Chicago Sun-Times

Same players, same scheme, better coaches, bad defense

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Here we go. Ten reactions and random thoughts (and then a few more) coming out of a downright ugly day of football at Soldier Field ...

Two weeks after a 35-point loss at Cincinnati the Bears have lost by 20 points at home to a team that was on a record-setting pace in terms of futility running the football.

The fine folks at Football Outsiders revealed earlier today that the Cardinals, averaging 64.9 yards rushing per game entering the game at Soldier Field, were a new kind of bad when it came to running the football. Arizona drafted Beanie Wells in the first round from Ohio State to help prop up its running game, yet it entered the game with the worst statistical rushing game since the NFL-AFL merger. That was in 1970.

The Cardinals came to the right place, though, the spot you need to be if you're running game is in disarray. They nearly tripled their average with 182 yards on 31 attempts (5.9 average) as Wells (72 yards, 13 carries) and Tim Hightower (77 yards, 15 carries) busted off big runs. Oh yeah, Kurt Warner became the second quarterback in three weeks to throw five touchdown passes against the Bears, something that had not happened since Brett Favre did the trick in 1995.

But let's get this straight. The Bears have mostly the same players as they did during their 2006 Super Bowl run, they're playing the same scheme and they've claimed to have upgraded the talent on the coaching staff, right? The explanation given at the end of last season, a disappointing 9-7 year, is that the Bears were going to coach their way out of the mess. That's essentially what Smith said he was going to do when he swapped out position coaches at all three levels of the defense. There were not any big personnel additions made. They were going to fix it by coaching 'em up better. Now, for the second time in three weeks, the Bears have been completely outschemed and totally outplayed. Unprepared? It would be hard for them to make a case that they were ready.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has been under fire. His unit was miserable a week ago vs. Cleveland, and it wasn't close to being good enough to stand up and match the Cardinals drive for drive in the first half. But the Cardinals scored on their first six possessions, not too unlike the Bengals who scored on their first seven possessions. The Bears have a defensive head coach, who doubles as the defensive coordinator, and a general manager in Jerry Angelo who has worked long and hard to stock that defense. If they're broken on defense, as it appears, what are they doing?

1. So, I heard some players say after the game that the Bears are even now that they're 4-4. Even how? Sure, they have a .500 record but even is 0-0 when everyone else is 0-0. The Minnesota Vikings are 7-1, so the Bears' idea that they are even is laughably wrong. Unless even means "we're three games back" in their dictionary. By the way, those Vikings host Detroit and Seattle before the Bears go there at the end of the month. Go ahead and pencil them in for 9-1 going into that game.

2. Hightower and Wells combine for 149 yards rushing. What do you have Frank Gore for Thursday night at San Francisco in your pool? 225? For what it's worth, plenty to him I am sure, Gore's career high is 212 vs. Seattle in 2006. He also went over 200 yards vs. the Seahawks in Week 2 of this season.

3. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, who is a captain, said he planned to speak with Tommie Harris about his senseless ejection from the game. Sounds like a good idea even if the damage has been done. Ogunleye said the right things, that what Harris did was unacceptable and it's never OK to be booted out of the game. But he stopped at that point from criticizing Harris further.

"I am not frustrated with him,'' Ogunleye said. "I am frustrated with myself.''

Now that sounds even better. Where has Ogunleye been on the defensive line in recent weeks? You don't get to rush vs. Green Bay's Allen Barbre and Detroit's Gosder Cherilus every week. Ogunleye hasn't done a whole lot in the last month and needs to step his own game up in a contract drive season.

4. Yes, before Warner found a home in Arizona, he was at Halas Hall for a visit. But the Bears--Angelo and Smith--were dead set on developing Rex Grossman at the time. I have no idea who he would have thrown the ball to, but the insistence on Grossman shines as one of the bigger draft miscalculations of the last decade for a team that's made it's share.

5. Speaking of draft picks and one that should have stuck around ... was still working in the press box after the game when Tennessee was on the march for what might have been the go-ahead score in its win at San Francisco. I wasn't watching that closely. But Justin Gage made an unreal acrobatic catch. The Bears had him, knew him, could have kept him for not that much money and let him depart. Please, don't send the avalanche of Devin Aromashodu e-mails suggesting he is that player, either. Receiving, after all, wasn't the problem. The team had four players with 70 yards or more--Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Greg Olsen and Matt Forte--the first time the club has pulled that feat in nearly 70 years.

6. Of Warner's five touchdown passes, three came vs. the blitz. That's what happens when you don't get there.

7. Cutler was asked if the Bears have a leadership or chemistry issue brewing?

"I don't know,'' he responded. "We'll see."

