Chicago Sun-Times

Where the Bears stand heading into the bye

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I've got to pack up and prepare for my 4:45 car to London-Heathrow.

But I wanted to share some thoughts from this side of the pond.

1) The 4-3 Bears are three games behind the undefeated Green Bay Packers. But, they are just a game behind Detroit in the NFC North, because the Lions have lost consecutive games to fall to 5-2. But there are a couple of important things to note. As it stands, the Bears would be the last wildcard. They have the same record as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, but they have the head-to-head edge over both teams. In addition, the Falcons just beat the Lions today, so that may factor in, at some point. The Lions, of course, would be the fifth seed.

2) The arrival date of the Bears and Bucs was much ado about nothing. The Bucs, who arrived Monday, were sluggish. The Bears, meanwhile, arrived Thursday and started strong but faded late. Quarterback Jay Cutler, who didn't play well, said he had "jet lag." Most other players, though, downplayed that a an issue. The Bears had plenty of time to get acclimated. Frankly, I'm sort of sick that I even mentioned this.

3) The Bears offensive line continues to show signs of progress -- without one of its best players, rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi. The improved play of Lance Louis makes things interesting. In fairness, shouldn't he be given a chance to compete with Chris Spencer at right guard? But, Spencer has really played well, despite his right hand injury. He made several key blocks in London. Yes, there were issues in the fourth quarter but those are more learning opportunities for the linemen and other blockers.

4) The Bears defense is coming back to life. Let's dismiss the four interceptions, just for the sake of it. And yes the Bucs top two running backs weren't around for most of the game. But, the Bears still allowed the Bucs to gain just 2.7 yards per carry, a figure that would be much lower if they hadn't given up a 13-yarder to Kregg Lumpkin. The Bears only registered one sack, but they did a nice job pressuring and rushing Josh Freeman, a very dangerous young quarterback. The performance, though, was somewhat spoiled by the two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

5) There's a new one-two punch in Chicago. Matt Forte didn't surprise anyone. He finished with 25 carries for 145 yards, and he also had a key 36-yard catch to set up the team's final field goal. But Marion Barber averaged 6.5 yards per carry, and he scored a 12-yard touchdown. Barber, though, has got to do a better job of catching the ball.

6) Perhaps most important, the Bears are getting healthier. Although Earl Bennett practiced quite a bit last week, the team deactivated him for Sunday's game. Why not give him the extra week to get even stronger? Same goes for Carimi, who may even practice later this week. It would also be important to get some of those defensive linemen back to health, especially Julius Peppers, who has played through the bum knee.


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29 Comments

I was pleased with the Bears defense performance.

The Bears running game was solid. It almost always is.

Jay threw one horrible ball that got picked. His other pick went right off the hands of Marion Barber. I hate to harp on this, but I think the Bears really need more sure-handed recievers than Earl Bennett. Roy is dropping passes, Devin and Johnny drop them more often than they should. Guys are still giving up on routes. It's frustrating to watch Bears recievers in the morning and Packers recievers in the afternoon. It is night and day difference.

The playcalling by Martz was good until the Bears had a comfortable lead ... then they kept just kept calling pass plays and/or trying to run Barber on 3rd and short. They should have done more of what San Francisco did to the Bucs, who crushed Tampa with a similar attack that spanned FOUR QUARTERS. IMO, Chicago has a better back combination and showed major success running off-tackle, pulling guards and toss plays to Matt. Then they went away from that. Why? Tampa held them for losses 2-3 times, but didn't seem to be able to stop it consistently.

Is it me, or are they having a hard time getting the plays to Cutler? That seemed to fuel the Bucs ability to time the snap because Chicago regularly only had 6-7 seconds to get into their set, then 3-4 to snap the ball.

Is that on Martz, Day, or Cutler?

I sure hope Jerry Angelo gives Matt Forte a realistic contract. It's almost sickening as a fan to watch the injustice continue week after week.

Urlacher is a beast.

I have to ask. Am I the only one who thinks McCaskey phones in directly to Mike Martz when the Bears are near a scoring chance, and asks (actually orders) Martz to take Forte out of the game so he doesn't get a TD?

It sure seems like it. McCaskey doesn't want to pay him. I know we blame Angelo for the contract. He is set up to be the "fall guy" in this respect (I know the sucky drafting is all Angelo). Angelo has to ask Ted Phillips how much he can offer Forte. Phillips, in turn, has to ask McCaskey how much they allow Angelo to offer to Forte.

