Chicago Sun-Times

Two weeks to solve this mess

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So much for rolling into the bye week with some momentum. Instead, the Bears enter with a thud and have twice as much time to contemplate how they arrived here at 3-5.

One of the more worn-out cliches in the league is that you’re never as good as you think you are when the tape is reviewed, and you’re never as bad as you think you are. It’s true. So the Bears will dissect the 16-7 loss to the Detroit Lions today at Halas Hall and determine there were small factors here and there that collaborated to create a humiliating performance against a Lions team that had closely resembled the Washington Generals away from Ford Field since Matt Millen took over as general manager in 2001.

Fine. So the Bears discover all hope is not lost after pushing play-rewind-play until their thumbs hurt.

Here’s the problem: There isn’t a fancy saying for the inability of a team to sustain any consistency whatsoever. Answers to that won’t be found in film study of the Lions’ game, or any other. That’s what is truly leading to the downfall of this bunch. Success breeds success because of consistency. What this team is breeding is sloppy, dull, uninspired play.

Lovie Smith’s bunch looked lost when it fell at Detroit on Sept. 30, dropping to 1-3. Then there was the rally at Green Bay the following week that injected some life into the team. The Bears turned around and were steamrolled by Minnesota at home. All hope was lost. Not so fast. A 97-yard touchdown drive at Philadelphia following a defensive effort inspired by Brian Urlacher created another victory to revive hope. But the Bears looked about as bad as possible in losing Sunday. Had the Lions offense not been so inept in the red zone, the score would have looked different.

Now, you have the distraction created by Urlacher, his balky back and the coach who doesn’t know who said what to whom and when.

Exhibit A: ``It’s a problem that started all the way back in camp,’’ Urlacher told his good friend Jay Glazer at foxsports.com. ``We’ve done x-rays, bone scans, MRI's, cat scans and this week I flew to Pittsburgh and met with a specialist. He confirmed what the team told me, that they think it’s an arthritis type of thing. The thing that’s so frustrating is there is no clear-cut solution to give me relief. I just have to deal with the pain.’’

Exhibit B: ``Brian admitted having a … I don’t know anything about that,’’ Smith said following the game when asked about the Internet report. ``If Brian admitted that to you, you’ve got to talk to Brian about that.

``It’s an online report. I’m not going to get into any of that right now. If there’s something that Brian talked to you about … as far as I know, what I know with Brian is that he played today. He’s not on the injury list and as far as his back, his back again there’s nothing wrong with his back that would cause him not to be able to play.”

That’s a disconnect that trumps the little debate that brewed last Monday over who was calling the plays in the game-winning drive at Philadelphia. Hey, there’s two weeks to iron this one out.

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24 Comments

Lovie Smith has to go back to Big Sandy, Texas - and have him bring Turner and Igor, I mean Babich, along with him. WE NEED BILL COWHER - HE HAS DA DITKA 'STACHE!

"The Bears, this year, are who I thought they would be last year". Lets face reality Bears fans, the Bears had the easiest schedule in the league last year and played in the pathetically weak NFC where one 8-8 team and two 9-7 teams made the playoffs. No NFC team last year was a Super Bowl caliber team. I picked the 2006 team to go 8-8 because I could not foresee the cake schedule and the good luck that they had. And the future looks bleak with 7 out of 11 starters on offense being in their 30's. Also, has anyone caught Jim Miller shilling for the Bears on the comcast postgame show? After the first loss to Detroit a few weeks ago, Miller said, and I quote "The Bears have great talent on offense, and we all know this". Then yesterday he said, and I quote, "It's hard to believe this team is 3-5 because they have so much talent on that roster". Some truly amazing statements.

