Some Perspective on “The Replacements” and Other Points of View


  • Cole Schultz at Pro Football Focus points out something I’ve also noticed:

“The offensive line may be the common scapegoat in Chicago, but the interior only gave up one quarterback disruption (108 pass blocking snaps), compared with the three disruptions given up by halfbacks (15 pass blocking snaps).”

Practically speaking it really doesn’t matter who is messing up the protections. But the reality is that we should be talking a lot more about the aspects of that protection that have little to do with the offensive line. It’s been a team effort.

  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune gives us a little insight into new left guard Chilo Rachal:

“[Running back Michael] Bush got a little help from newcomer Chilo Rachal. He was promoted to the starting lineup at left guard last week to give the Bears a little more nasty, and he did that Sunday.

“‘Chilo brings that edge to the offensive line and he doesn’t take a lot of grief in there,’ quarterback Jay Cutler said of the former 49er. ‘He’s a big guy. He’s kind of a mauler and I feel comfortable with him in there.'”

“This was Chilo’s kind of party.

“‘A physical, nasty game,’ Rachal said. ‘The physicality of a game like this, I get a kick off that.'”

  • Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Rachal on the Rams mouthy tendencies:

“‘They talk a lot, they talk a lot, extremely a lot,’ Bears starting left guard Chilo Rachal said of St. Louis’ defense. ‘And I feel like it’s unnecessary. Everyone is a competitor, and when you’re losing, I guess you feel like you need to talk mess, but I think it’s unnecessary.'”

“Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware versus Bears left tackle J’Marcus Webb. Earlier this season Ware became the second-fastest defender to reach 100 sacks behind Reggie White. He is one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers. Webb has struggled against elite speed rushers. The Bears will have to give Webb plenty of help to neutralize Ware.”

  • Cowley thinks the usually boring Bears might be getting interesting. First Brandon Marshall appears to be in a feud with former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp after Sapp called him a “retard”. Marshall responds in two YouTube videos below:

“‘When I look at Warren Sapp, I can’t go to him and talk about finances because he filed for bankruptcy,’ Marshall said in the first of two online videos. ‘I can’t go to him and talk about my marriage because he filed for divorce. I can’t go to him and talk about being a great father when one day I have children because he’s not active in his children’s lives.

“‘So the lesson we should all learn here is, surround yourself with good people and be careful who you take counsel from.

“‘I’m not saying he’s been there on my side giving me counsel, but that’s not a guy that I can go to.'”

To no one’s surprise, Jay Cutler finally decided to fire back at D.J. Moore by saying he needed “a muzzle”. Because escalating such things in the media is what team leaders do.

Even Lovie Smith got testy with a reporter Monday:

“In his news conference, Smith was asked by a reporter about having bumpy offensive starts for several seasons, and when he thought he was interrupted, he said, ‘If you let me finish … I don’t need your help. Believe me, I don’t need your help.'”

  • I’ve given the cornerbacks their due credit before but, as Pompei points out, the safeties also deserve some credit for a solid start to the season. I thought this observation was interesting:

“In addition to making the play of the game on a pick-six, Major Wright tackled well. He came up and took down running back Daryl Richardson in the open field. Wright hasn’t always made the tackle in similar situations in the past.”

“‘That’s expected,’ Peppers said. ‘That’s nothing to be patting anybody on the back about. We should be playing like that.'”

“‘I’ll tell you something that a player told me a long time ago. (Longtime offensive lineman) Pete Kendall said there is a point in your career where your body flies around and your mind doesn’t know what it is doing. And then it comes to a point where it levels off. And then eventually you reach a point where it goes the other direction, your mind knows it and your body is just trying to get there. I am not going to say he is at that point. Like I said, you will probably be able to tell better by the end of the season. But I have all the respect in the world for the guy. In my opinion, he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s a great player.'”

  • Biggs quotes Geno Hayes on his near block of a Rams punt in the endzone in the fourth quarter:

“During the course of the game you start learning more things, their calls, when they called a check I knew he was going to slide out. So, when he slid out, the wing went inside and it gave us off edge. Once you get in the game and you can hear certain things, you know what is going to happen.”

  • David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune takes Jay Cutler to task for his spotty performance against the Rams. To my eye, Cutler’s mechanics haven’t been as good this year as they were last year. I wonder if there’s anyone on the staff who can coach him hard enough to correct them.
  • The staff at the Chicago Sun-Times give us this perceptive comment:

“Lost in the hysteria of the Seahawks’ 14-12 victory over the Packers on Monday night was the Packers’ recovery from an abominable start.

“Aaron Rodgers was under siege like Jay Cutler on the Bears’ worst night. He was sacked eight times in the first half but kept his composure and avoided disaster. He had no turnovers in the onslaught, and the Packers trailed only 7-0.

“It makes a difference. When Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half against the Giants in 2010, he was intercepted once, fumbled three times, lost one, had a 40.7 passer rating and left the game with a concussion. On Monday night, Rodgers was still standing with nary a turnover and a 90.6 passer rating (12-for-15, 86 yards). There’s a reason why he has thrown just one pick-six in 79 NFL games (2,468 attempts including the postseason).

“The Packers were on tilt but responded in the second half, allowing zero sacks. In 10 games in which Rodgers has been sacked five times or more, he has thrown 16 touchdown passes and nine interceptions with an average passer rating of 91.5.”

  • Former Bears linebacker Roosevelt Colvin isn’t a big Cutler fan. Biggs points out that he’s posted a number of verey negative tweets on the subject. Colvin gave this interesting response to a direct question about it from Biggs in which he also got a dig in on Mike Tice:

“‘I read body language a lot and a lot of the body language [Cutler] gives off, it seems like it doesn’t matter or if it matters it’s not my fault. You see the episode with the tackle last week, yelling at him because he messed up and the semi-bump with the shoulder. I just feel there are better ways to handle things.

“‘That’s not to say guys like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady or Eli Manning don’t get upset and yell at their players, but the dude did a decent job blocking one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. There was that one play where he got kind of caught up and didn’t block the guy correctly but you’ve got to lean on your offensive coordinator. Mike Tice has got to understand, ‘Hey, chip the guy instead of just letting the back run out in the flat.’ These are things that I came to understand in New England and made me feel like Bill Belichick is hands-down the best football coach in NFL history because of those types of things — it’s matchups. It’s all about matchups. You’ve got to make adjustments. If you see the guy is struggling, if you’re Jay Cutler go to the coach and say, ‘Hey, instead of letting the back release out right now, why don’t we take him out and chip Clay Matthews to give the dude a little help. That will buy me an extra two seconds to allow me to read the play and be more successful.’

“‘But you don’t see that. He gets a bad rap. You see him yelling at another guy and you see his head down. It’s upsetting. But, you know, he represents the state of Indiana so I continue to support him.”‘

“Ever since Mike Martz was jettisoned last year, Mike Tice was anointed and Jeremy Bates was brought in, the Bears have stated how their approaches would change to give Cutler the extra time he needs and to utilize some of his special traits. One such approach that the Bears have preached constantly was to employ designed QB rollouts. I have yet to see this used much. What happened to the Bears plans in this area? — Mike Otte, Duarte, Calif.

“The Bears used Cutler on rollouts three times against the Rams, Mike. That’s not very much. I agree with you they should be using rollouts more. When Cutler was in Denver, he was used in moving pockets much more frequently by Mike Shanahan, and he was very effective in those situations. I’ve been banging the drum on this topic since Cutler became a Bear. It makes sense not only because Cutler is good on the move, but also because the Bears have struggled to pass protect. For whatever reason, Bears offensive coordinators Tice, Martz and Ron Turner all have had other ideas. It’s possible rollouts will have a bigger place in game plans moving forward.”

“The Rams played a lot of press man coverage and also used some combination coverage to blanket Marshall. Press man is what the Bears can expect to see from the Cowboys and cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.”

“Let’s talk about the offense: Do you think it will snap out of this funk? — @Pankster198, from Twitter

“Yes I do. The offense is too good to play the way it has in the last two games. Cutler goes in streaks, and he’s been in a bad one. I anticipate he’ll get on a hot one soon. The offense should be better later in the season if players stay healthy because offensive coordinator Mike Tice should understand the strengths and weaknesses of his players and plays better as time goes on, and new players should integrate more efficiently.”