I can't believe the brass of this organization might be willing to let an elite player walk.

On the bright side, if the Bears beat Philly in 2 weeks, I predict they make the 6 seed. And they might win that playoff game as it will be against either the NFC East or West winner, whom will be vulnerable. It looks like the Bears will beat Seattle, Denver, Oakland, Minnesota, and KC. They need to win a "tough" game against either GB, Det, Philly, or SD.

Plus, they should be getting Carimi and Bennett back soon.

1) The line is indeed improving, and Louis does look pretty good. Instead of competing with Spencer, maybe he should compete with Webb when Carimi gets back. Cutler did a nice job spreading it around, and another stud performance by Forte, but can we bury the end around to Hester like we did the seven-step drop. That play never works.

2) Regardless of the stats, the defense stinks. Tampa marched down the field when they needed to even without several of their starters. A good defense puts a team away. This defense keeps giving the other team extra life. Four picks, 180 yards rushing, and time of possession firmly in the Bears favor, and Tampa was still in a position to win the game in the final seconds.

3) In a league defined by mediocrity (parity), the Bears are a mediocre team with a spotty offense and a weak defense. They are not pathetic like Miami or Indianapolis, but they are far from elite, like Green Bay or New England. They're somewhere in the middle, which means they might make the playoffs and then we'll be stuck with Lovie again for who knows how long. Maybe when Carimi and Bennett come back, the offense will get more consistent, but the defense is what it is.

a few thoughts about today.

1. Today was a good day for the Bears. Detroit lost, Bears beat T- Bay which, the Bears into the playoff picture. Too bad Indy stinks, Minny's Coach had a brain cramp and punted to G-Bay late in the game(never got the ball back)...

2. It was a case of a few writers trying to "Get Ahead/Inject themselves" into the story. Ultimately the games is won or lost on the field.(IMO) You guys are some time "poisonous" and a little too dogged in trying to be the story instead of letting the story reveal itself.

3. I'm waiting anxiously to get Carimi back. If we can just keep Martz focused on doing what's right for the team and checking his EGO at the door...

4. Time for the "D" line to step-up it's game. D's been too Vanilla, too passive. Time to release the hounds...

5. That's what we brought Barber here for. Why are we acting surprised???

6. Bennett, Carimi, Williams, Barber, Wooten... The 2nd half holds a lot of promise for this team. I'm just hoping SOMEONE, ANYONE- keeps Martz focused. The 2nd half play-calling was giving me-

"achita" today.

OH, forgot to wish you a safe trip home.


AND, can you please talk about Minny's coach's decision to punt the ball to Green Bay late in the game?
(I'm sure you still got sources there) They never got the ball back...

Bears escaped with a close win that should have been a blowout.

Play calling great in the first half and poor at best in the second half, why on earth would the Bears go away from the running game in the second half and fourth quarter when it was working so well when utilized particularly when running on the edges of the defense. Second half adjustments are a true joke with the BEARS. Which teams are progressing in the second half, it appears to me the Bears are digressing in the second half of games far more than their competition.

Cutler was bad, his choice of passes were poor and he should have had at least 4 pics two of which were just dropped by the defense one of which would have gone for a TD against the Bears. It is frustrating to see a huge effort from Cutler the week before and then a truly pedestrian effort this week. How many truly poor games does Brady, Brees or Rodgers have?

Forte should be signed and the Bears owners should be run out of town if he is not signed. Angelo and Phillips should be terminated from employment by the Bears. The Bears are setting the picture with Forte in such a way that he will be able to demand huge Chris Johnson type money after this year.

Defense played well overall but again in second half it got really too dicey when it should have been a blowout win. Bears defense has not learned how to finish the games, like a truly great defense will do when they take over the game. This defense is above average and on a good day maybe top 10 in the league. I thought they would have a top 3 defense but not happening at least not yet.

Congrats on the challenge for Lovie and the win was good despite all of the problems noted.

Go BEARS!!!!!!!

Wouldn't you rather win 24-18 with Lovie than 48-3 with Super-Dork? I would.
Would you want Super-Dork congratulating Lovie on his defeat the way he did Schwartz? I think you hate the SF style as much as I do. Tell the truth about SF. I will root for Green Bay against the SFers.

Next up th Eagles. The Lions are starting to get expose for what they are. They are better than last year but it takes more then to superstars to make a team and the schedules isnt much in their favor for here on out. The bears just have to keep playing bear brand football get better at protecting the QB and fix as much as possible in the bye.

