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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scouting Report: Bears' Top Game Wreckers | Week 2

A look at Chicago’s top playmakers who could impact the outcome of Sunday’s matchup

SR Week 2 Bears

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Chicago Bears in their first regular season home game in Week Two. The matchup will pit the Buccaneers against a former NFC Central opponent on Sunday, September 17 at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay will vie for its second-straight win, en route to defending the NFC South title. The Bucs traveled back to Tampa with a hard-fought 20-17 win over the Vikings and conversely, the Bears are seemingly moving in the opposite direction after their 2023 season opener. 

The Bears concluded the 2022 season with the NFL's worst record at 3-14, and subsequently earned the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Instead, the franchise traded the top slot to the Carolina Panthers, solidifying their intention to build around Justin Fields, the 2021 first-round pick. The Bears picked up D.J. Moore in the aforementioned exchange with Carolina, and selected Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright via the Draft. The club also bolstered the backfield with D'Onta Foreman (Panthers) and Roschon Johnson (fourth round of 2023 draft). Chicago's defense, which allowed a league-worst 27.2 points per game last season, got a reload as well. Following the departure of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, the Bears acquired Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards in free agency, in addition to Yannick Ngakoue. 

Dual-threat, Fields, rushed for 1,143 yards in 2022, the second-highest mark in NFL history for a quarterback. In Week One against the Packers, Fields completed 24-of-37 attempts for 216 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He added nine rushes for 59 yards, mostly on scrambles as he attempted to evade pressure. Fields averaged 3.1 yards per air attempt, a career-low per TruMedia. He was pressured on 65.1 percent of his dropbacks, the second-highest total of his NFL career. Pre-snap penalties put the Bears in unfavorable third-and-long situations, which killed momentum. The Bears' defense allowed 329 yards by the Packers, as Green Bay put up 17 unanswered points. Jordan Love orchestrated back-to-back touchdown drives in the third quarter – capped by Aaron Jones. Against the Buccaneers on Sunday, the Bears will strive for redemption in the Sunshine State. Keep your eyes on these five who could help swing the game in Chicago's favor on Sunday afternoon: 

QB Justin Fields 

Justin Fields is one of the best pure rushers at the quarterback position. Fields possesses a rare, dynamic skillset, and linebackers have to protect sideline-to-sideline because he can take off at any moment. It is challenging and near impossible for scout teams to try and simulate Fields' speed in the open field. He can make defensive lineman and linebackers miss with short-area agility. Fields has the lateral quickness to evade downhill blitzers and zip on downfield throws. Fields is adept at making off-platform throws and firing fast balls into tight windows. He can throw accurately while improvising on bootlegs and scrambles. Due to his size and strength, Fields is difficult to bring down and the Bucs' defense will have to effectively seal edges, take proper angles and be disciplined in run fits or it will be a long day come Sunday. 

WR D.J. Moore 

The Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Panthers in exchange for a compensation package, including two first-round picks and receiver D.J. Moore. The former Panthers' star is a familiar foe to the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has faced Moore twice for the previous five seasons and is familiar with his yards-after-catch prowess. Moore eclipsed the 1,000-yard marker from 2019-2021 despite a revolving door at quarterback in Carolina and has averaged over 12 yards per reception in each of his five NFL seasons, including 14.1 in 2022. Moore is slippery with the ball in his hands. His short-area foot quickness shakes tacklers, making him a lethal option on bubble screens and hitches/curls. The gritty receiver is sudden out of breaks and is adept at finding soft spots in zone to exploit. Although he only had two targets in Week One, Moore has the talent to take over a game. 

LB Tremaine Edmunds 

Tremaine Edmunds departed Buffalo to sign with the Bears in March, adding to their flurry of offseason moves. In 13 starts last season, Edmunds logged 106 tackles, one interception, seven passes defensed and one sack. Edmunds, who is highly-touted for his coverage ability, also posted five passes defended in two playoff games for the Bills following the 2022 season. The Bills' first-round (No. 16 overall) pick from the 2018 NFL Draft has accumulated 565 tackles in 74 career games with Buffalo. Additionally, the Virginia Tech product has tallied five career interceptions, 32 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits. Edmunds can mirror running backs and tight ends in man coverage and has the lateral quickness to scrape and meet rushers. He can wrap-up tackles from unconventional angles with his athleticism and has the burst to disrupt the pocket as an edge rusher. From Bill George and Dick Butkus to Brian Urlacher, the Bears have a storied and prestigious history at the linebacker position. Now, they are hopeful that Edmunds can be the catalyst in Matt Eberflus' defense. 

CB Jaylon Johnson 

Jaylon Johnson has been a stalwart in Chicago's' defense, holding his own against some of the league's best receivers. The former 2020 second-round pick is effective playing press-man coverage, playing the flat and dropping into the post in Cover 3 or 4. Because of his versatility, Johnson is hard for opponents to diagnose pre-snap. Johnson's anticipation in zone coverage is outstanding, as is his recognition of route combinations. He possesses the physicality to jam, impairing releases and is a bully on the boundary. Johnson has the ability to put the clamps on the opposition's WR1 and the Bucs' offense will be aware of his placement on the field come Sunday.

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