Yet Another Reason Why Twitter Is a Bad Idea for NFL Personnel

Former Eagles and Browns executive Joe Banner really should know better.  And maybe the fact that he doesn’t tells you all you need to know about why he’s currently an ESPN analyst instead of a NFL front office man.

Banner tweeted to his more than 27,000 followers something that was almost certainly not intended for public consumption.  He was calling somebody “a moron,” apparently in response to a question about this particular moron’s advisors. The full tweet, was screens hotted before Banner deleted it:

“True, but he is a moron on his own. He has many advisors, but Alec is his top advisor by a lot. Don’t agree with the no advisors outside…”

Speculation, which Banner has denied, was that the “moron” was Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who fired him in early 2014.    “Alec” is presumably Alec Scheiner, the Browns president.  Even funnier than that tweet are the responses below Banner’s denial like this one:

“Joe Banner is Cleveland’s Crazy Ex-Girlfreind.”

Regardless, this once again reflects the dangers behind using Twitter to say things, either publicly or privately, that shouldn’t be said.  What’s even worse is that Banner has exhibited stupidity via Twitter before.  Banner and those like him should be sending text messages and destroying phones per the normal protocol.

Bears Can’t Get No Satisfaction?

David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune is concerned that the Bears aren’t a tad more upset at losing their game against the packers Sunday:

“Too many others sounded like guys on a Bears team that hasn’t won a game since last Nov. 23, a core diminished enough by six consecutive losses to worry whether losing has become a bad habit.

Martellus Bennett referred to the loss as ‘a confidence-builder” — a popular theme. Matt Forte celebrated the return of legitimacy to the huddle.

“‘Nobody had that stupid look on their face like before when something (bad) would happen,” [running back [Matt] Forte said.

“Added left tackle Jermon Bushrod: ‘I’ve been in this locker room and we’ve had losses and I just don’t want to talk to anyone, but we fought and competed and that’s all we can ask for.””

I get Haugh’s point. But I also understand the Bears attitude towards the loss.

We all understand now that the Bears had a toxic locker room last year. That atmosphere was created in part by high expectations that were unfulfilled. Head coach John Fox seems to be managing those expectations much better both outside and inside the locker room and what we’re hearing is a result of that.

The Bears played one of the best teams in football, one that tore them up last year. I can’t blame them for understanding that. My expectation is that there will be more dissatisfaction if they lose to Arizona next week. And there will be a whole lot more if they lose to the Oakland Raiders in week 4. If that doesn’t happen, then I think we can start worrying.

Bears Offensive Line Problems Aren’t Over Yet

Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune quotes Kyle Long on his struggles at right tackle:

“I had my struggles individually, and I did some things that I can keep my head up,’ he said. ‘I thought I played pretty hard. You’ve got to move on and make progress every week.”

He did, indeed.  For instance, on a fourth-and-goal safety Sean Richardson was unblocked on his blitz through the line. Long took responsibility for the protection bust.  He also gave up a sack to former Bear Julius Peppers.  But as most people can tell he’s probably going to be pretty good at tackle eventually.  Long wasn’t the problem yesterday.

Moving Long to tackle created a hole at right guard that was filled by veteran Vlad Ducasse. And Ducasse definitely ws the problem with a below average performance that was punctuated by two pre-snap penalties. Had Jordan Mills done that he would have been crucified this morning.

Putting Long at tackle didn’t solve the Bears offensive line problems. It traded one problem for another. The guess here is that we see Patrick Omameh at guard next week. We can hope he will be better. But not too much. Omameh was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have one of the worst offensive lines in football. If he didn’t fit in there, I’m having a hard time believing that he’s going to be an improvement here.

The Bears Need More from Jay Cutler

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune criticizes quarterback Jay Cutler after yesterday’s loss:

“With a roster in full rebuilding mode and a defense short on playmakers, the Bears figure to employ a similar strategy much of the season. Pile up yardage with Forte to rest the defense and hope to be in a tight game in the fourth quarter. They’re going to be counting on Cutler to deliver in the clutch and that’s where this strategy might be flawed.

“‘I made the correction in my head,’ Cutler said. ‘The guys made the correction out there. We know what should have happened. That’s it. We’ve got to move on. We’ve got a lot of opportunities left to go out there and do it the right way and improve where we are.’

“That’s just it. Who is going to have confidence that Cutler is going to improve where he is and make it a lasting adjustment? Maybe the Packers were a tough draw for Fox in his debut, but it already gives you an idea of where the Bears stand against the team to beat in the division. They’re not good enough even when things go mostly according to plan.”

