The Scouting Report for Thursday night’s Commanders vs. Bears game is produced by The 33rd Team’s Scouting Department, led by former Eagles, Cardinals, and Ravens personnel executive T.J. McCreight and assisted by scouts Justin Casey, Kevin Cohn, and Evan Pritt.
Fields vs. Wentz
- Justin Fields is a dynamic athlete capable of making plays with his legs. He has good speed and can make guys miss in the open field. He shows good pocket presence and awareness to escape potential sacks. As a thrower, he possesses great arm strength and good touch on his deep ball. He lacks accuracy and tends to miss some easy throws both behind and high. H appears to lack confidence and rarely looks to take chances. He will not throw the ball into tight windows and only pull the trigger if his guy has a step or two. He often struggles to get through his reads. He will look for his first read and then next to his check down or look to run. He will miss a second option that is open due to dropping his eyes. He is best when he is on the move, or his first read is open from the snap. He struggles when tasked with standing back and throwing off schedule. The Bears tend to throw the ball only when they are behind the sticks or in late-game situations.
- Against five or more rushers, Fields has struggled this season throwing the ball. He owns a completion percentage of just 43.5% and a passer rating of 65.9. He has also been sacked 9 times which is second-most in the league behind only Matt Ryan.
- Carson Wentz has shown glimpses of really good play, but he has some really bad moments in critical situations. He has struggled with the rush and consistently keeping his eyes downfield.
- There has to be a way to find the old Carson Wentz and get him to where he once was as a quarterback. Wentz has top-level talent but has yet to be able to put it all together. He takes too many sacks and makes too many bad decisions on risky throws.
- Washington does have some talented pass catchers, and they have times when they show their talent, but nothing is consistent. Far too often, there will be a breakdown from the line, a missed block by a back, a poor throw by Wentz, or miscommunication between the quarterback and the wide receiver.
- For this offense to succeed against the Bears, Wentz needs to take what they give him- get first downs and move the ball down the field. The Bears will try to take away the big play and not send much pressure. Don’t get too cute or take too many risks – take a few shots down the field, but you don’t want to make that your norm. The Bears will sit back, give you yards underneath and wait for you to make a mistake. Wentz needs to avoid making that mistake.
- This could be the game where Wentz puts it all together, where he has big numbers and also protects the football. He needs to take what the Bears give him.
Montgomery and Herbert vs. Commanders Run Defense
- Bears are 5th in yards rushing per game and 11th in yards per rush at 4.92
- The Bears have a nice 1-2 punch at running back with Montgomery and Herbert. M0ntgomery is a north-south bruiser who can get tough yardage. He has great vision and patience to let holes develop that may not be there initially. He has good elusiveness to evade potential tacklers and gain extra yards. He is not a home run guy but does a really good job in short yardage and can pick up chunks. Herbert is a smaller back with good quickness and speed. He is a home run hitter who can take it the distance when he finds a crease to run through. He is best when running from the shotgun and seeing fewer defenders in the box.
- Commanders are 14th vs. the run and 10th in yards per rush at 4.16
- Jonathan Allen is tied for 1st with 5 TFLs on run plays. He plays with good technique vs. the run, showing strength to hold his own 1v1 while muddying run lanes.
McLaurin vs. Bears Secondary
- Terry McLaurin has been a solid player for Washington since he entered the league in 2019. H has never been a high-volume touchdown wideout; he is strong, tough, and fast. He will align in various spots and make tough catches in a crowd. He uses his body to box out defenders and secure the football.
- McLaurin has improved his hands and ball skills since college. He will still have some drops, but he does a very nice job tracking the football down the field and is not afraid to catch it and take a hit.
- He has the speed to pull away from defenders- he is not a super quick and elusive player- more of a straight-line vertical receiver that can separate.
- The Commanders run 11 personnel over 80% of the time, which will put the Bears in nickel to match. Bears’ CB Jaylon Johnson has been out since suffering a quad injury in practice leading up to their 3rd game. Facing another heavy 11-personnel team last week in the Vikings forced undrafted rookie free agent Jaylon Jones into heavy playing time. T e Vikings exploited him throughout the game. Johnson’s return would be a big boost for the defense. He has shown top-end ability. He practiced on a limited basis late last week.
- FS Eddie Jackson plays deep most of the time, and he is an eraser on the backend if Wentz decides to get greedy vs. the Bears’ soft coverage schemes. Jackson already has 3 interceptions this season.
- Second-round pick Kyler Gordon will play inside. The rookie has good size and has shown a good feel for the game as a rookie.
- The Bears have the fifth-most rushing attempts in the league and the fifth-most rushes per game, yet are ranked 31st in time of possession.
- The Bears are only converting on 35% of their third downs, which ranks 28th in the league. They are last in the league in third-down defense at 50.75%. They are not staying on the field on offense or getting off of it on defense.
- Washington’s offensive line often falls off defenders and does not consistently get movement off the line of scrimmage. The poor rushing numbers are more due to the line than the running backs.
- Washington is tied for 25th in the league with eight giveaways, but it is more when they happen rather than how often. You see the defense buckle down in critical parts of the game, but that is when Washington seems to make the most of their mistakes.
Commanders’ Keys to Victory
- Make Fields beat you with his arm, not his legs.
- Wentz must keep his eyes down the field and not be distracted by the rush.
- Get movement up front and establish some sort of run game to take the pressure off the quarterback.
Bears’ Keys to Victory
- Establish the run.
- Get pressure on Wentz without blitzing.
- Force Wentz to get out of rhythm and make Wentz get greedy.