Not the Most Likable Bunch and Other Points of View

Bears

“‘Uh, the route I ran was the route I was supposed to run. It was just …’ Hester said, pausing. ‘We just weren’t on the same page.’”

I’m not to thrilled with that statement. Cutler’s been covering for Hester all year. I think he could have handled that answer better.

“‘You know, I keep getting something in my neck. I just told Jason Campbell to be ready, because I don’t know what’s going to happen.’”

“On getting the team back on track:

“‘Basically, (we need to) stop making mistakes we’ve been making the past five/six weeks. When we have a chance to get a first down and its third and medium – third and short – don’t get penalties. Backing us up makes it harder to get a first down. When we’re on the goal line, (we need to score) seven points, instead of three. (We need to) stop doing turnovers. Basically, we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot every time we move the ball the last six/seven weeks.’”

 

 

“On his third offensive coordinator in four seasons and fourth overall, it’s fair to wonder if the team will ever get that side of the ball right under [head coach Lovie] Smith. It’s also worth wondering if chairman of the board George McCaskey will play a central role in end-of-season decisions. It may come down to candid discussions about whether Smith and his staff or a flawed roster are more to blame for a painful free fall.”

Hopefully, they’ll correctly conclude that its both. I’m still waiting to see if Smith can motivate this team and if they’re still listening to him. They lost to a definitively better team Sunday. They should beat the Cardinals. For me, a lot will come down to the Lions game. To be honest, I don’t have much hope that Smith will rally this team to a decent performance. As Bob LeGere at the Daily Herald put it:

“Dead men walking.

“That’s what the Bears looked like as they left the field Sunday following their fifth loss in six games overall and their sixth straight loss to the Packers, who clinched the NFC North title with a 21-13 victory at Soldier Field.”

  • There’s a lot of truth in this Audible from Pro Football Weekly:

“The Bears went from 7-1 to out of the playoffs and there is plenty of blame for everybody. They need a total housecleaning, including (team president) Ted Phillips. It’s two years in a row it fell apart like this. It runs a lot deeper than just the head coach.”

“Maybe Emery’s greatest mistake thus far is a common one in the NFL. He tried to add to the Bears depth by signing backup players. Despite some big money going to Campbell and Michael Bush, the only real starter brought in was Brandon Marshall via trade.

“The way to do it is to sign starters, improve the roster from the top down and wind up with former starters as backups. That’s what real depth is in the NFL.”

 

Cardinals

  • Tell me this column from Paola Boivin at the Arizona Replublic doesn’t sound very familiar:

“Something is askew in the personnel hierarchy.

“How do you go two years without drafting an offensive lineman and five years without taking one above the fifth round?

“How do you allow a quarterback carousel to spin so out of control that merely watching it requires an air-sickness bag?

“It is not about money with the Cardinals anymore.

“It is not even that much about coaching.

“It is about talent evaluation.”

“The Cardinals have a gifted defense, one that leads the NFL in interceptions. They could be battling for a playoff spot if they had even an average offensive attack. A stellar defense can mask a lot of wounds.

“But no one imagined these wounds would be so deep and the organization’s bones would be so broken.”

  • How emotional was the Cardinals’ victory over the Lions last week? According to Kent Somers at the Arizona Republic veteran safety Adrian Wilson actually wept.

There are no guarantees, of course. But I’ll bet my hat this team is going to let down badly against the Bears this Sunday.

 

Elsewhere

  • Does Packer’s kicker Mason Crosby have incriminating pictures of head coach Mike McCarthy? Becasue that’s the only explanation I can think of for this.
  • Biggs quotes a national scout on Manti Te’o, who some believe might be available for the Bears to draft as a middle linbacker.

“‘The kid is a productive player,’ the scout said. ‘Is he better than some of the other guys that came out the last couple years? A couple of them. He’s in the mix to be a mid-round pick. He does what you ask. He is a three-down linebacker. There are not many times you get a chance to get a three-down linebacker. When you do, you better draft them in the first round. Does (Brian) Urlacher ever come off the field? Does (Lance) Briggs ever come off the field? There you go.

“‘When you get a three-down backer you have added value. I never would have drafted (Brandon) Spikes in the first round. I would have drafted him in the second round because he is not a three-down linebacker. People may say he can’t run and this and that. I saw that. He plays on the third downs. He must be able to run a little bit or he wouldn’t be playing on third downs. Listen, between now and the draft people are going to poke holes in every player. That’s just the way it is.’”

  • RGIII and Kirk Cousins are singing duets, also on profootballmock.com.

 

One Final Thought

I haven’t paid much attention to Brian Urlacher’s stupid comments about the fans Sunday night. But I thought the take of Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times was interesting:

“So before we jump all over Urlacher, let’s understand that he’s a product of the professional environment he was brought up in here. Sunday’s comments simply open the window to that environment a little wider.

“The franchise’s paranoid attitude has been there all along. And friendliness? Well, Colin Montgomerie has nothing on the Bears.

“In his nine years as coach, Smith couldn’t have been more dismissive of the media. He has never cared that, by doing so, he was also deeming fans as unworthy of his valuable time and deep well of football knowledge. He has made a career out of saying nothing — not out of having nothing to say, but out of sheer disregard for his audience.

“He’s not alone.

Phil Emery rarely talks with the media. He is the general manager of an NFL team. Amazing.

Virginia McCaskey, the owner of the team, makes herself available to reporters about as often as white smoke wafts from the Sistine Chapel.

“You can count on one or two fingers the times chairman George McCaskey, her son, has sat down with the media as a group this year.”

First of all I’m going to let the McCaskeys off the hook. They’re mostly just trying to stay out of the way, something I appreciate. I wouldn’t mind hearing more from them but not if its going to interfere with the football people doing their jobs.

And franky I don’t want to hear from Emery, yet, either. I want to hear from him after the season when decisions need to be made about coaching staff and personnel but right now I think letting Smith run the team is the right thing to do. You don’t need the players hearing multiple voices during the season.

But the rest? That’s a different story. In particular, Lovie Smith has revealed so little of himself in the nine years that he’s been here that few fans are really going to miss him if he goes. He’s had a great deal more success than, for instance, Dick Jauron, and he’s a better head coach. But I was a lot sorrier to see Jauron go than I will be Smith whenever that happens. The players apparently love Smith, as Urlacher’s comments indicate. But from a fan perspective he’s a hard man to like. Perhaps it’s something for the people associated with the franchise to think about.

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