Blaming the Play Caller Is the Easy Way Out and Other Points of View


  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune give his perspective on the state of Caleb Hanie by drawing this interesting comparison:

You can count on Lovie Smith to say one thing at the start of the preseason and the regular season: A team usually makes its biggest improvements from Game 1 to Game 2. The Bears will be taking that approach into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, hoping Caleb Hanie will make strides after completing 50 percent of his passes and being intercepted three times.

End Chauncey Davis, added two weeks ago, got into the mix and likely made an impression with four tackles. That third end position is wide open for someone who wants to grab it, and as this loss showed, the Bears aren’t good enough on defense just yet to overcome errors on offense.

The guess here is [Kyle] Orton will be the man. Kansas City (4-7) claimed him for a reason and the Chiefs don’t have any margin for error now that they are three games behind the Raiders.

  • When the Bears let Jake Laptad go as the long snapper after not one practice, I assumed he must have been really bad. Not so according to Biggs:

“There weren’t any snaps bounced back to holder Adam Podlesh in practice. Laptad didn’t sail any snaps over the head of Podlesh on punts in practice. It just wasn’t what special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who had worked with Laptad during a two-week stint on the practice squad in October, wanted.”

“Why was Laptad let go?

“’Off the mark,’ Toub said. ‘He snaps so fast, he has such zip on the ball if it’s off the mark and it gets by you, you’re in trouble. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s just not ready. If he really wants to work at it and get better, he could be a snapper in the NFL. But he’s got to improve.'”

  • I finished reading this article on the Oakland game from Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune and I wondered if the Bears had actually lost.
  • Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune makes a good point:

“[Defensive coordinator Rod] Marinelli also simplified the game by not using as many stunts.

“‘It was all about lining up and just beating the man across from you,’ [defensive end Israel] Idonije said. ‘We just went out there and got after it.'”

I thought they simplified the game plan in all aspects, not just with the lack of stunts.  The Bears played a surprising vanilla cover two a good portion of the game.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  On the one hand it worked.  ON the other hand I don’t think its always going to work.  the Bears need to disguise their coverages every once in a while and I think it was a noticeable improvement when they started to do it last year.

“Quick, someone tell Hanie that late, high and wide over the middle is no way to go through the NFL.”

I think Hanie can and probably will improve everything else.  But I’m not sure how much his accuracy is going to improve this week.

  • On what I would say is a note related to the Ndamukong Suh incident Thursday, we have this from Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles:

“If you look at what happened to the Lions against the Bears, the crazy thing about it is — the Lions moved the ball. They had a good plan. They just turned it over too much. And the wind was a major factor. I was wondering how the Bears could be so good — the defense did some good things, but watch the ball hang on the interception returns. Even the kick to (Devin) Hester that was returned, the wind took that ball right into his hands.”

Lovie (Smith) has not been a good coach for the Chicago Bears; he has been a great coach — just the way he handles the team. He has the ability to get players to play hard for him. They trust him. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why, but they do.”

“(Bears DE Israel) Idonije is a beast. The Bears’ defense is so good, they run the football well — they can get by without a star at quarterback.”


“[Eagles head coach] Andy Reid has such a mess on his hands. People are talking about him being fired? I want to know — is he going to walk away? I know Juan Castillo was not his first choice as defensive coordinator. I look at the players they have signed. I don’t know if Andy has enough support right now. It looks to me like he is doing everything. I know this — he is one of the best football coaches in the NFL.”

“[DeSeanJackson — the once dynamic wide receiver who showed flashes of becoming one of the franchise’s greatest at that position — has turned into perhaps the most unreliable target on offense. He dropped a handful of passes [on Sunday] and shied away from contact against the Patriots. His worst offense came when he short-armed a sure-thing touchdown catch because he heard footsteps.

“Amid a contract dispute, Jackson said concern about his health was a factor in his style of play.

“‘Always. Always got to keep your head on a swivel,’ he said.

“Was he worried about his health on that play?

“‘What’d you think?’ he said as he walked away from reporters.”

Sounds like Bernard Berrian syndrome to me.  If I were a GM, I wouldn’t touch this guy with a ten foot pole.  But someone will.  And regret it.

“For their part, [Lion’s head coach JimSchwartz and the Lions should have said more [about Suh’s questionable play], sooner, too.

“Schwartz said after the game he didn’t see the incident but that Suh ‘can’t leave any gray area and can’t give an official any reason to’ penalize him or eject him from the game. Suh’s stomp gave the Packers an automatic first down after they had been stopped on third-and-goal, and John Kuhn scored two plays later on a 1-yard run to break open a close game.

“And while he won’t meet with local reporters until Tuesday, Schwartz had an opportunity to denounce the stomp in a Sirius/XM radio interview Friday but chose to talk around it instead, saying ‘if there’s discipline involved in a case like that it will come from the NFL’ and that Suh can’t lose his composure and ‘put his teammates in a bad position.’

“No one is saying Schwartz condones Suh’s stomp. As competitive as he is, that’s never been what Schwartz is about.”

Really?  Then why doesn’t he say so? Why hasn’t he said so already?  Birkett points out that Schwartz “happened to be” the Titan’s defensive coordinator when Albert Haynesworth stomped on the head of Cowboy’s center Andre Gurrode five years ago, implying that its just a coincidence. But by condemning the penalty and not the act itself, despite being given multiple opportunities to do otherwise, Schwartz’s message is the same now as it apparently was then: “Do what you want. Just don’t get caught.”

  • On a related note, we have this Audible from Pro Football Weekly:

“(Lions DT) Ndamukong Suh is so full of (crap). He’s living off where he got drafted. People that think he has played well are scouting off ESPN and watching too many highlights. Yeah, he looks great in flashes against weak sisters. I wouldn’t want him over either one of the guys we have. He is a coward.”

“Someone needs to call out Jon Gruden for hyping all of Bob LaMonte‘s clients. If they are repped by his (own) agent, they are great. Andy Reid is a genius. Mike Martz invented football. Enough is enough. When I watch football on television, I want to hear about the technical aspect — tell me about why the extra tackle is overloaded to one side and how the play was designed. If it didn’t work, call it out. Gruden pumps so much sunshine it’s become unbearable to watch.”

“Coaches hate scouts just like offensive coaches hate defensive coaches. It’s like the Army and the Marines — they are in competition with each other.”

