- With all of the handwringing over the way the Bears lost to the Lions, at least one significant issue escaped most Bears fans in the immediate aftermath. From Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Kyle Long did a nice job vs. Ndamukong Suh, who had 0 tackles, 0 sacks and 1 QB hurry.”
Long had lots of help. But still, you take the positives where you can get them.
- As long as we’re highlighting rookie performances I didn’t think Will Sutton had a bad game, either. I’d like to see more from Ego Ferguson though.
- Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times argues that the Bears aren’t as talented as they and the rest of the league thinks. He doesn’t mention exactly where he thinks the deficiencies lie. So I’ll do it. I’m drafting the best available at any of these positions in the top rounds of the draft:
- offensive tackle
- anywhere on defense
- developmental quarterback
As an addendum on the last item, the Bears desperately need to add speed to that linebacking corp and to the defensive backfield. If you are drafting an offensive lineman, concentrate on players who can block the run.
I know the Bears just drafted two defensive tackles in the second and third round in the last draft. If the best available is a defensive tackle, I’d take him anyway. I’m not entirely sure how Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson are going to work out but I subscribe to the Lovie Smith philosophy of drafting – you can’t have too many good defensive linemen.
I know that most pundits will laugh at the thought of taking a quarterback near the top of the draft with Jay Cutler sitting there for two more years. They laughed when the Packers took Aaron Rogers, too. If you like one, take him.
Its way too early to actually be putting together a realist mock draft. But give these sites some credit for at least recognizing where the deficiencies lie. Via the Chicago Tribune.
- The following list was posted to the Chicago Bears Fan Forum Facebook page by Michael Shoemaker. Here are my comments on each. Signings are assuming that the price is right.
Lance Briggs – up in smoke before the first game
Josh Morgan – gone
Charles Tillman – can he coach?
Christopher Conte – resign
Roberto Garza – release. They’re going to need to draft someone here.
DJ.Williams – release
Stephen Paea – sign
Darryl Sharpton – release
Brian De La Puente – sign as insurance but please don’t plan on him to start
Jimmy Clausen – sign as insurance but please draft a future here.
Sherrick McManis – sign
Danny McCray – sign
Trevor Scott – sign
Dante Rosario – sign
Jeremy Cain – release
Eben Britton – sign
Zach Miller – sign
David Bass – sign
Blake Annen – who?
Ryan Groy – who, again?
Brandon Dunn – are these guys really Bears?
- Running back Matt Forte :
I’m not sure if he’s talking about a lack of execution, coaching or intestinal fortitude or all three but… well, that is some straight talk.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune on the roughing the passer call on a third quarter Willie Young sack:
“Coach Marc Trestman said the explanation was Young had grabbed [Matthew Stafford’s facemask. He disagreed with that. The bottom line is defensive players run the risk if they end up high on a quarterback when they are trying to make a play.”
I’m pretty sure that Biggs is dead on here. It really didn’t matter what Young did. He came in high on the quarterback and if you do that, the referees are going to find a reason to throw a flag. That’s the way it is.
- For those of you who care about teams other than the Bears, you really should be following the comedy that’s playing itself out in the New York Jets facility. The Jets, both players and coaches, correctly concluded after a week 8 loss to the Bills that quarterback Geno Smith was hopeless. But now by the account of Manish Mehta at the New York Daily New, management is likely forcing head coach Rex Ryan to start him again. Admittedly, given that the back up is Michael Vick, the choices aren’t great. Which, of course, leads to the real problem. The Jets are poorly run, dysfunctional franchise from the top down and there are no quarterbacks to start period.
“Smith fooled the organization with a marginally successful four-game run against non-playoff teams last December. [Jets owner Woody] Johnson shouldn’t let Smith’s play down the stretch in meaningless games cloud the big picture this time: The Jets must draft a franchise quarterback this offseason.
“Meanwhile, Ryan will try to toe the company line with a straight face.”
One Final Thought
Look, man, I know that things are tough for the newspaper industry. But does the Sun-Times really have to run ads for sites like this one? For heavens sake…
- Rick Telander and Jim Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times breakdown the Bears “victory” over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. I had to laugh when Morrissey called the first half “unwatchable” because he literally read my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about what a horrible game it was.
- Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com on the “win”:
“Yes, the Bears did get another win over Tampa. But if they play the same game Thursday in Detroit, they could be looking at another massacre of Patriots- or Packers-like proportion.”
Someone please spare us.
- I certainly do understand why linebacker Lance Briggs didn’t want to talk to the media about his groin injury. But its hard not to see him leaving the locker room before media were allowed in as yet another example of what a poor leader he is. Via Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times. Briggs’ evident lack of respect for Bears head coach Marc Trestman is not helping matter. As Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune reports, Trestman preferred to keep the extent of Briggs’s injury a secret, describing it as “day-to-day”. But Briggs doesn’t really care much about what Trestman wants to do. Once again he put his personal agenda ahead of the team and announced on his television show that he’d be out a few weeks. If there was any doubt about whether Briggs would be back its got to be long gone. He has to go.
- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune quotes Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press on the state of the Lions:
“No one could have forecast their defense playing this well, and [Ndamukong Suh is] the biggest reason why it has.”
You’re kidding, right? Who wouldn’t predict that they would play that well? With all of that talent we’ve predicted it every year. All they needed was a dose of discipline. Evidently the focus that comes with getting a new coaching staff was all it took. There’s no excuse for the way that team under-performed under former head coach Jim Schwartz. He was (and is) a punk and his teams reflected that year after year.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune addresses the pending Suh’s impending free agency. His contract ends five days after the Super Bowl:
“In a late-September report ESPN indicated Suh and the Lions were preparing to part ways and the player was interested in the New York market while the Bears and Cowboys ‘would have some level of interest.’ [Phil] Emery has not engaged in tampering, but he has a track record in three offseasons of being an aggressive player in free agency. He likes making a splash and is driven to put the team in a position to compete for a Super Bowl every season.”
I have certainly had my problems with Suh over the years (who outside of Detroit hasn’t?). Nevertheless, I’d welcome him to Chicago just like everyone else. Having said that, there’s a part of me that really hopes the Bears don’t try to do this. I’m tired of rooting for a team of mercenaries and I don’t think that this is the way to build an organization. There’s something to the argument that the Bears have built a team of “front-runners”, as one assistant coach from a recent opponent put it (read “the Packers”). Admittedly painting with a broad brush:
- free agents who chase the money and/or
- free agents who leave organizations to surround themselves with others who can make them better rather than the other way around and/or
- free agents who go to organizations that can help them win rather than the other way around and/or
- those those who are traded or who force trades because they can’t stick it out where they are…
No matter how careful you are about who you acquire, I’m not so sure those are the people you build around. Let’s be honest, almost by definition they really are, for the most part, front runners. I’d like to see the Bears stop being the Washington Redskins, stay patient and build the team they want with players who have developed the attitude that they want through the draft.
Biggs answers your questions:
“Why doesn’t the Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman pairing work? Talk of benching, offensive regression and now no passes over 10 yards. — @DarrylConrad via Twitter”
“The offense has regressed and is certainly in a slump right now. The downfield passing game has certainly been affected. But that’s not just Cutler. It’s the play calling, the offensive line (that has dealt with a handful of injuries) and the wide receivers, who also haven’t been fully healthy this season.”
I beg to differ. Its now evident that signing Cutler long-term was a mistake. Physically there are no limits to what he can do and this is undoubtedly what led Trestman and Emery to do it. But mentally Cutler is far too limited. He’s a “see it, throw it” quarterback who will never have the ability to throw with anticipation or dissect a defense in the way that is needed to truly succeed at a high level in the NFL. I doubt very much that he’s even trying to extend himself in this direction any more, especially with his money now in hand. All of the things that Biggs mentions are, indeed, problems. But Cutler is the player who is setting the ceiling so low. It might eventually be more than adequate if they start playing with discipline but there’s very little hope that the Bears will ever have a truly elite NFL offense with Cutler throwing the ball.
With all of the talk about Trestman losing the team (as he’s apparently lost Briggs) its worth noting the excellent point that Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times makes in his weekly session with Mark Potash answering fan questions. Its at about 1:25.
