The Chicago Bears must quickly move past their loss to the Green Bay Packers to prepare for Sunday’s road game against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Here are three things we learned Tuesday as Bears players and coaches got ready for their week of practice.
1. Alec Ogletree thought the Bears defense lost its edge as the Packers game wore on.
Ogletree said it wasn’t a matter of effort — he thought everyone played hard — but the defense’s energy dropped as Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued to attack.
The Bears forced the Packers to punt on their first two drives and held them scoreless in the first quarter before the Packers scored 24 points in the final three quarters.
“We played with an edge at first, the first half or coming out for the game,” Ogletree said. “And then along the way, I just felt like we fizzled off a little bit as far as our energy and swarming to the ball and not letting bad things affect us as much. We had a couple mishaps there and kept trying to find our energy back. But when you play against a good team like that and a guy like A-Rod, they find your mistakes and hit you on those.
“For us, it’s just clean up some of those things and make sure we keep that edge and when we have that momentum, just make sure we’re executing at a higher level.”
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Tashaun Gipson and Eddie Jackson had notable missed tackles in the second half. Ogletree was among the defenders unable to get to Rodgers in time to stop his 6-yard touchdown run that put the Packers up 24-14 — the one that prompted Rodgers’ “I own you” comments.
“Obviously in hindsight I would definitely try to actually go and get him instead of looking back and freezing my feet a little bit and letting him get the edge right there,” Ogletree said. “I wish I could’ve been able to make that tackle and whatever could’ve happened if I would’ve gotten there in time.”
2. The Bears placed outside linebacker Robert Quinn on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Quinn, who tested positive for the virus, is the second player to go on the list in six days. Running back Damien Williams tested positive Thursday and remains out.
Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey also missed Sunday’s game while in COVID-19 protocol.
If Quinn is vaccinated and asymptomatic, he could return to the team after two negative tests 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated players who test positive must miss at least 10 days.
Quinn has put together a strong comeback after a disappointing 2020 season. He has 5½ sacks, 19 tackles, five tackles for a loss, seven quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
The Bears placed backup safety Deon Bush on injured reserve with a quadriceps injury. Bush must miss at least three games. They signed defensive back Teez Tabor to the active roster from the practice squad and added running back Chris Thompson to the practice squad.
3. The Bears pass rush turns its attention to trying to affect Tom Brady.
Ogletree has 7½ career sacks in nine seasons, so he definitely remembered the one against Brady when asked about it Tuesday.
In 2019 as a member of the New York Giants, Ogletree sacked Brady for a loss of 4 yards in a 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots. Ogletree said it was “pretty awesome.”
“I was on the line of scrimmage to the left, came on a blitz on the outside,” Ogletree said. “They pulled, the guard tried to knock me upfield, but I sped back. Obviously he likes to step up in the pocket. So I got to the level of the quarterback, spun back around and he fell right into my arms. I wish I would’ve gotten the ball out, but it was a good sack for sure.”
The Bears, who are tied with the Minnesota Vikings for the NFL lead with 21 sacks, now prepare to take down Brady, who has been sacked nine times this season. The Buccaneers are third in the league in allowing a sack on 3.33% of pass attempts.
Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 yards on 183-of-267 passing (68.5%). He has thrown 17 touchdown passes to three interceptions with a 1.1% interception rate.
In Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he wasn’t sacked as he completed 34 of 42 passes (80.95%) with a 2.45-second average time to throw.
“You’ve got to be able to have guys matching guys to take away some of his reads,” Ogletree said. “When you get an opportunity to get back there, you have to be able to get back there hopefully fast enough to get him down because obviously he’s known for getting the ball out of his hand quickly. He doesn’t take too many sacks.
“They have a good O-line that’s blocking really well for him. If you give him a chance to stand back there and hold the ball, that’s where he lives. He’s comfortable like that.”