Chew on that one for a little while, why don't you.

8. One of the common themes in the locker room after the game was that the Bears have a quick week with the trip to San Francisco and that's a good thing for them. Why? Just because they play again in five nights doesn't mean the underlying problems here are going to tidy themselves up nicely and go away. Sure, playing a game provides the opportunity to go out and get things right on the field, I get that. But that's assuming the Bears know what needs to be fixed right now. I would submit after being drubbed 86-31 by Cincinnati and Arizona, the problems might run a little deeper than that. Sure, they're 4-4 and I understand about not overreacting to one game, but this is two games in the span of three weeks. This is a team not being prepared to play. This is a team not executing.

9. If Cutler is uncertain about the whole leadership thing, he certainly didn't exhibit a lot on the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he receiving for jawing with the officials. It's tough for players to get those penalties. The NFL officials are not like Major League Baseball umpires, who will run players off in a heartbeat. NFL players really have to go over the top in most cases to be penalized for complaining. Of course, we don't know what was said, but those penalties are rare.

10. Here's another one to consider. The Bears are being sure to remind you that they have two games remaining on the schedule with the division-leading Vikings. You know, a chance to kind of control their own destiny and all of that good stuff. Right now, what happens when those teams line up? Vikings by 20?

10 a. The Bears have to be hoping the left shoulder injury for cornerback Charles Tillman is not serious. They don't have anyone that resembles a No. 1 cornerback without him.

10 b. Remember, the Arizona offense did that to the Bears without Anquan Boldin, who sat out.

10 c. Pointed out that Warner threw three touchdown passes vs. the blitz. Bears struggled when they didn't blitz too, and I submit the 24-yard pass to Steve Breaston on third-and-25 as evidence.

10 d. Bears suspended Tommie Harris one game for conduct detrimental to the team last season. He won't be suspended again here for his ejection incident, but is there any conduct more detrimental to a team than being bounced on the fourth play of the game?

10 e. While watching some college football on Saturday I did a little research on Super Bowl hangovers. We all know that the Super Bowl loser of late has had a tough time the next season, although the Cardinals look to be pretty well positioned right now at 5-3 and with a two-game lead in the NFC West on both Seattle and San Francisco. But I wanted to know what kind of time frame it took for the Super Bowl loser to return to the postseason. The Bears, obviously, failed in the two years after Super Bowl XLI and are at 4-4 now at the midway point. So I went all the way back to Super Bowl XX and charted it moving forward. Here is what I found:

Year Super Bowl loser Number of seasons to next playoff appearance

2006 Bears NA
2005 Seattle 1
2004 Philadelphia 2
2003 Carolina 2
2002 Oakland NA
2001 St. Louis 2
2000 N.Y. Giants 2
1999 Tennessee 1
1998 Atlanta 4
1997 Green Bay 1
1996 New England 1
1995 Pittsburgh 1
1994 San Diego 1
1993 Buffalo 2
1992 Buffalo 1
1991 Buffalo 1
1990 Buffalo 1
1989 Denver 2
1988 Cincinnati 2
1987 Denver 2
1986 Denver 1
1985 New England 1

So, in that span there the Bears have joined Oakland and Atlanta as the only teams not to return to the postseason within two years of losing the Super Bowl. That right there might suggest that the window has closed on the Bears that Arizona Dennis Green thought they were.

10 f. And finally, how about Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, who wrapped up his postgame remarks by borrowing from Green and his postgame rant of 2006:

"I'd also like to compliment the Bears because they played hard and they came back,'' he said. ``And the last thing I'll say is, `We didn't let them off the hook.'''

In poor taste? I don't know. The Bears had a chance to stop the Cardinals and they failed.

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32 Comments

Brad,
You said it all pretty well and I am glad you are saying it. I listened to Buffone and O'Bradovitch after the game and they gave voice to the heartbreak and heartsickness I guess we all are feeling. Is it now when Bears fans begin to root for the opponents though it matters little to the Bears in the 2010 draft choices.
I fear this game marked the end of Lovie Smith as the Head Coach of the Bears... the question left is only how long will he last (the end of this season will be long enough but 2 more years of this?) and how much more damage will be done to this franchise? And will Jerry Angelo find himself joining Smith when he and his 20 coaches go? And how many current Bears players? Will Cutler be so injured or mismanaged by that time all of his Franchise QB promise will be lost to the Bears?
Time for someone at the Bears to tell fans they get it. The time to trust Smith is over.

Well i dont know about bad taste, but the 06 Cardinals game has nothing to do with this game. Completely different team, coach everything.