- It used to be that immediately cutting a player after poor conduct sent a message to the rest of the team. Apparently .
One Final Thought
Morrissey argues that there’s something wrong with the world if the Bears get to 6-6:
“Whatever happens Thursday, this team is going nowhere. You can’t fix the defense this season. The offense has turned into a bunch of dump-off passes to running back Matt Forte. Either the Bears officially don’t trust Cutler anymore or Trestman has officially misplaced his imagination. “There are people who subscribe to Bill Parcells’ philosophy of being exactly what your record says you are. But if the Bears get to 6-6, their record will be a big, fat liar.”
I really don’t think Morrissey has anything to worry about. This game shows every sign of being a dumpster fire but I can’t see the Lions giving it away this year like they have in the past. Even then, they beat the Bears twice last year. Arkush :
It won’t be 55-14. But one of two things is going to happen: either the Lions will blow them out or it will be a “defensive struggle” where neither team has the competence on offense to move the ball out their own side of the field. Either way this one promises to be another painful prime time crap-fest with the added element that this time you’ll be surrounded by relatives that you can’t look in the eye afterwards.
Overall the Vikings played better and with more discipline than the Bears, probably reflective of some good coaching. And maybe with Adrian Peterson in the lineup, things would have been different. But that aside I still think they have a long way to go before they are going to be able to consistently compete with the Packers, Lions and even the Bears.
- I thought this excerpt from Brad Biggs‘s Ten Thoughts column at the Chicago Tribune was interesting:
“…veteran defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff was practically poking his ears inside the Minnesota huddle and then communicating with his line mates. I asked Ratliff if he had picked up something in terms of the signals.
“‘Why would you ask me that,’ Ratliff said.
“I told him what I saw and he replied: ‘Whatever tidbits or any information you can get, you use. If there is poor huddle integrity, I try to take advantage of that. Maybe that is what you saw. That is not uncommon. Once you hear certain calls, you know the formations they should be in. After a while you develop the ability to read their body language and see where the ball is going. You will have a pretty good idea if it is good info or not. You have to echo the call.’
“Of course, if a team uses a dummy call it could set a defense up for a big play but Ratliff says you know what information you’re processing if you have been doing it long enough.”
- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribunewrites about the challenge that Bears head coach Marc Trestman is facing to his leadership philosophy this season:
“‘One of Marc’s greatest values is leadership — leadership of men, leadership of programs, leadership of people,’ said tight ends coach Andy Bischoff, one of Trestman’s closest confidants. ‘I would just say when you’re not winning, that’s an easy target.'”
That’s true enough. But most people have a tough time with self-discipline. Trestman might be one of the few people out there who doesn’t. He’s going to have to realize that everyone isn’t like him. The team won’t really be disciplined unless he imposes it form the top.
I thought the comments of right tackle Michael Ola may have been the most interesting:
“‘Tres’ job is to have us understand what we’re supposed to do from a schematic standpoint and assignment standpoint, alignment and adjustment,’ he said. ‘Our job is to execute that. Where the disconnect is is somewhere between when it comes in my ear and when I get on the field, and I have to do it.'”
In other words the players aren’t in the right frame of mind when they hit the field. It’s the coach’s job to put them there.
- Someone needs to tell Brandon Marshall to delete that damned Twitter account and concentrate on doing his job.
- Biggs answers your questions:
“Was that the Bears’ best offensive line combination last week? — @TomOMalley23 from Twitter
“I don’t think so. For starters, left guard Matt Slauson is out of the lineup and given the choice between him or center Brian de la Puente playing guard in a pinch, you’re going to go with Slauson every time.
“I thought Michael Ola struggled in the run game, too. On the plays where Matt Forte was stopped for no gain or a very short gain, Ola struggled. Vikings defensive tackle Shariff Floyd beat him on a handful of occasions. Ola has shown real versatility in playing three positions but a healthy Jordan Mills is a better option at right tackle, in my opinion, and the Bears are going to go back to Mills at right tackle when he is healthy. That might not happen this week as he’s still slowed by a rib injury.
