Jay Cutler’s “Health” After Packers Beating And Other News


  • The cat and mouse game that the Bears special teams unit played with the Jets continued yesterday.  The Packers caught the Bears with Danieal Manning moving up in anticipation of a short kick by booting it over his head.  Manning eventually fielded the ball in the end zone and downed it.
  • ESPNChicago.com‘s Jon Greenberg on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler after being beaten up in the Packer game:

“I was a little worried about his health when Cutler answered questions in full sentences, and played along with a reporter’s witty retort — even laughing at the joke, rather than the reporter — but I didn’t see any sign of real damage, mental or physical.”

“The offensive line will never be completely fixed: It’s impossible for that to happen this year. We all knew it. But that group should get credit for picking up their play since the bye week, and they even put forth their best performance of the season last week against the New York Jets. But Sunday reminded everybody that pass protection remains a core issue — Cutler was sacked six times. To be fair, you can argue Cutler held on to the football way too long on a few of those sacks, but each tackle was cleanly beaten at one point.”


  • ESPN.com‘s Kevin Seifert was less than impressed by the Packers yesterday.
  • No one will eve accuse me of being a Vikings fan. But I find it impossible to dislike Jared Allen:

“The problem with teams moving to the 3-4 (defense) is that you often need a transition year. You could play some of it some of the time, but it’s hard to overhaul your roster overnight. The players on your roster are what they are. You can’t turn over your roster in one draft. You need some flexibility. I don’t think (former Browns GM Phil) Savage understood that when he hired Romeo (Crennel). I don’t think the Bills understood it this year. I don’t think the Redskins were ready for it. I’ve seen it more at the college level, too. Everyone is trying to mimic (Nick) Saban and more teams have moved to the 3-4, but they just don’t have the bodies to pull it off. It’s hard to find 325-330-pounders who can move.”

I’ve said many times that one weakness of the 3-4 is that so many teams are going to it.  Not only is it hard to find defensive linemen, particularly nose guards, to man it but its going to be extremely  hard to draft those guys with so many teams looking for the same characteristics.  The Packers were very lucky to get B.J. Raji.  Guys like that aren’t going to last long.

“The Falcons like to run left. I don’t know why teams have not picked up on it, but they do a great job getting defenses to flow one way and come back the other way. It’s a play they call Joker. It’s usually run from a two-back set and both backs go one way, but the tailback cuts back. (Michael) Turner runs it real well. The Chargers and Giants do the same thing.”

If both teams last long enough in the playoffs, this is the kind of play that can really cause the Bears problems.  They’re a fast defense but they over react sometimes.

  • Don’t look now but the Lions finished the season with their fourth win in a row.
  • How do I know that Brett Favre is finally finished?  There were no tears this year:

One Final Thought

Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Bears head coach Lovie Smith after the loss to the Packers:

“’I’m still proud of the effort we gave,’ Smith said.

“He should be.”


Packers Show Bears’ Need to Improve Against the Blitz

The Bears have a lot to learn from coming out of yesterday’s game.  But perhaps nothing came out of the poor performance that was more important than what the Packers did to the Bears on the blitz.  Bears quarterback Jay Cutler explains via Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune:

“They kept us out of sync.  We didn’t change a lot from last game to this game and I think they did a really good job of taking away some of our (hot routes), keeping us off-balance with some of the hots. They were delaying some of their blitzes and bringing those guys. I think there was a stretch where (Packers cornerback Charles) Woodson came about every snap toward the end of the game.”

Many fans and media are criticizing the Bears for not running the ball more – as well they should.  But the fact of the matter is that you are occasionally going to find yourself in situations where you have to pass.  Good teams come through in those situations.  The Bears didn’t yesterday.

The Packers did a superb job of pressuring Cutler with the blitz and, at the same time, taking away the Bears adjustments to it.  They anticipated the hot routes and covered the Bears receivers tightly so that Cutler had nowhere to go and when he did, the result was little to no gain.  Perhaps as important, the Packers defensive linemen all had their hands up, frequently batting the ball down as they made it difficult for Cutler to get the ball out.  To top it off, the screen play worked poorly against a defense that sees a Packer offense that runs it better than anyone in practice every day.

