The Chicago Bears have a ton of work to do over the next two weeks. Almost all of it will be focused on fixing the offense. Despite almost every player being the second year of this system, the execution has been subpar to say the least. Outside of Allen Robinson, nobody has stood out much in a positive light consistently this year. The team is averaging just 16 points per game. The face the Bears are 3-2 is a testament to how excellent their defense has been. Head coach Matt Nagy isn’t stupid though.
He made it clear that the team won’t survive at this rate. The offense has to start scoring more points. Especially with the schedule coming up. One that will feature the Saints, Chargers, and Eagles all in a row. That stretch could well define their season. One that won’t go well if the Bears continue managing 16 points a game. A big key to this entire mess is the offensive line. The group that exited 2018 playing some really good football has suddenly become MIA.
They’re on pace to allow eight more sacks than they did last year and are paving the way for just 3.4 yards per carry on the ground. A big source of the issue rests on right guard Kyle Long who clearly hasn’t looked like himself. Changes are needed. The Bears need a boost to get things going. Replacing Long might be their best (and only) option. With who though?
Their victory over Minnesota provided a clue.
Chicago Bears should think about plugging in Rashaad Coward
Rashaad Coward was signed by the Bears as an undrafted defensive lineman in 2017. A year later, the new coaching staff under Nagy asked if he’d be willing to switch to offensive tackle. Coward agreed and made considerable progress. This year the plan was the same. Keep him at tackle and employ him as a backup behind Bobby Massie. However, when Long did not play against the Minnesota and backup guard Ted Larsen went down with a knee injury, things changed.
Coward was forced to step in as an emergency option. All things considered, he looked better than expected. The guy played like he belongs on an NFL field. Here’s one example. On this play, he’s charged with pulling to the right and deliver a kick-out block for the running back. This he executes perfectly, driving Danielle Hunter out of the play, giving Tarik Cohen plenty of space to work. If Cohen doesn’t stumble and fall, that could be a huge gain.
Pass protection? Yeah, Coward can do that too.
This is the pivotal play of the game. Chase Daniel calls for a deep shot. Coward drops anchor and holds up well against #93 Shamar Stephen, a six-year NFL veteran. Daniel has enough time to deliver the ball to Javon Wims for a 37-yard gain. This would lead to a field goal conversion for the Bears, pretty much putting the game on ice.
Nobody is saying Coward is the next big thing. However, he is younger and healthier than anybody else the Chicago Bears have right now. He moves well, has good size, long arms, and plays with a bit of a nasty streak that the offensive line needs more of. At this point, why not give him a shot? It’s not like he can do much worse than Long has and the potential ceiling is far higher.