Whether the Chicago Bears pivot to Trevor Siemian or play a banged-up Justin Fields, expect them to throw more against the New York Jets – The Denver Post


Don’t worry, Cole Kmet said, Trevor Siemian will not take it as an insult if you say he is unlikely to keep the ball on a zone read and motor 60 yards through the New York Jets defense Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“Definitely more of a drop-back guy, get the ball out, timing,” Kmet said. “We’re not going to be running QB power with Trevor.”

The Chicago Bears offense figures to take on a different look if Siemian is called on to replace Justin Fields, who is questionable with a separated left shoulder suffered on a quarterback sweep near the end Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

It’s also likely to look different if Fields plays. The Bears surely don’t want to put him at risk of making the injury — which includes a partially torn ligament — worse. With either quarterback, the Bears likely will need to throw the ball more.

Yes, the Bears offense will take on a new look if Fields — who entered the week ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing with 834 yards — is not leading the league’s top-ranked rushing offense (197.9 yards per game) against a Jets defense ranked 10th against both the run and pass.

It will be interesting to see how the Bears fare after averaging 29.5 points over the last five games with Fields accounting for 15 touchdowns — nine passing and six rushing. While the surge in scoring resulted in only one victory, the offense has done its job with the exception of mounting scoring drives in the closing minutes of games.

The Bears have scored 24 points or more in the five games since the “mini bye” following the Oct. 13 loss to the Washington Commanders, and that’s a notable achievement in these parts. They’ve had only four other such streaks since the start of the 1996 season.

But with Fields potentially out and running back Khalil Herbert on injured reserve with a hip issue, it’s fair to wonder if the ground attack can be nearly as powerful leaning on David Montgomery and Trestan Ebner.

It puts offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and (likely?) Siemian in a position in which the Bears will have to rely much more on the passing game. They are averaging a league-low 20.8 pass attempts per game, 8.3 less than the 32nd-ranked Philadelphia Eagles from last season. The Bears’ current average is so low, the last offense to finish worse was the 1977 San Francisco 49ers at 19.8. Offensive football has changed so much in 45 years, and while the scoring surge has been welcome, it’s not sustainable to average 128 net passing yards as the Bears have.

There have been questions all season about why the Bears aren’t getting wide receiver Darnell Mooney, Kmet or new acquisition Chase Claypool more involved. The simple answer is there aren’t a lot of targets to go around when throwing the ball so infrequently.

When the Bears dealt their second-round pick to get Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the trade deadline, Getsy said another big target in the passing game wouldn’t necessarily lead to more throws. He was going to continue to craft game plans that put the offense in the best position to succeed. Based on the scoring, it’s difficult to argue with the results, but now the best position for the Bears appears to involve asking Siemian to throw more — perhaps significantly more.

Mooney (5.5 targets) and Kmet (3.4), expected to be primary cogs in the passing game, are both getting 33% fewer passes thrown their way than they did a season ago. The Bears are one of three teams (Falcons, Houston Texans) without a 100-yard receiver in a game.

Limited opportunities haven’t caused a ripple in the locker room even though the Bears have been losing. That’s because the offense has been putting up points — and the Bears are fortunate not to have me-first divas demanding the ball.

“Obviously, me and Mooney and Chase, we’d love to get the ball more,” Kmet said. “We’re all for whatever is working. We’re running the ball, what, 40 times a game the past five weeks and it’s really working. It’s the strength of the team. I always feel like you have to lean into your strengths. That is the strength.

“Along those lines, we’ve still got to develop the passing game, all of us. We have to have better protection, we have to run better routes as receivers, all of those things. We have to work on those things. But this run game that we have is really dynamic. I think people that are really watching us on film, they see a lot of really dynamic things we’re doing in the run game. Yeah, we’re going to lean into that, but you can’t expect Chase to put up 150 yards on three targets. I’m not knocking our play calling or anything. That’s just the situation.”

Getsy doesn’t have to go outside of anything the Bears have been doing this season. They might have some different passing plays up their sleeve, but the coaches are adding and subtracting from the game plan every week. When Siemian has played well in the past — he has 29 career starts — he has gotten the ball out quickly, and the Bears will be preparing for a lot of zone coverage from the Jets.

“That’s kind of a wait-and-see question,” Siemian said when I asked if the offense would have to lean more on the passing game in the event he plays. “I’ve got to be capable of doing some of this stuff. Maybe after the game I can share the game plan with you. If Justin goes, we can go over his plays … or mine.”

Getsy has done a good job of finding what his players do well and relying on that as the offense has packed some punch in recent weeks. The receivers have done their part, blocking aggressively on the edges and downfield. Maybe the time has come for them to catch more passes. It would make sense if Siemian starts or if the Bears play Fields and aim to protect him against a strong Jets pass rush.

Scouting report

Quinnen Williams, Jets defensive tackle

Information for this report was obtained from NFL scouts.

Quinnen Williams, 6-foot-3, 303 pounds, is in his fourth season after the Jets drafted him No. 3 out of Alabama in 2019. He leads the Jets with eight sacks and 18 quarterback hits, the most among interior defensive linemen in the league. Williams was named the AFC defensive player of the month for October. His 3.3% sack rate ranks second behind the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett for defensive linemen with a minimum of 220 pass-rush snaps.

“He’s an absolute force,” the scout said. “This is the player Joe Douglas envisioned when he drafted him. Now he is delivering the same type of production and play where he can take over certain game situations like he did at Alabama. He is extremely powerful off the ball. He’s got a great first step, and what you are seeing now that he’s developed some in the league is much better technique and understanding of how to create an edge versus blockers. How to win interior one-on-ones when they are schemed for you, and that is a big part of the discussion, I think, how (Jets coach) Robert Saleh schemes his fronts and creates interior and edge matchups based on their pre-snap alignment. They do that consistently when they want to get certain guys a one-on-one.

“It’s easy to say you can have the center help. If they are using a loaded front and you get Quinnen Williams on the back side, the center cannot help. The center has to go to the loaded side of the front, and that is how you get one-on-ones for one of your best pass rushers. He’s excellent versus the run game too. The best way to describe him is he is an interior disruptor who is creating vertical penetration up the field versus the run and pass game and he is a really bad matchup for the Bears offensive linemen based on how it has played this season. Williams could be a menace in the backfield for the entire game.”



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