Chicago Sun-Times

Filtering through the notebook: Bears have easiest path in 2009

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We touched on the strength-of-schedule issue the Bears had moving forward a few weeks ago, noting their 2009 slate was the easiest in the league, a function of having two games with 0-16 Detroit more than anything else.

Kevin Seifert at goes into the issue a little further and made some great points worth considering. First, when teams like the Miami Dolphins can go from 1-15 to being in the postseason the next year, the statistics really don't tell you a whole lot. The fortunes of many clubs swing so dramatically on a annual basis that it's hard to take a whole lot out of the chart. It is worth noting that the Pittsburgh Steelers just claimed the championship having played the most difficult schedule in the league.

What's really interesting to note is the Bears' 2008 schedule--after it was completed--was the eighth weakest in the league with opponents having a combined winning percentage of .475. Sure, you can twist these numbers any which way to make them mean just about anything you want, but they're a nice reference point, at least, for what just happened and what lies ahead.

*** Bears center Olin Kreutz was praised in Tampa, Fla., last week when the Girdiron Greats held a press conference before the Super Bowl. He was lauded for his effort the last two years in supporting the fund that assist retired players in dire need of assistance. Kreutz has cut a check each year to the group but doesn't appreciate the fanfare that comes with it. He's not alone but there are not many current players pitching in. Our friend Chip Scoggins up at the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis details how only about 20 current players contributed to the cause this past season. Thing is, eight of them were teammates of Minnesota center Matt Birk, the man pushing the cause.

*** Scott Covert
, the son of former Bears' Pro Bowl left tackle Jimbo Covert, will reportedly sign with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Jimbo Covert is a finalist to become the NFLPA Executive Director.

The name of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has been quietly mentioned as a possibility in Kansas City, where the Chiefs have about two weeks to assemble a coaching staff before the scouting combine.

We'll get to another Four Down Territory later today. We've got some other business to attend to before then so submit any questions and we'll do our best to get to all of them today and later on this week.

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The easiest schedule means nothing because most teams improve from there past seasons records. With that being said the Bears had the easiest schedule in 2006 and look how well they did.


Ok here is a question. The Bears are doing their self-evaluation, I guess to find out who they currently are. My question is: Who do they want to be?

We all know Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo came up through the "Tampa connection". The tendancy is to equate the past formula for success of cover 2 teams like the Dungy Colts with the "source" in Tampa. But I don't think the formula is the same.

1. The Tampa formula was to do what it takes in the draft and free agency to have a dominating defense. The theory being, if the other team can't score, the rest will take care of itself. Their defensive scheme was much different than the '85 Bears, but the organizational concept was about the same. They are drafting defense and looking for a 12-6 game.

2. The Dungy/Indy formula is a lot more balanced. They spend a lot of resources on the offensive side of the ball. They can do this because their defensive scheme emphasizes slightly different types of players, lighter and faster, than the rest of the league. This means they can still pick up good defensive talent on the second day of the draft. They are looking for a fast, opportunistic defense and a good offense. They are drafting offense and looking for a 32-14 game.

With this as background, Who are the Bears and what is their formula?

You make a very good point MsBearsFan,
The Colts drafted Manning in 98 with Harrison in 96 and then hired Dungy in 2002, so they already had in place the cornerstone of the offense, But I believe it was Pollian (sp) that really set the stage for the Colts having the the players they do. But it is interesting that Dungy is working with a great offense, and has the Tampa roots so to speak.
Now I am wondering how many QB's/RB's/WR's that Pollian had to go thhrough to get it right as opposed to Jerry Angelo with the Bears.


The Bears have no formula and they surely don't know who they are.
They get off the bus running but do they?
How many games have they lost due to this coaching staff game time decisions this past season. I'll tell you. About the same as the year before and the year before that. I could think of the number 4 very easily. That is the difference between a winning season and a loosing season with an easy schedule.
So where are they going. The answer is ...nowhere.

So who are the Bears? The Bears are who we thought they were? who said that?

When Angelo and Lovie are fired, then you fans can start talking about the future of this team. Not until then. Stay tuned for same time next year. Dream could come true.

By MsBearsFan on February 4, 2009 1:00 PM
"With this as background, Who are the Bears and what is their formula?"

You know when I ask questions just like this you tell me I am being a GM. Make up your mind.

Here try these questions, there not so broad, why does Turner a guy who is a desiple of the Air Coryell system, run a sytem that is a mix of Smash mouth and WCO and why is the personel a mix of all three?

Dungy and Indy is a more balanced team? Indy is an offense based team, an offense that had nothing to do with Dungy and was there before he got there. Much like the Steelers defense and Dick L, or Baltimore and Ryan. Those teams istalled a sytem and then got head coaches. Much like I said the Bears should do. Of course they got rid of Rivera and replaced him with Lovies Buddy Babich. Gosh I wonder if the Steelers or Ravens would do something that stupid? The system they have in Chicago is the Tampa two you know this. Your head coach knows it, your GM knows it, your DLine coach knows it and Babich knows it.