You Bear fans are so unbelievable. Last year the schedule was easier and you had a successful year...until you played a superior team. This year things are tougher & more injuries and you're all stunned that your losing. Look at your wins so far...besides KC, have you dominated anyone? Hardley.
The Bears were lucky against Green Bay and Philadelphia infact Philadelphia gave the game away.
Be happy to be in the NFC ...what would happen if the Bears had to play teams like New England, Indy, Pittsburgh..it would be ugly.
The problem with the Bears, Bear fans and even Chicago sports newspaper writers is they talk about the Bears and think they're a better team than what they really are and thought that teams would just roll over for them. Look at 2001 13-3..so what, you got spanked by Philly..badley. Next Carolina carved the Bears up in the playoffs..really not that great of a team guys... and then Indy played their game last year and showed who the bears really were...good but not great.
It's not going to get any easier..the remaining 8 games aren't going to be a picnic ..teams are getting better and healthier.
Prediction: Looks painful.
Prescription: start over..Rebuild both sides of the ball..Change the attitude..less talk more execution..one game at a time.

If the Bears have two weeks to fix this season, I hope they started last night. The coaches need to go into this week with open mind to fix the problems. Maybe it is time to look at Adrian Peterson as the starter at RB and it is time to bring Rex back as the starter at QB. Rex's record at the beginning of the year against superior talent was 1-2. Better than the 2-3 record that Brian Griese has against the Lyons, Packers, Vikings, and Eagles. Of course all the blame cannot go to Griese as everyone was so quickly to do to Rex. Our defense is underperforming and so is the offensive line. There are troubles throughout this teams.

Yet, this teams needs plays to bring it back to life. Griese is forcing to make plays that he cannot make. He was supposed to be the smart quarterback that did not do that. He was supposed to be the guy that took the check down. If the Bears are going to continue to throw it 40 times a game. Let the young, strong arm of Grossman throw in 40 times. He still might throw some interceptions, but he is also going to score more points and throw for more than 208 yards against the Lyons.

Can the Bears save this season, yes. But it will have to be an amazing run and Griese is not the leader to do this!

I AM A LIFE LONG BEARS FAN BEING 52 YRS OF AGE I HAVE SEEN ALOT. BUT I AM ALSO A LIFE LONG FLORIDA GATOR. AND THIS STAFF MAY THEY SOON BE GONE. MESSED UP WHEN THEY BENCHED GROSSMAN. WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE LIKE REX YOU NEED TO TAYLOR THE OFFENSE TO HIS STRENGTHS WHICH IS THROWING THE BALL DOWN FIELD NOT THIS DINK AND DUNK JUNK. IN ADDITION THANK YOU OWNERSHIP FOR LETTING MR JONES GO SURE COULD USE HIM NOW.. GO BEARS

Bears ownership, or managment beginning and ending with Ted Phillips, need
to grab their cajones at the end of the season and fire, in order, Jerry Ann
Jello, Lovie Smith, Ron (Stomach) Turner, and Bob Babich. Then they need to
bring in Mike Singletary as GM-Head Coach (Singletary will team with Phillips to eventually hire a new GM sometime during the season). Singletary will need to form a search committee with other former Bear Greats (Dent, Hampton, Fencik, Sayers, and Butkus) to get new offensive and defensive coordinators and other assistant coaches. At least Singletary and the search committee will be in charge of next spring's draft and free agent signings. I envision this as the best way to keep the Bears from sliding into the depths of the NFL for another decade or two, all the while the laughingstock of prosports and the G.D. media.

OK no two weeks Bears are done!!They need to revamp the hole team starting with Cedric Benson,followed by a new QB.Followed bya new offensive and defensive coordinator.Then they need a younger offensive line,They are very old and slow!!They also need another D-takle.Followed by booting A.Archuletta.Bob Babich is a joke and so is Ron Tuner!Halas Hall should have given Ron Rivera another chance!HEY BEARS lose the rest of your games to get a few good draft picks would ya?And sign or trade for Donavan Mc Nabb this year or next PLEASE!!!

Now I remember why we got rid of Turner the first time. 15/40 run to pass ratio only works in Indy. He's been doing this since the Super Bowl!

ORTEN TIME

"Lions lead league in takeaways, Marinelli says it's the number 1 reason why Detroit is 5-2." He didn't mention the reason for the takeaways was the inept play of the Bears.

