- Alshon Jeffery didn’t seem to have a good explanation for why he was dropping passes all over the field Sunday. Via Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune:
“‘You’ve got to catch the ball,’ Jeffery said. ‘Some of them probably were just me trying to catch and turn before I had the ball. But most of all, I still have to catch the ball.'”
I know that balls coming from a different quarterback can often look different and these transition take some getting used to. That might be particularly true after taking balls from Cutler all year. He routinely fires the ball particularly hard trying to fit it into tight windows to receivers who are barely open by the time it gets there.
The Bears receivers might also have needed to get used to the ball coming out before they go into their breaks. I’m sure they knew that going in but knowing it is one thing, experiencing it is something else.
- Dominic Raiola claims that stomping on Ego Ferguson‘s leg was a “total accident”. It sure as hell didn’t look like a total accident. It looked like the kind of Ndamukong Suh-type thug move the Lions have been known for. Apparently the Jim Schwartz effect doesn’t wear off too easily. From the Chicago Tribune.On a related note, I can’t wait to hear what Brandon Marshall has to say about the Lions center on Inside the NFL this week.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune evaluates running back Matt Forte‘s performance Sunday:
“Forte ran hard, carrying would-be tacklers with him on a handful of occasions. He made a poor attempt at pass blocking against Jason Jones on the fourth-and-1 play at the goal line as Jones and blitzing linebacker Ashlee Palmer forced Clausen to roll out and throw off-balance.”
Forte has been struggling a bit in protection, particularly in recent weeks. Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times cites some Pro Football Focus stats and claims that the problem dates back to last year. This might be an area to work on in the offseason. The inconsistencies on the offensive line haven’t helped.
- Potash on the FOX broadcast Sunday:
“Last week, ESPN’s Jon Gruden called for Jimmy Clausen to replace Cutler. This week, Fox analyst Troy Aikman took his shot.
“‘I think [Cutler’s benching] goes beyond performance,’ Aikman said on the Bears-Lions telecast, ‘and is real reflective of whatever Jay Cutler is or isn’t as a leader or someone who inspires the play of those around him.'”
The guess here is that Cutler is suffering for past sins with the national media. I never heard the generally positive Gruden go after anyone like he did Cutler. I can’t imagine what Cutler did to piss him off but it must have been pretty bad. In that respect, Cutler might be getting what he deserves.
- Kicker Robbie Gould just can not keep his mouth shut. Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times sees through the hypocrisy:
“‘It’s not the Bear way. This whole season is not the Bear way. Pointing fingers, things getting out of the locker room, that’s not the Chicago Bear way. And I think for me, being around an organization for 10 years, seeing guys like Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, who most likely have walked through the tunnel the last time — it’s tough. We weren’t taught this way under Lovie (Smith, the Bears’ previous head coach).
“‘We weren’t taught to do these things, and we stayed together as close-knit as we possibly could. You don’t have to like everybody, you don’t need to like everybody. But you have to respect everybody and go to work for those people. It’s unfortunate for everyone because it’s not the Chicago Bear way.’
“The Chicago Bear way – is that when a kicker questions his head coach’s decisions?
“The Chicago Bear way – is that when Briggs misses a practice the week of the first regular-season game to fly to California for the grand opening of his new restaurant? Let’s not get nostalgic. Almost from the start, the pining for the Lovie era by veterans undercut Trestman’s ability to do his job.”
I consider Gould’s comments not just to be a betrayal to the team and the coaching staff but a form of cowardice. With Trestman having one foot out the door, the odds were good that there would be no repercussions for Gould.
- Cedric Benson apparently still hasn’t learned that nothing good happens at two in the morning. No surprise there. From the Austin American-Statesman.
- Given his performance against the Bears on Sunday, I find Lions head coach Jim Caldwell‘s assertion that quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s value to the team is being underestimated to be laughable. Via Josh Alper at profootballtalk.com.
One Final Thought
David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune has been sharply critical of virtually everything at Halas Hall for the last month and his reaction to the news that the Bears would go back to quarterback Jay Cutler after Jimmy Clausen came up with a concussion Sunday was no exception:
“[General manager Phil] Emery should have knocked at the door, asked [head coach Marc] Trestman to turn off his book on tape, and ordered the coach to start rookie David Fales against the Vikings. If Trestman refused, Emery should have fired him — something likely to happen next Monday anyway.”
It’s not that simple and Haugh knows it. It’s easy to say that but you still have an entire team that needs to believe that the organization is still trying to win on Sunday. Even more, if Fales isn’t ready to start then you could do quite a bit more harm than good throwing him into the fire. Its worth noting that both Wiederer and Rich Campbell also disagree with Haugh.
I don’t like the idea of starting Cutler. I thought Clausen had a chance of beating the Vikings but I don’t think Cutler will be able to do anything different against what is sure to be the kind of defense that has had him snake bitten all year – the kind that Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as much as said he should have played after the last game. I thought Clausen was beginning to do some of the things that are necessary to break out of it, even if it was only the last game at stake. But you have to do what you have to do and Cutler probably does give them a better chance to win, small as those chances may be.
Having said all that, I’m not the kind of horrible person who would wish injury on anyone but I must admit that there is a part of me that would like to see something else happen that might allow us to see something of Fales on Sunday. As it is, I think we are all in for another frustrating afternoon of watching Cutler and the Bears offense flounder.