Column: A lot of groups with franchise QBs are close to .500 getting into Week 8. But the Chicago Bears are the place they need to be.


When Tom Brady stated at first of the month that there’s a whole lot of “bad football from what I watch,” he in all probability wasn’t envisioning his Tampa Bay Buccaneers being sq. in the midst of that dialogue close to the midpoint of the season.

The Buccaneers, who misplaced to the Baltimore Ravens 27-22 at house Thursday evening, have been certainly one of 15 groups getting into Week 8 at or inside one recreation of .500, a big grouping of mediocrity that features the Chicago Bears (3-4), Green Bay Packers (3-4) and each individuals in Super Bowl LVI — the Los Angeles Rams (3-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (4-3).

It’s not an unusually excessive variety of groups huddled round .500 after seven weeks. The common at this juncture during the last decade is 13.2 groups with a excessive of 18 in 2017 and low of 5 in 2020.

The common whole factors per recreation getting into this week is 43.4, the bottom determine since 2010. Scoring issues to the NFL. Rules have been tweaked over time to favor offenses. Higher-scoring video games usually promote higher tv scores.

“We’ve looked at it in a lot of different ways,” competitors committee chairman Rich McKay instructed reporters on the NFL conferences earlier this month. “Every statistical look that we’ve made, I’m not sure that we’ve found a good answer.”

Of course, the “poor quality football” Brady talked about has included lower-scoring slogs such because the Bears’ 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders in Week 6 and the Indianapolis Colts’ 12-9 win over the Denver Broncos the week earlier than. Those have been prime-time snoozers that some chalked as much as uneven play that may occur on Thursday nights.

What is especially fascinating in regards to the groups in the midst of the pack is that it contains seven golf equipment that objectively have a franchise quarterback. Entering Week 8, that group contains:

4-3 report

  • Ravens (Lamar Jackson)
  • Bengals (Joe Burrow)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (Justin Herbert)

3-3 report

3-4 report

  • Arizona Cardinals (Kyler Murray)
  • Packers (Aaron Rodgers)
  • Buccaneers (Brady)

You can debate whether or not Murray belongs on a listing of franchise quarterbacks, however the Cardinals actually paid him like one once they signed him to a five-year, $230.5 million extension.

“Why is having a franchise QB not the separator like it usually is,” one veteran personnel man stated. “How are teams winning so many games with good-to-below-average QBs? The one thing that stands out to me is how many average-to-bad teams there are right now.”

There are also seven playoff groups from 2021 within the group — the Bengals, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Packers, New England Patriots (3-4), Rams and San Francisco 49ers (3-4). That is what actually makes the cluster of mediocrity notable as a result of so many groups hovering round .500 had a lot greater expectations when the season kicked off.

The Bengals look poised to take off after scoring 30 and 35 factors the final two weeks following a bumpy begin for Burrow, who was intercepted 4 instances in Week 1. The Buccaneers seem to have fully misplaced their mojo. The Packers may need authentic cause to panic, and the Rams have offensive line points which can be proving troublesome to beat with just one true weapon for Stafford in huge receiver Cooper Kupp.

The Chargers have been crushed by accidents. Jackson and the Ravens try to get by with out a whole lot of assist at huge receiver and with a protection that isn’t to its previous commonplace. The Cardinals are hoping the latest return of huge receiver DeAndre Hopkins from a suspension will present a spark for an offense that has been missing an id.

Meanwhile, the New York Giants are surging at 6-1 with Daniel Jones, who had the fifth-year possibility in his contract declined earlier than the season. The New York Jets are 5-2 with Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco at quarterback. The Philadelphia Eagles stay with league’s solely unbeaten crew at 6-0 with quarterback Jalen Hurts making main strides. The Minnesota Vikings have a 2½-game lead within the NFC North at 5-1 with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.

“What teams that are playing well are actually doing what you expected?” one GM texted. “Buffalo and Kansas City and the list ends there.”

The Bears (3-4) may be inspired to be the place they’re. The report isn’t a transparent indicator of progress, however three of the 4 losses have been one-score video games, and take away two muffed punts by rookie Velus Jones Jr. from the Bears being possibly the most important shock within the league.

As it’s, the vibe at Halas Hall is constructive, and the most important takeaway is a younger roster is gaining a ton of expertise because the entrance workplace and training workers consider which gamers slot in to the image transferring ahead. Quarterback Justin Fields is coming off his finest recreation of the season — 179 passing yards with one landing and 82 dashing yards and one other rating.

For normal supervisor Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus, the Bears are proper the place they have to be as they adhere to a rebuilding plan that was crafted in the beginning of the offseason. If Fields continues to make positive factors, the timeline for anticipating the Bears to be in rivalry will velocity up.

If the Bears can chase .500 within the month forward — they usually’re a 9½-point underdog heading to Dallas, and the Miami Dolphins will seemingly be favored at Soldier Field subsequent week — it will be a constructive signal.

“When you have success you have to handle that a certain way,” Eberflus stated. “When you could have adversity it’s a must to deal with {that a} sure method. When you turn out to be a mature competitor you could have the flexibility to deal with them virtually one and the identical.

“Certainly when you win there’s all this other stuff going on, but there’s distractions in that when you win. There’s a lot of so-called hype for a victory or two victories or three victories or whatever that might be. When you’re in the middle of a season, you have to keep everything in perspective.”

The Bears are in a great spot coming off a 33-14 dismantling of the Patriots. They’re in a good place and never scuffling for solutions like a number of the groups round .500 that entered 2022 with huge expectations. That’s a great factor for Poles and Eberflus.

Scouting report

Micah Parsons, Cowboys strong-side linebacker

Information for this report was obtained from NFL scouts.

Micah Parsons, 6-foot-3, 248 kilos, is in his second season in Dallas after being drafted twelfth in 2021. The Cowboys traded down two slots from No. 10 and nonetheless landed their man one decide after the Bears selected quarterback Justin Fields.

Parsons was named the defensive rookie of the 12 months in 2021 and have become the Cowboys’ first rookie to be named first-team All-Pro. He set a franchise report with 13 sacks and already has eight this season. He has three multi-sack video games and leads the NFL with 36 quarterback pressures.

“Parsons is like Samuel L. Jackson at the end of ‘Pulp Fiction’ when he asks for his wallet and it says, ‘Bad Mother(expletive)’ on it. That’s him,” the scout stated. “What’s exceptional about Parsons is you can also make an argument that outdoors of Myles Garrett, he’s probably the most refined and disruptive edge rusher within the league and he’s a linebacker. That’s how versatile he’s.

“His traits are at such a excessive stage that he can impression the move recreation from a number of ranges of the protection, beginning with him as an edge rusher. He’s obtained an electrical first step and he’s violent and quick along with his fingers and he’s obtained the decrease physique flexibility to dip and bend. His closing velocity is ridiculous. He will run down any quarterback within the league, together with Justin Fields.

“Dan Quinn has fully modified his profile as a coordinator from what he was in Atlanta and earlier than that in Seattle with Cover-3 and has performed zone protection and relied on the construction of the protection to win. He’s far more aggressive now, and they’re going to scheme their entrance with Parsons and use him from the second stage as a blitzer.

“It’s one thing to prepare for a dominant edge rusher and chip and keep the tight ends in and slide and move the pocket. Quinn can counter that and move Parsons all over, and that’s the problem. That’s made him a lethal weapon. I’d go after the rookie left tackle Braxton Jones first. Test him and see what the Bears’ counter is to that, but whoever is playing right tackle, the Bears better have a plan over there. How are they going to adapt?”



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