First and Final Thoughts: Turning the page on Week 1's heartbreaker


Welcome into First and Final Thoughts, one of our weekly columns with a title that's a little too on the nose. Here we'll have Insider J.J Stankevitz, Producer Cam Ellis, and a rotating cast of NBC Sports Chicago's Bears team give some insight into what's on their minds between games.

Final Thought on Week 1

J.J. Stankevitz: As the sting from Aaron Rodgers’ game-winner to Randall Cobb wears off, the Bears can take this to heart: This is a team with significantly better talent than we’ve seen in years past. Khalil Mack is a monster, while Akiem Hicks and Roy Robertson-Harris immediately benefitted from his presence with excellent games. On offense, the pieces are there but not put together yet. 

There’s still a lot of growing for this Bears team — coaches and players — to do before they’re legitimate playoff contenders. But while losing to Rodgers in the worst way was brutal, it doesn’t have to define this season. 

Cam Ellis: It may not be the most important thought, and it's probably not even a top-5 takeaway from the game, but I've found myself consistently coming back to Roquan Smith's snapcount. Even with Matt Nagy explicitly stating that Smith was going to be eased into action, eight snaps for the entire game seems ... surprising? Underwhelming? On the defensive side, only Sam Acho, Sherrick McManis, and Marcus Cooper saw less action. I get the holdout, I get the hamstring, but J.J.'s point in today's piece about Smith is right: eight snaps is telling. 

First Thought on Week 2

Stankevitz: On the surface, the Seahawks look beatable. The Legion of Boom is no more, with as many key members left over from that Super Bowl winning unit as longform articles out there about the demise of this team.  But the Seahawks still managed 24 points — in a losing effort — against a stout Denver Broncos defense and should take lessons from Rodgers’ quick-pass, up-tempo success against the Bears’ defense on Sunday. They did give up 27, though, resulting in a loss. 

I’m interested to dive deeper into how the Bears match up with Seattle this week, but on the surface this feels like a game that could provide a good opportunity for Nagy to get his first win. 

Ellis: Of all the things the Seahawks have accomplished over the last half-decade or so, building a talented, cohesive offensive line is not one of them. In their week 1 loss to the Broncos, Seattle allowed six sacks (three alone to Von Miller). There are sacks to be had this Monday night, and I think this is another great opporunity for the Bears' defense to gain some confidence. The first half's final two minutes on Sunday night offered a tiny glimpse of what this defense can be. They'll have plenty of opportunities to showcase that again. 

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