One Final Thought

Fred Mitchell at the Tribune quotes Lovie Smith on the heavily criticized Mike Martz call that resulted in an Oakland interception near the goal line Sunday:

“Asked again if the call was too risky, especially for a young quarterback making his first NFL start, Smith replied:

“’Maybe from (the media) it is. It didn’t work, so of course you are going to get criticized when something doesn’t work. But next time it will.’”

Smith has a point.  Most fans and media members can’t tell you much about the nuts and bolts of playing defensive back or offensive guard.  But almost anyone one with an butt hole and an opinion thinks on some level he’s capable of judging what kind of play should or shouldn’t be called from the comfort of his living room couch.

Sure, looking back on it, the play call doesn’t look great.  And yes, I wish the Bears had run the ball more.  I’ve heard constantly since Sunday about how Martz didn’t protect Hanie.  But its not like Hanie is a rookie.  He’s a veteran back up.  Hindsight is 20-20 but if you put yourself up in the booth and you see the Raiders constantly stacking the box against the run, do you really think Martz asked Hanie to do anything he shouldn’t have been capable of doing?

That’s one of the reasons you ordinarily won’t catch me being too critical of the play calling of an offensive coordinator.  It’s just too easy blame that rather than the execution that we really don’t completely understand.

Game Comments: Bears at Raiders 11/27/11


  1. The Raiders came out with eight in the box on first down.  No surprise.  As usual you want to force the Bears to throw, especially with the inexperienced Caleb Hanie at quarterback.
  2. The Raiders also took the standard tack of crowding the line and shooting the gaps.  It was effective at stopping the run.  The Bears offensive line really struggled to get it going.  I think its fair to say that from here on out, if the Bears can’t run the ball effectively they aren’t going to win.
  3. Hanie looked OK running the offense when he wasn’t throwing the ball to the other team.  He definitely doesn’t have Jay Cutler’s movement in the pocket but particularly at the beginning offensive coordinator Mike Martz didn’t ask him to do it much.  Most of the passes were short, three step drop backs.  Whenever he was asked to do more, however, he looked to me like he struggled to find the open receiver and get the ball out.
  4. Hanie’s accuracy also suffered some today.  He seemed to struggle particularly with intermediate throws one the middle which were sailing high.  That’s how the second interception came about.
  5. The pass protection wasn’t great today, either.  There were a lot of plays where there were Raiders on top of Hanie very quickly.  Pretty tough to do anything with that.
  6. Marion Barber really looks good running the ball.  I think he’s getting better as the season goes on.


  1. The Bears came out in the standard cover two.  The Raiders came out ready to shred it and did.
  2. I thought the pressure on Carson Palmer was fine when the line had time to get to him.
  3. Having said that, the Bears clamped down in the red zone as they usually do, forcing field goals until late in the fourth quarter.
  4. The Bears are still giving up too may big plays.  It must be killing Lovie Smith.
  5. I’m really surprised at how vanilla the Bears played it today.  There was very little of the disguise or variation in their defense that we usually see.
  6. Caleb Hanie wasn’t the only quarterback today to miss some throws.  There were some wide open receivers that didn’t get the ball accurately today from Palmer.
  7. The Bears defense looked tired in the fourth quarter.  There’s really no reason for that.  It isn’t like the Raiders dominated time of possession.


  1. Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston Tony Siragusa were their usual professional selves.
  2. Special teams weren’t bad but the weren’t special, either.  There were some reasonable returns but penalties ruined them.  Robbie Gould’s 53 yard field goal was great.
  3. Obviously turnovers were the single biggest factor which caused the Bears to lose this game.  Too many of the Raider points came as a result of the Hanie interceptions.  The first pick was trying to do too much.  The second and third were poor throws.  On the other side, Corey Graham got an interception.  The Bears dropped a lot of others.  If they had made half those plays the Bears might well have won this game.
  4. Some of them weren’t exactly what you’d call drops but the Bears wide receivers didn’t exactly themselves with glory today.  There were some balls I thought were catchable where the play wasn’t made.
  5. Too many penalties on special teams.  We never saw the unnecessary roughness call on Tyler Clutz but I don’t think its a stretch to call it “stupid” in that situation.  The Raiders lost a touchdown on a holding penalty.
  6. On Caleb Hanie’s list of his own strengths:  being mobile in the pocket, throwing accurately, getting the ball out quick, protecting the football. I’m not saying Hanie was that awful.  He made some plays and he’s definitely going to get better.  But if these are his strengths, I’d hate to know what he thinks his weaknesses are.

The Exact Moment Jay Cutler Was Injured and Other Points of View


“The Oakland Raiders’ defense doesn’t distinguish itself in many statistical categories. It’s ranked 24th overall, 25th against the run and 20th against the pass.

“But the Raiders are tied for sixth in the NFL with 28 sacks and feature one of the faster defenses in the league.”

  • Bears runningback Matt Forte had an interesting take on what needs to be done against the Raiders, who will undoubtedly be expecting a heavy dose of the running game. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:

“‘It always has been on my shoulders,’ said Forte, who rushed for more than 100 yards in four of five games before his recent slump. ‘I don’t think it’s anything new. I just want to continue to be successful and get some more passes out of the backfield. Then they can’t stack the box and we can get the ball out in space.'”

“The protagonist in the book is a legendary sportswriter who uncovered that his home town team’s coach has orchestrated a massive cheating plan to get his team to win the Super Bowl. Well, can he divulge it? Will it fly? Is his evidence right? Will he be sued for libel? And he agonizes over it.

I’m thinking of written a book, too. Its about a legendary writer who blogs in his underwear from his mom’s basement investigates a huge cheerleading scandal. Really, really huge. Like Kelley Brook huge. He’s very dedicated that way.

Right now, Graham ranks fourth in fan voting for the Pro Bowl, causing him to wonder what happened to the Chicago machine.

“They always talk about Chicago is one of the biggest markets but we can’t tell. They ain’t voting for me,” he said. “I have to give them something to vote for. If I go out and make a lot of plays, more people will vote.”

I’m ashamed to say that until I read this quote I had not voted. I did with a ballot at Other notable Bears to con side include Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Julius Peppers, Jay Cutler, and Matt Forte. I also voted for a few more who were, let’s just day, questionable choices for people voting without a Bear bias.

