The Bottom Line on the Bears Problems and Other Points of View

Bears

“It is possible a veteran quarterback might have been able to prevent Barber from committing his illegal formation penalty by verbally communicating with him when he saw him lined up incorrectly. I’m not sure the quarterback could have done anything about Barber running too close to the sidelines.”

[Caleb] Hanie’s Passer rating on the seven drop-backs he was blitzed? 2.5. No, I did not miss a digit.

“During the Patriots-Redskins game, Tom Brady was caught cursing at his offensive coordinator on the sideline after an interception. This is no different, if worse, than what Cutler did a few weeks ago in the game against Minnesota. Just because Brady has better credentials than Cutler doesn’t justify it any more. I find it strange that you haven’t come out and questioned Brady’s leadership and/or respectability. — Shaun Canady; Victorville, Calif.

“I didn’t have to question what Brady did because Brady owned up to being wrong. He and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien hugged it out on the sideline after the exchange. Then, Brady admitted to the media after the game that he was out of line. And he was.”

“There are a lot of ways the Bears can go with their first round pick, and it’s too early to zero in on needs because we don’t know what will happen in free agency in terms of additions and losses. As it stands now, you could see needs at receiver and cornerback, as you suggest, and linebacker, defensive line and offensive line. If all things are equal, I always lean towards going big. And I think the defense really needs a young player to build around. So put me down for a defensive end.”

The only thing I’d add is that the best available in the first round is almost always the way to go. And the Bears have enough needs (at the moment) that they can probably do that.

    1. guards/centers
    2. big wide receivers without top end speed.
    3. strong side linebackers.

All three could be argued to be Bears needs – depending on the definition of “without top end speed”: they don’t need a possession guy. None of them tends to be in demand in the first round but if there’s a really good one and the Bears are sitting at about #18, they might consider it. Otherwise these are spots to look for in rounds two and 3.

“The corners weren’t exactly playing against a group of all-star receivers, and they made a few significant mistakes.

Tim Jennings whiffed on a jam attempt of Ben Obomanu, then was run by for a 43-yard completion. He later got grabby with Golden Tate and gave up 16 yards on a pass-interference penalty.

“Earlier, Jennings had his arms around Tate after a catch and Charles Tillman came barreling in with his head down and arms at his side. He knocked off Jennings, allowing Tate to run an additional 18 yards.”

The Bears decided to go with a lot of single coverage against the Seahawks, not the current group’s strength. I agree that sometimes this kind of coverage is called for. But if they’re going to execute it, they need at least one corner who is better at it.

  • I’ve debated with many people about where the problem with the Bears really lies. I’m a Lovie Smith guy and I think the team has over achieved for well over a year before the current losing streak but there are a number of people out there who think its the coaching staff. Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribunesummarizes my answer:

“The Bears will start just eight of their draft picks Sunday night, including Brian Urlacher, who was selected before general manager Jerry Angelo joined the team.

“With Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams injured and out for the season, Urlacher is the only former first-round pick currently on the Bears roster that was drafted by the team.

“He was selected in 2000.”

Case closed.

Elsewhere

  • Here’s another of those stories about out of control Packer fans after losses. In this case, an angry woman was arrested after trying to choke her daughter after the Packers lost to the Chiefs on Sunday.

I wouldn’t dare be dumb enough to suggest that this problem is limited to Packer fans. But I will say this. I’ve met a number of Packer fans and most are really nice. But many of the ones who have spent most of their lives in Wisconsin are a different breed. Playful banter isn’t something they engage in. Most give you a look like you insulted their mothers and I’ve basically stopped talking to them about football.

I love the Bears and follow them pretty religiously. I write a blog for heaven’s sake. But even I think some of these people need to get more of a life outside of football. Its a game not a world war.

  • Some might see some value to the Bears in this quote from the Audibles section at Pro Football Weekly:

“The reason Miami is winning right now is because they are healthier than everyone else. Give Bill Parcells credit — if there is one thing he understands, it is that you make the playoffs by what you do in November and December. He built a big team that plays big and they have weathered the storm. Outside of the quarterback, whom have they lost. When the rest of the league is rested, they will still have the same problems they did early.”

