- Quarterback Jason Campbell reminds Bear fans of something fairly important. Via Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune:
“It’s not like we were playing against the 31st-ranked defense or anything. It’s a tremendous football team on that side.”
True that. There’s no shame in losing to the Texans. They’re a good football team that played like a good football team. I thought the Bears generally played reasonably well. Yes, there were too many turnovers and that drives me crazy. But for once that’s not what lost the game. The Bears actually played better than expected in a lot of areas (eg. the offensive line).
When you are playing good competition, in this case better competition, you aren’t going to win them all.
- Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times on the performance of backup quarterback Campbell on Sunday:
“Despite solid protection, Campbell threw to his ‘check-down’ receiver too soon at times. For instance, when he threw to tight end Matt Spaeth for a one-yard loss late in the fourth quarter, [Brandon] Marshall had gotten open after a defender slipped.”
Question. Would you rather have Campbell checking down or having Cutler throw two or three interceptions inot coverage? Apparently Pompei had the same question in midn when he wrote this:
“On the final drive, when the Bears had nothing to lose, Campbell kept checking down. The situation justified risk taking, and it would have been better to go down with an interception than a series of short passes.”
I lean in Pompei’s direction on this. Still, its debatable. A completion underneath also gives a receiver a chance to make a play with his feet.
- Matt Forte on offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Via Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Forte said offensive coordinator Mike Tice is still trying to figure out how to use his assorted weapons.
“‘Once we figure that out,’ Forte said, ‘I think we’ll be OK.'”
It’s Week 11, boys. If you haven’t figured it all out yet, you probably ain’t going to do it.
- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune on the squib kicks by opponents to avoid Devin Hester.
“There can be no bigger indictment of the Bears offense. The squib kicks looked like a national taunt, and the embarrassment might not stop until opponents get burned.”
“Altogether, the Bears offense started nine drives beyond their 35-yard line. Nine, do you hear me?”
“Here’s how those nine possessions ended: fumble, fumble, interception, field goal, interception, punt, field goal, missed field goal and downs. Drive home safely.”
- I wasn’t really upset about the hit of Tim Dobbins on Jay Cutler until I read this quote from Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune :
“‘You want to try to aim for the hip, you get the legs, the body goes down with them,’ Dobbins said. ‘But with him, he was trying to deliver the ball so I really tried to hit him up high so I can mess up the throw as well.'”
Players are told repeatedly that they have to lower their target. Dobbins admitted knowing that. He admitted purposely aiming high instead.
He should have been suspended.
- George Bretherton at The New york Times had this interesting perspective on the play. There was a lot in here I didn’t know.
- Brian Urlacher has the right on this one. From Jensen:
“Linebacker Brian Urlacher caught heat from some fans when he congratulated Houston Texans safety Danieal Manning after an interception.
“Urlacher wasn’t too thrilled that anyone would question him for doing that.
“‘That was a nice play. I could give a crap about what people think on the street,’ Urlacher said on ESPN radio. ‘Get mad at me all you want.
“‘He’s my friend. I wish he wouldn’t have caught it, but he did, so nice play to you.'”
Sometimes I really worry about people. This really goes beyond being friends. As Urlacher said, you don’t have to be happy about it but I don’t know why its such a bad thing for an athlete to show a little sportsmanship every once in a while.
- Biggs documents Danieal Manning‘s justifiable happiness witht he way he played Sunday.
Manning obviously believes he’s been vindicated. He hasn’t. The Bears had a plethora of strong safeties. He has the talent to play free safety and the Bears deperately needed him there. His lack of discipline wouldn’t allow him to deliver.
No matter how well he plays for the Texans, there’s no getting around the fact that he let the Bears down.
- And kicker Robbie Gould opens his mouth once again and crap comes out. He had this ot say about the Soldier Field turf Sunday via Jahns:
“I have a year left on my contract. I hope to stay a Bear. And those will be situations that I’m going to take into [consideration]. I don’t know if I want to deal with that as I get older as a kicker.”
Want to cry about the turf? Fine. Join the club. Want to threaten to leave because of it and think everyone is going to run around in a panic and change the situation just because of you? See ya’ later, buddy.