“That being said, the line did a pretty nice job against a Vikings defense that has had success rushing the passer this season. Quarterback Jay Cutler was in concert with the line and the offense moved the ball efficiently.”
Agreed on all counts. The Bears offensive line generally struggles with blocking the run and that was made worse with Slauson out. There was a lot of talk early in the season about de la Puente permanently taking the center position from the injured Roberto Garza but I think we all know now that the Bears are better off with the 35 year old Garza in that spot. Calling Mills better than Ola at right tackle is like being the tallest man in a land of midgets. I’d say that the Bears will be in the market for a right tackle and, maybe, a center next year.
- Similarly, I thought at chicagofootball.com was on point:
I think most of us have concluded that if McClellin is going to succeed anywhere now, it will be in the middle. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what the Bears have in mind and the bet here is that he stays on the strong side until he either succeeds or GM Phil Emery is fired.
One Final Thought
Quarterback Jay Cutler basically acknowledges his limitations with this quote. Via Campbell:
“‘[The Bucs are] going to keep the ball in front of them,’ Cutler said. ‘They’re going to zone you out — not a ton of man. They’re going to rely on that front four to get the pressure, bring some pressure from time to time. So we’re just going to have to control the ball, run the ball. We’re going to be throwing into zone coverages, so find your check downs and just try to keep the chains moving.'”
Heaven forbid you might use some of the standard cover-2 beaters that teams all over the league execute when they see this kind of coverage on a consistent basis. But Cutler, a “see-it-throw-it” quarterback, is far too limited to be able to pull off such plays. If you aren’t throwing a “go up and get it ball”, a hook where the receiver can use his body to shield the defender or a check down to a running back or a tightend, he’s out of his depth. So you are left hoping that you can run the ball against such a defense (which is hard to do if you are 21 points down in the first quarter) or you are out of luck.
I hate this match up from a schematic stand point. The Bears have struggled with two deep zones all season and I see little reason to believe that they will do better tomorrow. If this isn’t a game dominated by defense, the Bears may be in trouble.
Unfortunately, on the other side, with two good, tall receivers who will be difficult to cover one-on-one, a zone defense for the Bears is optimal. But the 2014 Bears aren’t generally fast enough or disciplined enough to play zone for most of a game and teams have been carving them up when they’ve done it since the preseason.
The only game left on the schedule after this one that the Bears might be favored to win is the last one against the Vikings – and that’s not a given with it being on the road. They need this one if for no other reason than to prevent the season from going further off the rails. But I really doubt they’re going to get it unless they show me something I haven’t seen yet in week 11.
- David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune has a point:
“‘We’ve got to … put the San Francisco game on, the Jets game on and see why we were able to play four quarters against Atlanta in competitive football games,’ [head coach Marc] Trestman said.
“No need for videotape to remember why the Bears won those games. For starters, the 2-8 Jets and 3-6 Falcons stink. And the 49ers gifted the Bears the victory when quarterback Colin Kaepernick ‘Cutler-ized’ his offense by committing four turnovers. To hear Trestman wax poetically about those victories, the Bears beat the Broncos, Seahawks and ’72 Dolphins.”
In fact, the opponent handed the Bears all three games on a silver platter. It wasn’t a question of who played better. It was who played worse.
Perhaps the biggest misconception that Bears fans and, apparently, the Bears themselves have about this team is that they are inconsistent. They are, in fact, very consistent. It’s the teams they play that determine their fate.
As to the rest of Haugh’s column, I don’t put much stock in calling for firing Marc Trestman or any of the coaches mid-season. My view tends to match that of Brad Biggs, also at the Chicago Tribune:
“Midseason shakeups rarely are successful in the NFL. If defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is blamed and sent packing, I don’t know that that will accomplish anything. Someone needs to answer for these repeated failures, but canning Tucker and moving to the next guy looks a lot like Lovie Smith laying blame on offensive coordinator after offensive coordinator and moving on without ever sustaining success.”