The offensive line played its best game of the season. Even Kreutz got a couple of nice blocks

Unfortunately, after the first Cardinals' touchdown, Turner jettisoned the run game. One-dimensional. Zero ball control against an unstoppable first half offense.

Does Cutler have a hard time throwing in rhythm? He holds the ball too long, almost like he prefers to throw on the move and off balance. Maybe he is disinterested and/or unprepared. Maybe he likes the broken play and not the pocket.

More pressure from the DTs. We can not rely on Tommie Harris. Now is the time to activate Jarron Gilbert. What's the worst that can happen? Earl Bennett never saw the field last year as a 3rd round rookie. Johnny Knox would be inactive if A.D. was healthy. GILBERT!!!

Blitzes are ineffective because the 3-technique isn't pressuring the QBs face and our linebackers are stonewalled by running backs. the Bears need more height and bulk at the LB position. Linebackers that intimidate the average running back in pass protection are beneficial to a team that blitzes. Make Mark Anderson a strong-side linebacker? If Aaron Kampman can do it...

The stench from this team reminds me of the old Chicago stockyards on a windy day. If these jokers playing defense are trying to get Lovie fired, they're doing a bang-up job.

Yes, its time for wholesale changes; the higher up in the organization the better.

1. The prognosis for the 2010 draft isn't good (lacking a 1st or a 2nd round pick) and a 2009 class thats mostly not represented, its time to "Burn it Down" and rebuild. The organizations that are willing to do these types of things come out better because of it.

2. Brad, its time for a story about the percentage representation of McCaskeys family and friends throughout the organization. Winning teams have winning front office's and while JA has been an upgrade over Michael McCaskey; JA and Lovie remain married to an outdated defense and an unimaginative offensive coordinator. R.Marinelli can't do much with an injured underperforming version of the Forest Gump of Defensive tackles.

3. It's time to address the cover-2 / T. Harris and the R. Turner / G. Wolfe love fest. This is the Bears version of swine flu. A hybrid virus thats sick and in need of immediate and extensive treatment. Isolated 'patches' are only going to prolong the mediocrity of this team. At this point, the future of the Detroit Lion's looks more promising

4. This team needs to trade away the 'older' value it has and start over. It sucks to write that but its the truth of the situation. Unfortunately, the only places of value, true value, on this team reside in the following short list

a. Urlacher
b. Briggs
c. Hester

If anything I feel bad for Cutler that he has to put up with this garbage.

Imagine if he had been traded to Carolina. With that offensive line and running game they would be unstoppable.

I'm starting to feel just like I did when Wanny was running this team. He left us with zero talent and no hope for the immediate future and destroyed the 19990's for Bear fans. Right now they are stuck paying Lovie 10 million dollars for the next two years and the players and fans no longer believe in his defense. The talent they have is tilted in favor of an antiquated defensive philosophy with small defensive lineman that are getting thrown around like rag dolls and lose the battle on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball every week. Their best players on both lines are over the hill and in need of replacement, but they have traded away their first two draft picks two years in a row so help is years away. Unless they spend money and bring in some good free agent lineman, fat chance, the Bears show little reason for a fan to be optimistic they'll get better for years. Thanks a lot Lovie, maybe you can find a job coaching in college again just like the scourge of the 90's?

Brad,

Since the draft won't be of much value next year, what kind of OLs and DLs will be available next year in free agency?

Random thoughts:

Interesting to see the TV isolating on the Bears receivers. When they run their routes they run straight at the dbs and then turn around. It's like they're trying to not get open.

The Bears have been blitzing their linebackers up the middle for two years now and it never works. How long will they keep banging their heads against this wall before they try something else?

The bomb to Hester was a thing of beauty. And it had to be because Hester still can't get any separation.

Play that summed it up: Hillenmeyer throwing his hands up in frustration after a receiver five yards in front of him catches another first down pass. What did you think was going to happen when you give him a cushion like that? (this could be applied to just about every Bears db also)

Best play of the game: Cutler scrambling for three yards and taking a hit, instead of throwing it out of bounds. Definitely not the smartest play, but it showed Cutler's willing to fight and sacrifice for this team. Which makes him a rarity on the current roster.

This is how bad the Bears D has played all season -- Lovie, please bring back Bob Babich!

Why did Angelo extend Cutler's contract? Sure, Cutler has talent, but it might be nice to see if he can lead a team (you know that leadership thing that Brad alluded to) and/or be a winner (his career record as a starter remains below .500). Remember Jeff George could make all the throws, had the big gun, but couldn't win when it was needed. Did Angelo just double down on the next Jeff George? Oh, and Jeff George whined a lot.