“Brian Urlacher looked like he had a keg of beer on his back when he returned that interception (against Tennessee). The Bears might be the luckiest team I have ever seen on tape. There is a skill to popping the ball out, but only one guy is doing it. Is Charles Tillman‘s contract up? He is a machine. It’s amazing what he is doing this year. I’ve never seen it before.”
- From Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times we have this little tid bit to look for.
“It could get interesting when special-teams standout Blake Costanzo, who rarely goes a game without mixing it up with somebody on the other team, faces his former 49ers teammates Monday night. Costanzo, who leads the Bears with 10 special-teams tackles, was second on the 49ers last year with 17.”
- Kevin Lynch at the San Fransisco Chorinical reviews film of the game Sunday against the Rams. Some interesting tid bits:
- “Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga struggled, getting blocked twice by tight end Lance Kendricks. Kendricks flat-backed him the first time and then buckled him the second time on Steven Jackson’s second-quarter 7-yard touchdown run. Sopoaga also got moved out by center Rob Turner on another 5-yard run by Jackson. Maybe the 49ers are not as good against the run as last year because Sopoaga isn’t as stout.”
- “When the Rams were running wild in the first quarter, inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman were also getting blocked, particularly Willis.”
- “[A] 19-yarder was the only pass [QB Alex] Smith threw that traveled more than 10 yards in the air.”
- “Smith was blitzed six times. He was sacked once, forced to run once (which ended with the Jo-Lonn Dunbar hit) and he also completed 3 of 4 passes for 45 yards and a touchdown against the other blitzes.”
- The NFL QBs are back at it on Facebook. This time the coaches are involved. From Pro FootballMock.com.
- Also from ProfootballMock.com the FOX Sports robot brings shame to his jersey number.
- I’m not looking forward to the two Bears games against the Vikings. From Andy Benoit‘s film review of their game agains the Lions for The New York Times:
“Adrian Peterson erupted in the fourth quarter. He was the beneficiary of some fantastic blocking. His 61-yard touchdown may have been the best display of well-executed run blocking this season. RT Phil Loadholt did a great job blocking down on Ndamukong Suh; C John Sullivan landed a block cleanly at the second level on MLB Stephen Tulloch; and RG Brandon Fusco (who struggled with sustaining power throughout the game) did a great job in his short-area pull. Peterson is, by far, the game’s most explosive runner to and through the hole.”
“I think Andy Reid is done. I don’t know how he can even want to go forward with what he is dealing with right now. His offensive line is the worst in football, hands down, not even close. And he loved Juan Castillo. I don’t care what anyone says — I don’t think it was his decision to let him go. The move was dictated from above. I understand the reason for it, but Juan wasn’t the problem. It’s the quarterback’s turnovers in the red zone.”
- Another good Audible section::
“(Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert) does not like to get hit. He does not step up in the pocket. He throws with a wide base. You can watch a quarterback’s footwork and tell whether he is accurate or not. The good quarterbacks shift their weight like a pitcher. Gabbert throws flat-footed with a wide base — you can’t be accurate that way. The best thing he did this year was cut his hair, but he still plays (scared).”
One Final Thought
Jensen quotes head coach Lovie Smith on injured wide receiver Alshon Jeffery:
“Smith noted that rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery might return for the Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers.
‘[He’s] making a lot of progress,’ Smith said. ‘I don’t know for sure on him, but we can use all guys now.'”
I’ll say it straight out. I’ve heard fans make excuse after excuse for this team’s failure to perform against good competition and that’s fine. Everyone has their opinion and they are welcome to it. It isn’t like I’ve never been wrong.
The team has its share of problems – every team in the NFL does. For instance, the offensive line play has improved almost every week but you can still expect problems on the road in places like Detroit and Minnesota. But I’m telling you now, the root of the offensive problem – the one that isn’t going away and is going to be there game after game – lies in the fact that they have only one receiver who can consistently get open against man coverage and that’s Brandon Marshall. If Alshon Jeffery comes back and can’t do it, the Bears are going nowhere in the playoffs – assuming they make the playoffs. And yes, I think it’s that serious. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a rookie. But that’s how I see it.