The bears are still a up and down team but worst case scenario 7-9 and they can possible win as much as 11 games.

I don't agree on Louis, Bennett abused him most of the game and came up with big plays. The interior of the line gets no push, you saw it on six attempts in the red. Matt Forte does more for that line than anything else, he leads the leagues in forced missed tackles, a lot of those coming behind the line. They can't block with 5 or 6, Tampa is not a pass rushihng team, they don't have an elite pass rusher. Spencer has been the best player on the line all year and is far and away the best run blocker, but Garza is a mess at center, Wiliiams has been ok in pass protection, but usually faces nose tackles not known for their pass rushing and Williams is the worst run blocker on the line by a wide margine. Webb continues to struggle and Davis has no buisness trying to block. The only way the line can block is when they leave 7 or 8 in against a 3-4 man rush. I thought they played better the week before against the Vikings than they did against the Bucs.

The defense shows up for games against teams with no offense. Sorry but tell me how Tampa is a good offense aside from the fact that they played a third string center, were shifting their guards all game and I would much rather watch Trueblood on HBO than the Frank Omiyale of Tampa. You have to count the ints on both sides they happened and both QB's looked lost. You also have to count the fact that they played against a third string back basically the whole game. Because that is what happened. Each safety gave up a TD, and basically it was an ugly game by both teams. Where is the interior pass rush? Bears are putting 8 in the box and the Vikings and Tampa have run at it.

Next up the Bears get the Igles, the 2-4 all hype team, Eagles are at home but Bears are coming off a bye.

If Martz tries the same crap in that game that he did in this game the Bears will lose. As soon as he got a lead he started dumping the run, went to 5 man protection and let the Bucs walk right back in the door. That dude can not wait to go to his 5 wide sets with minimal protection, he new the Bucs were playing press man and throwing off the rout timing and yet he still wanted to pass the ball. Forte was on pace for over two hundred yards and and dumped that untiol he got into a position where he new they couldn't run the ball and then he decided to run it. You can't run wide very often on the 10 yard line because the secandary is to shallow and can come up and make plays, you know they can't run up the middle. Yet he keeps trying and running right at Bennett and McCoy two of the best run defenders in the game is not a stroke of genius, it's just a stroke being a stroke.

Anybody else get the feeling Martz is sitting in the coach's box with a Magic 8-ball helping him decide which plays to call? Then it looks like he ditches it 2nd Half and goes with his St. Louis playbook (which he mixed up with his 2011 Bears playbook) ?

A little sane consistency would be nice. After watching how well Cutler did with 5 step drops in max protect, why do we not see more of that? It seems elementary to anyone even casually following the Bears that max protect, short drops or shotgun and bootlegs and controlled rollouts are Cutler's strengths---so why is Martz trying to make him something he is not? Cutler is a terrific talent, why not play to his strengths?

Oh, and by the way, we still don't have an O-line that can protect long enough for our receivers to find a way to get open on 20 yard routes. It would be tough with a good line and good receivers who can get open, and with this line and these receivers it is a pipe dream.

The BYE week will give the team a chance to get healthier, yes, but also time for Martz to fall further from reality and Lovie to continue his eyes open nap on the sidelines.

I agree Cutler's effort was pedestrian. I don't think it was bad.

Rodgers, Brady, and Brees all have solid offensive line play. Not necessarily elite, but generally consistent. Rodgers has the greatest recievers ever assembled since the 90s 49ers, and Brady and Brees' recievers are solid, consistent, and rarely drop passes or give up on routes.

Brees had 3 picks 2 weeks ago. Brady had 4 picks 3 weeks ago.

Cutler's rating would improve immensely if 3 things happen.

1. Martz quits getting "cute" with his playcalling after getting a lead.

2. The OL provides consistent pass protection - NO they are not doing that now. They have improved from awful to below average.

3. Bears WR stop giving up on routes, and drop fewer passes.

You'd be surprised.

Late.

Wow.

I am wondering if you are true Bears fan. Harbaugh was a good QB run out of town by Ditka - who criticizes Cutler for not being passionate. I guess Harbaugh screaming at Da Coach was TOO PASSIONATE.

The Lions are entitled cry babies. I will never root for them. Is anyone tracking the stats on the most lottery-caliber picks in the history of the NFL over a 10 year period.