As much as I understand the complacency both inside and outside the locker room in terms of how thinks turned out yesterday, I can’t understand the general positive attitude towards Cutler. Comments by Troy Aikman and Joe Buck indicating that this looked like a new Jay Cutler reflected the comments of fans and, in many cases, the media after this game.

Cutler did not play well and it wasn’t just the back breaking interception. His passer rating was a whopping 29.6.  Cutler miss fired on three consecutive passes from the 2 yard line in the fourth quarter and he generally made far too many catches that should have been easy into tough ones yesterday with some scatter shot inaccuracy. Yes, they were completions. But few were placed in a position such that the receiver could run after the catch. The Bears need more.

Quick Comments from Selected Late Sunday NFL Games

Some quick observations on some of the games that I caught late in the day after the Bears game was over.

Broncos – Ravens:

There was a huge question about Peyton Manning‘s arm before their game against the Ravens this weak. Manning has been struggling with his arm strength all preseason and has put up some ugly game tape. Pre-game reports that he’d been putting more zip on the ball after starting to wear a glove on his throwing hand, something he didn’t do in the preseason. However, I’m inclined to attribute more of it to the huge windup he’s developed in an effort to get more behind his throws. He was also much more inaccurate than he has been in the past.

Manning actually didn’t do too badly. But that long release may haunt him all season, as it did on a Jimmy Smith pick six on Manning’s first throw of the second half.

On the other side Denver constantly harassed Joe Flacco with a ferocious pass rush. Both Denver and Baltimore struggled to protect their quarterbacks and I’m now officially concerned about both of these offensive lines.

Finally, Terrell Suggs‘s torn achilles will keep him out for the year. That’s bad news for my Ravens Super Bowl pick.

Titans – Buccaneers:

The Jameis WinstonMarcus Mariota match up looked very much like you’d expect it it.

Mariota looked far more pro-ready, being in command of the offense the entire game against that nice, standard cover-two defense. He threw four touchdowns in the first half alone.

Winston was far more up and down, mostly down, as he was in the preseason. Winston has quit a way to go before he’s going to be a competent NFL quarterback and its going to be a long season for the Bucs.

Another thing to keep an eye on is that Buccaneer running game, which looked very effective. If Winston develops at all, he’s going to get a lot of help from some wonderful running by Doug Martin.

The Bears play the Buccaneers on December 27.

Chargers – Lions:

Preseason reports had people wondering if Chargers first round running back Melvin Gordon was headed towards bust territory. I wouldn’t say that Gordon looked bad so much as he looked disappointingly nondescript. But as expected, the Lions Ameer Abdulla was the guy to watch in this game. His tendency to accelerate through his cuts and continue to gain momentum is rapidly putting him into an upper class of running backs.

There should be concern about that Lions defense without Ndamukong Suh. The Chargers dissected them in the second half both in the running game and with the pass. They made it look far too easy for any Lions fan comfort. Or for the comfort of the Bears, who are going to be visiting San Diego in November.

I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with Matthew Stafford but he looked awful in this game. You might generously say that he wasn’t on the same page with his receivers but his accuracy was very suspect. This is a situation to keep an eye on in the competitive NFC North.

Cardinals – Saints:

The Bears next opponent is the Arizona Cardinals. My initial impression watching them beat up on the New Orleans Saints is that this is a rough, tough team up front on both sides of the ball. If the Bears run on this team like they did on the Packers in the first half, more power to them. I have my doubts.

The Saints looked completely flat. I’m really surprised as offseason reports indicated that they were muscling up to become more physical. If they did, they didn’t show it. Sean Payton didn’t have this team prepared to play in this game. The Saints have to pick it up.

Cowboys – Giants

Tony Romo had ages to throw the ball in this game. That Dallas offensive line is a wall. No one got close. And they road graders blocking the run. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better offensive line.

The Cowboys are a tough team. Which why I was shocked that the Giants were actually ahead at half. They were badly out played and the statistics were sick – they only had the ball for about 8 minutes of the half. But the Cowboys kept shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers and but you have to give the Giants credit. They hung tough.

The Giants offensive line wasn’t nearly as impressive as the Cowboys but Erik Flowers looks like he’s going to turn out to be a pretty good pick at left tackle. And of course, they have Odell Beckham, who drew a safety rolled to his side all night. I was also impressed by their coverage teams on special teams. But they were out classed you figured that they were eventually going to lose – and they did.  But the Cowboys did everything they could to give it away.