Chicago's offense is struggling enough for its play-calling head coach to face questions about his performance, and the group's road isn't getting any easier this week.
Bears receiver Allen Robinson is in the concussion protocol, coach Matt Nagy announced Wednesday. Robinson sustained the concussion in Monday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and could miss Chicago's second straight meeting with an NFC contender in Week 8 when the Bears host the Saints.
Robinson has caught 44 passes for 544 yards and two scores in seven games played in 2020 as part of the league's 29th-ranked offense. Robinson's receiving yardage total is more than double the next-closest Bear on the list, tight end Jimmy Graham, proving his value to a team currently soul-searching for answers when possessing the ball.
Thanks to a stifling defense that is allowing the third-lowest passer rating in the NFL, the Bears have managed to overcome their offensive issues to win five of their first seven games. They'll meet a team that is also battling its own adversity but was able to squeeze out a win in Week 7 despite not having Michael Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders available.
The task becomes even more difficult when considering New Orleans' play against Chicago in recent meetings. Drew Brees is 4-0 in his last four games against Chicago, averaging 308 passing yards per game while completing 78.7 percent of his passes for an 8-0 TD-INT ratio and a passer rating of 124. Opposing quarterbacks have seen a significant drop in passer rating when facing the Bears this season, falling by 20.3 points in each meeting with Chicago.
By that mark, Brees' rating would fall to 85.5 on Sunday -- which is still higher than Nick Foles' season rating of 77.6.
Monday Night Football announcer Brian Griese relayed a conversation he had with Foles in a production meeting ahead of Chicago's game against Los Angeles, in which Griese intimated Foles was frustrated with Nagy's play-calling, which has left Foles with inadequate time to throw amid defensive pressure. Foles said Wednesday his message wasn't conveyed to Griese properly, explaining he meant to describe a relationship with Nagy in which he's able to communicate to the coach when there isn't enough time to throw, and determine a better offensive approach amid such circumstances.
Foles said he went directly to Nagy after the postgame presser to address the issue and to make sure Nagy didn't think his quarterback was criticizing him behind his back.
"If you're married, you know it turns into something it shouldn't be," Foles said, per 670 The Score's Chris Emma. "That wisdom made me realize, hey, I'm going to go talk to Coach Nagy. I have a great relationship with him."
Nagy also told reporters Wednesday he and Foles had a long talk following Monday's game. "I always want to know what Nick's thinking," Nagy said, per The Chicago Sun Times.
Chicago's offense was stuck in the mud for much of Monday's loss to Los Angeles, a situation only further compounded by the loss of Robinson. Things won't be looking too great for the Bears in Week 8, either, if they don't have Robinson, making the strength of Foles' relationship with Nagy pivotal if the Bears hope to turn things around while possessing the ball.
"It is always a process," Foles said. "Sometimes the hardest thing is to keep going, keep going, and believing. But that's what we're doing. We believe. And we're going to keep doing the little things to get this thing right."
As Nagy repeatedly emphasized before Monday's game, the Bears are still in a good position in terms of record. They just need to figure out how to effectively move the football and carry their share of the responsibility. Sunday provides their next opportunity to do so.