Sometimes You Don’t Need to Be an Expert to See that “Something Isn’t Right”

A long time ago I was in a situation where I was working in a departmental office where my boss’s boss’s boss happened to have his door right down the hall from where we worked. Occasionally, because his door was right there, he could hear the chatting out in the hall. And every once in a while he’d wander through with this thoughtful look on his face.

He was so far removed from the specific day to day running of the office that he really couldn’t judge exactly what was going on but eventually he was heard to say that he could just tell that something wasn’t right about the way that the office was being run. Changes were eventually made.

This came to mind as I ready this comment from Adam Jahns at The Athletic on Monday.

“At 3:32 p.m. Sunday, Chicago Bears team president Kevin Warren cut through his team’s locker room inside Soldier Field.

“There were more media members than players in it.

“But quarterback Justin Fields was still there.

“His uniform and pads were still on.

“Wide receiver Chase Claypool had a locker with his nameplate on it, too.

“Warren walked past that empty stall as well.

” With the game book of the Bears’ devastating 31-28 loss in his right hand, Warren exited the locker room, jumped on a cart with team security and was gone.

“You have to wonder what he’s thinking about the team he’s in charge of right now.”

You do, indeed. But, honestly, you don’t have to be a football executive or even anyone particularly close to the day-to-day operations of the team to know that “something isn’t right”.

The thoughts of Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune parallel my own.

“[Former Bears head coach Marc] Trestman’s last team finished 5-11. This Bears team is 0-4 and has lost 14 consecutive games dating to the last win on Oct. 24, 2022, at New England. To reach five victories this season, the Bears would have to become a lot more competitive and do so quickly. Does anyone see a path to five wins in the remaining 13 games? The 2014 Bears are the franchise leaders for dysfunction in the last three decades, but this group is on a path to the most futility and the Claypool incident sure makes the mind wander back to nine years ago.

As Biggs acknowledges, the Trestman situation was much worse. He was trying to handle some truly difficult personalities like Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett. But still when Biggs elaborates on the comments from head coach Matt Eberflus on the status of what wide receiver Chase Claypool after the game Sunday, it isn’t hard to figure out why thoughts are starting to wander that way.

“Eberflus said the decision to sit Claypool and play Equanimeous St. Brown (41 snaps by my unofficial count) had nothing to do with his media comments Friday. OK, then what?

“‘When you look at actives or inactives every single week, what we do is we obviously evaluate meetings,’ Eberflus said. ‘We evaluate walk-throughs. We evaluate practice, and we do that every single week and then we declare actives or inactives based on that. And this week, Claypool was inactive.'”

“The situation got messier after the game when Eberflus indicated Claypool had the option to attend the game — which all inactive players do — or remain home, an unusual step.

“‘We told him that it was a choice,’ Eberflus said. ‘And he’s at home right now.'”

“Later, a club official said the team ordered Claypool not to attend the game. Confused yet? What’s really puzzling is Eberflus seemed surprised by some of the questioning when this involves a guy who should be a main cog in the offense.”

Add this to the way that Eberflus and the Bears handled the chaotic events of two weeks ago when quarterback Justin Fields said that coaching played a role in his robotic play and when defensive coordinator Alan Williams abruptly resigned, and a picture starts to emerge. And its not good.

Let’s concentrate on the Claypool incident.

You have to wonder how a head coach can so badly fumble the answer to a simple question that he has to know that he’s going to be asked. I know there’s a lot to think about on game day but surely you have to have thought about the fact that you were going to be asked about Claypool and have planned your answer. Surely you have gotten together with other members of the organization to get your story straight.

At bare minimum somebody associated with the team should have been in Eberflus’ ear before he stepped to the podium to make sure that everything was on point.

Instead we got what you see above. A fumbled answer, followed by a communication from the team that basically indicated that what the head coach plainly said was wrong.

You can try to tell me that these events have nothing to do with the performance of the team. But I will claim, and have always claimed, that this is wrong. Events on and off the field form a whole, connected picture and they are indelibly linked by the common denominator that the same people are involved in both.

This is the situation that Bears fans find themselves in. Most of them are not qualified to judge “scheme” or “play calling” despite the fact that they think they are. But there are many indications that you can look at that draw you to the same conclusion that higher up so long ago did in my own situation.

Something isn’t right about how things are being run. And that, more than anything else, is the Bears problem.

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