  • I’m not sure what this Audible means for the Matt Forte talks:

“You look at Buffalo’s decision to extend (QB Ryan) Fitzpatrick. It was kind of like buying a stock. His stock went through the roof, and Buffalo said — I am going to buy it. The next thing you know, the price cuts in half. What happens if the Bills start negotiating now — would they have paid what they did? You never negotiate when a guy has all the leverage.”

“If anyone thinks (Tim) Tebow is going to continue to win playing the way he has, they are nuts. You’ve got to be able to throw from the pocket to win in this league. Eventually, you have to make plays with your arm. I’m talking about making accurate throws with (defenders) covering. He has done a helluva job — they are running the ball, playing good defense and not screwing it up. Tebow is not turning it over at all — give him a lot of credit there. But he is going to have a hard time consistently winning if he cannot make throws in the pocket.”

The first thing that struck me about this comment was the parallel to Caleb Hanie and the question of how the Bears could have failed to realize this about him a long time ago. Its likely that offensive coordinator Mike Martz did. the second thing I’ll say is this: Tebow is making rapid progress. Long delivery aside, there’s nothing in my mind that says he won’t become a decent pocket passer with good coaching.

“Give (Chiefs GM) Scott Pioli credit — it’s Scott’s way. Whatever he does from here, whether he crashes or succeeds ­— it definitely is his way.”

“Bill Cowher is very smart and calculating. He knows what it takes to win. He’s not going somewhere just to take a paycheck like the Tuna (Bill Parcells) did in Miami. The worst thing that might have happened to Miami — they started winning games. They may not have a shot at a quarterback in the draft — and it’s going to make it more difficult to attract a (big-)name (head coach) capable of flipping it quickly.”

I admit that I haven’t seen him much. But from what I have seen of Matt Moore, they may already have the answer at quarterback in Miami.

  • Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com highlights the fact that Juan Castillo isn’t looking like such a bad defensive coordinator in Philedelphia anymore.
  • Tom Pelissaro at 1500ESPN.com begins the process of scapegoating in Minnesota with some comments about Donovan McNabb that those who wanted him for the Bears might find interesting:

“For players familiar with Brett Favre’s precision and encyclopedic knowledge of Xs and Os, the contrast was stark. Coupled with some atrocious practice performances, questionable conditioning and a seemingly cavalier approach to correcting mistakes, McNabb had teammates wary even before he suited up for a regular-season game.”

Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com highlights this article and wonders if the coaching staff shouldn’t bear most of the blame. But I’m wondering when someone isn’t going to take a good hard look at Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman.

  • Judy Batista at The New York Times writes a nice profile of Chief’s interim head coach Romeo Crennel. There’s strong sentiment around the league that he should succeed Todd Haley permanently. This excerpt reminds me of Lovie Smith:

“That Crennel is held in high regard by players should not be construed as his being soft as a coach. During halftime of the Chiefs’ game against Indianapolis this season — when the Chiefs had allowed the hapless Colts to score 24 points in the first two quarters and were trailing by a touchdown — Crennel lit into his defense, questioning the players’ professionalism and toughness. It left players, and even Haley, at a loss for words. But it is now viewed within the organization as a turning point in the season. The Chiefs shut out the Colts in the second half, shut out the Raiders in the next game and then beat the Chargers.”

  • These guys need to get a room. Via The Sports Pickle.
  • I’m guessing it had something to so with this. Via The Onion.
  • And The Sports Pickle also asks the question “Are the Packers still the favorite to win the Super Bowl?”. Here’s my choice:

“Maybe — they have serious problems on the offensive line and defense, but 50-50 Roger Goodell bans blocking and tackling by the playoffs, so they might be fine”

One Final Thought

Josh McCown begins the process of making excuses while denying he’s making excuses. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:

“Everybody expects you just to play well, and that’s the expectation for myself also.  If I keep looking back and saying, ‘I only got here six weeks ago,’ then it becomes an excuse and you leave an area for you not to play well because you’re leaving something to fall back on. I’m trying to refuse to do that and just say, ‘You have to play well. The team’s depending on you.'”

They’re screwed.

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