“It was a hot topic around the league Friday although the Bears didn’t want to share any strong opinions, less than two weeks after Suh ripped the helmet off quarterback Jay Cutler and avoided discipline.”

“When the play was described to Smith, he shrugged.

“‘Oh really,’ he said. ‘Oh man, I’m sure the league will have something to say about that.’

“A reporter then piped up that’s not always the case with Suh.

“‘Next question,’ Smith responded.”

“If Tice has any regrets about his assistant coach experience, it was his being denied the chance to interview for the Titans offensive coordinator position in the offseason.

“‘You’re always disappointed when you don’t have a chance to better yourself, professionally, and that’s what the interview process is all about,’ he said. “I wanted to do that interview.'”

And I continue to believe that the right thing to do for the Bears would have been to allow it.

  • With the Bears Jay Cutler injured, special teams will have to continue to be strong for the Bears. On that note, every Bear fan can give thanks on this day for arrogance and overconfidence. Again, via Biggs.
  • I’m not always Roy Williams‘ biggest fan. But he certainly is quick with a quote. McClure gets him here on new Bears quarterback Josh McCown, who played with Williams on the Lions:

“Shoot, the most athletic white boy I’ve ever seen in my life.

  • David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune writes a nice article on the things every back up quarterback thrown into the starting role needs to know:

“‘That’s a subtlety a good head coach will manage well,’ [Jim McMahon backup Steve] Fuller recalled over the phone. ‘They didn’t drastically alter the whole system to make me feel like, ‘Oh, God, they’re frightened I’m in there.’ You strike a balance between putting in wrinkles versus completely scaring the crap out of the guy by putting in stuff completely different that would be panicking.'”

“We didn’t blitz much last week, and that could help. There are little things we will have to improve, and we will. The pass rush, it just hasn’t been consistent. You just keep working at it”

I thought the Bears did blitz a lot last week. The problem is that the ball was coming out so fast there was no chance to get to Philip Rivers. If they’re planning on blitzing even more this could be an interesting game.

“Jay Cutler has taken some criticism for not playing through injuries in the past, which is why he should consider wearing a protective walking boot on his thumb.”

Apparently they don’t think much of the Bears chances with Hanie at quarterback:


“Our current national delusion is the belief that a quarterback whose team scores 17 points (7 as the result of defensive or special teams play) against a New York opponent, but who leads a grinding fourth-quarter game-winning drive, has done something truly exceptional. So there’s a (yawn) quarterback controversy brewing in Philadelphia, the City of Backup Quarterback-ly Love. If Michael Vick (ribs) is healthy, he will start over Vince Young, though locals are clamoring for Young, whose three early-game interceptions were apparently not signs of ineptitude but his flair for the dramatic. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson’s self-promoting behavior has become so erratic and counterproductive that he is one step from renaming the rest of his season the Torpedo of Touchdowns Tour.”

“The Rex Ryan Experience has always had a risky side. If promises aren’t delivered, words become hollow and credibility suffers. It doesn’t seem to be an act for the long term. When Ryan is gone, sports journalists may miss him most. Dullness is an enemy, particularly on deadline. Fans around New York would miss him, too — if not at first, eventually. But they would never see another like him. You can’t re-create a football coach with his bluster, joy and joshing.”

“Dear Steve Weatherford,
“It has come to my attention that you sometimes punt the football straight into the arms of the league’s most dangerous return men, forcing me to constrict and temporarily hinder blood flow to the brain. This week, you will be facing Darren Sproles, who has five total return touchdowns in his career. Please be advised that if he scores a touchdown as a direct result of one of your punts, I will shut down, then leap through the esophagus to strangle you, leaving you breathless and unemployed faster than you can say ‘Matt Dodge.’
Tom Coughlin’s Pulmonary Artery.”

  • The Sports Pickle gives us visual evidence that Ndamukong Suh might be a dirty player:

One Final Thought

Shortly after I putting up my own post connecting the behavior of the Lions as a team with that of head coach Jim Schwartz, this article from Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports came to my attention:

“This all comes back to Schwartz. He has done much to turn the Lions around, starting with the excitement of a 5-0 start. However, in the moments after Detroit’s first loss on Oct. 16 against San Francisco at home, Schwartz also lost his cool. After a bad exchange with counterpart Jim Harbaugh, Schwartz lost control and chased Harbaugh down the field.

“In some respects, it was comical. At the same time, it probably warranted a fine. Now, weeks later, the Lions are playing like a team that doesn’t know how to handle tough situations. What a shocker. Players take their cues from the people in charge.”

The whole article is worth a read.

The “Lions organization” has released a statement condemning Suh’s actions. But as Michael David Smith at points out no one really knows who that means. Specifically, its notable that two days after the incident other than a weak “I haven’t seen the replay but we can’t afford the penalty” we’ve heard nothing from Schwartz, whose constant and vehement defense of Suh over the course of the season in the face of such dirty play enabled the behavior to the point that Thursday’s incident was inevitable. If Schwartz doesn’t come out and strongly put his foot down on Suh this time, the statement from the “organization” will be virtually meaningless.

Suh’s Behavior Is a Simple Reflection of His Coach’s Personality

I was not surprised, by what I saw on my screen yesterday from Ndamukong Suh when he repeatedly banged the head of Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith into the ground three times and then stomped on him. The debate has been raging for months about whether he is a dirty player or not. But the key to this whole affair was understanding that the problem in Detroit goes way beyond Suh or any player. Michael Rosenberg at the Detroit Free Press agrees as he puts the Lions loss in perspective:

“The worst part? This wasn’t surprising. You could see it coming for two years. And it’s fair to ask: If the Lions had told Suh to reel it in earlier, instead of constantly defending him, would he have learned from his mistakes by now?”

Exactly. Specifically, if you want to know why Suh did what he did and reacted afterwards as he did, you need only look at Lions head coach Jim Schwartz as put very well by John Mullin at

“The consensus is becoming it couldn’t happen to a more fitting bunch, given the enabling conduct of coach Jim Schwartz who, after the loss to the Bears, adamantly defended Detroit players’ conduct that was subsequently fined by the NFL.”

Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune quotes Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers who puts the difference between themselves and the Lions bluntly:

“Asked about not retaliating, Rodgers said, ‘Well, that’s just the way we’re coached.'”