Hester is no #1 receiver. It was never more clear than watching Larry Fitzgerald run around, through and over the Bears defense. Sure, Hester got his numbers, but all numbers do is look nice. TDs win games. #1s find the endzone.

This is a 2-6 team masquerading as 4-4.

One last thought -- all those folks who were crowing at the end of the 1st quarter of the season when the Bears were 3-1, what do you have to say now? I gave the Bears a "C" grade at the end of the 1st quarter because I thought they were more lucky than good. The second quarter of the season was just completed, and Lovie and the boys secured a solid "F". Congrats, guys.


...and...Don't miss the two-should-be-Chicago-Bears, Kyle Orton and Rashard Mendenhall tonight!!!

This is the debacle I thought it would be. I am a fan from as far back as the early 60's I have seen the good and the bad. This is the bad Lovie has lost what little of this team there is. I fault Lovie for his hard-headedness and Angelo for feeding into it. Both Adams and Anderson are stand-up ends/linebaker types both have enough speed to cover TE's [2] Tommie Harris was another bad evaluation once the landscape changed in offensive line blocking schemes Harris and his kind have become obsolete, and Angelo continues to draft damaged goods hoping NFL money will miraculusly make them whole Loadholt and several other large offensive linemen were available at 4-5 & 6 we took none Sammie Hill a 330 + lb lineman was still there he now starts at Detroit and Loadholt at Minn. This team continues to keep Kreutz small and on the downside without a real heir apparent, Angelo recruits a finese tackle to play guard next to finese tackle Pace on the downside of his career hoping to catch lightning in the bottle. All these gambles and bargain basement moves then he mortgages years to come with a QB too little too late. Angelo was depending on a CB with a injury history, small linebackers and small fast defensive linemen. While they were standing still the Vikings were getting a prime running back and building a defensive front Jared Allen to go along with it's massive middle [Williams wall]. This clown car act needs to end. Ted Phillips is just as at fault by paying these two clowns.

Bottom line is that Lovie and JA have no idea what to do. Hence the constant bouncing of players from position to position. The still perplexing/rediculous trades of Thomas Jones and Chris Harris?!? Allowing your 2 best WR's to walk away.. The '07 draft where JA took some drugs and ignored the OL to draft two injured defensive players. They have totally mishandled Danieal Manning. Taking a sure hall of fame KR/PR and making him into an average WR. Idonje's biggest loser thing of gain weight-lose weight to then putting him at DT where he is out manned by 30+ pounds. Craig Steltz is our starting FS.. wait..no sorry. Manning is. Throwing incredible amounts of $$$$$ at Headcase Harris and Urlacher when the team and D fell apart after the '07 season. This staff is all over the map with shoving players around. If we see it, know damn sure the players see it too. If Lovie did not show emotion after yesterdays games, he never will. Hes holding a job that he cannot handle. Im sure hes a good assistant, but he cannot handle the head job at all. After watching that game its obvious that this team has quit on him and is throwing the season. Its their way of telling the McCaskey's that theres a huge problem. The first step is to fire Lovie, Turner and JA. No other way around it at this point. A new staff (Shanahan is my guess) will turn this around quick. FA can restock the OL quick. The DL will have to wait for the draft. Rebuild that OL and things will turn quickly. Cutler will have time and a running game to help him out.. but the ownership needs to fire the 3 idiots quick.... I agree with the other posters.. its gotta get done now. Let Toub run the team for the rest of the year....

P.S. You ever wonder why Bears are so hard on db's and they don't stay real healthy? they are always taking on backs who are unimpeded by the defensive line so consequently they are exposed often.

I don't feel bad for Cutler at all. He whined in Denver, wanted to be traded and ended up here. He got his wish granted and then to top it off, Angelo extended his contract for God only knows what reason.

Cutler is getting exactly what he asked for. Why would you feel sorry for him?

That said, I think what "Bears" watching is how Cutler acts and plays the remainder of the season. If the Bears continue to show the same lack of interest and emotion as they have displayed the past three games, how does Cutler handle it? When things aren't going his way, he has a habit of turning churlish on and off the field. The next 8 games may determine whether the Bears have a true top 10 QB for the next decade or the next Jeff George.

Brad allow me touch on a few things you didn't mention but I know you saw.

1. The Bears played man coverage most of the day. In man coverage you need to do a couple of things. 1 Beat your man and two be physical. What on earth mad Lovie think they could play most of the game in man coverage against the Cards? Fitzgerald loves physical play and punishes anyone who tries to play him that way. He must have lost his mind thinking the Bears line could be physical with anyone, has he not watched them play. The worst thing you can do is play Arizona like that and his game plan was just that, to play them in man coverage. Is that a joke?

