Chicago Sun-Times

Fixing the Bears

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Lovie Smith said he was focused on fixing the Bears Monday more than studying the Dallas. Don't worrry, he will no doubt be up until the wee hours tonight and Tuesday dissecting the Cowboys.

So, we'll focus on the Bears and Sunday's game one more time before moving forward.

The punters, the blitz problems, Moose, Hester, big play, the exact location of Mark Bradley and the health beat, all below.

-- It could be the Bears hang on to Dirk Johnson for the week to ensure they have a backup plan in case Brad Maynard’s groin injury prevents himself from playing again. Smith said Johnson’s left thigh contusion was much better Monday morning, and having Plan B is probably more important than bringing back CB Ade Jimoh immediately for a crash course on the defense.

``Brad felt comfortable he could punt yesterday,’’ Smith said. ``We’ll always go the extra yard with injuries, but I assume we’ll have Brad available just like we’ll have Dirk available.”

-- Smith on blitzers coming free vs. Rex Grossman in the first two games:

“It’s a very complicated answer,’’ Smith said. ``It is. Certain plays it could be the quarterback, it could be the line, it could be a combination of things. I’m just going to say we as an offense didn’t execute at the time and we have to do a better job with it. It’s really kind of as simple as that, just a combination of things.”

Grossman has been sacked six times and several have been against a free rusher, a man the quarterback is often responsible for. The QB has to get the ball to his hot read or get rid of it.

-- Muhsin Muhammad has only two catches through two games, and has been on the injury report each Friday with an ankle problem.

``He was healthy for the game, so no, I wouldn’t say [the ankle injury is responsible for his slow start],’’ Smith said.

It marks the first time since the final two games of 1998 that Muhammad has had only two catches in consecutive games.

-- Where does Devin Hester stand all-time in terms of touchdowns for a returner? He’s got six in 75 returns (the NFL does not count the runback of the missed field goal at the Giants last November as a kick return). That is a touchdown every 12.5 returns, tops in league history.

Next? Gale Sayers at one every 14.8 returns followed by Travis Williams at one every 16.4. The late Williams played for Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams from 1967-71. As a rookie, he set a league record that still stands by averaging 41.1 yards per kickoff return.

-- Smith on why the Bears have not been able to beat blitzes with the big play. That’s when a defense opens itself up to deep play, and it hasn’t happened. Grossman’s longest completion is 24 yards.

``We do need to get the ball downfield a little bit, yes,’’ Smith said. ``In training camp we saw a lot more production from our offense. I’m saying the same thing. But I still think it’s a work in progress and our entire team is right now. After two games, I don’t think we’ve had a chance to show you exactly where we are right now. As I talk with the team about steps you take … last week we talked about our running game. You guys haven’t asked anything about the running game so far, so evidently you’re saying that we’ve made progress with the running game.

``I’m saying we did, and I’m saying that we’re going to make sore more progress with our passing game this week. Hopefully we can get [tight end Greg] Olsen back before long. That should give us a boost also. Devin Hester, the first game didn’t have the production he had returning kicks. We took a step with that. Hopefully we’ll take another step with some of the things that we can do with him and with the rest of our offense this week.”

-- Asked about Mark Bradley's role, Smith said he No. 5 on the depth chart. Translation: don't expect to see him doing much any time soon. More on his disappearance in Tuesday's edition.

-- Health beat. Smith reported the team came out of the game in pretty good shape. DE Alex Brown (right ankle), TE Desmond Clark (right knee) and RT Fred Miller (neck stinger) all left the game but returned. They were in decent shape Monday at Halas Hall.

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6 Comments

Everyone seems to blame our players for our stinking offense. How about Ron Turner taking some heat? During his last few years as head coach at Illinois his teams were horrible on offense, suffering innumerable shoutout stinkers. One has to wonder about the evaluation process whereby Jerry Angelo found him to be the best available offensive coordinator for the Bears, especially since Lovie Smith came up from defensive coordinator. Cheap, chummy, chump?

I couldn't agree more. The first game against the Chargers was horrible. Why did he keep giving the ball to Benson up the middle? Over and over and over...He's got speed--pitch it to him like they used to do with Payton. True, Payton was a different kind of runner, but Benson's got speed AND power. Turner is not utilizing the great talent on the offense. Forget about the tight end Ron? Or what about Hester? Once we lose Hester to free agency, then we'll wonder, "now why didn't we use that guy more on O?" GET AGGESSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Muhsin Muhammad is too old, slow, and no good. No one talks about it, but he dropped a perfectly thrown pass that would have been a first down...on the next play Rex threw his second interception. For a captain, he needs to make those catches. He's overpaid and hopefully will follow Turner out of town after the season. Mark Bradley should start in front of Moose the Loose (as in loose hands that can't hold on to the ball) . Wake up and open your eyes, Lovie!

Why are we still waiting for Rex to come around?
What, didn't he go thru a pre-season? How can you end up in the Super Bowl in your first year as a shaky starter, and then not work your tail off during the off-year to show you learned from your mistakes?! Grossman had 4 deficiencies:
1. Doesn't scramble or run
2. Can't toss a screen pass
3. throws off his back foot
4. turns the ball over too much (i.e. picks & fumbles)
Has he improved enough in these areas to warrant our patience?

when we realize that Lovie is not a coach and the plays actually comes from management then we realize that the Bears will not advance anywhere this year or any year with that formula. Theoretically the Bears is stinking up Lake Michigan worse than the viruses that closed the beaches.

First I think they should fire "Useless" Lovie Smith. This is a man who has NO clue as to what to do with a football team. All he knows how to do is fire & purge coaches & players who WERE the team last year. But watch out! Bears sign him to a contract & he decides to fire Riveria & Jones. Now look at them. His good ol buddy he hired as defensive coach is useless just like Lovie.
Also Brian Urlacher should also consider calling it quits. He's hurt & he's getting older. This is not his fault but you have realize he's a key position that's just not cutting it anymore. Benson should just be fired! Stop paying these useless people with high pay checks! Get a real job!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 17, 2007 7:17 PM.

Smith optimistic Olsen will make debut was the previous entry in this blog.

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