But I’m sorry to say that I, myself, don’t think this Audible from Pro Football Weekly is far off the mark:

“I don’t know why there has been a love affair in the media with the Bears. The O-line sucks. The running backs are injury-prone. The receivers are overrated. The defense is old. That is not a good football team. And the quarterback (Jay Cutler) has such bad body language. He is very talented, but if they don’t sign him (to an extension), I don’t see anyone paying him a lot of money. Someone would pay him, but it would be a team like Kansas City or Miami, where a job is on the line and they have to win now. It would be a desperation move. When you break him down, he is not very good. He’s taken a step backward.”

  • Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis pokes fun at the Bears victory over the Rams on Sunday.


  • I realize that I”m probably in the minority here but CBS’s insistence on showing the end of each ongoing noon game before taking you to your 3:15 game is very annoying. I don’t want to see flashes of games I haven’t been following just because they are coming to an end, even in over time. I want to see my new game from the beginning so I can judge the changes as it progresses.
  • Really touching Steve Sabol memorial commercial during the Bronco-Texans game (after they finally switched me to it). Great job on that.

From Chase Stuart at The New York Times:

“Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady were outstanding in 2011. Rodgers broke the passer rating record, and Brees broke the passing yards record. Tom Brady also broke the passing yards record and finished second to Rodgers in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A). The three quarterbacks were the clear class of the N.F.L., and the Patriots, the Packers and the Saints were the only teams to top 500 points, going a combined 41-7.

“But this year, all three quarterbacks are struggling. Together the teams are a combined 2-7 and barely resemble their 2011 versions. The Patriots are only fifth in the A.F.C. in scoring, while the Packers have outscored only three teams in the N.F.C. Brady ranks 10th in ANY/A so far this year, which is fantastic compared to the ugly spots Brees (23rd) and Rodgers (26th) occupy.”

  • I thought this Audible signaled good things for the Bears:

“I think teams have begun to figure out the Lions. They are very aggressive up front. They get after it (defensively), but the Niners showed you can use it against them and trap the (heck) out of ’em. They are struggling on defense right now.”

If you watched what the Bears did on the offensive line against the Rams, it was exactly this kind of strategy and it worked like a charm in the first half. The Rams eventually adjusted but can the Lions? I have my doubts and even if they do it will take some bite out of the effectiveness of that defensive line.

“I especially enjoy your postgame grading columns. I think it would be great to join you as you review film to come up with the grades so fans could see more into the game than what we only see during the game. — Al Harris

Glad you like the Film Session, Al. If you joined me for one, you might be pretty bored though. It’s a long process that takes hours and hours. I watch most plays over and over and over, pausing, rewinding, playing, pausing, rewinding, playing. Caffeine usually is a prerequisite, especially after a night game!”

Having done this myself before, I can tell you he’s not kidding. It took me an average of 10 hours to completely breakdown a game (with many inaccuracies). In the end I concluded that it was impossible to have a job and do it. Fortunately for Pompei it is his job but I sincerely hope for the sake of his sanity that he’s faster and better than I was.

One Final Thought

I confess that I didn’t even read most of the coverage of the emotional upheaval generated by the Packers-Seahawks game. But it did appear to be becoming dangerous. Like most fans, I was just trying to quietly ride out the referee labor stoppage and enjoy the games as they are. But maybe – just maybe – things really had gotten out of hand. Links from The Onion and The Sports Pickle.

I suppose you know things had gotten bad when this happens. From Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune:

“It was announced Tuesday that is granting all of its members a weekly “Replacement Refs Mulligan,” which can be used to refund any bet that lost because of a controversial call.

“’While we’re an online sportsbook, we’re sports fans first. And this NFL season is unbelievably painful to watch, mainly because of the incompetence of replacement refs,’ Dave Johnson, head oddsmaker at, said in a release. ‘We feel for sports bettors, so we’re giving every one of our members a Replacement Ref Mulligan that they can use once a week.'”


Quick Game Comments: Bears Vs. Rams, September 23, 2012


  1. The Bears game plan was pretty solid. They came out running and throwing the short pass to protect the offensive line in pass protection.
  2. The Rams came out in a standard 4-3 and played that for most of the game. They did blitz quite a bit when the situation called for it. This is different from the coverage defense they played in their first two games. It didn’t seem to discombobulate the Bears, too much though. The Bears countered by throwing a number of very effective screen passes, once again protecting the line in the process.
  3. It has to be noted that the pass protection really still wasn’t that good in that the Rams still got occasional pressure in passing situations. The Bears offensive line was jumpy as a result and there were a number of false start and holding penalties, some of which were rather damaging (see Miscellaneous).
  4. Eventually the Rams starting bringing extra guys into the box to stop the run. This was effective to a degree but it didn’t really stop the Bears from doing it.
  5. Michael Bush ran well in place of Matt Forte as expected. Kahlil Bell also ripped off some good runs.
  6. Like many of the linemen, Chilo Rachal had a rough afternoon with some missed blocks and some penalties.
  7. 4th and 1 with about 3 minutes left in the first quarter and Bush gets it. That’s a lot different from last year.
  8. I spotted the Rams putting five defenders on the line of scrimmage though not often. I thought it was interesting, though. Maybe it was a response to the Bears running game.
  9. Though he wasn’t particularly accurate, I liked the way that Jay Cutler was trying to be patient and not do too much. Generally speaking, Cutler didn’t force passes on third down but instead settled for something short and the punt when it was called for.
  10. The Bears were really pulling linemen all over the place and trapping defensive linemen in the running game. On one long Bell run, Gabe Carimi pulled from right tackle all the way to the left to spring him.
  11. J’Marcus Webb wasn’t really any more terrible than anyone else on the line.
  12. The Bears were also bringing in extra linemen to block. Real power football.
  13. Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan had a very good game. These guys are pretty good in single coverage. That’s a pretty good couple cornerbacks to build around.
  14. The Rams started bracketing Brandon Marshall in the second half. They really should have done it more in the first half but at least they made the adjustment.
  15. I thought the Bears not as effective with the run in the second half in the face of extra men in the box, either. One wonders if the Rams didn’t adjust to all of the trap blocking they were doing, too.


  1. The Rams game plan seemed to be to run set up by the short pass. The Bears were in standard nickel/4-3. Nothing fancy though, like the Rams, they also did blitz when the situation called for it.
  2. The pass rush was once again pretty good but it generally came in obvious passing situations when they could sell out to the pass rush. It came from a lot of guys. This is crucial to future success.
  3. Danny Amendola wasn’t especially damaging, presumably because D.J. Moore did a good job covering him.
  4. When Sam Bradford gets out of the pocket he’s really pretty fast.
  5. It was another great game for both corner backs.
  6. I spotted the Bears at one point with three down linemen. Interesting twist.
  7. The Rams made some halftime adjustments on offense, too. They came out in no huddle. They were also running more and using it to set up the pass – the opposite of how they started. They were effective with the run until they got two touchdowns down and had to pass.
  8. I didn’t watch him all of the time but I thought maybe Urlacher played better today. I think he’s back in the swing now.


    1. Dick Stockton, John Lynch and sideline reporter Jennifer Hale were all solid if not spectacular. I can’t say there were any earth shattering insights.
    2. Way, way too many penalties on both sides. Especially on the Bears offensive line. Rachal had some false starts. Lance Lewis had one. Webb had a damaging holding penalty that offset a pass interference call on the Rams which could have gotten the Bears a lot of yardage. They were jumpy against the Rams pressure. Mario Haggan had an unnecessary roughness call that kept the drive alive that resulted in the Bears first field goal. The unnecessary roughness call on Julius Peppers also kept a drive going in the second half.
    3. Too, too many drops. Alshon Jeffery and Marshall and Devin Hester were all amongst the major guilty parties. Both Jeffery and Marshall are known for it but that’s not any reason to consider it to be acceptable. The Rams receivers had more than their share of drops as well. Jenkins had a particularly bad drop of an interception.
    4. I have to say that strategy-wise I thought the Rams did a pretty good job this game. Generally speaking I think halftime adjustments are overrated but their theirs on both sides of the ball (above) were pretty effective as far as they went.
    5. Turnovers are never good but I won’t say it was a particularly bad game in that respect except the Bears are never happy when they aren’t getting them. Major Wright’s interception was huge. A wonderful play. I think the Bears are doing a better job of defending that slant after being burned so badly by the Packers with it last year.
    6. Special teams were OK but this whole game was typified by the end of the first half. The Rams were going to punt but the Bears were unprepared. They called time out and that gave the Rams time to reconsider. They put in the kicker and, poof, 3 points.