2. Blitzing, as Troy Aikman pointed out the Bears defensive scheme is pretty simple and they don't disguise much and don't have the speed to execute much of it. He agreed that the blitzing packages of the Bears where blah. Yet Lovie thought it would be a good idea to blitz Kurt Warner a guy who is considered the best in the league at picking up the blitz and killing it. What was he thinking?

3. Lovie thought they could push Fitzgerald around. This isnt Hester, Fitgerald is a moose. He literally blew Tillman up at the line. So playing him one one seemed like a good idea just like he thought that would be a good idea against Chad Johnson. Oooops

4. Offensive play calling was blah at best, the recievers had a big day but as Aikman pointed out when all you do is throw the ball, you should have a big day. Still not one reciever had a TD. In his morning interview he said Hester has done a good job and works hard but it is a insult to true number 1 recievers to consider him a number 1 reciever. He pointed out during the game that nobody is teaching the Bears recievers how to do certain things, like continue to play when Cutler scrambles, and what they should do when he scrambles. It was also pointed out that the Bears recievers do not respond well to contact including Olsen and can be bumped off their routs easily or stop when minor contact is made and start looking for flags. They also don't run many routs and they don't get much seperation.

5. Cuterls INT was not on him, Bennett was running a square in and some minor contact was made and he quit on the rout and waited for a flag to arrive.

6. Cutler should not have been jawing at the refs about some bad calls, its not his job. Its Lovie's job to do that, but once again Lovie just stood their and did not say anything, probably because he wasn't watching the game. Cutler wasn't jawing about anything that happened to him, he was standing up for his recievers and he actually had a point.

7. Fox sports had isolation cameras on the recievers and you could see them quit on routs and not do anything once Cutler scrambled. Nice work Fox.


Thisis an interview that Troy Aikman did for 670 this morning. Its good stuff give it a listen, you may want to listen to it also Brad.

http://www.670thescore.com/mully-and-hanley-interviews/3596918

This was a very disappointing week.The Cards come in as a club you think we could handle, this team has thrown in the towel, and I agree with "Big paw" Brown, accountability starts with the players at this point, the defense has given up 90 points over three games and in one game they only allowed 6 pts. The team has put young players on the field to get a chance at pursuing their dream, right now most of them are seeing nightmares. An analysis of the game shows a few things that need to be addressed, we have too mamy players on the roster who are strickly special teams players. The injuries we have suffered on defense has made this glaringly clear. All the pleyers we have in the line up as reserves are playing like reserves on the defensive side of the ball. Harris 4 plays and out mental error, Adams a lot of hustle but no real penitration on the line, idonje, no push up the middle and no batted down passes, Hunter injured again and ineffective, Payne not able to make the big hits at strong to slow for free, Manning no big plays, Roach missed tackled, Jamar no impact at all, no one is doing anything to justify playing time they are getting, it would not matter at this point what defense we run. Big Bear makes a point why all the blitzing up the middle, how about bringing someone in behind a rush end for a change. You can't use a game plan when you are down each week 14-0 or 21-0 in the 1st quarter. Lovie is officially in trouble, and I've been one of his biggest boosters.....Look we trade, for Adams (who by the way is small) put him on the field, we are losing games by major double digits, time to see what we have there.
Offense is another story Angelo Jr, you said Kreutz had a good game, please how about the holding call he got on the screen late in the 1st half, or the two consecutive false starts caused solely by him during key parts of the game. Now Wolfe is gone and we still have no legitimate back-up running back, Jones was hurt in pre-season, cutler's INT was forced, he simply should have thrown the ball away, and gave us another down, believe or not we were still in the gema then, that's why we got the comment from Wisenhunt, he knew it was not over. This teams talent is not there or not producing, unfortunately these players will be Lovie's downfall, he brought them in, put them on the field, but they are not producing, as Bill belicheck has proven you are only as good a coach as the pleyers on the field make you look, and right now these players make Lovie look sick......49 ers this week, then Philly, these are must wins for the whole organization at this point.

Almost forgot, people are always asking why the Bears corners play so far off. Did you guys find out this week why they do that. I pointed out last month that the Corners can't jam because of the week pass rush and they would killed with double moves if they did that. Well they played up and attempted to jam this week, and they got killed with double moves.

Pass rush?????

i dont live in chicago so it'd be hard for me to do, but i'd love to see some ambitious bears fans gets some money together(which i would totally donate to and rent out some billboards pleading with the management that getting cutler isn't enough to keep their jobs, and its time to clean house(with the exception of toub naturally.)