If you want to know who the Bears are it can be summed up by looking at the franchise, Staff, and Personell. They are a conservative Tampa 2 team that runs a conservative mixed offense. Short Passes, followed by running between the tackles, and on a very rare occasion a deep ball that is missed. Orton is a conservative game manager with little flash, Lovie is a super conservative head coach, Turner is a conservative OC who calls almost all the plays, Hot Rod is a consevative line coach who's philosophy is to go over the basics again and again, that is what he does, he works the basics, very conservative, Babich is a Lovie desiple and is conservative, Taub is not conservative in any way shape or form but is not a Lovie guy, Angelo is super conservative, the team is conservative in free agency and conservative in the draft.

It is a conservative ball control offense, trying not to give up to many points on defense with little risk, don't go for the interception go for the strip, and rely on your ultra flashy special teams to give you field position, kick field goals, and pin the opponent back on punts and kicks and rely on them to score some or get you within scoring range. Again Taub is the star coach on this team and my guess will be in Baltimore after his contract is up.

Brad about Miami, they did change a few things like most of there staff and I believe they switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, Much like the Pack are doing. It's hard to improve when you don't change anything major. They also changed there offensive philosophy. They pretty much changed everything in Miami. Trying to compare them to the Bears is Apples and Oranges. We have the same GM, Head Coach and the same philosophy. Believe it or not Brad it is actually hard to change without actually changing anything.

Hey Creighton,

"They are a conservative Tampa 2 team that runs a conservative mixed offense."

You do realize that's a perfect description of the Steelers, don't you? The difference, of course, is personnel. Pittsburgh has playmakers and the Bears don't. So let's get off of this "scheme" and coaching indicting. Mike Tomlin made enough mistakes, and the GREAT Dick LeBeau (who, according to some, should have been in the HOF when he came out of the womb) also made enough to nearly cost them the game. See: kicking a field goal instead of going for it. See: having safeties up near the GA border on Fitzgerald's 64 yard TD. They got bailed out time and again by their playmakers.

The Bears schemes are fine. They just need, oh, an edge rusher, a safety, a QB who can make plays, etc.

Get your head out of your rear and face reality.

The Bears lack intensity. Especially on defense. They should have taken notes watching the Steelers defense play in the recent Super Bowl. Not one defensive player on that team (The Bears) deserves to wear that uniform. They should start wearing dresses instead. All they did was dishonor the memory of past Bear greats like Hampton, Singletary, Butkus, George, etc......and don't even get me started on the offense......Lets not blame Kyle Orton for this one. If you had a bunch of sub-standard and over-paid linemen coupled with mediocre wouldn't matter if your name was Orton, Avellini, Unitas or Montana........Time to re-build!!!!Start with the coaching staff. Maybe we can get somebody from Pittsburgh.

Bob, whose fault is it that the Bears don't have playmakers? Or do Lovie, Turner, and Baboon have zero input into that process?

Everyone just chill out.
The BEARS still have an awesome, and even STILL quite feared Defense. I'm not gonna throw this Defense under the bus just because of one bad season. And, before Orton got hurt, this Offense was looking dam near as good as it did in 2006.
Guys, if the Cardinals can make it to the Super Bowl, with the same record, then we ARE in fact "close". We are only a few weapons away. Now that Orton has had plenty of time to heal, he will be fine. We need to focus on Receiver. I love Devin Hester....who doesn't? For the past few years, with exception to last year, he was well on his way to being the next "Face Of The Franchise". And, he will be again. You can't keep a guy that good down for long.
The Offense should be even better this year. We'll have C. Williams back and healthy (hopefully). A few tweaks on the O-Line and we're good to go. And, just in case Orton does go down again...we now have great hope in Hanie. That kid looks great.

I'm actually VERY excited about this year. I see Play-Offs easily.
Hell, we'd have been there last year if it weren't for the Defense puking in the 4th quarter too many times.
They'll be back. Something was wrong with this group last year, and it had nothing to do with a lack of talent. Somethings going on in that locker room that none of us are privy to.
I'm hoping that Marinelli can squash what ever it is and get them back on track.

We ARE just a few Offensive players away from being very "close".

2010 SUPER BOWL BABY!!!! This is it!


As other bloggers have said, Indianapolis's offense was already in place when Tony Dungy got there. Re balance, it's the opposite of what you said: Dungy forced the team to spend more on defense, because it was underspending on defense like the Bears do on offense. Because of the salary cap, this caused the Colts to lose some good offensive players, like Edgerrin James. But it also balanced the team and greatly improved their defense. What the Bears don't seem to get is that the goal is to have the best team, not necessarily the best defense, and you can't have the best team when you don't spend any money on offense, no matter how good your defense is. Unfortunately, that's only one problem with the Bears.


The Steelers play a 3-4 defense, not a 2 gap Tampa 2. What are you talking about? Their defense is much more confusing and aggressive than that of the Bears. I agree that LeBeau made some idiotic calls during the Super Bowl, including the one you mentioned which caused me to scream "what the hell are you doing?!" at the time, but overall he's a great defensive coordinator and better than anyone the Bears have had since Buddy Ryan left.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 4, 2009 11:01 AM.

Dreamy thinking: Warner to Bears never had a chance was the previous entry in this blog.

Houshmandzadeh sounds off and it sounds like Bears aren't a match is the next entry in this blog.

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