The Bears players made some plays but I sincerely hope that this is the sloppiest game we see all year. There were times when it seemed like a comedy of errors on both sides, some of them very damaging. You expect that from a talented but young (and bad) team like the Rams. This game was, as far as I could tell, much like their first two in that respect. But the Bears have no excuse. They were constantly putting themselves in ugly situations and when they made good plays, they were often shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes that neutralized them.

The Bears do not have the talent to play football like this. They won’t win many games like this one in the future.


The Qualities of Leadership and Other Points of View


  • Despite the absence of running back Matt Forte I think you should expect the Bears to get off the bus running this week. The Rams apparently would agree. Jim Thomas at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes linebacker James Laurinaitis:

“‘We have a lot of respect for their ability to run it,’ Laurinaitis said. ‘They’re going to come out running the ball. It’s fun to get back to kind of a normal offense this week. This first week (Detroit) it was a lot of spread-out throwing, and then last week (Washington) a lot of college stuff mixed in.'”

  • Here’s a surprise from Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune :

“Typically, teams that are rooted in the Cover-2 scheme like
the Bears do not invest heavily in cornerbacks, choosing to pour money
into the front seven. But one source said the Bears were involved with
Cortland Finnegan until talks went above $9 million per season.”

I’ve claimed for a while that the Bears need corners who can play at least adequate man coverage. Apparently they agree.

“(Bears rookie DE Shea) McClellin is a high-(sic) effort guy. He has short arms and lacks explosiveness. There is a ceiling for guys like that. He is going to be like the kid in Washington last year (Ryan Kerrigan). He’ll start off playing hot, and as the year goes by, he’ll wear down and go quiet. That’s what happened to Kerrigan last year. All of a sudden his body is not fresh and all that hustle does not get as much. (McClellin) does not have enough in his body. Hustle guys wear down.”

“‘We talked about putting players in position to make plays,’ said Tice, the Bears’ first-year offensive coordinator. ‘We’ve got to do a better job of that, and we will. At the same time, it’s very important that you win the individual battles, and we didn’t win enough of those.'”

Translation: “Now that the [feces] has hit the fan, after a summer of talking about how it was all going to be OK because I was going to compensate for it with my scheme, I finally have come to the realization that we actually need talent to work with on the offensive line. My apologies to Mike Martz.”

“Everybody says great things about Mike Tice and his great coaching of the offensive line. Since he was hired three seasons ago our offensive line has been anything but great. It seems to me he’s not all that. What gives? Gary M., North Highlands, Calif.

“Trust me when I tell you Tice is an outstanding offensive line tutor. He gets the best out of his blockers. Sometimes, the best he gets out of them isn’t good enough.”

“The Bears aren’t waiting for the light to come on and stay on with [left tackle J’Marcus] Webb. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice made that clear when he was asked if his confidence in Webb has waned.

“‘We have seven players who suit up every week and those seven players all get reps with the ones,” Tice said. “And we’re going to try to make sure and make the proper decision of the five guys we’re going to put in there who can protect our quarterback and help us run the ball.’

“Translated, newcomer Jonathan Scott has been getting some work at left tackle with the starters. He was signed Sept. 10 and missed nearly all of training camp with the Lions because of a knee injury. It’s not an ideal situation, but when is it on the Bears’ line?”

“Offensive line coach Tim Holt dissected the tape from the meltdown in Green Bay and came to one simple conclusion about why Webb’s play declined from Week 1.

“‘He just has to use his hands better,’ Holt said. ‘He let (Matthews) get into him a little bit. If he gets his hands on people, he wins.'”

I think the problem goes well beyond that by now. Webb knows to use his hands and I’m sure he’s been coached heavily to do so. That fact that he isn’t doing it indicates that the problem is mental. The physical tools are there and he’s intelligent I’m sure. But He obviously doesn’t have the concentration to play consistently against good opponents for a full three hours ball game.

The Bears have to find another answer. It might not be this year but they’re going to have to do it if they want to comete at the top of the NFL. Becasue Webb’s not going to cut it.

  “But [Webb’s] presence underlines a major problem for the Bears: When you
struggle with pass protection, it is difficult to rally from a deficit. The Bears
need to score early and often and play from a lead. [Bears quarterback Jay] Cutler is too careless with
the ball and the guys in front of him too shaky to pull off many comebacks.

“The Bears under coach Lovie Smith always have been front-runners, often
because they struggled at quarterback. Smith has a 51-10 record when
leading at halftime and a 13-42 mark when trailing. Since gunslinger Cutler’s
arrival they’re 19-4 and 5-18. Sounds like bad news for the Rams.”

“I am wondering if the answer to the Bears offensive line problem is to just ignore max protection and maybe do just the opposite. If they were in a max-attack-type offense I think Cutler would be able to find the open receiver and/or communicate with Brandon Marshall/Earl Bennett for hot reads. It seems too often when they only had two receivers in patterns Cutler was waiting too long for them to get open. Some of Cutler’s best games were when he has had options to throw to, he can slide or even jump up to get the ball out to the open man. What do you think? Grant M.

“I think what you suggest can be a part of the Bears offense, and it has been to a degree. But the Bears would not be able to make a living playing empty backfield with four or five wide receivers running routes. Part of the beauty of the Bears’ personnel and schemes is the offense is somewhat unpredictable. To beat a good defensive coordinator like Dom Capers, you need to be able to do a number of things well, and do them at times when he isn’t expecting you to do them. Playing the type of personnel groups and formations you suggest would make them highly predictable. It also would be a high risk approach. It would probably result in more big plays, but also more interceptions and more sacks.”

  • Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times is saying that the Rams have a “suspect offensive line”. But I watched them last week and they looked OK to me. Admittedly they were at home but still, Soldier Field isn’t like the Super Dome in New Orleans.
  • Much of this disapproval of Jay Cutler from the media is new. But not from Pompei as he’s been pretty critical from the beginning. He contiunes that here:

“I must be the minority here, but I didn’t mind at all that Jay Cutler bumped J’Marcus Webb on the sidelines. I want my team leader to be fired up and get in guy’s faces. What bothered me about Cutler is how he crumbled after that, throwing up prayers and seemingly not able to adjust to the Packers defense. This seems to be a bigger indictment of lack of leadership, would you agree? Rik, Chicago

“True leadership isn’t about what you say. It’s about what you do. Show me a quarterback who gets the ball in the end zone, overcomes big odds and steps up in the clutch and I’ll show you a leader.”

True enough. But I think if you want to be a really good leader, it goes beyond that. Many people defend Cutler’s actions by saying something to the effect of “Sometimes you have to kick a few butts to get things done.” But is that what the Bears needed as a team at that point?

I would contend that a true team leader would have seen a struggling offense and, instead of yelling “Do better!” would have gotten everyone together, settled them down and guided them by telling them what to do. Instead, Cutler showed his frustration and made things worse. Instead of acting the part of a calming influence, a leader who had things under control and had confidence that the team would come back and do better, Cutler showed his lack of confidence in his teammates and cranked up fears of failure even higher.

Most of the time “leadership” requires the ability to step outside of yourself and give the group what they need to succeed rather than selfishly thinking of your own. Cutler will never be a true leader, no matter how well he performs on the field, because he’ll always lack the ability to do that. He’s far too self-centered.

  • What is constantly a shock to me no matter how often I see it, is how savagely Cutler is attacked whenever possible, not by fans and media, but by his peers and ex-peers. In his article on how to motivate people and whether being tough is always the way to go about it, I think Phil Rosenthal at the Chicago Tribune provides an answer to the question by quoting Bob Sutton, a Stanford University professor and author of “The No (A-word) Rule” and “Good Boss, Bad Boss.”:

“‘If you (act like a jerk) you’ve got to be really competent,’ Sutton said. ‘If you consistently leave people feeling demeaned and de-energized, that’s the point where enemies are lying in wait.'”

Or, as Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune succinctly put it as he compared Cutler to Douglas Neidermeyer in the movie Animal House:

“Neidermeyer’s epilog in the movie was ‘killed by his own troops in Vietnam.'”

