The popular thing right now is to run down the Bears defense, blaming it for the vast majority of the team’s problems. So naturally, as is my wont, I’m going to go the other way.
According to the latest statistics on NFL.com, the Bears injury-riddled is, indeed, ranked 28th in both points allowed and yards allowed. However, looking at the last 5 games, only the Rams game stands out as a total disaster with 41 points allowed. The others are the Packers (20), the Lions (21), the Ravens (20) and the Vikings (20 in regulation, 23 with overtime).
Shouldn’t the vaunted and improved Bears offense be expected to score more than 20 points in a game?
Its not just a cliche. It does, truly, take a village to build a total loss.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune highlights another interesting point. He quotes Bears running back Michael Bush on why he wasn’t used in short yardage situations on Sunday:
“’I don’t know,’ Bush said. ‘I guess it wasn’t the personnel for me. They were holding 75 (Kyle Long) so that is why he couldn’t get off. That is what it looked like. They just made a good play, the Vikings. They haven’t switched anything up here, not to my knowledge.’”
The Bears offensive scheme seems to rely a great deal on pulling offensive linemen and trap plays. I’ve noticed situations, particularly short yardage situations, in a number of games where an offensive linemen is actually held by the defensive lineman opposite him to prevent him from getting to the play. Kyle Long seems to be particularly susceptible to it.
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the Bears do about this in future contests. It may be a defensive strategy that you just have to live with but there may be techniques to prevent it from happening, particularly if the offensive linemen are made particularly aware of the problem in certain situations. Again, I’d say Long is the man to keep an eye on.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune discusses the decision of Bears head coach Marc Trestman to kick a long field goal on second down rather tHan risking an offensive mistake to run plays to get closer:
“Here’s the biggest problem: Trestman’s explanation expressed zero faith in his offense. If he doesn’t believe in his offense, you sure can’t. I am sure he will have well-thought-out talking points when he meets the media Monday afternoon at Halas Hall. I can’t think of an explanation that will make sense to me.”
I won't say that Trestman's decision was wrong. If kicker Robbie Gould makes that kick, we probably aren't discussing this.
But what I will say is that Trestman's confidence not just in the offense, but in the whole team is obviously shaky. You might say that the biggest problem is that his confidence should be shaken. Right now he can't depend upon his offense to get half a yard on third down. He can't depend upon anyone to run or defend a play without committing a penalty. He can't ever depend upon eleven guys to all do their jobs correctly on any given down.
The real problem for Trestman is that this is a vicious cycle. The team is a reflection of its head coach and the head coach is a reflection of the team. When Trestman shows a lack if confidence, the team is less confident and continues to play poorly.
Bottom line, Trestman needs to suppress these negative thoughts in the future and stay aggressive because playing with aggression is the only way to win football games. You can only continue to play the game to win and hope that those around you eventually raise their level of play to match your faith in them. Because if you don't, your lack of success is almost guaranteed.