- Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com grades the Bears effort against the Lions:
“There are a number of things that jump off the tape of the Bears’ 34-17 loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
“But no matter how many times you watch it, you are drawn back to the failure of Marc Trestman and his coaching staff to put the Bears in a position to win.
“On offense, the Bears threw the ball 48 times and ran it just eight, including 29 passes and just one rushing attempt in the second half.
“It is clear from early in the third quarter on that the Lions’ defense abandons any concern about the run and on almost every Bears snap. Detroit’s front four pin their ears back and race to the passer while six and often seven defenders drop into coverage and clog the passing lanes.”
This was my initial thought as well. However, there are a couple caveats to consider before really taking off on Trestman:
- The screen is designed to slow the pass rush. Correctly execute the screen passes and the Lions have to respect at least that much before “pinning their ears back”. So the game plan isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds in that respect.
- According to Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriots ran the ball just 15 times in a victory against the Jets this season.
The real problem here wasn’t the game plan. It was the Bears failure to execute it. The margin for error when you are “dinking and dunking” down the field is extremely slim. Said another way, the Bears aren’t the 49ers of the 1980s, who executed such game plans with regularity, and they certainly aren’t Patriots.
- John Mullin at csnchicago.com on the departure of linebacker Lance Briggs:
“Briggs will probably leave the NFL after this season in much the same way as running mate Brian Urlacher did in early 2012 and Charles Tillman may after this season — still possessed of some skills, an abundance of savvy, but with health and age questions that will discourage pretty much any suitors, including the Bears.”
Mullin apparently forgets that Urlacher had offers which were commensurate with his remaining skills and health status. He chose to deny that reality and blame the Bears for his situation. Briggs will choose the path he takes in much the same way.
- John Mullin at csnchicago.com makes a pretty good point. He doesn’t ask whether defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will be fired but asks who will be there to replace him if he is?
“But the reason the Bears once wound up with John Shoop as offensive coordinator was that in late-2000, then-coordinator Gary Crowton left to coach BYU. Dick Jauron and the Bears finished 5-11 in 2000, a regression from 6-10 in Jauron’s first year. The assumption around the NFL was that Jauron was done after one more year.
“Chris Palmer and others (Marc Trestman was a candidate) were willing to take the offensive-coordinator job but wanted a three-year contract before they made that move. The Bears organization wasn’t willing to make that deal, and Shoop was promoted instead after the Bears won two of their last three.
“The Bears may have changed and would consider a multi-year deal for coordinators in that situation. Doubtful, though.”
If I had to choose a new coordinator for this defense it would probably be Rex Ryan, who is almost certainly out as head coach of the Jets. He might be willing to come for the sake of the family history with the franchise. But something tells me the McCaskey’s wouldn’t look kindly on the hire of the bombastic Ryan, preferring someone who is more bland and less likely to embarrass the franchise.
- Matt Miller, the NFL Draft Lead Writer at the Bleacher Report has Jameis Winston going to the New York Jets with the fifth pick in the draft. Buckle your seat belts.
He has the Bears picking Kentucky defensive end Bud Dupree with the 13th pick.
- Also from Miller:
“Let’s end the week on a bright note. Any NFL team looking for a new general manager needs to call the Kansas City Chiefs and ask to speak with Chris Ballard.
“I actually did that this week, but Ballard was unavailable to chat in-season. Here’s what I know of him, though: At least one NFL team wanted him as its general manager last year, and more will this season after watching the Chiefs play much better than anyone expected. He’s smart, dedicated and experienced enough to know how to both evaluate and value talent (something many first-time general managers fail at).
“If a general manager job comes open and Ballard is given the opportunity to hire his own head coach, he’ll be at the top of many wish lists this spring.”
Ballard was formerly with the Bears and that “at least one NFL team” who wanted him as its general manager last year was rumored at the time to be Tampa Bay. But Ballard undoubtedly knew that the real GM was going to be Lovie Smith and he undoubtedly knew from bitter experience better that to take that job.
- Mike Tanier is always entertaining and this preview of the Vikings-Panthers matchup Sunday was no exception:
“[Teddy] Bridgewater is one of many Vikings players with the potential to get much better, so staying healthy should be a priority for him. In a league where [Robert] Griffin moves in the pocket like it’s his first time on a lobster boat and Cam Newton moves like it hurts to blink, self-preservation may be a young quarterback’s smartest move. The Vikings could be a dangerous team next year. Until then, slide, Teddy, slide!”
One Final Thought
Lance Briggs has slowed quite a bit and he’s been a disappointment as a team leader. But even I was surprised when almost 90% of the same people who blindly expressed their desire to keep local favorite Jordan Lynch on the team voted to let Briggs go after the season.
Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times provided what I believe was a thoughtful perspective:
“I suspect we’ll appreciate Briggs more when he’s gone than we did while he was here. He and the city need a break from each other. Fans weren’t happy with his contract demands or with how much his play had slipped the past few seasons. But eventually the memory of a linebacker making play after play will win out. As it should.”