The Chicago Bears on Tuesday continued picking up the pieces from their 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
As they get ready to move on to Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field, here are three things we heard from Bears players at Halas Hall.
1. Allen Robinson tries to focus on bettering himself while Bears offensive woes contribute to an unproductive start.
The Bears wide receiver is no stranger to playing on struggling offenses over his years with former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Bears quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles.
But since arriving in Chicago in 2018, Robinson hasn’t had a three-game stretch as unproductive as the start of this season — 10 catches on 21 targets for 86 yards and a touchdown. That included two catches in each of his last two games.
In Week 1, the story was how Bears coach Matt Nagy didn’t have Robinson run a route longer than 10 yards. Robinson had his only touchdown catch in Week 2 but also dropped a touchdown. On Sunday, rookie Justin Fields had little time to hit his receivers before the Browns defense got to him with 15 quarterback hits and nine sacks.
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The Bears’ woes are not ideal for Robinson, who is playing under the franchise tag after a long-term deal with the Bears didn’t materialize. But he doesn’t often air frustrations publicly, and he stuck with that approach Tuesday.
“I just go out there and try to assess the tape, try to figure out what I can get better at,” Robinson said. “One thing I always look at on the field is my game speed, my play speed, how was I in and out of my breaks? There’s always a play or two that you find that you can get back throughout the course of the game, but other than that how I watch the tape, how I was moving around, getting in and out of my cuts I thought that was where I wanted to be at. So it’s about maximizing my opportunities.”
Robinson was asked how Bears players are handling the emotional swings of the first three weeks while so many people outside of Halas Hall are “freaking out.”
“The eye of the storm is typically the calmest place,” he said. “When you’re in the mix of it, you’re in the eye of it. You can’t put your energy toward freaking out. I try to put all the energy back into the things that I can control and into myself of how I can get better from a week-to-week standpoint, assessing the film, where can I get better here, how can I become a better player, how can I become a better teammate, how can I help us move forward and win games.”
2. Bears center Sam Mustipher compared the Browns film review to going to the dentist.
For the Bears offensive line, there was no avoiding the discomfort of watching the Browns get to Fields over and over.
“It was like going to the dentist. No one likes going to the dentist,” Mustipher said. “They just give you honest feedback. We had a lot of cavities on Sunday. That’s something you’ve got to improve on, got to fix. You’ve got to floss every day. So it’s back to the details, back to the execution.
“What can we do moving forward? It’s not about ‘woe is me.’ We could be like that and allow the Browns to beat us twice. Or we can get back to what we need to do.”
Mustipher said the offensive line ate together Monday to discuss the issues, which he believes stemmed more from not using their fundamentals and techniques to execute their assignments.
He said the conversations this week with a mostly experienced group of linemen need to be straightforward.
“I feel like we need some honesty, some truth,” Mustipher said. “Come out and say, ‘This is what you’ve got to do. This is what you’ve got to improve on.’ When I walk into the room, I tell the guys, ‘I was unacceptable on this play.’ That lends them to say, ‘Here’s where I messed up. Here’s where I screwed up a blocking assignment.’”
As for whether Nagy should have given his line more help with protection as Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney continued to make big plays, Mustipher didn’t make excuses.
“In certain situations, I feel like chips can be used, but if we’re called upon to block 5-on-5, then we’ve got to do it,” he said. “That allows for players to develop, backs to get out of the backfield, five guys to be in a route. ... When you take pride in what you do, that’s what you want. That’s what you train for. You train to block the best of the best, 1-on-1, in a critical situation. When the guy in the top row of the stands knows we’re passing the football, what do you fall back on? Your fundamentals and technique, and too many times during the game we didn’t do that.”
3. The Bears are excited about outside linebacker Robert Quinn’s start.
When inside linebacker Alec Ogletree started his career with the St. Louis Rams in 2013, he was in awe of what Robert Quinn could do rushing the passer as he racked up 19 sacks in an All-Pro season.
“I told him when I first came into the league, I had never seen somebody turn the corner the way he turned the corner like that,” Ogletree said. “I was like, ‘Man, that’s crazy! This is what the NFL’s about?’”
So Ogletree said it has been a “warm feeling” for him to join the Bears as Quinn gets off to a strong start in his 11th season.
After a disappointing 2020 season in which he had two sacks,Quinn already has four in his first three games, including 1½ against the Browns.
Outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey said Quinn is taking care of his body and playing to his strengths. But he said there’s more Quinn can accomplish.
“Just knowing Robert, I’m happy for him as a person because I know that there were certain challenges last year in terms of where his expectation is for himself,” Shuey said. “And so there was frustration, just because he’s his own roughest critic. He’s hard on himself sometimes. I’m glad to see him having some success. I think there’s a ways to go. I do think he’d be one of the first people to tell you he’s had some success, but he does understand there are (more) opportunities. You saw in that last game, too, that there was production he left on the field that he needs to be able to finish.”