The Chicago Bears are already at a crossroads early in the 2021 season. Head coach Matt Nagy’s grip on his position is weakening with each week that his offense produces like those led by John Fox and Dowell Loggains instead of what was expected from a next-gen Sean McVay. His job security will be anything but secure if the Bears lose to the Detroit Lions at home Sunday, especially if the loss is the result of sub-par offensive football.
Nagy needs to up his game. Whether it’s as a play-caller or as a coach who understands he shouldn’t be calling plays anymore, he needs to prove to the fans and the organization that he’s capable of doing the right thing. But he isn’t alone. There are several players who need to elevate their play and give Nagy an assist as he tries to restore his standing as a potential long-term coach in Chicago.
Here are four players on offense who need to bring their A-game in Week 4 against the Lions.
OT Jason Peters
Peters is in a tough spot. He’s expected to play at or near the level that’s made him a surefire Hall of Famer, but at 39 years old, it’s unreasonable to hope for that level of production. Instead, he just needs to be good enough. So far through three games, he has been. His 75.7 grade from Pro Football Focus is the second-best on the Bears’ offense, but his play dipped against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. His pass-blocking grade fell from 88.6 (a near-elite level) in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals to an underwhelming 61.0 against the Browns. He can’t have a game like that against the Lions. If he does, it’ll be another long day for Chicago’s passing game.
OC Sam Mustipher
No Bears offensive lineman has had a worse start to the 2021 season than Mustipher, whose 38.3 season grade from PFF (yes, you read that right) is by far the lowest on the team. His 41.0 pass-blocking grade is the worst among all graded Bears offensive players and it’s the result of just a consistently terrible 2021. He hasn’t cracked a 50.0 mark in any graded category in any game yet this season. If his play continues at these depths, the Bears will have to consider replacing him in the starting lineup.
WR Allen Robinson
Robinson is the Bears’ most important offensive weapon in the passing game but he’s off to a very slow start in 2021. His PFF season grade is a career-worst 60.4—he scored an 88.3 last year. Robinson has just 10 catches for 86 yards and one touchdown after three games, numbers that put him on pace for less than 500 yards for the season. Robinson totaled 11 catches for 149 yards in two games against the Lions last year and has just one touchdown over the Bears’ last four meetings with Detroit. Robinson needs to start stacking some big games together in a critical contract year.
TE Cole Kmet
Kmet hasn’t lived up to the billing that came along with being a second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2020. While it’s admittedly early in his young career at a position that tends to take time to transition to the NFL game, the time is now to show he can make a big play. Kmet’s played 141 snaps this season, 83 of which have come on passing downs, but he has only 10 targets as a receiver. He’s turned them into seven catches for just 53 yards and zero touchdowns. The Bears don’t really have a viable pass-catching option at tight end other than Kmet, so the pressure’s on him to become an integral part of the offense.
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