Biggs is right but I will say this. Someone needs to identify what’s wrong before it can be fixed. Based upon what’s coming out of Trestman’s mouth, right now no one can do that. If that’s true, then they’re eventually going to have to hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
Fans live on hope. Its hard to do that when your head coach is “confounded” and “disturbed” and admits that he can’t understand why their great practices don’t translate on to the field. If someone doesn’t do something, faithful fan base or no, there won’t be many of them left in the stands come December.
- Biggs continues:
“The other question worth exploring was whether Trestman believed the roster had enough talent to compete.
“‘The only thing I am going to say to you is we’re not good enough right now,’ [Trestman] replied. ‘As I told our players, there is a good team in there somewhere because we have seen signs of it this year. We’re not a good team right now.'”
I’ve said this before but its worth repeating. When you watch this team live the first thing you notice is how slow they are on defense, especially at linebacker. Whatever the problems are on offense, that’s where I’d start on defense. It’s not going to be a quick fix.
- Biggs also quotes left tackle Jermon Bushrod on how the Packer’s defense managed to dominate the Bears:
“‘They did a lot more movement than they did in the first game,’ Bushrod said. ‘In the first game we were able to dissect everything and figure everything out. They were running line games and T-E’s (tackle-end twists) and run plays. That is something we don’t really see much. We tried to make the necessary adjustments and then they would bring something else. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
This is what’s so frustrating about being a Bears fan (or the fan of any bad team) right now. You see what other teams do, playing multiple fronts and coverages and executing it to the point where the opposition is in total disarray. You want that for your team. But you watch the Bears and they can’t execute even the simplest plays without something going wrong. Multiple fronts? They can’t even successfully execute a pre-snap change from cover two to cover three.
We can talk about lack of talent but this is lack of preparation and coaching. Players are simply not in the right mindset when they hit the field and what they do on the practice field doesn’t translate to the game. There’s simply no other explanation.
I’m not a coach and I don’t know how you fix it. But I’m tired of seeing the Packers do it time and again as they find a way to win while the Bears couldn’t execute their way out of a paper bag. Never has the difference between the Bears and the elite organizations in the NFL been so apparent.
Yes. I haven’t been this frustrated with the team in quite a while.
- Biggs on the move that wasn’t of Jordan Mills from right tackle to left guard:
“‘That is why we shuffled one day, we looked at it,’ [offensive line coach Pete] Meyer said. ‘He did a nice job; it just wasn’t natural. It would have been different probably if it was the right side because he wouldn’t have to shift his stance.
“‘We’re gonna work with him in the offseason and he wants to do it, too. It’s something we’re going to look at just like we’re working different combinations right now because of the position we’re in. The offseason is a good time to do it.'”
Mills’s move was precipitated by the loss of Matt Slauson for the remainder of the season. If they move Mills to guard in the offseason, who sits?
- I’m not looking forward to seeing what New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees might do to that Bears defense.
One Final Thought
Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribune gets credit for the best quote of the week:
“The team has been put together more as a fantasy football squad than a living, breathing entity. An assistant coach for a recent opponent called them the ‘biggest collection of front-runners in the NFL.'”
Couldn’t agree more. I’m sure the assistant coach had Jay Cutler particularly in mind when he said because he’s the classic example of someone who goes as the team goes, not the other way around. But it probably applies to a large part of the rest of them. Packers receiver Randall Cobb may have put it best:
“We knew that if we got up early on them, they may lay down on us.”
This team needs leadership and a large infusion of pride and guts in the worst way.
There’s absolutely nothing I could possible say here that wouldn’t be a waste of both your time and mine.
See you next week.
I probably shouldn’t be surprised by this. But Patrick Finley and Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times report that there are “Lovie guys” in the locker room who, apparently, still haven’t moved on.
on a national report that the Bears are in a shambles and that “the organization feared for Trestman’s job”.
I’m under no such restriction. The report was from Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports. And since we pretty much all know that Arkush is around the team almost every day and that he, more than reporter in Chicago, wouldn’t hesitate to confirm that the Bears were actually in such a state, I’d say its likely that La Canfora doesn’t have a clue about what he’s talking about.