I haven’t finished scanning all of the quotes but its not a surprise that one of the few players I’ve read who came out to make a firm comment on the situation played under Lovie Smith:

“‘I don’t want to put anything on anyone, but we can’t have that,’ Bear turned Lion Rashied Davis said. ‘It’s not Suh’s fault we lost the game. We lost this game as a team. But we can’t get that penalty.'”

But to really understand the problem, you have to recognize that it isn’t restricted to Suh. The entire Lions team is completely undisciplined and its costing them games. ESPN‘s NFC North blogger, Kevin Seifert quotes Packers guard T.J. Lang after this one:

“[Suh has] been getting dumb penalties all year. That’s something we talked about all week: They were probably going to do something stupid along the way. They’ve done it in almost every game.”

They certainly did here. Penalty flags flew all over the field this game as the Lions repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. Can such undisciplined play be surprising when the Lion’s are coached by Schwartz, a man who completely lost control after a loss to the 49ers? Who, after an admittedly overly enthusiastic handshake and slap on the back after the game, ran after 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh down the field, ultimately climbing over people to get at him in a reasonable imitation of former Oregon runningback LeGarrette Blount?

So you think, “Well, now at least Suh understands the problem,” right? “He’s now going to stand up and take responsibility,” right? Think again. From Seifert:

“What I did was remove myself from the situation in the best way I felt, me being held down in the situation I was in. And further, my intentions were not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself as you see, I’m walking away from the situation and with that I apologize to my teammates and my fans and my coaches for putting myself in the position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game.”

No one who saw the replay of this incident could possibly believe that Suh didn’t kick out at Dietrich-Smith on the ground. The truth is that Suh got blocked to the ground and didn’t like it.

Why would Suh react like this? We need only look at Schwartz’s response to the 49ers incident where he lost a game and completely lost his temper (via Bob Wojnowski at The Detroit News):

“Let me just say this. There’s a lot more to it than the backslap. And I’m gonna do whatever I can to continue to fight for the city of Detroit and for the Detroit Lions. I reacted and I wasn’t worried about how it was going to look. I don’t really pay much attention to other people. I’m sort of arrogant that way.”

Schwartz wasn’t thinking about the city of Detroit any more than Suh was “walking away from the situation” rather than kicking Evan Dietrich-Smith. The explanation is a weak attempt to dodge a responsibility where, regardless of Harbaugh’s behavior, Schwartz was obviously wrong. Like coach like player.

But even more important, Jim Schwartz has got to understand something if he wants to last as the coach of the Lions. His players, especially his young players like Suh, are always, always looking to him as an example of how to act. Every team in every walk of life to at least some extent reflects the personality of the person at its head. Its the nature of leadership. And his team will never play with the discipline and accountability necessary to win as long as he doesn’t display it himself.

The Mind of Caleb Hanie from the Outside Looking In

I’m not always a big fan of the Chicago Tribune‘s David Haugh. But he’s right on point when he says that the moment is unlikely to overwhelm new Bears starting quarterback Caleb Hanie on Sunday. Confidence is not his problem. He’s brimming with that to the point of arrogance. Via Brad Biggs, also at the Tribune:

“‘If you don’t have that confidence, there’s no way you’re going to be the next big thing,’ [Hanie] said. ‘I have to play with confidence and see where it leads, take it week to week.'”

Absolutely right.

As long as that confidence is tempered with maturity. And its this aspect of Hanie’s personality that worries me just a little bit. For instance, here is offensive coordinator Mike Martz on why he has felt the need to coach Hanie extremely hard since he’s been here:

“You have to stress him and press him a little bit, get him out of his comfort zone so he can deal with some of the emotional ups and downs that come with being a starter in the league. Kind of callous him up a little bit.”

Dealing less emotionally and more stably with situations which we meet every day is something all adults go through as they mature. I watched it happen in my parents and I feel it happening to me more every year. With Hanie, it isn’t just about growth as a quarterback. Martz has had to take on the more difficult task of trying to accelerate his growth as a person. And if he’s been extra critical of Hanie and if he’s constantly tempering his compliments for him in his public comments, its probably because Hanie isn’t the kind of person who is likely to be as critical of himself. It is with this in mind that I read this quote from Hanie via Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times on his new role as the starting quarterback:

“‘I feel like we’re pretty similar,’ Hanie said when asked how similar his game is Cutler’s. ‘Our offense is built around being mobile in the pocket and making accurate throws and getting the ball out quick, while … protecting the football. So that plays to my strengths.'”


First, though Hanie is definitely mobile outside the pocket, I’ve seen no evidence in his limited playing time that he’s mobile inside the pocket. Those are two completely different things with the latter almost being more a question of instinct and experience than athletic ability. As for “getting the ball out quick”, his problems with Martz during the preseason probably had a lot to do with the fact that he wasn’t doing this. And as Martz felt the need to remind both us and Hanie in his public comments over the summer, Hanie certainly didn’t “protect the football” during the playoff loss to the Packers last year.

I don’t know Caleb Hanie, we haven’t haven’t heard him talk enough to make firm judgments and we’ve barely seen him play outside of preseason games. But this isn’t the first time I’ve wondered over the last four years if Hanie sees himself realistically. The above didn’t sound like a list of strengths to me. It sounded like a list of things he’s needed to improve on. Let’s hope he’s had the proper mindset since training camp to allow him to do so.

Quick Game Comments: Chargers at Bears


  1. The Chargers didn’t mess around and put eight in the box on first down immediately. No surprise. They seem to like playing single coverage and you definitely want to make the Bears beat you through the air.
  2. That didn’t stop the Bears from trying to run. They obviously thought they could run on the Chargers anyway given their reputation as a poor run defense.
  3. The Chargers were also keying on Matt Forte. Again, good move. Even when he’s catching passes he accounts for an enormous amount of the Bears offense.
  4. Forte wasn’t running particularly well today. It didn’t look to me like he was running with his usual degree of patience.
  5. I thought Cutler had decent time to throw. Of course, as usual, it helps that he’s mobile enough to get himself out of trouble.
  6. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms made a point of saying that Marion Barber looked fast in practice. He certainly looked good while he was in.
  7. That injury to Chris Spencer would have really hurt. The Bears offensive line, which wasn’t a strength to begin with, was very close to being officially decimated by injuries.
  8. How nice was it to see Johnny Knox adjusting so well to the football, today? Nice work.
  9. Roy Williams also played a good game after his usual dropped pass.
  10. Something tells me this team misses former defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who took the head coaching job in Carolina. The defense doesn’t look like its playing with the same intensity.