Oh so now we need to fire the whole coaching staff for this season? Give me a break!! Ron Turner is the only one that I think should be fired. Why is suddenly Ron Rivera considered great??? Isn't this the same cordinator that game planned the Bears to play man on Steve Smith in the playoffs a couple of years ago. Isn't it the same coach who would never blitz anybody ever?? Example: In the Super Bowl last year when all Manning did was pick the Bears apart because they put no pressure on him. If Rivera was the coordinator there would be nothing different with the Bears defense. Lay off Babich and give him a chance. This is all on the players, they are not playing with the same intensity as last year. All they keep doing is talking, talking, talking.... It's time to shut up about playoff talk and start playing each game like it is the last!!

Dave:

"Be happy to be in the NFC ...what would happen if the Bears had to play teams like New England, Indy, Pittsburgh..it would be ugly."

So how many "superior" AFC teams have beaten The Patriots, the Colts AND the Steelers this year? In case you didn't know, that was a trick question- two of the teams you mentioned are still undefeated. One will remain undefeated after next week.

ERNIE TAYLOR:

"ORTEN TIME"

Who is Orten?

I agree - Rivera wouldn't have fared any better. The truth is the offensive woes left the defense on the field for far too long this season. Hence they were overworked, beatup, and suffered numerous injuries. Now they are underperforming, confidence reduced, and starting to point fingers. Not a good sign.

The problem - as it always has been- lies with the offense. This includes: the QB, RB, Wide Receivers, Offensive Line, and Ron Turner. If they offensive situation would improve the defense would be on the field less, thus healthier, getting more takeaways, and allowing fewer points.

First and foremost the Bears need to draft better. Secondly, Ron Turner has to go. Despite what critics say - his offense has not delivered. Secondly, stick with Greise for a another game or two. If they are losses then move to Orton. Have to see if he's matured any in the past few seasons. At that point it will be a moot point anyway. Thirdly, get rid of Benson. A tough one to swallow given the money invested and high draft pick he was, however the run game will never be where it needs to be with him as the feature back. Peterson will be much the same - more heart - same skill level. Try Wolfe who didn't even dress on Sunday. Finally, the draft/trades/waivers need to address:
QB - if Orton is no better than the alternatives
RB - if Wolfe doesn't get it done
Offensive Line -

The defense still has a few seasons of champtionship quality left in them. The offense needs to improve quickly or Chicago won't see another playoff game for a long time

It's not time to panic yet regarding the whole team. We do need to look at getting some key playmakers in the off-season at SSafety, Running back, and wide receiver. As for the QB position it's something that will involve $$$ and some luck, and we need both in Chicago, when it comes to the QB position. Griese surprised me with the four picks he seemed to be forcing the ball into areas of double coverage which he had not shown in previous weeks. His desire to get the ball in the endzone proved costly against the Lions. I'm sure people were open underneath on those throws which were into double coverage. Still think he's the best option to train Orton at this time. Also time for Daniel Manning to step up and get some picks, he's a free safety he's supposed to be around the ball.

People, I am really starting to believe that Super Bowl Loser's jinx. Really, just look at the whole picture. A lot of what is going on is so uncharacteristic of the team of recent years. Robbie Gould missing field goals. Defense giving up yardage and points at an alarming rate. Injuries out the wahzoo. This team has never looked this bad. We have a lot of the same players but yet we seem unaware of anything going on. Now, I'm not an advocate of firing everyone, but something has to be done and it begins at the top. Because any of you reading knows from playing schoolyard ball, that when you identify what the opponent is doing against you, you design something to offset that. We've all drew up plays in dirt to counter an opponent. And Lovie being the head coach is to ensure that this is happening. Lovie is still a defensive minded coach, and Babich is still a rookie coordinator. Lovie needs to be guiding him better and putting our defense in a better position to make plays. Even if he has to make the calls himself. It is said that Ron is the only offensive minded person there. It's obvious that he needs some help. We run pass play after another and yet no one is ever open. Something is definately wrong with the play design. Run play after another and no yards gained. Our line is old, and they are not moving anyone off the line. And this includes the great Olin. Our plays are predictable and conservative. We are not fooling anyone. We have not evolved any. We are struggling to compete in the weaker NFC. We wouldn't even have a chance in the AFC. One of the announcers of the game stated that we can not compete in this league with this style of offense anymore. And I believe him. Every player in the league is big, strong and fast. So we have to be more cunning than the next. And that is the coaches job. Our running game sucks. And the majority of that falls on the O-line. Benson is not getting yards. Peterson is not getting yards. Even the shifty Wolfe is not getting yards. Everyone is so quick to bash Benson. But I put it on the line. Just watch any run play in slow mo. You'll see the line getting blown up right from the start. Or no movement at all. We love our big guys, but they are the problem. We have no passing game so the defense has no problem stacking the box. And our coaches are not doing anything to offset this. This two weeks really needs to go into coaches addressing there problems and putting their pride aside. Turner needs help. Babich needs help. And it's Lovie's job the give it to them.

