Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears have two weeks ahead to regain their footing after a disappointment in London. Despite a furious comeback after falling behind 17-0, they couldn’t close the deal, losing 24-21 to the Oakland Raiders. There were plenty of culprits responsible for the loss. An uncharacteristic down day by the defense. Chase Daniel throwing two bad interceptions. However, the big concern coming out of all that is the offensive line. It turned in another dismal performance, allowing four sacks and managing just over 40 yards rushing.
There are a few names worth mentioning. Charles Leno continues to struggle with penalties. James Daniels’ transition to center has been anything but smooth. However, the most noteworthy (and saddest) development has been the severe regression of right guard Kyle Long. People need to stop seeing the name for what it was. The three-time Pro Bowler is gone. Injuries clearly have taken the best away from the 31-year old and he’s trying to do things his body won’t allow anymore.
He can’t get any push in the ground game and he’s losing more reps than he’s winning in pass protection. This against a lot of players one wouldn’t consider the top of the line in the NFL. With the likes of Sheldon Rankins, Fletcher Cox, and Aaron Donald looming on the horizon, the Bears have to think about making a decision. For all his experience, an argument can be made that Long is a liability. They need to think about giving someone else a chance.
Matt Nagy should consider going to Ted Larsen or Rashaad Coward
What can the Bears do? Well with two weeks off they have enough time to enact a switch if they wish. Their options boil down to two. The most obvious is veteran Ted Larsen, who has started in the past and played pretty well. The problem there is he’s dealing with a knee injury and isn’t 100% himself. Maybe that changes in the come 14 days off but it’s still something to note. The other is Rashaad Coward.
A former undrafted defensive lineman, he shifted to the offensive line last season. Initially, he’s been playing tackle for the team, but was asked to fill in at guard as an emergency last week against the Vikings. Based on the limited reps seen? He didn’t look half bad.
Coward is obviously inexperienced, which is a concern. At the same time, he has the advantage of being younger and healthier than the other options. He brings a good degree of size and above all nastiness to the position. These are all things the Bears front needs more of. Would Nagy consider it? That’s hard to say at this point. Based on how Long has looked to this point, it can’t be that much worse.