Three words:

Hire. Bill. Cowher.

Deputydawg, you are exactly right. If you're 300 lb. linemen and 250 lb. linebackers aren't making tackles, then that means it's your 185 lb. dbs. They can only withstand so much.


Strass, I agree with most of what you said, but I don't think fixing the OL will lead to a quick turn around. As frustrating as the offense has been, they've moved the ball and scored some points. It's the defense that is mostly responsible for losing games. That was true last year, as well. Right now this defense would get lit up by Florida, USC, and just about any other big college program. Rebuild the DL and we might see results.

Seedy, if you want to hate Cutler I suppose you'll find your reasons, but he's about the only thing keeping this team from being 0-8. It doesn't matter what kind of leader he is when the defense gives up four touchdowns in a row to start the game.

Lovie Dovie is the coach and he should pay the price for not having the Bears prepared not only for the games mentioned, todays game, Cincinnatti, Atlanta etc but Lovie has not had this team prepared for more than 2 years. The Bears had the talent to make the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 but did not have the heart, nor passion to be champions.

As for adjustments I have given up on Lovies teams. The fact that the Bears weren't even in a hurry up offense in the second half showed the lack of intensity and desire this team has been allowed to live by and that tone is set by the coach. Turner is also not top level NFL quality, the receivers are OK but not great or even above average. Hester could be a great slot receiver but not an true #1. Creighton's points were right on for the most part. This team is simply not inspired, Alex Brown got inspired in the second half when it looked like they had a shot as did others but why not come out swinging at the start of the game.

Teams used to pay a price when they played the Bears because the Bears were always intense and were always physical, that is now gone. The BEars are no longer the Monsters of the Midway, they are more like the "mediocres of the Midway", truly pathetic.

As for Cutler, I agree talent wise Mr.Cutler has it but from a strategic perspective he has not proven anything yet. In the second half I started to believe that Cutler might lead a comeback and win the game, but then Cutler throws it up for grabs clearly, he was throwing into coverage and it was not open, even if Bennett would have finished the route that play was going to be contested and may still have ended in an interception. Great QB's are smarter than what I see in Cutler. No way would Montana, Steve Young, Brady, Aikman, Elway or either Mannings throw it up with the hope it connects with the receiver.

With more than 6 minutes left and down 13 there was time to move the ball without giving it away. Cutler is getting rushed, I agree but Cutler has not shown me that he has arrived yet to the elite club of QB's in the NFL. He needs to be far smarter with the ball then what I have seen. For Cutler to earn an unsportsman penalty is clearly stupid, no excuse just like with Harris, no excuse.

Lovie's team, the BEars are clearly not disciplined and aren't mature enough to get themselve motivated, because it is clear Lovie does not motivate this team and there is no leader of the Bears players that is motivating this team. Clearly not Cutler, not Briggs, no one has taken the role as players leader.

Lovie, Turner for sure needs to be sent packing and a new direction is needed next year.

The only way I see Lovie and Turner staying would be if they go 6-2 for the last half of the season and get to the NFC championship otherwise they should be gone.

That's okay Big Bear, you can call it hate, but I frame it as a healthy dose of skepticism.

I will grant you that Cutler's one tough SOB, heck, he'd have to be to survive the pounding he's taken over the past three games. But so far, all he's done is lead the Bears to a .500 record. He also is supposed to have a more talented team around him than the Bears fielded in 2008.

This blog is filled with gripes and groans about the hair-trigger quickness with which the GM rewarded players. After a 3-1 start, the GM does it again, extending Cutler. Cutler shows his appreciation by leading the Bears to a 1-3 record in their next four games.

Last year, Cutler had the Broncos at 8-5, needing only one more win to make the playoffs. They finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

Until Cutler does something meaningful, why are so many willing to hoist him on their shoulders? Sounds to me like Tommie Harris all over again.

I know Cutler has the skills. Like the Big Z with the Cubs, it's what's between his ears that worries me.

Brad help me out will you, I got a question. Why do the Bears continue to Blitz as much as they do? Under Lovie this has never been a great blitzing team, but starting last year the Bears started blitzing like their was no tommorrow, I get why the ydo it, because they are trying to create a pass rush. But it isn't working. This isn't the Eagles, Jets or Steelers. Those teams use crazy well disaguised blitzes and attack wholes they have found while watching film and attack them. When those teams blitzes are not working they change it up. But with the Bears they don't disguise their blitzes and they just line up and blitz the A gap most of the time, and even when its not working thye just continue to do it and it is killing the defense. If your blitzing and it is not effective and the QB knows exactly what and where the blitz is coming from, he is going to kill your defense and that is what is happening to the Bears and yet they continue to do it.