Video from the Chicago Tribune.

“Cutler’s defenders will point out, accurately, that he has not benefited from
system stability, Pro Bowl wide receivers and consistent pass protection —
especially consistent pass protection.

“But he isn’t the only quarterback who needs to spend some time in the
whirlpool on Mondays.

“Since 2009, [Green Bay quarterback Aaron] Rodgers has been sacked six times more than Cutler in
regular-season games. Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 11 more, and his
rate of one sack per 12.2 dropbacks is higher than Cutler’s rate of 12.4.

“That has not prevented Roethlisberger from making it to a Pro Bowl and a
Super Bowl in that time span.”

  • Sometimes I think its a shame that even after acquiring Jay Cutler, the Bears’ quarterback situation is still a national joke. But… might as well role with it. From Sports Views:


  • There is apparently some concern about the performance of quarterback Matthew Stafford in Detroit so far this season. From Justin Rogers at

“Through two games, Stafford has thrown twice as many interceptions, four, as touchdowns, and there has been a general lack of accuracy on many of his throws, including some of his completions.”

“The whole idea is to get the defense moving laterally so the offensive linemen can throw cut blocks that drop big defensive linemen on their faces. Think Gilbert Brown in Super Bowl XXXII.”

“‘You have to be smart,’ [defensive line coach Mike] Trgovac said. ‘I faced this scheme several years in a row in Atlanta when I was at Carolina. They just look for that one guy to cut, that one weak link.

“‘That’s what we worked real hard on, make sure everybody stays in their gap. The more you fly off the ball the easier it is for them to cut you.'”

“One front office man said his team is fine with 5-10 corners as long as the player has long arms. Having long arms enable a cornerback to play taller than he is. ‘They can reach for balls downfield, reach for balls coming back and compete better for contested balls,’ [Seahawks general manager John] Schneider said.

“Long arms help a corner in press coverage too. It’s difficult for a short-armed corner to get a good jam and then turn and run because he has to get too close to the receiver.”

“If the Jets are trying to dispel the notion of a circus, they have a funny way of going about it.”

“That said, Sunday’s biggest headline from Foxboro was the ankle injury to Aaron Hernandez. The third-year tight end is out at least six weeks.”

“Take a look at this statistic from ESPN: “The Patriots used two tight ends on just 20 of 77 offensive plays (Sunday), averaging 3.0 yards per play with two tight ends on the field. The Patriots used two or more tight ends on all 66 plays in Week 1 against the Titans, averaging 5.9 yards per play. Since the start of the 2011 season, the Patriots lead the N.F.L. with 80.1 percent of their offensive plays (926 of 1149) involving at least two tight ends.”

“The Patriots can find a way to win without Hernandez, but it will require rewriting most of their playbook.”

Kellen Winslow can give the Patriots some of the things Aaron Hernandez gives them, but not all of the things. Front office men who have evaluated Winslow recently say he has lost some speed and can’t get downfield the way he used to, or the way Hernandez can. But Winslow still has the ability to separate in a short area, as Hernandez does. If his knee holds up, Winslow can give Bill Belichick another chess piece.”

“If any OL coach says he needs more contact to coach better, I call b.s. Offensive linemen can go out in shorts. It all starts with mental prep — knowing who to block — and technique and footwork. It’s so funny though — you get three OL coaches and you can hear three different reasons for why their line is struggling, and usually, only one of them is right.”

“Indy’s final drive [last week] provided a perfect snapshot for where their rookie quarterback [Andrew Luck] is.”

“What was most revealing on the drive was when [Adam] Vinatieri trotted on the field. There were still 12 seconds left. And his field-goal attempt was a 53-yarder. If it had been, say, Peyton Manning under center – or any star veteran quarterback – the Colts almost certainly would have ran one, maybe two more plays near the sidelines in hopes of getting Vinatieri a few yards closer. But with no timeouts left, Coach Chuck Pagano decided not to push his Luck. That’s fine, it worked out. But let’s all realize that the Colts seem to believe their young quarterback still has a long way to go.”

“Colts’ ‘Suck For Luck’ Strategy Enters Second Season”

  • As someone who doesn’t usually get as upset as he used to when the Bears lose, my first thought as I laughed at this video was “Who does this guy think he’s screaming at.” Then I looked at the number of hits and I realized that its about 20,000 people. Someone must like it.

Stephen A. Smith Thinking Son Is Finally Ready For The Sex Argument”

  • In light of the Buccaneers decision to maul the Giants as they were trying to run out the clock with a kneel down, The Sports Pickle gives us the NFL’s 25 most unwritten rules. This one was one of my favorites:

“5. Take as much HGH as you possibly can before the NFL starts testing for it.”

One Final Thought

I thought this point from the Friday Buzz feature at The National Football Post was interesting:

“If Jon Gruden comes back to the NFL as many suspect, there might not be a long line of established personnel men wanting to work with him. Gruden frustrated people he worked with. He sometimes would set up workouts with players without consulting the front office and operated independently. His negativity also wore on co-workers.”

I always thought Jon Gruden was one of the best head coaches the NFL has seen in recent years. This comment explains a lot about why he’s no longer coaching. One of the worst faults you can have as the leader of a large organization of people is failure to communicate. You leave people in the dark in terms of what’s going on and they resent it. Even when it’s things you don’t think everyone needs to know, leave co-workers in the dark and they begin to wonder what else of a more important nature you didn’t tell them.

Gruden undoubtedly was a control freak who was used to getting his own way as a head coach. He was king of his domain. But when he was put in a situation where input from a large group of front office people was required, he failed to make the proper adjustments. Even for a coach as talented as Gruden, that’s death.


A Very Dangerous Opponent

People say to expect the unexpected. What the Packers did to the Bears last week is a prime example as the Bears undoubtedly practiced against the usual Packers press man defense and got two man instead.

What the Rams will do this week is anyone’s guess. But I hope the surprises won’t once agian be of the unpleasant sort.

Matt Bowen at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Rams might bring a lot of pressure Sunday. I’m not so sure. As Bowen points out, the Rams have had good success with coverage the past couple weeks and given that the Packers beat the Bears with two man so effectively, I don’t see why they’d change. On the other hand, I firmly believe a good pressure scheme would, in fact, beat the Bears. So the Rams, might, indeed, surprise and do it.

I’ll say this about the Rams. I watched thier game last week and they’re a dangerous opponenet. They have some speed as a team. In particular, those defensive ends are fast. And I don’t care what people say about that much maligned offensive line. They looked OK to me. They gave quarterback Sam Bradford plenty of time and they weren’t holding guys in to help the way the Bears do. Their left tackle was blocking one-on-one. In fact, they’re so good at pass blocking that they use the pass to set up the run with back Steven Jackson and the rookie, Daryl Richardson.

In the Bears favor, the Redskins didn’t have Julius Peppers to help the other guys harrass Bradford. And the Bears offensive line will be better at home. Even last week they looked like they could block the run and the Ram defense looks to me like you can, in fact, run on it, too. That’s unusal for a Jeff Fisher coached team. In fact, they brought extra players into the box to stop the Redskins, though how much of that was associated with stopping RG3 is hard to guess. They were ceratin more worried about his legs than his arm.

Most importantly, the Rams lose because they’re young and make dumb mistakes. But if for some reason they come in here and don’t do that – a very big if – they’re very capable of beating the Bears. They have the potential to be a real problem. I don’t expect that to happen. But sometimes the expectations don’t live up to the reality.

A Dash of Optimism and Other Points of View


Its a funny world. I spent most of the offseason trying to talk the Bears down while the rest of Bears fandom was sky high over thier prospects this season. Now that they lost in embarrassing fashion in front of a national audience against the first quality opponent they played, thier biggest rival no less, I find myself with this deep-seated optimistic feeling. It’s absolutely sick but there it is.

So now that everyone has settled down, the first thing I’m going to do today is talk some people off the ledge by giving you three positive points from Thursday’s game.

  1. Our first ray of sunshine, as noted by Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune in his film review, was the play of the cornerbacks which I thought was outstanding.
  2. Our next point may not seem to be so positive but “Bear” with me as Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes quarterback Jay Cutler on what the Packers did to beat the Bear offense:

“‘They played two-man 90 percent of the game, so we have to get other guys involved and get them out of it,’ Cutler said. ‘We never challenged them in that and they never had to get out of it, so it was an easy game for them.’

