson recognized Lions head coach Matt Patricia for his “big game” play-calling back to his New England Super Bowl experiences.

--The losing streak stings safety Eddie Jackson. “I’m pretty surprised, to be honest with you,” Jackson said. “Our record doesn’t define the kind of team we are. For us, we just have to continue to come together. We’re hoping this week right here will be the impact, the breakthrough.”

--After missing Wednesday’s practice with a sore thigh, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman returned to limited practice Thursday.

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