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Wait, does this mean we can't make fun of Jon Gruden anymore?
I thought it was a done deal, that the Khalil Mack trade was the greatest transaction in the history of the Bears (and the worst for Gruden's Raiders), that two first-rounders and another pick or two were a small price to pay for a superstar pass rusher, that . . .
Okay, let's stop right there and say that of course one game doesn't make or break a trade. In general, an accurate evaluation of the tenure of a general manager can't happen until multiple years down the line. Only then can you see the full effects of the strategies and tactics that were deployed in a variety of specific ways.
And that is the case no matter how irritating it was to watch Gruden make fun of Club Dub after his team's 24-21 victory over the Bears on Sunday. Oh by the way don't get too excited, Oakland Raiders fans. Your team has still abandoned you. They will still be moving away next year.
My guess is, evaluators will still smile on this deal a few years from now. Khalil Mack has a proven-and-then-some track record of consistently wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. But even guys like that aren't going to do big damage every single game.
Sunday was more about the fact that concern must be growing that the Bears lost the Leonard Floyd draft pick; that defensive end/outside linebacker Floyd, the No. 9 pick in the 2016 draft who needed to step up on a day when Mack faced constant double teams, didn't.
Then there is the fact that despite his running for over 100 yards, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is nothing special. Jacobs, who played collegiately for Alabama behind an all-world offensive line, is the guy the Raiders took with the first first-round pick, 24th overall, that they received in the Mack trade. They did so despite the current NFL consensus that running backs should be drafted either in the top 10 or in the third round or later.
There was little drop-off in Oakland's running game when the second- and third-string backs were in the game. And that's the way it is across the league. There are a few potentially game-dominating backs like Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott, but dozens of other guys have the chance to be successful on a given day, with a given amount of carries, behind a given offensive line.
Jacobs earned the yards that were there for him in the holes created by a dominant offensive line. The Bears' defensive line was not at its best on Sunday, certainly not after tackle Akiem Hicks suffered an elbow injury and was sidelined early on.
Then again, Hicks missed the previous game against Vikings too. So it wasn't just his injury was it?
Yes, the Bears probably should have gone over to London at the beginning of the week like the Raiders did (but that is not a sure thing). And yes, their offense struggled mightily again, causing a tiny bit more doubt about whether Matt Nagy's play-calling ability hasn't survived an NFL offseason of other teams making defensive adjustments.
But everyone realizes the Bears are a game out of first in their division, right? That they won the game they absolutely had to have last Sunday? Against the Vikings?
Yes, the schedule gets tougher after the bye, but the task remains the same: play well in the remaining divisional games and you should be good to go. If they are going to be true Super Bowl contenders, Mitch Trubisky needs to start playing better starting with his return to action two weeks from now against the Saints.
But we knew that already, didn't we?
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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