Brandon Marshall‘s brother, Bijon Massie-Marshall sounds like a bright fellow. From the Tribune. The emphasis is mine:
“Citing court records, the channel said Massie-Marshall is alleged to have stolen a car in Colorado’s Douglas County while on probation in June 2013, and that county prosecutors filed charges for aggravated motor vehicle theft in May 2014. It said he was arrested in June and posted bond in August.
He is then accused of robbing an elderly Denver woman at her home in October with what appeared to be a handgun. 9NEWS said Massie-Marshall was arrested, bonded out, and that four days later he was wearing a GPS tracker when he allegedly robbed a store with what appeared to be a handgun. He was arrested again on Oct. 21.”
Insert comment about similarity between brothers here.
Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune addresses what the Bears need to do on defense to make the Packers game more competitive this time around:
“In Week 4, [Packers quarterback Aaron] Rodgers completed 22 of 28 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. His 151.2 passer rating that game stands as the third-best of his career.
“The Bears repeatedly tried to rush four and drop seven in coverage, but defenders couldn’t get off blocks and Rodgers dissected the Bears’ zone coverage. Cornerbacks on the perimeter consistently allowed Packers receivers cushions of at least five yards, and that enabled Rodgers’ quick-passing game.
“Bears coaches have said they plan to adjust the defensive game plan, but Trestman emphasized the unchanged reality that rush and coverage must work together.”
The guess here is that they’ll mix it up more and we’ll see more man-to-man. Certainly they’ll probably try hard to disguise the defense. But, as Trestman implies, its still going to come down to the pass rush from the front four. You’re not going to get anywhere against Rogers by blitzing him over much.
Here’s the best news you’ve heard all week. Every single Tribune writer (not counting Steve Rosenbloom) picked the Packers. There’s not a chance in hell the Bears lose this one.
The Lions are gaining a lot of respect around the league and the #5 ranking that Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has given them is representative of that. Biggs has the Packers at #10. It’s going to be interesting to see how the division shakes out and if they can improve themselves and play to their talent level, the Bears are going to have a chance to play spoiler here. They’ve got two left against the Lions after this week’s Packers game. The Packers might be glad their games against the Bears came closer to the first half of the season than the last half. To my eye the Vikings are getting better as the season rolls on, too. Star running back Adrian Peterson could still be back in uniform this season.
One Final Thought
Biggs answers your questions:
“Does anyone remember that Packers coach Mike McCarthy was 8-8, 13-3 and 6-10 in his first three seasons in Green Bay? Are we not completely jumping the gun on voicing our severe displeasure in this Bears team?– Todd Y., Melbourne, Australia, from email
“I’d agree there has been a rush to judge the Bears, coach Marc Trestman and GM Phil Emery after a half-season. That means half of the season remains and it is certainly worth seeing how this plays out. The team has been hit with some injuries, no question, but find me a team across the league that isn’t in the same position.
“I don’t know if a comparison to McCarthy is appropriate here. For starters, the Bears are not going to reach 13 wins this season. The six-win season for McCarthy, the worst season he’s had, came when Aaron Rodgers was in his first season as the starter and Green Bay was hit with a slew of significant injuries.”
Aaron Rogers aside, the Bears are considerably more talented than Green Bay is or ever was under McCarthy. I wasn’t as high on the Bears this year as most fans but even I wouldn’t hesitate to say that they are under-achieving. I’m not sure that McCarthy’s teams did.
Having said that, we can hope that the Bears will have a better second half. Hell, what else can we do?
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Bears safety Ryan Mundy after the Bears blow out loss to the Patriots last Sunday:
“‘We’re definitely frustrated, upset and disappointed — all those emotions,’ Mundy said. ‘We’ve just got to stick together — that’s the most important thing. At times like this, it’s really easy to have the worst in people come out, especially with all the arrows that are being thrown our way. Our job as a team is to stick together.'”
There’s a lot of truth to that, of course. But more importantly I think your job as a team is to do your job as individuals. Right now its pretty rare to find a play where all 11 guys have been doing that. Tight end Martellus Bennett might have put it best (via Patrick Finley, also at the Chicago Sun-Times):
“‘It’s not just Jay [Cutler]. It’s the offensive line. It’s the running backs. It’s the tight ends. It’s the wide receivers. He’s the quarterback, so everybody always looks at him. But we have to make sure all the guys around there are doing their jobs.