Some other things I have thought of, how about a draw play for the offense?

I know you got mad at Cutler for arguing with the official but really it wasn't blatent and the fact is that was one of the worst officiated games I have seen in a long time, was this the crew from the Elizabeth Lambert soccer game? I say good for Cutler for saying something, where was Lovie, that offciating was hiorrible and he said and did nothing? Stick up for your players, when your team is getting hammered, you get out their and you let those officials know you care about this team and what they are doing to them. He doesn't need to scream or act out but he needs to make the gesture.

Alex Brown good for you for showing some heart and that at least you care, I quote. "We stank up the joint, and anyone who is not upset about this does not belong here" "I didn't do my job today, I missed two tackles in the backfield" "I am not talking about Tommie, I don't want to talk about Tommie" "We didn't earn are paychecks"

At least someone on that defense stood up told it like it is, I wouldn't want to talk about Harris either.

How many guys on this team can the Bears actually build around or who would you want on a future team? The only guys I can list are these: Cutler, Forte but he should be used like Taylor in MIN, but that also means they need another back. Hester but he really belongs in the slot like Breaston. Maybe Olsen but not as a number 1 TE, he is just a big reciever, and he plays soft. You need to have him as a number 2 and use him as a creative weapon. Thats about it on offense that all they have for the future.

On defense, I would take Briggs and thats about it. As much as I like Alex Brown but he is all heart and does not have the talent for his position, plus he only has a couple years left he is not the future. Tillman is a zone corner who struggles in man coverage, you can replace everyone else pretty easily and get the same level of talent.

Good stuff from Hunter today, he called out the defense and said the team is in the Tank. Thats a wow comment. He basically said these guys are quiting and a lot of it is because they know they are not as good as they used to be. Wow, thats big. Hunter looked in their eyes and does not think these guys trust eachother and with Harris doing what he did who can blame him.

Tackling once again stank. Lovie said everyone said it, how does an nfl team not know how to tackle?

Seedy,

I hear you on the skepticism, but I don't think judging Cutler on the team's record is appropriate. Cutler's doing his job (admittedly not perfectly), but he can't play defense, too. And if the measure of a good qb is to routinely bring the team back from 28 point deficits, then no one will meet that standard.

I also think different rules apply to qbs when it comes to contracts. If Cutler gets on the open market he's going to command way more than what the Bears paid him with the extension. Believe it or not, Kyle Orton is going to get a huge payday from Denver when his contract comes up next year.

Just what does Lovie have to do to prove he is incompetent to Jerry, Teddy (btw so are they), and all the homers? How bad do things have to get? He has never been qualified to have this job. Even now with 5 1/2 years experience on the job. How much longer do we fans have to suffer? Get rid of him now!

http://www.fireloviesmith.com/

Creighton, 100% correct on the officiating comment. This is Ed Hochuli and his crew. You know, the guy that totally blew a call last year in the Broncos/Chargers game. Even Buck and Aikman were calling the refs out. Some bad calls that stood out:

Greg Olsen was being held on that 4th down. On the replays, you could see the defender had his arm around Olsen's waist before the ball even got to him. Aikman pointed out how the ref was right there and didn't call a penalty. Good for Cutler for mouthing off against these incompetent clowns; penalty or not. Someone had to say something and that sure wasn't going to be Lovie.

Another one was that holding call against Kreutz when the Bears were backed up in their end zone. Forte took a screen pass about 20 yards but it was nullified by the call. Aikman and Buck said they didn't really see a hold on the replay. It was just horrible officiating. These people should not be calling a professional football game.

To Jerry Angelo Jr.,

It's pretty hard to throw in rhythm when NO ONE is getting open. Troy Aikman said it: Bears receivers are not doing him any favors by quitting on plays that he is running his ass off trying to extend. He specifically mentioned Earl Bennett failing to run a square in on the pick that ended any chance. That pick is on the WR. Really, when your QB has to take over the game from the kickoff it's amazing he didn't throw five picks.

As far as throwing in rhythm, I didn't see a problem with that first toss to Hester on the sideline. Hester was maybe open by the width of a hair but Cutler laid it in there.

Look somewhere else if you want to criticize the passing game.

Hey Dahlillama who are you crappin' with this quote: "Great QB's are smarter than what I see in Cutler. No way would Montana, Steve Young, Brady, Aikman, Elway or either Mannings throw it up with the hope it connects with the receiver."