“What is the solution?”

You run the ball, that’s what you do. And it surely does seem to me like the Bears are very capable of that after two games. Both Matt Forte and Michael Bush gained good yardage Thursday night. And even without Forte, Bush looks very capable of carrying on to me. He’s much more nimble with better vision than I thought he was going to have going into the season.

Having said that, if you are going to base your offense on the run you have to play mistake free football. The Bears didn’t do that. Penalties, critical drops, turnovers. You can’t have that if you are going to work your way down the field on the ground. That’s where the Bears need to show improvement next week. And I’m confident they will.

  1. My last point is this one highlighted by Biggs:
  2. “Rush hour: Bears players will review game film Saturday at Halas Hall, and the defense should grade out fairly well, particularly the line that generated five sacks of Aaron Rodgers. First-round draft pick Shea McClellin had 1 1/2.”

    Getting a good four man rush is far and away the most important aspect of the Bears defensive scheme. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have had serious doubts about their ability to generate pressure outside of Julius Peppers. I’d like to see it in a few more games and against better offensive lines but I think we should all be feeling better about it now.

    I know everyone is depressed about the performance of the offense but long term, this really is an encouraging sign for the future this season. Indeed, I would argue that its probably more important than every single other isolated problem that you could name.

“‘You go through college and sometimes you develop bad habits just because you can get away with that in college,’ Wootton said. ‘But coming to this next level, your pad level has to be down. Your footwork and your hands have to be on point.

“‘Every now and then, pad level is definitely a concern for me. You just have to focus. That’s what Coach [Rod] (Marinelli) teaches us to work on every day in practice: pad level and take off.'”


“‘I just have to learn that when it’s close to the play being over like that, and you don’t hear the whistle, you just let off,'” Carimi said. ‘I wasn’t trying to be dirty or anything. I was just trying to finish my guy'”

What a lot of bunk. How disappointing is it that Carimi should come off the field and expect us to believe that he didn’t retaliate for a late shove, as the camera clearly showed. This is what I’ve come to call Ndamukong Suh syndrome. The tendency to believe that just because you feed a bunch of feces to the media and the fans, that they’ll swallow it. It came back to bite Suh with his no famous Thanksgiving day stomp and the explanation that it was an accident. Eventually its going to bite Carimi if he doesn’t lose it fast.

In fairness, Carimi apparently did have second thoughts because Biggs reports that he later owned up to the mistake.

  • Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times puts his finger on some major problems the Bears had Thursday. This one was the one that harmonized with my own feeling the most:

“What happened to the idea that if opponents take Brandon Marshall out of the game, it will open things up for the other receivers? Through three quarters, Marshall was targeted one time and had no receptions — yet Earl Bennett (1-10) and Alshon Jeffery (1-7) were the only other receivers to make a catch.”

“[Offensive coordinator Mike] Tice didn’t leave Webb alone with [Packers outside linebacker, Clay] Matthews too frequently after Matthews beat him one-on-one early. But help only goes so far. At some point, the linemen have to step up and make blocks on their own.

“What’s more, keeping extra players in compromises the offense. One of the reasons the passing game clicked so well against the Colts is the Bears often had four players running pass routes. When you have three, the quarterback’s options are limited, and all of them become easier to take away.”

I can only strongly agree with this. Tice made it sound so simple over the summer and people swallowed it hook line and sinker. But the number of people Tice has been holding in to help in protection has always made me very uneasy. It will be OK against the Indianapolises of the league. But its going to cripple the offense against good teams in adverse situations all year.

Biggs would seem to agree as he wrote this about the Bears upcoming schedule:

“It is alarming because the shift in the offensive philosophy was supposed to make the line better. Now, you have to wonder if against a defense with an elite pass rusher the Bears are going to be in for a rough ride. They host the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field on Sept. 23 and then they are back in the prime-time spotlight at Dallas on ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ on Oct. 1. Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is a more accomplished pass rusher than Matthews and Dallas utilizes a 3-4 scheme. Could the Bears be headed for another disaster there? You can’t discount the possibility.”

  • Biggs points out that Thursday night’s game drew a record 6.3 overnight rating for the NFL Network. This is why we’ll probably never see another Sunday noon Packers game. And I hate night games. And given the way the Bears seem to lay an egg against them in prime time so often, it makes me hate them even more.
  • Biggs asks former NFL quarterback Trent Green about the offense and how it fits Cutler:
  • “‘From what I have seen, this really fits Jay better,’ Green said. ‘[Former offensive coordinator Mike] Martz’s system is about timing. It’s about putting the ball in the spot. It’s about receivers being very defined in their routes, being right in the right spot. I don’t know if that necessarily meshed well with Jay. He is a little more backyard, drop back … he is not real disciplined in his drops. He likes to sit there – bounce, bounce – and then fire it in there.'”

    “’From what I have seen, Jay likes to see the receiver come open and he then fire it. He’s got a big enough arm, like a Daunte Culpepper, where he can do that.'”

  • Much has been said about Cutler since Thursday night but instead of focusing on his leadership skills, we should be more worried about this. From Dan McNeil at the Chicago Tribune.
  • “It has been easy to forget who Jay Cutler is. I’m guilty of it. Thursday’s Cutler catastrophe served as reminder that the pouty quarterback wilts when the lights are their brightest.”

    “The Bears have “MNF” dates with Dallas, Detroit and San Francisco. They host Houston in an NBC Sunday nighter in Week 10.”

  • But of course, we can’t leave Cutler alone without taking the obligatory shots fron The Sports Pickle:

“Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler treated all five of his linemen to $19 Casio wristwatches Thursday night after his teammates managed to get him through an entire game against the Packers without him getting killed.”

  • But I would say that this picture is more to the point:

Image via The Sports Pickle.

  • Here’s another bad sign. From Potash:
  • The game Sunday against the Rams (1-1) at Soldier Field might be a bigger challenge than expected after quarterback Sam Bradford led them to a 31-28 victory Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Bradford, whose passer rating dropped from 76.5 as a rookie in 2010 to 70.5 last season, has had back-to-back 100-plus games against the Lions (105.1) and Redskins (117.6).

    With the Rams missing starting center Scott Wells (broken foot) and starting left tackle Rodger Saffold (neck), Bradford was 26-for-35 for 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Redskins.

  • If only the Bears had read this before the game. From The Onion:


  • What really astounds me in watching the Eagles play is the incredible amount of talent they have on that team and how carelessly they waste it with stupid play. They’re extremely lucky to be 2-0.
  • The Lions were better but not a lot better. They played a tough opponent in the 49ers and moved the ball well. But when they got into the red zone they stalled time after time. There was also some bad tackling out there. From what I saw their discipline on the field isn’t a lot better than it was last year.
  • The 49ers provided a blue print for beating the Lions defense. They handled their front four pretty well and attacked the edges and the defensive backs. Of course, the Bears will have to execute like the 49ers do. Not an easy task.
  • Speaking of the 49ers, I’ve got to agree with this sentiment. From Sports Views:

One Final Thought

From Ben Shpigel at The New York Times:

“‘Yes, I’ve watched it. And no, I couldn’t detach myself. Give me a couple more years.’

“MIKE PETTINE, the Jets’ defensive coordinator, when asked [before Sunday’s rematch] if it had been difficult watching film of the Jets’ last game in Pittsburgh, a 24-19 loss in the A.F.C. championship game in January, 2011.”

Playing the “Jay Game”

One of the many reasons why football fascinates me is that it’s a game of adjustments. No one game is ever quite the same. Whether its playing in a domed stadium, playing on artificial turf, or trying to take a star receiver or running back out of the game without cutting the rest of the team loose, it’s an endless litany of move and counter move. It’s not a question of who plays the best. Its a question of who plays the best week to week under all conditions. And, like with most of life, accepting and covering for your own weakness are a big part of it.

David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune quoted Charles Woodson after Thursday’s game in what have been the statement of the week describing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler:

“‘It’s the same old Jay,’ Packers cornerback Charles Woodson told ESPN.”

“Now would be a good time for Bears fans to tell [Bears quarterback] quarterback to please, please, please tone it down.”

Yeah, that’s not something we can do. But maybe the Bears better to find someone who can.