  1. The Bears gave up some big plays, something that had to be disappointing to Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.
  2. The Bears were keeping a lot of guys near the line of scrimmage but the Chargers ran very effectively with some shifty cut back runs. They got the linebackers to move out of their gaps on occasion. I thought the Bears did better in the second half.
  3. The misdirection also hurt the Bears in pass defense as the Chargers seemed to frequently suck players to the middle, then throw outside into a lot of space. The screen game was working well, too. Basically, they were using the Bears aggression against them.
  4. The Chargers seem to like to use Mike Tolbert as a receiver on third down. You wouldn’t think about such a big round man having such good hands. I guess once you get him the ball and let him get rolling he’s tough to stop short of the marker.
  5. Late in the first half the Bears were getting burned for big plays by blitzing the Chargers. I’m surprised. That isn’t typical of the way the Bears play defense.
  6. Related to 5, Charles Tillman was drawing the single coverage assignment against the Chargers best receivers. He was out matched and, really, it wasn’t his fault. Phillip Rivers was getting rid of the ball quicker than the blitz could get there and unless you’ve got Darrelle Revis out there, you’ve got to give help on guys like Vincent Jackson. Single high safety just isn’t enough.


  1. Though I alway prefer noon games (and absolutely despise night games), one advantage to later games is that you almost always get really good announcers. Today was no exception. Nantz and Simms were sharp. I thought Simms, in particular made a good point about the benefits of keeping Jay Cutler in the pocket. On the negative side, Simms made the point that Devin Hester couldn’t jump up over the cross bar and goal tend on the missed Chargers field goal at the end of the first half but failed to point out that, had Hester caught the ball short, he could have returned it. That is, of course, why he jumped up to try to get it.
  2. I think the Bears came out flat. San Diego seemed to be playing at a different speed at times.
  3. Roy Williams dropped a long pass early but otherwise I didn’t see anything too awful bad out there in this respect.
  4. The Bears had some penalties that hurt them today. Two of the Devin Hester returns were called back for holding penalties.
  5. What is the deal with Earl Bennett and those orange shoes? $20,000 for a lark? I can’t believe it.
  6. Special teams had a good game. Adam Podlesh had a couple good punts. The San Diego punter, Mike Scifres, hit some line drives to Devin Hester and he took advantage (though the penalties limited them). Kickoff coverage wasn’t awful but should have been better. I can’t believe they ran a fake punt with two minutes left up by eleven. Why?
  7. Rivers threw a couple bad interceptions in the fourth quarter but up to that point, he was solid. I think he was just pressing at a time when you could argue that some risks were called for. The Bears recovery of a fumble in the third quarter was a big play. The Cutler interception in the fourth quarter was just one of those things. The receiver slips and that’s the way it goes.
  8. Nice to hear Bear fans making some noise on occasion during this game. I’m thinking of first and ten from the sixteen in the fourth quarter.
  9. I think everyone knows the saying that most games are lost by the loser than won by the winner. I’m happy to say that was not the case today. The Chargers weren’t turning the ball over right and left. There weren’t a lot of penalties. The receivers weren’t dropping the ball all over the field. Their quarterback played reasonably well (desperation interceptions aside). I don’t get to say this often but I thought the Bears ran up against a reasonably good team that played well and just played better. Wonderful game.

Lovie Smith: Doing More with Less. And Other Points of View


  • Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribune credits defensive backs coach Jon Hoke for disguising coverages more with the Bears.  I’m not sure that this was so much Hoke’s doing as it is a general recognition by Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli that they needed to change things up every once in a while.  The transformation started last year and it was a much needed improvement. Though the Bears are still relatively vanilla in that they still concentrate on doing their core formations well, keeping an offense from getting comfortable by introducing that little bit of doubt can be very effective. Perhaps more important, sometimes big plays come from the element of surprise.
  • Most of us assume that Mike Martz has adjusted his play calling based upon what he thinks the Bears offensive personnel can handle.  But John Mullin at wrote this interesting column about how the Bears are game planning offensively based in large part upon what they think the Bears defense can do.
  • David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune and Kevin Cross at are both singing the praises of head coach Lovie Smith.  Judging by the fans I heard on the Mully and Hanley Show last week, I’d say the fans are on board for once.  Many of us recognize that Smith is a pretty good coach but the most vocal fans usually aren’t expressing that opinion.  The revelations that Smith played the respect card against the Eagles, for example, and that he demanded more from players like Henry Melton and Anthony Adams have revealed a little of the activity that most of us assume goes on less publicly most weeks to many fans.  It doesn’t hurt that his assistants (most notably Mike Martz, Mike Tice, Jon Hoke and Rod Marinelli) are getting recent praise for their coaching, as well.  It will all go away the next time they lose a game, of course, but for now, its nice to see Smith getting a little well deserved credit.
  • Think I’m giving Smith too much credit for doing more with less?  Check out this comment from Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles section:
 “That the Bears are even winning surprises me. They have no O-line. Their receiving corps is average. They have a good back, but only one, and a quarterback that was paid a lot, but then not surrounded with anything. They have a couple of solid guys on the D-line, but it’s an unspectacular group overall. The linebackers are aging. The secondary is (bad). Can you argue with  anything I just said? I think they have done a poor job of putting a team together.”

“If you just look at the numbers, Lovie Smith should be mentioned with the best NFL coaches but you never hear his name nationally. Why? Jermaine Jones from Twitter

“It’s a good question. The only active coaches who have won 70 games faster than Smith are Andy Reid and Mike Shanahan. I agree that Smith doesn’t seem to be respected as much as he should be. Some of it might be that Smith doesn’t do a very good job of promoting himself. Some of it may be that he is perceived as a “system” coach, as opposed to an innovator or creative thinker. And some of it may be that hardly any coaches are very well respected anymore. Reid is under fire in Philadelphia. Shanahan is in trouble in Washington. Even Bill Belichick, who widely is regarded as the best coach in the NFL, has been criticized recently for his personnel moves. It seems as if every NFL coach is just one bad streak away from being unemployed. Smith not being respected much may be more of a reflection of where the league is, and our society, than the job Smith has done.”

