Chicago Sun-Times

Moose on the loose: WR critical of system

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Muhsin Muhammad perfected the art of walking a fine line when it came to criticizing his quarterback like a good receiver knows how to get his feet down along the sideline during his three seasons with th Bears.

Signed to be a big-play receiver in 2005, that never really materialized here and he let his frustration with Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman and Brian Griese be known from time to time.

Muhammad, who was released on Monday with three years remaining on his contract, produced 164 receptions for 2,183 yards and 12 touchdowns while enduing six changes in starting quarterbacks. That’s hardly the turnover the team has seen in other recent seasons. For his efforts, he was paid $16.27 million.

He suggested in an interview Tuesday on WMVP AM-1000 that there will be multiple options for him in free agency. He also walked the line in criticizing offensive coordinator Ron Turner.

``I still have a lot of football left in me,’’ he told the station. ``Everything feels good.’’

Here are some excerpts from portions of the interview on 1000:

MUHAMMAD: I think the production comes with trust with the quarterback obviously and then opportunities. If given the opportunities, I think my numbers would have been a lot better. If you look at the percentage of balls that were thrown to me, the percentage of balls I caught and the percentage of balls I dropped, my numbers as far as that was concerned were not any different than they were in Carolina. The only difference was is that Carolina threw me a lot more balls.

1000: Do the Bears have a professional quarterback?

MUHAMMAD: Well, obviously you know we went through three different quarterbacks this year and we did not have a 1,000-yard receiver. I think Bernard Berrian has the potential to be a really good wide receiver in this league but I don’t think he was able to really showcase all that he can do in the system that we ran and obviously trading out quarterbacks every single week the way we did. Is he going to be a great receiver one day? He has the possibility of doing that. I think he needs the opportunities. To follow up with that, you only had one receiver with a 100-yard game. Is it solely on the receivers or the quarterback or the system? Whatever the case is, Chicago is not really known to put out really, really top receivers. It was a challenge for me and I don’t think it worked out he way we all expected but we did get some great times, we had a Super Bowl out of the deal, we had a couple of NFC North championships so I have nothing to complain about. When I take my next step, I don’t know where that is going to be right now, but it feels good to be free.

1000: IS THE SYSTEM FLAWED?

MUHAMMAD: I know that either I didn’t fit into the system or the system isn’t right for the type of receiver I am. Maybe that was one of the reasons Ron felt like he didn’t want to utilize me as much as he did or I didn’t get the ball as much as I thought I should have got the ball. For whatever reason. Ron had been successful at other times. He’s been successful here in Chicago, he’s been successful at Illinois, obviously it wasn’t the exact fit for me and I think that parting ways was the best decision for them and me. They decided to go with some younger guys. They wanted to give Devin [Hester] a chance, they want to give Mark [Bradley] more reps, they’re probably trying to sign Bernard back. I’m fine with that.

1000: WAS THERE A DISCONNECT BETWEEN YOU AND TURNER?

MUHAMMAD: I don’t think that there was any hard feelings at all between Ron and I. Obviously, if I am only getting thrown the ball two or three times during the game it is going to be hard to produce with that. Obviously, if I am only getting the ball thrown to me two or three times during the game I am not really featured in that type of offense. Let’s just take it for what it is.

1000: HOW GOOD CAN DEVIN BE?

MUHAMMAD: Devin obviously has big-play ability. I think being a special teams guy is really his forte. If you start to play him more at wide receiver, I think you take away from what he does best. But I still think he can still be a very, very great wide receiver. He’s shown he has big play capabilities.


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18 Comments

Go play drop somewhere else.Good riddance

gosh I'll miss this guy sooo much. Now who will tell me who to blame when the bears lose?

the bears need to realse rex crossman,alot of bears fan want a good or great qb in the bears not rex.keep the moose.