Jesus. If they don't play well, I think they should be sent to LA instead of Minnesota. If the Bears can stay healthy, I think they might even rough up the Lions when they come to town in a few weeks.

Harbaugh is gonzo.

Schwartz is a baby.

I'll take gonzo any day.

Hey estevenj--check your facts. Harbaugh was cut by Wannstedt when HE brought in Erik Kramer---Ditka was gone by the time Harbaugh left.

Please get your facts straight before defiling Coach Ditka.

For everyone criticizing Martz for his play calling late in the third (and especially in the fourth) quarter, you need to understand something:

You can't "run" your way out of a defense with 8-9 defenders within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, especially if they are blitzing LB's and Safeties - which the Bucs were. At least you can't when you have such a poor offensive line as we have.

The reason we had more success in the first two-thirds of the game was because Tampa was, for the most part, playing it straight and our mediocre line (and great running by Forte) was getting things done. Once Tampa started creeping up, and especially when they started blitzing on every play when they were down 21-5, our line couldn't overcome that. Maybe some OL's can, but we can't - that's how it is, so stop saying, "how come we stopped running?". We are not good enough to run effectively when the other team knows we are going to run.

Now this is important, so pay attention:

The only way to get a defense to back off - like the Bucs were doing in the fourth quarter - in a running situation is to PASS your way out of it. You burn the defense a few times, they back off.... every..... single...... time.

A perfect example of this was the Forte completion late in the fourth quarter when the two wide receivers on the right side of the formation ran inside slants and Forte went out to the right flat. Because the Bucs were blitzing the DB's had to follow the receivers inside and Forte's defender couldn't get outside fast enough. Forte went all the way dow to near the Bucs goal line with significant YAC.

This led to the goal line passes - which were the right calls because, as I said earlier, we are not good enough to run when we have to run. We lucked out on that 15-yard penalty where we eventually ran the ball to run some clock - but as I said, we couldn't punch it in running because we just aren't good enough.... it's that simple.

Now, the only reason we won the game (and Creighton alluded to this in an earlier post) is that the Bucs were playing their 3rd string RB. If you watch the final INT that sealed the game for us, Peppers ran an inside stunt where he looped into the middle from his right DE spot and the tackle pushed hard outside. The RB is supposed to look for a blitzing LB or safety (OR A LINE STUNT) and if no one is coming, he is supposed to leak out to either of the flats or the middle as a safety valve.

The RB saw no LB or safety and stupidly ran right past Peppers who had beaten the left guard who had went to help the left tackle when the DT went hard with his outside rush. The left guard recovered too late and Peppers got in to pressure the Bucs QB, who threw it right to our DB.

The 1st string RB doesn't make that mistake.

Overall the Bears lucked into a victory against an injury-depleted team, we got no pressure from our 4 man rush (until the Bucs RB whiffed late) and couldn't get any rush when we blitzed. We again had pass protection issues.

This is a .500 team at best and we only have two and a half more years of this "consistent mediocrity" from Lovie and Angelo before we can blow all this up and start over.

I love Gonzos. I love their passion. Our country should always make room for gonzos.
Yet, though Jim shows much gonzo character, he lacks the one trait that separates him from true gonzos. He isn't any fun. In that sense, Da Coach is more a of a gonzo. That's why he drove Harbaugh out of town. He was no fun. Chicago is a toddling town. Harbaugh didn't fit. Schwartz is a baby, true, but his players are pretty uppity-up. Listen to Stafford and Johnson. I expected to hate them, but didn't. Me not a Bears fan? Umm...next.

Like a lot of these posts, I too cringe at some of Martz's play calling...and you would like to see the line be a ton stronger..but hey..these guys are improving across the board and the stats bear it out... They are ranked 12 in total offense versus 26 last year...passing , rushing, pts...all are 10 to 20 percent better than last year... At least they 're not going backwards..though at times they appear to be...

Did Cuter really say he had jet lag? Our leader had jet lag? How coud you tell?

The following needs to happen for the Bears to have any chance to compete down the stretch, especially since Detroit seems to be acting more like Detroit, and we have a chance to catch/pass them with a strong push through November/December:

1. Our starting receivers need to be Bennett and Sanzenbacher. They are the only ones who seem to be able to get to a spot on time and make a play. Knox is slow off the line, slow out of his breaks, and lazy in his routes. Hester is solid in his routes, but doesn't know how to read a defense, so a lot of the time, he isn't running the correct routes. Williams is looking better than earlier in the season, but that is not hard. He still fights the ball, and seems out of sorts making sudden movements, like he forgot how to move his feet.