This has been a season which has been defined by offensive improvement for the Bears.  Olin Kreutz explains how that will continue (via Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times):

‘‘’It was a playoff atmosphere,’ Kreutz said. ‘They were coming after us. From the start of the third quarter, they sent everything at us. All the credit goes to them for shutting us down on offense. And we’re going to look at this film and learn.’’’

As Cutler said, the Bears didn’t change much from the last game where the Jets run a very similar type of defense.  But they will certainly have to do so now if they want to make a serious playoff run.

Bears Offense Gets the Runs

Sean Jensen‘s game story for the Chicago Sun-Times had this interesting nugget:

But the Bears offense could only muster a field goal. They did get inside the Packers’ 5-yard line but couldn’t score the touchdown, settling for a 30-yard field goal after left tackle Frank Omiyale gave up a sack to linebacker Erik Walden.

Afterwards, Omiyale extended a hand to his befallen quarterback, but Cutler rolled and got up by himself.

It was unclear, though, if Cutler snubbed his lineman.

Either way, the Bears offense has had better days.

And they seemingly got worse throughout the game.

They certainly did.  If Cutler did snub Omiyale I don’t think there’s are many fans in Chicago that would condemn him though Cutler was far from perfect himself, throwing one horrible interception in the end zone.

But the offensive line struggled badly yesterday, especially in the second half.  And when you come right down to it that’s where the game is played.  Many will see Cutler’s reaction and look to the poor pass protection and they’d have a point.  But that wasn’t really the major problem.  The major problem really developed when the Bears becomes one dimensional when they stopped running.  Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune explains:

“The crowd noise had nothing to do with the play selection, though, and what’s surprising is Martz got away from what had been working well. The Bears trumpeted the fact they had been so balanced offensively, then they went pass crazy. Martz called 47 drop backs and 18 rushes despite the fact the game was never out of reach.”

The Bears came out running in the third quarter and got a reasonable start.  But generally speaking the second half was a waste land of sacks and long yardage after the first possession.  Once a team knows you are going to throw, they can come at your quarterback with everything they’ve got.

The pass protection wasn’t good and it needs work.  But for the Bears, it wasn’t so much the pass blocking that put Cutler on his back.  It was the lack of a running game that did the offensive line in when it counted.

Bears Defense Learns From Past Mistakes, Plays with Discipline

The Bears defense has been much maligned of late.  But they came through yesterday with a pretty good performance.  Lance Briggs explains via the Chicago Tribune:

“The last couple weeks, teams have been scoring a lot of points on us, so defensively it was important for the Packers to only get 10 points. We were effective and we did the things we needed to do. We were very disciplined, that’s really what it comes down to against a high-powered offense, to be as effective as we were.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Admittedly there were some minor picks.  Aaron Rogers was able to avoid the pass rush and got out of the pocket to extend the play a lot.  And, as reviewed by Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune, the defensive backs made some errors that could have cost the Bears some big plays and, indeed, that did cost them at least two long completions one of which set up a touchdown.

But for the most part the Bears really cleaned things up yesterday.  They were rarely out of their gaps and played good solid defense.  That, combined with the Packers wide receivers dropping balls all over the field, made the game competitive on a night where the offensive performance left a lot to be desired.

Game Comments: Bears Vs. Packers, January 2, 2011


  1. The Bears defense came out with all of the starters and they apparently came to play.  For the most part they played fast and down hill.
  2. The defense came out mixing it up and blitzing early.  They did less blitzing as the game wore on.
  3. The Bear defense had a bit of a problem when the Packer offense played their 22 personnel (2 backs, 2 wide receivers).  They couldn’t stop the run out of this formation without an eighth guy in the box but they also didn’t like leaving their corners in single high man coverage.  Rogers was trying to audible into a favorable play depending upon what the safety did.  The Bears played a lot of it situationally depending upon whether the Packers were likely to need to pass but the intermediate downs and distances were a problem.
  4. The Bears had a hard time getting to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers in the first quarter, even when they were blitzing.  They did better as the game progressed.
  5. The Bears pass coverage was pretty good.  Rogers was continually escaping pressure only to find that no one was open.
  6. The Bears defense did well today but the team was also fortunate in that Rogers and the Packer offense had an off day.  Rogers occasionally struggled with accuracy and the receivers were continually dropping balls.
  7. I thought generally speaking the Bear defense played with a lot more discipline this game.  To my eye they weren’t often caught out of their gaps.
  8. He wasn’t getting great protection but I am surprised that the Packers didn’t take more shots down field.
  9. Danieal Manning bit on an inside route on the long pass that set up the Packer touchdown in the fourth quarter.  That was tough to swallow.