I'ts true recievers need a quarterback who can get them the ball and make the hard throws. Unfortuanatly, our qb's were usualy on they're back because our line stunk. Olin Kreunts is the most overated player in bear history. still, Muhammed failed consistently to get seperation from the defender. and was not put in a good position by ron turner. I like turner but by the end of the year all the fans watching the games with me called rons predictable next play call. usually a eight yard pitch to a running back,who needed to gain 3 yards for a total of 11 yards in the backfeild.then punt

Looks like he hasn't figured out in 35 years how to display class and diplomacy. He is not a West Coast receiver, and never was happy with the idea of working the middle and short-to-intermediate zones. He wanted to run down the field and use his strength to fight for the ball. Problem was he was never able to get down the field, even when they did call his number. The only route he ran with any consistency was the skinny post, where he could use his body to keep the defender off the ball, and he wasn't fast enough to get separation on that route any more. I would be curious to see if Berrian and Muhammed as a combo dropped the most passes of any tandem in the league, but at least Berrian was open some of the time because they feared him running by. What did anyone fear from Muhammed? Apparently, the only ones that had to worry about getting burned were his quarterbacks....Good riddance

Muhammad, you don't get it. Listen up chump... you didn't get more balls thrown to you because of:

your inability or unwillingness to get open at the right time.
your knack for dropping passes.
your failure to buy into the system.
your failure to support your QBs during times of duress.
your arrogance.
your ridiculously lame end zone dance.

Btw... the interception that was returned for a TD in the SB was YOUR fault.

Don't let the door hit you in the ***.

And I thought I was the only one who knew the Super Bowl interception was ol 87s fault.

Wow does this mean -No more "Countdown to Kickoff" Pat and the Moose. Two Charley McCarthys and no Edgar Bergen.

Think about this,I do. That sideline interception and Our safety letting the Colts receiver go when Manning was in the grasp. Thats 14 points less!!!!!

Honestly...I think Mushin is correct with his assesment of the offense. Ron Turner stunk it up this past year. He didnt cater to anyone's strength on the offense. Mushin should have been used more in the slot and on slant routes; yes he wasnt as fast as he used to be but could still use his body as good as anyone in the league and get 1st downs to move the chains. It isnt his fault the Bears didnt supply him a QB that could deliver that throw on a consistent basis. Berrian should have gotten some curl routes and some out routes. Ced should have been run off tackle more....and he didnt start Grossman off right...which is pound the ball and let Rex get into the flow of the game with short passes. You cant always decide to go play action on 1st down because teams will blitz. He didnt change blocking schemes in his offense when he knew guys were a year older and a step slower. You cant blame Mushin for saying the Bears didnt get him the ball.....they didnt. Yes he dropped someballs; but how many times was Mushin really used in the red zone?...Our QB play has been and will continue to be an issue until Rex Grossman turns the corner...which I'm hoping happens this year.

All in all Mushin got paid very well and he has nothing to complain about....he just answered some questions presented to him and he answered them respectfully. I think Turner needs do some upgrading to his offense and upgrade his play calling. Both were suspect this year.

Am I really the only one that sees this?

I think it is very smart to part ways with Muhammad. His skills are clearly deteriorating, which should be a surprise given his age. The drops this year were too much to handle.

His decline could be expected at some point during his tenure with the Bears because we all knew he wasn't young when we signed him from the Panthers.

I will give him all the credit in the world for helping to change the attitude of the team, particularly the offense, when he arrived with the Bears in 2005. I think the money has been well spent if you consider only that.

It's just the right time for both sides move on. Good luck.

Everybody wants to tag the int in the SB on Moose because now he's gone. Where were all you pundits when it actually happened? The lousy Super Bowl was a team effort the Colts exposed them last year and the rest of the league followed suit and that's what happened. I fault the collective brain-trust for this years debacle. They had on blinders three games before the season ended Super Bowl season, they were exposed lovie tried to hide it by his friend knew and the Super Bowl proved Dungy was still smarter than Lovie and thats why cover-2 was exposed the weakness in the safety and the line was exposed. And Lovie his coaches and Angelo knew but arrogantly went on with out changing. Martz was in the division he knew. Everyone knew but the Bears and their staff or they arrogantly went on thinking they were better. Well now let's see how smart they really are.

Though I am one to agree that Muhammad may have been an underachiever, I think that what is really needed in Chicago is an honest evaluation of the system. Ron Turner's system is too conservative and very much underproductive. for those that have critizized Muhammad, take a look at the other receivers (including the tight ends. All of them were underachievers! If the Bears are truly interested in becoming a contender for a superbowl, they have to do a few things to make it happen:

1. Get much better and younger with their offensive line. Even if you have Brady under center, without protection, he's dead in the water. (Refer to this past superbowl)

2. Solidify the quarterback position. This rollercoaster ride that we have been on for 20 years has to end. Whether it's Grossman,Orton or TBA, settle the issue then protect him! (See statement #1)

3. Allow Hester to be what he really is...A great return man with mediocre receiver abilities. Just becasue you can run fast and can ellude defensive players doesn't make you a great receiver. If the Bears continue to play Hester at both positions, they are going to get him hurt. (See Gale Sayers)

4. Stop being so cheap! I you have a player that produces for you on the field, pay him the money that he deserves. (See Lance Briggs, Thomas Jones and Chris Harris)

5. Make the coaches accountable for the play of the Bears on the field. Stop making excuses and stop making decisions about players based upon friendship. (See Archuletta) This is a business not a friendship. Players are paid to play & coaches are paid to coach. Anything other than that is bull@*#*! We can all be friends off the field but when gametime rolls around, it's strickly business.

