Though it wasn’t the focus of the article (which was Brian Urlacher‘s mouth), Rick Telander at the Chicago Sun-Times shared this interesting tidbit:
“As [quarterback Jay] Cutler admitted, it was a surprise when the refs wouldn’t let him run the plays as quickly as he wanted, because if the Bears substitute players on offense, they have to allow the foes to substitute, too.
‘‘Kind of a learning experience for us,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘I talked to the ref about it. If you want to do it, don’t sub, and you can go as fast as you want to go.’’
I’m a little surprised the Bears didn’t know about this rule or at least didn’t account for it. But it will be interesting to see what they do about it. It was fascinating to watch the Philedelphia Eagles run their frenetic offense against the Washington Redskins last week. I doubt the Bears will go quite that fast but it will be interesting to see if they begin to forgo substitutions to pick up the offensive pace this week.
Hub Arkush at the Chicago Sun-Times addresses the differences between the current Bears offense and those in recent years:
“Which brings us to another point about where the offense is at and where it’s going. It’s hard to get five receivers out if you only have three.
“Marquess Wilson was inactive against the Bengals, and Joe Anderson dressed but didn’t take a snap on offense. That speaks volumes about where [head coach Marc] Trestman believes his receiving corps is at.
“It’s not to say the kids can’t play, but apparently they’re not ready. It appears that Kyle Long and Jordan Mills are ready. But they’re not playing because they were so ready Trestman couldn’t keep them off the field; they’re playing because they have to.
“Anyone who suggests this offense isn’t dramatically different from what Bears fans are used to isn’t paying attention to personnel groupings, play-calling and execution.
Arkush’s second point is better than his first and they’re probably related.
Though he might not be wrong, I would suggest that the absence of Wilson and Anderson might have more to do with wanting to keep tight ends and running backs on the field than the fact that Wilson and/or Anderson would only be capable of limited contribution. I think instead that, consistent with comments in the rest of the article, the Bears are more concerned with protecting quarterback Jay Cutler at this point. Specifically, they might be looking to provide as much help as they can afford to Mills and Long. It certainly looked that way to me.
I’d also point out that, in my opinion, the Bears have the best running back in the league outside of Minnesota in Matt Forte. I don’t think anyone wants to take him off the field too often.