Chicago Bears: Will “Bear weather” hold offense back?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With the temperature dropping, don’t expect the Chicago Bears to drastically change their offensive strategy too much.

I personally hate when people talk about “Bear weather” like it’s actually some kind of advantage to the Chicago Bears. If it was, maybe the Bears would be better than 1-9 at home in the last three years.

That said, one can’t deny that the bitter winter colds of Chicago often play somewhat into the Bears’ traditional style. Well, at least in theory.

The Chicago Bears, more so even than in previous years, are a grind-it-out, running football team with a strong defense suited to bending and not breaking.

The Detroit Lions, on the other hand, currently rank 29th in rushing offense, relying mostly on Matthew Stafford‘s arm and a bevy of solid receiving options.

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Assuming the weather actually makes things difficult for the Lions’ passing offense, this game could turn out to be John Fox’s dream come true.

Or…maybe it won’t.

Maybe the Lions’ 11th-ranked rushing defense will bottle up Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen like Green Bay did last week.

And maybe the Lions will finally break out on the ground themselves and get their first 100-rusher of 2017.

If things don’t go according to plan for the Bears, will they adjust their offensive plan?

Might we see the Bears try harder to keep the Lions off balance in early downs? Might we even see a surprisingly air raid-style attack like what got from Matt Barkley at times late last year?

I’m not going to bet on it.

Fox is about as old-school as they come most of the time. That generally means that when the weather’s cold, it’s time to run the football. A lot. That’s not unwise, but when running the ball is all you’re willing to do, it becomes easier for defenses to do something about it.

And while Mitch Trubisky has quantitatively thrown the ball more in the last few weeks, don’t get too hung up on raw numbers.

They still aren’t throwing the ball enough on first and second down. They still don’t set up and actually utilize concepts enough, relying on an all-too-predictable package of plays. And, as we saw this week, they don’t like putting all their playmakers on the field together for some reason.

When they do decide to get throwing, it’s too often on third down or at the end of a half when teams know it’s coming. Sure, Trubisky’s pocket presence needs work, but it helps when you throw more when the defense isn’t pinning their ears back.

Then again, I think we’ve established that wisdom doesn’t really apply to this offensive scheme. And the fact that winter is here might just serve to exacerbate the Bears’ worst offensive tendencies.

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Now, maybe Howard will beat on the Lions enough to break their will (as he did last year), and all this becomes irrelevant.

But it’s ultimately not that likely. In the end, it’s far more likely that Fox sticks to what he’s comfortable with, further keeping his offense stuck in neutral and leaving his young quarterback frustrated and hesitant to play his game.

If it results in a win, they’ll take it, and so will the fans, I imagine. But should the Bears drop another November game at Soldier Field, it’ll just serve as another nail in Fox’s coffin.

And it’ll be just another instance of “Bear weather” not mattering in any positive way for the Chicago Bears in these recent years.