  1. The Bears offense came out running and they were also mixing it up well.
  2. The Packers played a defense with two down linemen much of the time.  They did a lot of pre snap shifting trying to confuse the Bear defense and, like the Bear defense, they weren’t afraid to blitz.  Their defense was effective.
  3. The Bears offensive line did a poor job of protecting quarterback Jay Cutler.  The Packers did a good job of confusing them.
  4. Related to that, the Bears did a terrible job of handling the Packer blitz.  The Packers aggressively covered the Bears wide receivers as they made their adjustments and the Bears simply had no answer.  The Bears may have missed Earl Bennett a great deal more than most of us realized they would this game.  In his absence, the Bears tried to use Greg Olsen more in these situations, especially late.
  5. The Bears did have good success running against that two man line for big chunks of yards.
  6. B.J. Raji had a great game.  He was especially effective off of the Packer line stunts.
  7. The Packers did a good job of shutting down Johnny Knox by being very physical with him.  Indeed, the Packers seemed to be getting away with being a bit too physical at times.
  8. Indeed, related to that, the Bears receivers had a very difficult time getting away from the aggressive, tight man coverage that the Packers specialize in.


  1. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman did a good job today.  In fact, Aikman mentioned most of the points I made above during the broadcast.  The only pick I have is that they didn’t mention when Matt Forte went over 1000 yards.
  2. Brad Biggs tweet of the game:  “Jay Cutler yelling at Chester Taylor as he leaves field. Does he know Taylor fights teammates?”
  3. Someone better talk to the Bears about getting some proper spikes.  I’m tiered of seeing them slip to the ground on footing that the other team seems to be handling well.
  4. Some of the Bear drops were tough to take – there were certainly too many.  But if you are a Packer fan you are going crazy with the poor performance by your wide receivers in this respect.
  5. There were too many penalties on both sides.
  6. Nice job by D.J. Moore stripping the ball from Donald Driver in the first quarter.
  7. Cutler threw a terrible interception in the third quarter in the end zone.  He was off balance and threw it short.  What’s worse, the Bears were in field goal position in  a tight game.  I know that to some extent you have to accept these things from Cutler but that just shouldn’t ever happen.
  8. Brad Maynard and Packer punter Tim Masthay did an excellent job today.
  9. The Devin Hester we saw today looked a lot like the one from last year.  Masthay did a good job of pinning him against the sideline.  The error of letting the Packers punt bounce at the twelve to be downed at the three in the fourth quarter came at a critical time.
  10. I’m not too sure about the Lovie Smith decision to go for it on fourth down on the Packer 40 yard line up by only 3 points.  I know that it worked out with Charles Tillman intercepting the ball on the following Packer possession.  Never the less I think playing field position and continued offensive patience was called for in that situation.
  11. The officiating in this game was generally poor.  On the Bears side, the missed pass interference on Knox and the bogus roughing the passer call on Julius Peppers comes to mind.  Certainly a good argument could be made that the ball hit the ground on Tillman’s interception.
  12. This was a generally sloppy game but well worthwhile.  Though many would question the wisdom of doing it, the Bears were well rewarded by playing this game all the way like it counted.  The Packers exposed a number of offensive weaknesses, most notably the reappearance of the offensive line problems, the problems that the Bear receivers had getting away from the Packers coverage, the problems handling Greg Jennings on deep routes against cornerback Tim Jennings as the safeties were late getting over the top, and the problems handling the blitz.  The Bears will now have two weeks to work on correcting those issues.