Can someone please explain why Jerry Angelo, who generally manages a team that "gets off the bus running," would fail to refresh his overpaid, over-hyped and over-matched geriatric offensive line with draft picks and free agents?

Additionally, why can't Angelo find winning offensive players with high draft picks?

His success rate wouldn't sustain his employment in private industry...

And, BTW, bring back Honey Bears...so we can look at something worth watching!

Uninspired? Do the Colts look unispired? The bottom line is this team is not as talented as they thought they were. A tougher schedule is proving that. Everyone - players and coaches included, need to face that fact.

The Bears need to benchmark themselves against the Patriots or Colts if they want to be a winning team. Otherwise, they will end up like Tampa after they won the Superbowl.

Or worse - the 1990's Buffalo Bills.

Lovie Smith showed that he did panicked and bowed to the pressure of the press and the fans. I believe grossman is way much better than griese. Griese is good as a back-up only, but not the one who can carry chicago bears to atleast decent record. "Its the running back" get a decent one at least. Swallow the money that you already lost to benson. But dont let the whole team go down just because of him. The most stupid thing you all did is let T.J. go. the offense is very predictable, you cannot even beat a college team with that kind of offense.

whether or not Benson is that great...the Green Bay game proved that by staying committed to running and using play action, that whether or not you have great success with every run, you can still win....when they played the Lions the second time, they ran the ball too little and used hardly any play action, then threw bonehead interceptions into double coverage 3 times....using play action more would make safeties cheat up and mean less double coverage on outside receivers, especially in the end zone........I do agree that Griese is a second stringer at best at this point.....both Turner and Lovie dropped the ball with Grossman....I mean...what happened to throwing the ball deep to Berrian as they did numerous times last year with success.....and stretching defenses in the process so the running game could fluorish??....Berrien has been runing 10 yard patterns for what seems like the whole season now....let Berrien and Hester do what they do best by running streak and hitch and go patterns, by doing this they will open up the middle for who is currently the best receiver in Chicago now, Greg Olsen, along with Desmond Clark....the inept play and play calling of this offense this season has led many to finally realize that it WASNT ALL REX'S FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!

It just baffles me about how many people think benching Rex was premature. Did you watch the last year and a half. What was his average quarterback rating for that time span? What is Greise's now? I do not believe Griese is the answer, he is a band-aid. Benson is garbage- period. His unwillingness to avoid tacklers, and lack of burst is sickening. What makes you think Berrian can catch the deep ball if he can't catch a 10 yard out? He probably has dropped more passes then Benson this year. This season is over, put in the people who played well in preseason who haven't played this year. See who is good and who isn't before the house cleaning this spring. The o-line is too old, Tait was nothing more then a door mat last game. Urlacher plays like he is 50 years old. He never could get off blocks, and it is only worse now. Daniel Manning is not the solution at any position, he should be on the practice squad with all his missed tackles and lack of effort.

I agree. This season is over. I'm wondering if I should start hoping for as many losses as possible to get a good draft pick in order to start rebuilding for next year. Here are my suggestions for the first three steps toward fixing the team.