I don't know how long you have been watching football, but if you watch long enough you'll see that even the HOFers, including all these names, have had horrible days at the office when their protection breaks down and their receivers give up on them and they have to play from behind in the first quarter.

For the record, Cutler didn't throw that pick "up for grabs," or many others for that matter. That pass should have hit Earl Bennett where he should have been at the end of his square in. And Cutler throws the ball away or takes hits much more often than he "throws it up for grabs."

If you wanted to see a fine example of throwing up for grabs see Orton's pick-six from last night. He'll be the main reason the Broncos are one and done in the playoffs.

Last point, you really shouldn't include Eli Manning in your list of greats. If not for one velcro-helmet catch by David Tyree, no one is even putting him in the team picture. And last year he lost that playoff game against Philly. He's average at best.

Bob K:

Don't give Cutler the crown before he has earned it. He is a gifted QB but he doesn't always make good decisions and the great ones did not make the same mistakes that Cutler has made this year.

Could he be great? absolutely. Does he have a good team around him? No he does not, but Cutler also sometimes adds to the problems that exist by throwing into coverage when he should not.

Yes Bennett blew it because he did not finish the route but even if he did finish the route, that ball was being thrown into tight coverage with the CB right there and another defender right behind him. A smart QB checks down, takes the yards he can get without turning the ball over. There was almost 7 minutes left on the clock with the Bears 13 points down, two touchdowns wins the game(plenty of time) and some points were needed, a turnover of any kind would kill the effort to comeback. Cutler is not elite yet, his decision making is not good yet and to earn a penalty for unsportsman like conduct, only kills the team, elite QB's do not do that, undisiplined players do that and they kill the teams efforts to succeed.

Quit looking at Cutler through rose colored glasses and look at the facts, he is young, still needs to develop a lot mentally and he is not elite caliber yet, not until he gets the whole game. In golf, you are not great unless you can do all aspects of the game and the mental aspect is probably the most difficult, same thing in football.

Dahli, you're a good fan and I concede many of your points. I think we would both agree Cutler is an upgrade and the sky's the limit. But it is hard to see the sky with a GM who doesn't believe in spending high picks on OL or receivers.

Here's an example. Angelo drafts the one OL in 08 with a medical question. Williams loses a year. If Angelo had drafted another LT, one who could contribute his first year, we could be light years ahead. In that case, we would have had a LT and could plug one of the guys he picked up from free agency at RT. No wasting time with a Pace who is over the hill. If Cutler has time he can slice and dice with the best.

Angelo said the QB makes the receivers better. He must have also thought the QB could make a bunch of backups and overhills an elite OL too. His bad. And he should be run out on a rail for it. But we all know the Family doesn't operate that way.

Bob K:

Thank you for your objectivity and your comments about Angelo, Cutler and the O line are right on. I would add Lovie and Turner to the list and really question where we stand with some of the position coaches. Toub is the only one that I can see that should be promoted, he seems to be a special coach, I hope the BEars do not lose him.

I do think that Cutler could develop into being an elite QB and I know he does not have much to work with given the harrasment and poor play of the receivers. It is the mental aspect of the game that he does not have yet, the physical tools are there.

Likewise Bob you are a good Bears fan as well.

Go Bears!!!!

Can anyone remember the last time the Bears let a head coach and/or GM go with money left to be paid? They don't operate that way.

I'll give Angelo credit for picking up some decent picks in later rounds, expecially with DBs, but that sounds more like a scouting job than head honcho.

His record for first rounders who are contributing is plain to see. His neglect of the OL and receivers are criminal. Troy Aikman said he's never seen a strategy of trying to convert DBs into WRs (Hester and Davis). And we know he tries to build the OL on the cheap.

The future does not look bright. Our entire secondary is poor. Our DL is not getting pressure. Our OL, well, enough said.

On the positive side, getting Urlacher back is like getting a good second rounder at this point in his career. Angelo may pull some rabbits out his hat with DBs in the later rounds. And all you need are the right choices in free agency. Even one or two guys can make a huge difference.

Know what? Brandon Marshall is a free agent next year. The Bears need to borrow a page from the Vikings when they OVERPAID for Steve Hutchinson. Nobody is criticizing them now. Get ready to break the bank for Marshall. That should help. And maybe, just maybe, Chris Williams can play LT after all.

Things can change fast in the NFL, but it's all about the players on the field. The question is: can Angelo do what needs to be done. If not, how long do we have to endure his ineptitude.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 8, 2009 11:18 PM.

Tillman's left shoulder was injured on Breaston end around was the previous entry in this blog.

Idonije says there were better ways for Tommie to retaliate is the next entry in this blog.

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