Cutler was caught yelling at left tackle J’Marcus Webb Thursday on camera. It was one of many such incidents that night. He didn’t seem very repentent. Via Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times

“‘I care about this,’ Cutler said of the incident with Webb. ‘This isn’t just a hobby for me. If we’re  not doing things the right way, I’m going to say something. If they want a quarterback that doesn’t care then they better get someone else.'”

Yes. I’m sure Webb and the rest of those bums aren’t constantly berating teammates on national television because they don’t care. That explains everything.

Image from the Chicago Tribune.



Cutler is being savaged in the media and justifiably so. But having said that, it may be time for the Bears and their fans to accept some reality. We knew from the first that Cutler wasn’t much of a leader. He arrived here after basically quitting on the Broncos. What did we expect?

It’s long past due that, as fans, we adjust our attitudes and accept that Cutler has certain weaknesses that are simply never going away. I mean, really, is the body language in this clip from the Chicago Tribune after the game really a surprise?

Let’s be clear about something. You can’t muster up a heap of outrage and just say that this is all Cutler’s “fault” anymore. It’s now very evident that he’s trying his best and all of this emotional upheaval amongst fans and in the media only gets everyone worked up over things that neither they nor Cutler can control. Leadership doesn’t just appear out of thin air because you’re a quarterback with a thunderbolt for an arm. It’s something that can be developed but, like everything else in life, you still have to be born with the talent, some germ that gets you started and aids you on your way. If you want to play linebacker, you can learn all the moves but you have to have an essential foundation of innate ability or its basically hopeless. Leadership is no different. Hey, I admit that I don’t have the ability. In the same way, its just not a trait that Cutler is ever going to exhibit. His attitude is what it is.

After three years of watching “good Jay, bad Jay”, this is the state that I, at least, have achieved. I find that when I accept Cutler for both the player and the person that he is, I appreciate the wonderful talent he displayed in the Indianapolis game all the more. I think about how to get that kind of performance out of him more often. But I’m done getting worked up every time he yells at someone on the sideline. If the team wants it to stop, they’re going to have to take care of it internally.

And that brings us to the Bears as a team and the things that they need to do about this. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice loves to talk about emphasizing the strengths of his players and compensating for their weaknesses. As is well documented, he’s done that to a great extent with Cutler. But when it comes to this particular weakness, he’s totally failed so far. And after spending so much time around Cutler as offensive line coach, Cutler’s attitude can hardly be a surprise to him. Yet, he’s done nothing about it that I can see. Yes, of course, you want your quarterback to be a leader. But like many other weaknesses, this is something that the Bears simply have to accept and overcome as a team.

As weaknesses go, this one could be a lot worse. It’s not insurmountable. Cutler may not have them but athletes as a group have leadership traits more often than the general populace. It comes with the territory. There’s someone on this team who can step up. Preferably it will be someone who can calm Cutler down at the appropriate times and tell him things he doesn’t want to hear without fear of reprisals from coaches and the front office. Perhaps with a little encouragement from these corners, eventually someone can emerge. And given that this is the case, with his immense talent, how may teams out there would love to have Cutler just as he is?

Bottom line is that its just like anything else in life. If we want to eventually be able to enjoy a good team and a good quarterback in Chicago, it’s simply a matter of stepping back and making some adjustments.


Quick Comments: Packers at Bears, September 13, 2012


  1. The Bears went standard defense, mostly cover two for this game. Nothing fancy. Green Bay responded with all of the standard cover two beaters. They ran the ball and attacked the middle.
  2. Unfortunately attacking the middle meant attacking Brian Urlacher. And Urlacher still isn’t himself. He was a step slow, he wasn’t getting off blocks. They attacked him with both the run and the pass. If we’re lucky, he’s rusty. If we’re not, then the team has a big problem because there’s not much depth at linebacker to help Urlacher out.
  3. Cedric Benson had a nice game running the ball right at the linebackers. Again, Urlacher’s weakness was Benson’s gain. Recall that Urlacher didn’t play in the Bengals game when Benson destroyed the Bears some years ago.
  4. The Packers had Benson lined up very deep in the back field. Seven yards. I assume Benson likes to pick up steam but it makes for a long developing run play.
  5. The Bears flat out refused to bring an extra man into the box to stop the running game. They simply were not going to let the pass beat them. Nevertheless the play action did appear to be effective for Green Bay.
  6. Benson’s success led to the play action working effectively for Green Bay.
  7. I thought it was odd that the Bears had Nick Roach covering Jermichael Finley so much. Nickel back D.J. Moore also drew duty. Neither was effective.
  8. Nice work Shea McClellin with a sack. Julius Peppers had a good night as Green Bay didn’t do a lot extra to stop him. The pressure from the front four was about as good as you could expect. Like the Bears, the Green Bay offensive line is weak.
  9. Tim Jennings showed up again. So did Charles Tillman. Its only game two but they’ve both been very good so far.


  1. The Bears tried to do what they did last week but it just wasn’t working. The offensive protection was just too poor for the Bears to make much head way. They had a great deal of trouble every time Green Bay blitzed.
  2. The Packers didn’t really try that hard to stuff the wide receivers at the line. Maybe they recognize the size of the Bears receivers. Maybe the plan was to get pressure on Jay Cutler and not give up the big play by doing anything risky in coverage. Maybe both.
  3. There was a lot of blame to spread around as regards the poor protection but the interior offensive line looks like they were a big part of it to me.
  4. The Bears eventually responded to to the Green Bay pass rush by establishing the run. This was moderately effective but they just couldn’t sustain anything.
  5. I’m thinking that the Bears might have tried mor quick hitting plays to allow Cutler to get rid of the ball quicker.
  6. There was another poorly executed swing pass out of the backfield. Green Bay read it like a book and was all over it just like Indianapolis was on the pick six last week. Maybe the Bears should shelve that one for a while.
  7. As I feared would happen, the Packers took Brandon Marshall out of the game. None of the other receivers stepped up to fill the gap. Many of Cutler’s sacks in the second half were coverage sacks. Cutler had the time. No one was open. In particular, despite his touchdown catch, Kellen Davis once again was a disappointment tonight.
  8. This was an excellent Green Bay game plan to put pressure on Cutler and at the same time limit his mobility. The Packers surrounded Cutler and brought pressure from all angles so that he didn’t have any place to go. We’ll see more of that from the better teams this year.


  1. Brad Nessler, Alex Flanagan and Mike Mayock were OK. Mayock hits all of the major points. He’s got an irritating habit of forming an opinion and then sticking with it in the face of the evidence. The 12 men on the field penalty was a good example. The ball was snapped before the man got off but he insisted that it was a poor call to the point where he told the man in the booth to fast forward the replay to make it look better for him. I don’t blame a guy for not wanting to be wrong. But honesty and integrity means everything if you are a fan listening to a guy in the booth.
  2. It wasn’t just the number of penalties. It was that they were so damaging. Gabe Carimi loses his mind and stupidly gets an unnecessary roughness penalty to to kill a drive. There was a delay of game to help kill a drive. Twelve men on the field to stop a punt and give the Packers the ball and a field goal.
  3. The Green Bay receivers should be totally ashamed. They dropped balls all ove r the field. But, like the penalties, it was the Bears drop that was the killer. Brandon Marshall in the end zone. The Bears settled for a field goal.
  4. The interceptions for the Bears were partly Cutler desperately trying to make something happen out there.
  5. Both special teams were OK but the Packers took the prize with a wonderful call on a fake field goal in the third quarter.
  6. The tweet of the night came from Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune: “I’d pay for Mike Martz commentary on this game. Maybe Ron Turner too.”
  7. The penalties, the turnovers, the Marshall drop. It wasn’t the Bears night. Its not just that things went wrong. They went wrong at critical times. But having said that, there was a deeper problem. The Bears frequently didn’t look like they had it together. They just weren’t completely ready to play mentally on a short week after stuffing Indianapolis and they let down.


The Bears Are in a Good Position Heading into the Packer Game and Other Points of View


  • Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times points out that Aaron Rogers hasn’t been as successful against the Bears defense as other NFC North teams:

“Rodgers’ rating against the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings is over 115. Against the Bears, it’s 102.9.”

How interesting is it that we’ve come to the point with Rogers where a 103 rating isn’t impressive?