First of all, Belichick is doing a good job with personnel.  He’s being criticized for letting go good of defensive backs but that’s what you do when you are converting your scheme away from something that’s man heavy to something thats more like wha the Bears run.  You cut the defensive backs and sink your money in elsewhere.  Assuming they make it, my guess is that they’ll be fine defensively by playoff time.

But back to the point.  What Pompei says is all true.  But what Smith really excels at is something no one ever gives any coach credit for even though its undoubtedly the mod important part of the job – he obviously handles people really well.  The Bears players have come out unprepared before but its very rare – maybe once a season.  The vast majority of the time they are ready mentally and emotionally to get the job done.  Even given the excellent leadership exhibited by Brian Urlacher and, up to this season, Olin Kreutz, accomplishing that can’t be easy.  As with all forms of leadership, it requires just the right touch for each individual.  Judging from the results, few people we have seen or will ever see coach the Bears again, do it better than Smith.

“Some people in the front office were pushing for Edwin Williams to have a starting job coming out of preseason and now the 24-year-old will replace Chris Williams at left guard.”

Since when do front office people push to decide who plays? Front office people identify and bring in talent and coaches take it from there.  Everyone has a defined role.  The Bears blur the lines and make a mess of it, probably because deep down inside, GM Jerry Angelo is a frustrated head coach and he can’t keep his nose out of it and Lovie Smith thinks he can do a better job of judging talent for two months than scouts can do all year.  The end result is poor drafting as compromises are forced on everyone involved.

  • Pompei thinks that Lance Louis‘ future is probably not at tackle:

“An offensive tackle has to block too many different kinds of pass rushers to be able to get by without good height and long arms. A short pass rusher is particularly compromised against speed rushers because it becomes difficult for smaller blockers to reach fast pass rushers who take a wide angle to the quarterback.”


  • Andrew Brandt at The National Football Post clarifies the franchise tag rules under the new collective bargaining agreement. He points out that the franchise tag is no longer, as many of us assumed, the average of the salaries of the top five players at a position. Its the average salary of the top player each year over the last five years at any position. This has caused the franchise salary numbers to drop significantly in 2012.
  • For those who are thinking maybe the Bears should take a chance on Albert Haynesworth, we have this article from Greg Bedard at the Boston Globe where he claims that Haynesworth essentially gave up against the Giants last week before his release:

“But against the Giants, after he drew a holding call with 14:10 left in the second quarter, Haynesworth put together three of the worst plays you will see out of an NFL defensive tackle.

“With 14:01 left, Haynesworth was easily thrown to the ground by Giants guard Chris Snee with one arm.

“With 13:59 left, Snee easily pancaked Haynesworth when he stopped moving his feet — a cardinal sin for a defensive lineman.

“And then on third down, Haynesworth was again thrown to the ground after he stopped moving his feet, this time by left guard David Diehl, who other Patriots regularly beat in that game.”

“’On the ground three-straight times and didn’t seem at all to mind!’ one [NFL personnel man] said. ‘Just stopped moving his feet on each play.'”

“‘They have some young ballers on this team. They have a lot of talent.’

Harris quickly clarified.

“‘We have a lot of talent.”’

“The Raiders better get (a GM) in place quick or Hue Jackson is going to (mess) that roster up. I don’t like any move he has made yet. Aaron Curry is not a pass rusher, and he does not have the instincts to play inside. He is a “Sam” linebacker in a 4-3 defense only. Those are dime-a-dozen guys.  They come off the field in nickel and dime. It’s a death position. You can’t pay it. … No one was willing to give up anything near what (Jackson) gave for Carson Palmer. He is trading the future (and) trying to do everything he can to win now. It’s such a short-sighted approach — that’s why very few head coaches can handle personnel. They are too emotionally-vested. If I’m Amy Trask, I’m not waiting until after the season.”
  • Another Audible that gives us something to consider with the San Diego game coming up:
“I think Philip Rivers’ sternum is bothering him. He can’t throw the deep ball. He is feeling the rush. He is 31 years old. I always thought he was a Bernie Kosar-type. People forget — Kosar was done at 29. He played another eight or nine years longer, but if you look at when it went south for him, it was before he turned 30. Rivers is smart, tough and gives you everything he’s got. But he’s not a great athlete. His mechanics are not how you would teach your kids. He’s worked hard to get where he is. Factor the potential sternum (injury), shaky mechanics and not having any speed at receiver to get open — he’s shaking back there. I don’t know if he will ever get it back.”
“You can always have a discussion with a guy who watches tape. You can discuss what you see and why things are happening and maybe come together in areas where one person did not have knowledge. If one watches tape and the other does not, you are having an argument. That’s what happens in a lot of places when it comes to personnel.”

One Final Thought

A number of people noted that I failed to put up game comments for the Lions game.  It almost never happens but fate put me in Orlando for the weekend where I had a business meeting which was scheduled during the broadcast.  I’m told these are held on Sunday because its cheaper to fly in on Saturday evening.  I think its because no one wants to miss the Smurfs on Saturday morning.

Not that it mattered.  The game wasn’t on there because apparently there are enough old, retired farts from New York in Florida to make the Giants a more attractive option.  And by more attractive, I mean even in comparison to the Buccaneers, who were blacked out.

Fortunately this appeared to be the one to miss.  If you are ever going to spend your time sitting in a room in the dark trying to surreptitiously hit the button on your phone to re-load ESPN’s Gamecast every 30 seconds so you won’t miss the three words describing every play, you want it to be a blowout so you can relax and ignore whoever is talking in peace.

I’ll be in Chicago for the San Diego game and the next week, heaven willing, the Bears will be on in St. Louis where I’ll be visiting my family over Thanksgiving.  Most people would rather burn out their eyes by looking at Roseanne Barr naked than watch the Rams right now anyway.  If the Bears game isn’t on, I’ll watch it in a bar and post comments about how many dropped but still perfectly edible peanuts there are down here the Oakland game.