“‘Jay does his job, we do our jobs and we’re O.K. I think that’s the biggest thing: that everyone around has to look at themselves. I’m not here to judge Jay or talk about Jay. I only can look in the mirror and see what I have to do and what I can do better to help my teammates out. And that’s what it’s really about.'”
- From Brad Biggs‘s film review in the Chicago Tribune:
“Cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner had their way with [Brandon] Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The duo combined for only 72 receiving yards before Cutler was pulled. Marshall was unable to create separation and Jeffery didn’t fare much better.”
Miami’s Cortland Finnegan also blanketed Marshall the week before allowing double coverage on Jeffery for much of that game. This is a major issue. I’m wondering if Marshall is still hurt. He has that look about him. Biggs would seem to agree:
“Maybe it is a sign that Marshall, while healthy, isn’t all the way back from that ankle injury. But who knows what to believe? One week he feels explosive. The next week he says the injury should have kept him out a month. But it is one of the issues plaguing an offense that is short on explosive plays.”
In any case if these two don’t start getting open more, the Bears season will end even worse than most fans suspect at this point.
- I’m sure everyone has pictures of this billboard. But just in case:
- Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com answers your questions:
“From @imx007: What’s the chance (the) Bears owners follows lead of the Blackhawks and Cubs and actually put real football people in?
“Ted Phillips is the team President and he has no football background at all. He is a very good accountant and was the team’s finance guy when Virginia McCaskey replaced her oldest son Michael with him. Actually, Michael was elevated to Chairman of the Board and Philips became President but the net effect was to move the family out of the day-to-day operations of the team. To Phillips’ credit, his first major move was to change Michael’s policy of not having a GM;…[Jerry] Angelo and [Phil] Emery were and are football people. The two questions are: 1. Are/were they the right football people; and 2. Should they be reporting to a football person? The first answer is it’s starting to look uncertain, but it’s still too soon to give up on Emery. The answer to number two, I think, is most definitely yes.”
There’s a flaw in this logic in that ultimately a non-football person has to decide which football person to hire. I see little difference between Phillips doing it in collaboration with ownership and ownership simply doing it on their own.
In the end, Phil Emery is making the football decisions. I don’t have a problem with that. As Arkush says, its a little early to tell, but I think the team’s drafts have gotten decidedly better, especially at the top, under his leadership. Whether Marc Trestman was the right hire as head coach is debatable but there is certainly a lot to like about him as an offensive mind and quarterback coach. I applauded this hire at the time for exactly those reasons. We’ll just have to wait and see if his leadership style either catches hold with the team or changes with the circumstances.
- Biggs makes the point that the biggest adjustment that the Bears have to make in the second half is to get the running game in order. This is one traditional way to beat the zone defenses the Bears have been seeing this year:
“There’s too much window dressing to the ground game and not enough brawn and muscle. Alshon Jeffery coming in motion on a fake jet sweep isn’t leaving opposing defensive coaches studying film deep into the night. The Bears must commit to running rough, dominating the line of scrimmage.
“‘We have an offensive line that can block the run,’ Trestman said. ‘And we have a very good running back.'”
The latter is definitely true. Whether the former is true is yet to be seen.
- Honestly, does anyone care what Michael Irvin thinks?
One Final Thought
Could this possibly be the ever cynical Hub Arkush that we’ve come to know and love?
“From @mosconml: Let’s not kid ourselves, the playoff hopes are done. Who’s looking good at MLB, SS and FS in the draft?
“Well, first of all you’re wrong. In my preseason predictions, I had the Bears at 4-5 coming out of Lambeau, and winning six of their last seven to go 10-6 and claim a wild card. I don’t feel that way anymore, but to say it’s no longer possible is just wrong. Apparently you haven’t been watching the NFL recently. Two weeks ago the Saints were done at 2-4 and now they’re in first place in the NFC South. Many times even 9-7 can get you into the playoffs. I hate what the Bears have done so far like everyone else, but let’s let it play out at least three more weeks before we bury them.”
Couldn’t agree more.