Adding competition at quarterback was the right thing to do for the Chicago Bears. It was their top priority by a wide margin. Nick Foles will push Mitch Trubisky and is more than good enough to start himself. That being said, there is one lingering issue the team hasn’t fixed. At least not on paper. A problem that only made life harder for Trubisky last season. Where are the yards after the catch guys?
Last season Pro Football Reference delivered an awesome advanced stat. It was called yards after the catch per reception. Unsurprisingly, the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs ranked 1st and 3rd respectively in this category. The Bears? They ranked dead last. That’s right. The worst team in the NFL with an average of just 4.1 yards after the catch. It’s hard to win games under such conditions.
The problem is the Bears haven’t really done anything to fix that issue. None of their most notable additions weren’t exactly known for YAC ability last season. Ted Ginn Jr. managed just 1.6 yards after the catch for the Saints. Tight end Jimmy Graham had 5.4 which is decent but it’s also down from 6.8 in 2018. So he might be on the decline at 33-years old. Top draft choice Cole Kmet wasn’t known for creating his own yards too often either.
Chicago Bears better hope receivers “try harder” this season
The good news is the Bears did add more speed to the receiving corps. So their chances for more explosive plays did go up. The YAC issue can also be fixed to a degree with a quarterback who can deliver accurate passes on a more consistent basis. A problem that was prevalent throughout 2019 with Trubisky. Even when he did hit his receivers, he rarely did it in stride to give them a chance to create more.
Either way, it’s apparent that in order to reach the mountaintop the Bears are can’t rely on the scheme to do everything for them. Players are going to have to start taking some of these matters into their own hands. It’s important to mention that the four teams who played in the conference championship games last season were among the top seven in yards after the catch per reception. It’s a place this team needs to be.