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Eagles


  1. The Eagles started the game playing seven in the box.  The Bears came out running effectively against it.  To their credit, it didn’t take the Eagles long to start dropping the safety into the box to try to stop the run after that.  The Bears kept running into it on first down anyway.  Its obvious that you have to make the Bears beat you in the air.  The fact that the Eagles didn’t do that in the second half was probably the difference in the game.
  2. The Bears almost always ran on first down.  The Eagles weren’t bringing that eighth guy down on second down.  I wonder if they couldn’t have run more often on that down as well.
  3. The Eagles were aggressive with a fair amount of blitzing on passing downs.  They seemed to be trying to pressure the inside of the Bears offensive line in particular.  The Bears are keeping lots of guys in to block.  Generally speaking they did a credible job.
  4. Though I thought Cutler got pretty good protection, I also thought he had to do a good job of avoiding the rush, just as he has the last couple games.
  5. The wild cat on second and 17 in the second quarter?  That’s your call?  Really?
  6. You’d think the Eagles would start to look for the ball to go to Earl Bennett on third down.  He was getting open too easily, I thought.  You can bet the Lions noticed.
  7. The Bears were completely discombobulated at the end of the second half.  Cutler in particular just seemed to come apart.  They have to handle that situation on the road better then that.
  8. Who wants to bet Lovie Smith ran down the sideline to call timeout to tell Martz to call the run that eventually resulted in a touchdown at the end of the half.  Its probably not a coincidence that they came out running in the second half.


  1. The Bears came out with eight in the box on first down and generally kept a lot of guys near the line of scrimmage for much of the game.  One of those guys (Lance Briggs?) was probably spying Michael Vick.
  2. The ball was coming out quick on many of the Eagles most effective throws.  They run well after the catch.
  3. Eventually the Bears started to get pressure on Vick.  I give him credit.  He hung in there well against the blitz.
  4. It looked like the Bears were playing more than the usual amount of man coverage to me.
  5. The Eagles ran very effectively on the Bears defense.  They were winning the line of scrimmage on those plays.  LeSean McCoy seems to be really shifty and I think he was getting some guys out of their gaps.  Delaying the handoffs and getting the Bears rushing Vick also worked well.
  6. The Eagles also run the screen pass really well.  McCoy is devastating in space.  They also like little quick outs to their tight ends.  Apparently they like the matchup out there with them.
  7. The Bears had their share of problems with tackling tonight.  But give them credit for dealing out some tough hits.


  1. Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, and Mike Tirico did their usual nice job.
  2. Major Wright interception was nice but the Bears also missed a couple that really should have been caught.  The Bears turnover for 6 points right before half was just a killer.  So was the Matt Forte fumble in the third quarter in Bear territory.  There won’t be a lot of days when this team gets away with that.
  3. Twelve men in the huddle?  How does that happen?
  4. I’m getting really tired of watching Roy Williams drop passes.  He isn’t the only offender but he’s the worst.  Good teams simply do not do this.
  5. The Eagles chose to kick to Devin Hester on the opening kick off.  That was a surprise.  Generally they tried those high puns on him but they still kicked to him.
  6. Before this game I couldn’t understand how the the Eagles lost 4 times.  They’ve got a wonderful roster with threats everywhere.  They have receivers that the Bears would love to have.  They have LeSean McCoy who is probably the best running back I’ve seen all year with the possible exception of Forte.  First, frankly, they don’t look well coached at times.  Second they make mistakes at critical times.  But by far the biggest problem is that they don’t execute.  Consider this:  the Bears practically gave that team 14 points and still won.  Bottom line, you can have a team full of individuals who are outstanding on their own.  But if they don’t perform to their potential and, in particular, if they don’t perform as a team, its all just wasted talent.

Ndamukong Suh’s Performance Doesn’t Match Big Mouth and Other Points of View


  • John Mullin at CSN Chicago also makes the point that the key to slowing down the Eagles will be to stop the run.   I would add that the key will be not just to stop the run but to do it without bringing an eighth man down in the box.  Its tough enough to sep a balanced offense like the Eagles.  Once you put a defensive back into the run defense you compromise the pass coverage and allow Michael Vick to utilize those weapons more effectively.
  • In Philadelphia they apparently think the offensive line is going to be the difference as explained simply in a cartoon form that every Bear fan can understand:

“Midway through the season, how do you see the 2012 draft for the Bears? Are they going to take another offensive lineman or do they trust the young group to improve? Without knowing much about J.T. Thomas, the linebacker position looks old and without much depth. Are they going to take a linebacker who can compete from Day One? Or is it going to be defensive line? Henry Melton is more down than up and Matt Toeaina and Israel Idonije, while stable, aren’t producing much. — Mortensen, Denmark

“A lot can change between now and next April, but if the draft were to be held tomorrow, I’d say you pretty much hit it on the head. The Bears would have to be most concerned with drafting a young, building-block offensive lineman (maybe a center/guard), another pass-rushing defensive lineman (an end would be preferable to a tackle) and a linebacker who can be groomed to eventually replace Urlacher or Lance Briggs, who, don’t forget, wants to be traded after the season. The Bears also could look at cornerbacks and wide receivers.”

I would also say that this fan nailed it.  But the truth is that, like last year, the Bears could go in almost any direction in the draft and no one would argue it based upon need.  The only set positions are quarterback and running back and the running back part depends upon just how stubborn Matt Forte is ready to be.  The Bears might take a back to prepare for his eventual departure even if they can use the franchise tag for a couple years, yet.

“It was a rapid fall from grace for Harris, I will grant you that. But a few things were working against him. The Bears had two young safeties they wanted to play. Harris was in the last year of his contract. And he had played poorly this year. At 29, Harris looks slower than he did at 28. It’s not unusual for safeties to start to deteriorate quickly and at a young age. Their bodies take a lot of abuse. It’s possible Harris hasn’t been completely healthy and that he’ll get some of his burst back. I’ve talked with some people with the Lions who are excited about having him. But for the Bears, it was time to move on. I understand their perspective.”

  • Brian Urlacher continues to cry over the new rules.  Its worked so well so far, why stop now?  Via Michael David Smith at
  • I honestly thought left offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb was playing OK.  But offensive line coach Mike Tice felt the need to tell Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times that he has been battling injuries.  I suppose the braces are obvious but it’s not something Bears players and coaches are generally allowed to talk to the press about.
  • Offensive coordinator Mike Martz on receiver Earl Bennett.   Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune.

“What Earl has that people don’t realize until they play him is that he has real speed,” Martz said. “He made so many key plays in key situations for us last year. I call him Mr. Third Down almost. It’s almost a foregone conclusion you throw him the ball it’s going to be a completion. It’s good to have him back.”