Go Bears!

Moose is mostly right on the Bears. He still is a good physical receiver who can block well too but his catching isn't doing so well. Maybe his fault, maybe not. Overall he was a fun player to watch and his touchdown dance was da shiznit.

Oh, and is it just me, but did anyone else not realize that Tom Brady looked like he was dying in the SB? The yellow skin, the lack of strength and movement? No?

djssr... your first statement is incorrect.

No Moose wasn't great and he dropped balls just like all these guys did. But still he did some good things for this team. Great things? No. But if he was great they would have never signed him. Ownership will never go out and get the real goods. They sign guys that no one in particular wants. Just about any free agent they got they didn't get into any signing wars with anyone else for them. Maybe when they signed Tait. But he adjusted his contract right after he signed. Name a signing where we got a guy who had gone to an elite teams and then decided on us? Moose is just another in a long line. And then when they do what the BEARS expect them to do the fans get mad. Moose wasn't supposed to be the speed guy. He ws a good blocker and a good route runner. He was supposed to be the guy that lead by example but what was he leading them for. He couldn't teach Berrian to be tougher nor was he supposed to teach Bradley how to stay healthy. I can't say that it was up to him to make Hester run better routes. The BEARS have too many problems to blame it all on Moose but like always the fans will put it all on him. Why is it so easy to dump on him when all these guys dropped passes. Some in crucial situations. Olson dropped a pass that would have kept a drive alive and might have improved us to 8-8. If somone calls him a bust after that now that would've been the first time. When has Moose dropped a pass and you can attribute that pass to them losing a game over it? Not often that I can think of but he gets all the blame for the offense along with Miller. Great. All those things I mentioned that the WRs don't do well isn't his fault and those things have contributed to losses. Spread the blame please.

It always is interesting to me to read about all the drops Muhammad had. Did he lead the NFL in drops? Come on.
Drops are a part of football and I would be the first one to say the Bears had way too many drops this past season. The Super Bowl Champion Giants led the NFL in drops with 42 followed by the Saints and then Bears. Of the Bears 40 drops Muhammad was credited with 5. Dallas Clark led the NFL with 12 drops. D. Clark dropped more balls than Muhammad as did Marty Booker, Steve Smith, and many other WRs.

Muhammad does not have the speed of a Bernard Berrian and never did but in the NFL you don’t need five yards of separation to get the ball. NFL QB’s should be able to throw a ball into a certain window for the receiver to catch. There have been plenty of WR’s who didn’t have blazing speed but had a QB who could get the ball into that window. The Bears have no QB that is consistently doing that. They may look good on one throw and then the next throw is too high, too low or behind the receiver. Sure there were drops but how many throws were mad this season hitting the receiver in stride? Where is the timing? A receiver comes out of his break and the ball has to be there. It seemed all season the ball was late or too early or way over the receivers head and yes there were drops.

We can blame Muhammad but a receiver is not better than the guy throwing the ball. The QB is no better than his offensive line.
I don’t look for one player to be a scapegoat on a team that has some positions that need a much higher level of play than I have seen the last three years.
I am not saying Muhammad is Randy Moss but even Randy Moss looked washed up in Oakland for two years before going to New England.
My point would be you could have Randy Moss out there but if your QB play is inconsistent as the Bears has been and just like Oakland had with Moss even the best player can look pretty bad.
Bottom line will be next season when the Bears don’t have Muhammad. Lets see who shines then with this stellar stable of QB's.

BB what are you talking about, if you are going to correct someone qualify your statement. So just in case you didn't understand in my opinion part of a WR's job if he can't catch the pass to prevent or at least tackle the defender of the latter Moose did not make much of an effort that is what we were talking about. You can place a lot that went wrong on the staff as well as the players but the team was exposed by it's creator, Dungy. He out coached Lackluster Lovie and Rambo Rivera bottomline.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 19, 2008 8:35 PM.

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