Hub Arkush of HubArkush.com writes a typically harsh critique of the Bears performance on Friday night for the Chicago Sun-Times. I thought these comments were interesting:
“Matt Forte and Michael Bush get incompletes. Judging running backs when they had two and three touches, respectively, and only one rushing attempt each is folly. Their lack of work did raise an interesting question though.
“Asked in his postgame news conference why he ran once and threw the ball eight times plus a ninth attempt that ended in a sack when [quarterback Jay] Cutler was in the game, coach Marc Trestman replied, ’I think what you don’t see is there were a number of runs called where he had the option to throw it because they were in the box.’
“What Trestman was not asked and did not comment on was whether he approved of all the audibles or checkdowns Cutler called. That is definitely a storyline to watch.”
“I’m not sure why we’d assume J’Marcus Webb is going to suddenly improve in his fourth season, and I don’t think it should take two or three more preseason games to figure that out. Charles Johnson schooled him in Carolina, and it’s time to move on at right tackle.
“The problem is Jonathan Scott remained out with a sore knee and Eben Britton, who was having a good camp, was not impressive against the Panthers. Jordan Mills showed why he belongs on the practice squad this year, and where that leaves the Bears at right tackle is with a real problem.”
Amen to that. With any luck, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer will be quicker to recognize the problem as one that won’t be solved than Mike Tice was and that general manager Phil Emery will be scanning the waiver wire for other team’s roster cuts. At least the problem is right tackle. They’re much easier to find.
As to the audibles, I assumed the Bears decided to work more on the passing game and wanted to protect the runningbacks from injury. It will be, indeed, be interesting to watch to see if there’s a struggle with the play calling as Cutler is given a lot of power to change the plays at the line in this offense. I didn’t even think about the possibility that he might insist on calling more passes against the will of the coaches.
But its early and lets not over react. Its just something to keep an eye on.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes former player and current NFL Network Analyst Brian Balldinger on Webb:
““I think moving to right tackle is the best place for him right now if he is going to make it He’s been given a lot of opportunities. You don’t get many more opportunities than J’Marcus has had. It’s gotta hurt him when he gets beat. It’s got to hurt. And when it hurts, you do something about it. Sometimes I wonder if it hurts J’Marcus when he gets beat and his quarterback gets chased or gets hit. That’s what we’ve got to find out. If that’s inside of him now, maybe Aaron can get that if it is in there … you can have 70 great plays but if your quarterback gets hit one time and you lose that game on that one fumble, you had a terrible day. It’s got to haunt you the rest of the day. I don’t know if it haunts him right now.”
The following comment from Biggs in the same article is worth noting:
“ Note: So, there were seven four-phase players: [Eric] Weems, [Armando] Allen, [Craig] Steltz, [Jon] Bostic, [Khaseem] Greene, [Blake] Costanzo and [Anthony] Walters and [Sherrick] McManis was on three phases. When you don’t see the name of safety Brandon Hardin, that doesn’t bode well for him. It was surprising not to see Joe Anderson with the ones too, given all the talk about him contributing in that phase. However, it’s early and we know how quickly the trickle-down effect reaches special teams.”
I would only add that I saw the absence of Devin Aromashodu to the ominous.