“Last year, however, Rodgers seemed to solve something. He had eight touchdowns and one interception in a two-game sweep. Not a good trend for the Bears entering the teams’ meeting Thursday night at Lambeau Field.”

“‘They’ve played one game. They’ve played one real football game,’ McCarthy said. ‘They’ve showed very little in the preseason. So that’s really part of playing the first three or four games of the season.

“‘There’ll be some unscouted looks for sure; there’ll be some things that we haven’t seen the Bears do. I feel safe in saying that.”‘

  • Bear quarterback Jay Cutler seems prepared to take advantage of that. From Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times:

“When Cutler was asked — almost reflexively during Packer Week — about the need for the Bears to control the ball and win time of possession against Aaron Rodgers, his response was deafening to those who still have ‘We come off the bus running’ ringing in their ears: ‘We’re in the point-scoring business,’ Cutler said. ‘Time of possession isn’t really something that’s on our mind.'”

Lots of confidence after one game. We shall see.

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune discusses one of the key things to watch Thurday night against the Packers. In the past they’ve stifled the Bears at the line of scrimmage with tight coverage. If Brandon Marshall can’t get off the line, no one can. Keep an eye on Alshon Jeffrey. If he doesn’t have trouble, either, the Bears may have solved the problem.
  • Rick Telander at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Jay Cutler‘s response when asked if he throws to Marshall too often:

“‘If we’re nine out of 15 to him, I’ll take that,’ Cutler continued. ‘But 15 times a game? That’s not going to happen. It’s just not. There’s going to be teams that take him away and we’ll have to go to other guys, and we’ll have to run the ball.'”

“Here’s the thing, as fans, I think everyone complained about our ability to audible … if we’re going to have the ability to do that, the stadium has to be relatively quiet for everyone to hear and be on the same page,” Cutler said. “Some people I hear today are a little bit perturbed about the way I said it, but so be it. We need it to be relatively quiet in the end zone and I think real Bears fans will understand that.”

“Cutler will have no choice but to contend with crowd noise Thursday night as the Bears travel to Green Bay to take on the rival Packers. The more than 70,000 expected at Lambeau Field certainly won’t shut up when the Bears are on offense.”

“Bush scored on two one-yard runs and that is one more one-yard touchdown than Bears running backs produced all last season.”

  • From McClure we have this news which may turn out to be of significance at some point:

“The Bears altered their roster by adding veteran tackle Jonathan Scott, who started 28 games in previous stops with the Lions, Bills and Steelers. He was a fifth-round pick of the Lions in 2006.”

Scott was a left tackle with the Steelers.

“’He’s going to take a while to be up to full speed,’ Tice said last week. ‘The endurance in his leg is going to come with game time. We’re going to certainly be very careful if it appears that he’s getting tried. We have other guys who can spell him. But I’m anxious to see Carimi play. He came on real well at the end of preseason, really was run-blocking well. His pass protection has gotten better, so I’m excited to see how he matures.’

“We’ll see what Tice has to say later this week but Carimi likely passed the test.

“‘I think he was just worrying too much,’ Carimi said. ‘That is what he does. You always have to have a plan out there, right? I don’t think he meant it like I wasn’t ready or anything like that. Well, it sounded like it did.'”

I could be wrong but I really thought Carimi was a step slow Sunday. We’ll see how he does against the Packers.

“Were you surprised by the use and performance of the Bears TE Evan Rodriguez? @URlyle, from Twitter

“Yes I was. I thought he was a fancy-Dan receiver, not a gritty, tough guy blocker. He made real contributions as a fullback, and also played well on special teams. He is now listed as a fullback on the depth chart, but I think he’s going to end up being more than a fullback. It will be interesting to see how his role evolves.”

“It was a veteran move to bait [Indianapolis quarterback Andrew] Luck into a throw on the final interception covering one-time Bears practice squad wide receiver Kris Adams. Jennings let Adams go by him in Cover 2 with Major Wright lending help over the top. Just as Adams went by Jennings, Luck committed to him. When the ball was released, Jennings turned it on and recovered to make the play. It was a savvy move, one Luck will learn from.”


“Inside of the numbers, the Packers are creating a one-on-one matchup with Jones versus Urlacher. The safeties will read the quarterback and “overlap” on any throw to the middle of the field. However, with both Wright and Conte occupied by vertical concepts outside of the numbers, Urlacher has to match to Jones and defend the inside post. This is his play to make in a tough spot against speed at receiver.”

  • Pompei gives the scouting report on Cedric Benson:

“Benson has fumbled 12 times over the last two seasons, which is a big reason why he is a former Bengal. Opponents should go for the football from behind when he carries.”


  • Adam Schefter at ESPN says that Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings is 50-50 to play Thursday.
  • Pompei is a 49ers believer. After watching them against the Packers, so am I. I had no idea they’d come back in and be that good this season. I’m guessing they can keep it up but injuries are alwasy the great equalizer when it comes to things like this.
  • The Sports Pickle asks “Which rookie quarterback will be out of the NFL first? My personal vote:

“Russell Wilson – he hit .228 in the Mariners minor league system, so he could become their cleanup hitter at any moment”

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

Mike Vick is a coach killer. … Mark my words — this will be his last year in Philadelphia.”

  • Were the replacement referees really worse than the regular refs? A look inside the numbers might surprise you. From Chase Stuart at The New York Times.
  • Like betting on football games real time during the game? There’s an app for that. From Joshua Brustein at The New York Times:

“Live ScoreCaster, a free app that recently hit the iTunes store, simulates each N.F.L. and major college football game 50,000 times after each play, then predicts the likelihood that each team will win, projecting the final score in real time.”

Tim Tebow‘s 11 Rushing Yards Lead Jets To 48-28 Rout Of Bills”

One Final Thought

From the Audibles section of Pro Football Weekly:

“(Bears QB Jay) Cutler made the throws he needed to make after a slow start. Indy is just not good enough — they have a long ways to go. The Bears are in good position heading to Green Bay. The Packers are going to be worn out by San Francisco — that is a physically imposing team.”

We shall see.


Stuff Chicago Bears Fans Say and Other Points of View


  • A “positive” Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune puts the Bears win yesterday in perspective:

“Sure, Mr. Negative might complain about the Bears’ getting only two field goals off four turnovers, and he should gripe about a lack of production on first down. Third down, too.

“On the other side of the ball, Mr. Negative could crab about some bad coverage of Reggie Wayne, and he would scream about an inconsistent pass rush and yelp about the defense getting shredded on 77- and 80-yard drives.

“Yeah, Mr. Negative could find things to carp about in a game against the league’s worst team last season that started a rookie quarterback. But it’s likely there will be time enough for that.

“Perhaps as soon as Thursday night in Green Bay.”

  • David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune relays a request from QB Jay Cutler to fans near the end zone:

“‘Please, please, please, let’s tone it down a little bit when we’re down on the 20,’ Cutler said. ‘You’re more than welcome to yell, scream, do whatever you want to do after the score. But, please, let’s quiet the stadium down and save it for after the score. Thank you.”‘

  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Packers may try to cover Marshall with Charles Woodson on nickel downs.
  • Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times says that RB Matt Forte is not happy about being taken out in short yardage situations.

“‘It’s been happening my whole career here, so I don’t know,’ Forte said when asked about not finishing drives. ‘That’s the coordinator’s call.'”

It’s rare when the Bears have so many impact plays on defense — three sacks, four takeaways and four tackles for loss — and Urlacher isn’t in on any of them. When Colts quarterback Andrew Luck lauded the defense after the game, Urlacher got fourth billing — behind Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Henry Melton.

As well he should have been. Its not easy to just step in and start playing at game speed without any practice. Urlacher was rusty and probably will continue to be so for a while.

  • Potash and Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times quote Israel Idonije on the Bears moving their defensive ends around on third down:

“‘We didn’t want to give them the same look, and that’s important moving forward,’ Idonije said. ‘We were kind of locked into our plan, and when we changed it, it started to break things wide open for us. When we changed up, there were a couple of things we were really able to take advantage of. It’s a chess match.'”

OLB—Ernie Sims, Spencer Adkins. Sims might be better than he looked last year with the Colts. This is another thin position, which explains Adkins’ presence.

ILB—E.J. Henderson. He is 32-years old and has quite an injury history, but he played pretty well last year for the Vikings. He probably would have signed by now if he would have been willing to accept less money.