Step one; I would start by replacing the coaching staff. The team needs some Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan type coaches. Strike one; Lovie stuck with unproven QB so long that he might never be rehabilitated into a good one. Strike two; he let Ron Rivera go to make room for the guy who ruined the league's best defense. Strike three; he traded Thomas Jones to give Cedric Benson more chances to run the ball 3.7 yards per carry. In my book three strikes and you're out. Sorry Lovie. Mike Babich needs to go as well. Granted there have been some injuries, but Babich took the league's best defense and turned it into one of the worst in one season. Bringing Mike Singletary on board would be a great move. I'm sure he would bring the same passion and intensity to coaching that he did as a player. Bringing Ron Rivera back would be a good move as well. So would stealing Jeff Fisher away from the Titans. The Bears have always had defensive teams that put fear in the hearts of their opponents. We need coaches that will bring that back

Step two; the team needs a good quarterback. Rex Grossman has shown that he won’t be that player—ever, so someone should buy him a one-way ticket for the Canadian Football League. Brian Griese is an excellent quarterback and will do better with more time as the starter. I would stick with Brian and draft a good quarterback that Brian can train to succeed him in the future. That’s the kind of training Rex needed by didn’t get and now it’s too late.

Step three; the team needs a good running back. Cedric needs to be on the same train bound for Canada that Rex will be on and the Bears need to develop Adrian Peterson or draft a solid running back.

The Bears Can`t solve this mess with just a bye week.
If the fans can`t agree on a QB how do you think they will,its a toss up.
First they need fresh players at key positions both Offense and Defense.
Run Benson until he produce or sit him for the rest of the season.
Drop the cover 2 defense. No one was ever sold on it.....A lot of players got injured from that defense...you must have the talent for it,thats why most teams don`t bother with it most of the time.
With Ron Turner Sitting and waiting for Lovie`s job or a call from some other team.....nobody but the Bears will fool with him any way.
Lovie should be more passionate as a head coach..kick a little butt....go down swinging..he will be blamed any way...so get tough don`t trust Ron he came with Ted Phillips.
Finally Attack Attack and Attack....get busy winning or die trying.

When do we finally quit blaming Rex, injuries, etc?
The GM, Head Coach and rest of the executives at Halas Hall are to blame for the Bears going from Super Bowl contender to a punch line.
The Bears had a Super Bowl team based on defense and the running game. So what does the Bears brain trust (or lack of) do. The biggest moves in the off season.
1) Get rid of your defensive coordinator (He had only put together a scary good defense and was considered a head coaching prospect).
2) Dump (for next to nothing)your only proven, starting running back. A guy who rushed for 1200 yards a couple of times and played with heart. To keep a disgruntled, injury prone, fumbling, uninspired back, who has proven to be a Tony Mandrich sized bust.
This is not overly surprising from the top! After Super Bowl XX McCaskey managed to lose top players like Marshall and his defensive coordinator. Apparently he only wants one shot at a time. No dynasty builder here!
Their was no excuse for picking Benson over Thomas except ego. They did not want to admit they made a poor pick. They had Benson around long enough to evaluate him. If they felt he was better and had more heart than Thomas, then they are really in trouble.
Getting rid of Rivera can't be explained. He did an outstanding job. He had one of the best defenses the last few years. They now look confused.
Their are Executive Of The Year and Coach Of The Year Awards.
This year the Bears deserve Bonehead Of The Year Awards.
After both Super Bowl appearances they have been a model on how to dismantle very good teams and take away any chance of dynasty rumors. (Kind of like the White Sox after 05).

I hope I am around when the McCaskey Family no longer control the Bears.
I would like to see a real owner who wants to win.
It seems like Adrian Peterson don`t mind what kind of defense is employed.
He ran over Ron Rivera and linebackers sunday and what a run he had.
Remind me of....forgive me...Gale Sayers.
Hope Benson was watching..but he was`nt,sleeping is his thing.
This season has come and went....

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 29, 2007 8:02 AM.

Pregame: Vasher still out was the previous entry in this blog.

Wednesday practice update: Urlacher out is the next entry in this blog.

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