2. Carimi needs to be back in the starting lineup, and we need to make a decision on Webb. My thinking is either Carimi or Williams needs to be at LT, and Webb either needs to go to the bench, or move inside to guard. Williams has been our best lineman the last few weeks, and while not reminding anyone of Bortz, has been solid at blocking at the first and second level. He has been more physical than I thought he could be, and has showed solid awareness. He might be making enough progress to move back outside, but I would feel better with Carimi at LT, and worry about solving RT another way.

3. We need to shake up the cornerback position. Tillman still can't manage to stay on his feet when he breaks on the ball, and Jennings is getting beaten like a rented mule. Whether that means Josh Moore and Bowman need to start getting some playing time, or whether DJ Moore gets to start over Jennings, they need to do something, and do it quick.

4. Mike Martz needs another Come To Jesus meeting with the rest of the coaching staff. We are running the ball more, and we seem to be making some calls that make sense in the passing game, but it is nowhere close to being functional as an offense. We telegraph our plays on a regular basis, and defenses are able to adjust to stop what we are doing pre-snap. We either need audible capability, or we need to change our tendencies up, but someone needs to kick him in the a@@ to get some common sense into this offense.


I would expect we will accomplish 2 of these things, but not all 4. I am a little more confident that Cutler will survive the season, especially if Carimi gets installed at LT, but I have no illusions that we will get anything out of Knox, Hester, and Williams. We will continue to give up tons of yards on defense, and eventually, we will stop getting those lucky bounces unless Peppers gets healthy and gets some help. Okoye, Wootton, Idonije, and Paea all need to step up big time, and Melton needs to show up more than once every 4 games. We got rid of Tommie Harris for that.

I am glad to have the bye week now, as I am completely sleep-deprived with a newborn in the house, but I will only be happy with it if they use it to improve and get some of the walking wounded back to full strength and back in the lineup.

even if the bears were struggling to run the ball in the second half why does Martz continue to pass the ball with 5 man protection schemes. Louis who isnt a natural tackle needs at least a chip

Even lazy boy coaches like me know to mix up the running and passing game. That's one of the points of offense: keep 'em guessing. You get predictable, you get shut down. It's a bit like poker.
It's one of the reasons why I like college ball too. You can see a variety of play that way. I've already Gator Bowl tickets and my trip to Florida all planned. Family is good for some things.

Joe, I think your analysis is outstanding. I particularly like the part about Jennings getting beaten like a rented mule. Wasn't it Steve Jobs who first said that?. Congrats on the new addition.

The Bears had success early? The Bears offense was able to score because of field position. But it was not a scoring explosion. They scored once every quarter. What happened late. Tampa did not actually show a lot of 8 man fronts and when they blitzed it was usually a dog, much like the Bears do, beating a dog is easy you either run the ball or do a quick drop, but running is one of the best ways to beat the blitz.

The Bears lost momentum because they lost field position. The other problem is the offense is very limited, in order to protect Cutler and try to keep the linmen from blowing their collective brains out Martz, Tice and Cutler, basically switched to a minimal offense. Pre-snap motion is mostly gone, complex blocking schemes? Gone. Deep Drops? Gone. Max protect? Installed. Complex multi 40 yard breaking routs? Gone. It's basically a dummy offense and it's limited in what it can do, Martz tried a couple of deep drop 5 wide sets, those plays didn't end well. Some people think the line improved but actually the teams just dumbed everything down to help them because they couldn't get the offense, they also have given them a lot of help. They have not improved they are just playing dunce cap offense. They O-Line rides the little yellow bus to the stadium. But what they are doing won't work against teams who have good secondaries and corners who can play press man. You know who does that real well? The Packers.

As for the Defense, the Bears defense will always be limited, the system only works with an elite line and they don't have an elite line they have one elite player on a line filled with backups. The defense had success because of a few things. 1) They use the run to setup the pass, and they were down to their third string back. Some people think this does not matter, I ask them to imagine the Bears offense without Forte and Barber. When their RB went down, their game plan flew out the window. 2) Freeman is stupid, he failed to notice Brian Urlacher dropping under his intended pass routs on every damn play. How do you miss the 6'5 260 pound walking Cue ball? 3) Freeman spent all day making really bad choices and being very inaccurate, and it wasn't like he was under a ton of pressure. Why was he un not under a ton of pressure? Well their line is really bad, so their should have been a lot of pressure, but the Bears D-Line is not elite and they don't know how to blitz. They needed to get pressure late and couldn't. They have three different blitzes they use, Safety blitz, Corner blitz, and they blitz an LB. Generally its just a dog, but on special occassions they might bring six. They don't disguise it, they don't know how to disguise it and all blitzing is done out of a zone. If the front 4 of the Bears needs help the Bears don't have the ability to help them. Your not gonna get a lot of Cover 2 zone shells with with an 8 man overload on the blind side.