Players signed after opening weekend aren’t guaranteed a 17 week paycheck.

  • And as a bonus, I think we’ve heard a few of these before:


  • The Redskins looked so bad when they played the Bears in the preseason. With or without the Saints coaches, for the Redskins to beat a team like that, the improvement must have been just short of miraculous. I’m sure Robert Griffin III was a big part of it but there must have been a lot of much better play from more than just him.
  • Despite all the talk about the Lions being more disciplined, I’ve got to think they were looking past the Rams to their Sunday night game with the San Francisco 49ers this week. They barely slipped by. Recall the infamous handshake after the 49ers matchup last season.
  • I notice that the Packers are using wide receiver Randall Cobb as a running back. I’ve got to figure that’s partly to compensate for the fact that new running back Cedric Benson is so poor catching the ball our of the backfield.
  • Doubt about the officials led to a lot of criticism Sunday, some of it fair but much of it really unfair. As FOX color man Troy Aikman explained, the lack of confidence led everyone to question every call and see what they wanted to see rather than what was.
  • The 49ers’ Aldon Smith is a monster. This is going to be a tough team to beat this year.
  • I love the way that that Jermichael Finley limped all over the field begging for a personal foul call from the officials after the 49ers’ Perrish Cox stepped on his foot then, all of the sudden was more than healthy enough to catch a touchdown pass on the next play. Finley got the call despite the fact that he initiated the confrontation.
  • My assumption is that having to do HBO’s Hard Knock would be a nightmare for any head coach, particularly a first time one like the Dolphin’s Joe Philbin. So I thought the perspective on it that he relayed to Pompei, this time writing for the National Football Post, was interesting.
  • I can’t help it. I love Bart Scott. Via Josh Alper at
  • I’m going to guess that this article was written before Sunday Night’s game. From The Onion.

One Final Thought

Pompei apparently liked a new book with quotes from Tim Tebow:

“In Tebow Time: Insights on Winning form Football’s Rising Star, we get a good glimpse of what makes Tebow tick.”

Here is one of several interesting quotes he put in the article:

“My parents made sure I always understood that being good at something doesn’t make you better than anyone else. I can play football, but anyone I meet can do something better than me.”

On the other hand we have this from Toni Monkovic at The New York Times:

Scientific studies have suggested that if you shielded yourself from Tebow saturation coverage, you might have saved a 5-point drop in your IQ.


Quick Comments: Bears Vs Colts


  1. The Colts came out and eventually played pretty standard 3-4 defense. There were some blitzes but nothing really fancy. They did occasionally try to challenge the Bears with tight coverage, especially early. But they were living dangerously and they knew it. They eventually switched to a zone defense and the Bears killed them on it.
  2. The Bears initially had a tough time protecting quarterback Jay Cutler. Fortunately Cutler has the ability to move out of the pocket and make plays and that’s exactly what he did.
  3. Cutler is just wonderful to watch. For a little while early in the game it looked like he was going to have to single handedly carry the offense and I really wondered if he couldn’t have pulled it off. After a rough start I thought his accuracy was pretty good. You won’t see many passes better than the throw to Alson Jeffry for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to make everyone a little more comfortable.
  4. The protection eventually settled down and got better in the second quarter. That’s because they got an enormous amount of help with many players being kept in to help in protection. By my count the Bears ran exactly one four receiver set the entire first half. There were a lot of double tight end and two back sets and the offensive line struggled against the blitz without at least two men to help. I think we’re looking at the plan for the year.
  5. It wasn’t obvious and he wasn’t terrible but Gabe Carimi did have trouble. He looked a step slow on occasion and I have a feeling he’s going to struggle with that knee for a while.
  6. New Colts defensive back Vontae Davis played well. I was surprised that the Colts didn’t move him around more to keep him on Bears receiver Brandon Marshall.
  7. Kellen Davis looked really bad out there. There were some awful missed blocks and a couple penalties.
  8. Matt Forte had a great day. He runs with such wonderful vision. Like Cutler, he’s a just pleasure to watch.
  9. Evan Rodriguez did some good lead blocking out of the backfield, for example, on the first Michael Bush touchdown run. I think we now know why Tyler Clutts was released.
  10. The Bears had a very hard time fooling the Colts on play action despite the fact that the Bears were beating them on the run. I can only assume that they decided that they weren’t going to let the Bears passing game beat them.
  11. I like that end around play to Devin Hester that the Bears are running. He needs room to create.I know it didn’t work very well but eventually he’s going to break it.
  12. I don’t guess I have to acknowledge that Marshall was everything he was supposed to be. But I guess I just did it anyway.


  1. The Bears came out with some fancy defense with nine in the box and lots of single coverage in an effort to confuse quarterback Andrew Luck. It became obvious that it wasn’t working so they switched to a more standard form of defense on the second series. Not a lot more blitzing than usual after that.
  2. Luck and the Colts knew how to attack the cover 2. They called all the right plays. It was just a question of execution. When they did, they moved the ball.
  3. Brian Urlacher definitely looked a step slow. I was surprised that they didn’t challenge him more often. In the second quarter he was blocked to the ground on one long Donald Brown run and it was quickly followed by another Brown run for a touchdown where Urlacher both over-pursued and was blocked again. He was definitely rusty after missing almost all of training camp. Like everyone else, I thought removing Uralcher early was a good idea as long as the Colts didn’t manage a come back.
  4. I was happy to see the Bears getting some pressure but it wasn’t consistent. Henry Melton and Shea McClellin both flashed. But there were some periods where Luck looked awfully comfortable.
  5. Julius Peppers also was getting occasional pressure on Luck. Interestingly it was in part because the Bears moved him around so the Colts couldn’t easily develop a consistent scheme to double team him. This will be an interesting strategy to track as the season wears on.
  6. Colts receiver Reggie Wayne looks as good as ever. I’m sure Luck will come to lean heavily on him as he adjusts to the league.
  7. Luck wasn’t all that accurate. He was frequently bailed out with some good catches by his receivers. He got better as the game wore on and he does get the ball out fast and he does move well in the pocket, which is part of the reason why the Bears had a tough time getting to him. He’s going to be good.
  8. Good to see that the Bears cleaned up their tackling for this game.
  9. Generally speaking, I thought the coverage was pretty good today by the defensive backs, especially the corners, who had to compensate for the loss of Charles Tillman.


  1. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf were solid if not spectacular. No earth shaking insights but all the importnat information was conveyed.
  2. I thought Dierdorf’s observation that Cutler will force the ball in to Marshall whether he’s double covered or not in the second quarter was a particularly good one. I think we all remember Cutler trying to do the same thing to Greg Olsen his first year with the Bears. He’ll be more successful doing it with Marshall but I still see trouble in the future.
  3. I wasn’t too thrilled with the offensive interference call on Hester in the second quarter. I wasn’t too thrilled with some of the pass interference calls on both teams. In fairness, the tight coverage the Colts occasionally tried to challenge the Bears with led to quite a number being on them and many were justified.
  4. Other than that, I thought there were too many penalties on both teams, especially early. I think everyone settled down a bit as the game went on so hopefully it isn’t a long-term problem. Notably there were no penalties on J’Marcus Webb.
  5. Too many turnovers by both sides but especially by the Colts. The pick six thrown by Cutler in the first quarter would have been a killer against a better team.
  6. Tim Jennings had two great interceptions on under-thrown Luck passes. But I’ve got to say that on the first one, safety Chris Conte nowhere in sight. A well thrown pass would have been a TD. Conte might have suffered a bit from last time in camp. Hopefully he’ll clean things up. However, Conte notably did manage to intercept a pass so maybe I shouldn’t bee too tough on him.
  7. To my eye the Indianapolis special teams are much improved this year. The Bears were unspectacular and the offense was starting in very poor field position much of the time. Adam Vinatieri‘s miss wide right at end of first half and LaVon Brazill‘s fumble marred the effort.
  8. Adam Podlesh looked good with no apparent effects from his injury.
  9. The Colts drop the ball too often. Donald Brown really hurt the Colts with his drops. The Bears receivers were solid in this respect.
  10. This was a good start for the Bears. They took care of business and all credit to them for that. But many of my concerns remain about them. All that help they’re leaving in for the offensive line could eventually stunt the progress of the offense and I think we’d all like to see more pressur from the defensive front. I can’t help but think that a better team would have given them a tough time.