“Fortunately, though, Jerry Angelo now has a chance to prove to the league that the Bears take care of their players. If they want to get more guys like Forte to come to Chicago, then Angelo needs to show everyone that talent doesn’t go to waste in the Windy City. He needs to make a statement with Forte’s contract. And it needs to be the right statement. Because this isn’t about business anymore—it’s about respect.”

  • But Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t:

Jerry Angelo’s Bears have done enough dumb things through the years. Angelo’s Bears will continue to make mistakes.

But this time, Angelo has it right. Angelo is playing it smart. Maybe that’s why some Bears fans are so mad and have started a website to get Forte paid: They’re not used to seeing Angelo do things right.

“What Melton admitted noticing was a possible difference from his speed of play from last year, when he was a reserve coming in with a high motor and high impact, and this year, his first as an NFL starter.

“It may have been the difference between the way a starter works in baseball, planning to go seven innings or more, vs. the way a closer operates, in abruptly but firing all-out from the moment of entering the game.

“’Your mindset doesn’t change,’ Melton self-analyzed, ‘but when you look at the film, it does look like sometimes you’re not sprinting as hard as you were, when you’re getting in limited snaps.'”

  • Much has been made of Smith’s apparent decision to single out Melton for his play.  But I’ve got a feeling that he’s not the only one hearing it from the head coach.  When Biggs sought out Smith for comment on Anthony Adams‘ problems with gout, Smith shrugged it off and said Adams “needs to play better”.  Smith obviously expects more from the defensive line than he’s getting.
  • Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April on Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub via Biggs:

“You know, just the culture is that those guys don’t get recognized, those special teams coaches don’t get recognized like somebody else. You know, whoever, ‘They have a really good year on offense and this guy’s one of the greatest coaches in the league (and) he should be a head coach. Why isn’t he?’ (I think) Toub should have that consideration I think because that’s what he’s done.”

I could not agree more.  If I were hiring a head coach in this league, Toub would be near the top of my list.

“I can see why some people don’t like Tim Tebow because he’s so in your face about his faith,” said Cutler. “But I’m not an evangelical Satanist. Have I tried to win a few teammates over with pregame sacrifices? Sure. From time to time. But I don’t push anyone. I just try to live my life as miserable as possible and hope that darkness consumes those around me. And if not, well, they’ll burn in hell alongside me one day anyway, so what does it matter?”


“Only one win away from clinching the NFC West!”

“Peterson has gained a higher percentage of his total yards (57.3) after first contact than any other NFL running back. That speaks both to his relentless running style and the relative lack of room his offensive line has afforded him.”

This stat more than any other tells me that Peterson is the best pure running back in the NFL and it tells you why he’s the first choice of most NFL experts.  A running back should be judged by the yards he makes on his own.  No one does that better than Peterson.

“Stafford has thrown an NFL-high 256 passes out of the shotgun formation. That’s 85.6 percent of his total attempts and a clear illustration of how the Lions have shifted to a spread offense. Even so, the Lions have still been effective in play-action. They’re averaging about one touchdown for every 7.5 play-action passes (seven touchdowns in 53 attempts).”

“Defensive tackle—Ndamukong Suh, Lions. Lots of good ones to choose from, including Geno Atkins, Marcell Dareus, Jay Ratliff and Richard Seymour. But none of them impacts games as much as Suh.”

Many writers, most notably Don Banks at Sports Illustrated, think Suh is under-achieving.

One Final Thought

Speaking of Suh, Warren Sapp thinks he needs to shut up.  (Via Biggs at The National Football Post.)

“We’re talking about taking credit for a quarterback that you didn’t sack, you didn’t take to the ground. His offensive lineman stepped on him. Remind me, didn’t Atlanta win this game?

“I’m really trying to find the karma. The quarterback missed two plays, come back in and torched you for the rest of the game … and you don’t get him on the ground, and now it’s karma?

“Why are you prancing all the way to the commissioner’s office and you almost ripped somebody’s helmet off? Are you kidding me? You don’t know that’s against the rules? That’s a wasted trip. … He almost ripped Jake Delhomme’s head off. That doesn’t make any sense.”

Pompei, who is apparently a Suh fan. had this to say on the matter:

“Warren Sapp telling Ndamukong Suh to shut up is like Kim Kardashian telling one of her sisters to stop seeking the limelight.”

That doesn’t mean he’s not right.

I couldn’t agree more with every word that Sapp said.  Never have I seen a team waste so much national good will going into a season like the Lions have.  Too many members of the team have gone over the edge from competitive to mouthy (and in Suh’s case – whiney) jerk over the course of the season.  I couldn’t tell you exactly why but I can say that the personality of the team often reflects the personality of the coaching staff, most the head coach and, in this case, the defensive coordinator.

Is Matt Forte Getting Good Advice?

Bob LeGere at the Daily Herald comments on Matt Forte‘s contract situation:

“However, I’m beginning to think Forte is getting bad advice by not accepting the Bears’ offer for a contract extension. He’s not going to get Chris Johnson-type money ($53.5 million for four years with $30 million guaranteed) from the Bears. And he’s not going to get it from anyone else. If he doesn’t agree to an extension before next year’s free agency, the Bears will surely slap the franchise tag on him, at least for 2012.

“If Forte wants the security of a long-term deal with a big chunk of change up front, he should stop whining about it and take the $14-$15 million or so guaranteed that the Bears are offering. If he suffers a serious injury this season, he’ll never see anything close to that.”

I, also, am starting to question whether Forte is getting the best advice.  He was all over the television and radio commenting about these negotiations during the bye week.  Exaggerations like the suggestion that they’re pounding him “into a pulp” are not helping him.  I know I’m not the only one that got very tired of it.

Though I don’t really believe it, myself, the more we hear from Forte on this, the more the idea that he’s playing primarily for the money and not for the love of the game and his teammates takes hold.  At minimum, Forte needs to stop commenting and the agent, Adisa Bakari, needs to be the one doing the talking.

The fact that this hasn’t been the case makes me wonder about how these negotiations are being handled on Forte’s end. These tactics might work against the Jacksonville Jaguars but I’ll tell you right now that they aren’t going to move the Bears an inch.  All they do is damage Forte’s public image.  I’d hate to see Forte find that out himself the hard way.