It was a good matchup for the Bears, Tampa has a bad O-Line, was down to its third back, Freeman played as bad as any QB your going to see, the recievers are not playing well, the defense does not have an elite pass rusher or 2, and does not blitz much and when they do it's not much different than what the Bears do. It should have been a blowout, it was a 1 score game, hell Tampa didn't even have home field.

I don't think it means much, it was just more ugly football in London. Tampa should stay out of London, the nfl is not going to expand to the UK, they don't like American Football, couldn't even sell out the game. And that is with what I assume was every Bucs fan in the world all 10 thousand of them, and every Football fan in the UK at the game. Just to point this out, Tampa is the 25th ranked offense in the nfl and averages 18 points a game, they scored 18 points playing the way they did, with a third string back and a QB who threw 4 picks. They still hit their average. An their defense gives up 24 points a game on average. Again they hit their average. How that team has 4 wins is beyond me.

Sean any idea on what the British viewership was for the game?

JohnF, nice overall post, but, I don't think everyone was getting on Martz for not running, it was his play calling. True, you don't run every time with 8 in the box, but like you were saying, you still have to mix it up. You don't go down inside the 10 yard line and pass 3 straight times, it isn't gonna work. Martz should have ran it a couple times down there and then maybe hit em with a pass.

Also JohnF, don't take away from this victory. Any NFL player/coach will tell you one thing, its hard to win in the NFL. True, Tampa was banged up, but your forgetting John, so were the Bears. Chicago's starting right tackle (Carimi) was down, and they had a guard in his place. Chicago's best receiver (Bennett) was down. Julius Peppers is playing banged up. Chicago's right guard (Spencer) was playing with a broken hand. Both teams were playing with injuries, and like every week, the better team found a way to win.

Joe Felicelli, first, congrats on the new baby. Now, Joe, I agree corner is a need area for the Bears, but Chicago does have there best set of corners out there as of right now. Josh Moore isn't with the club anymore, the Bears cut him back when they signed safety Brandon Meriweather. Bowman isn't the answer. I do like the idea of D.J Moore pushing Jennings. An upgrade is needed, but the Bears can win with the current starters. How about rookie free safety Chris Conte, he looks like a keeper GO BEARS!!

One thing to remember before switching CBs is that Jennings is or was leading the team in tackles. The Cover 2 requires corners that can support the run. Moore might be an upgrade in terms of coverage, but he might be a liability in run support. I say might because I really don't know, but that has to factor in to the decision.

You're right. My bad on that one. I actually remembered that when I was at work, but couldn't get in and change it.

Listen, I still think my point on Ditka is valid. I like Harbaugh's energy and think Schwartzy and the Lions are a disgrace of an NFL team, succeeding in spite of themselves with all those elite draft picks.

Moore is not a true corner he belongs in the nickle and that is where he should stay. He is way to small to against teams like the Chargers, so is Jennings for that matter. Plus uspporting the run when your that small will eventually take its toll.

Kevin yes he passed it 2 times in the red, then he ran it three times in the red. It's to hard for them to power it in with the interior of the line. Running off tackle is just as hard in short yardage cause the DB's are playing shallow. You know what might work? Play action, did you see play action? You get a back like Forte doing what he is doing and you should be able to kill teams with play action. Packers run it all the time and they don't have a great run game.

Your right it is hard to win the nfl, that's what teams like Indy, Miami and St. Louis will tell you. It's reeally, really hard. But it really is just another win over a mdiocre team.

I'll say it again if you were to sit Forte and Barber where would your offense be? Not so much Barber really but Forte. Do you really think Louis playing with an injured had that has had weeks to heal is the same as playing with your third string center, alternate guard, and 3rd string running back? That's the same to you? Tampa is not a good team, when your team scores less than it gives up on average you are bad.

The Bears offense has scored 149 points, it has allowed 150. Special teams and defense have pushed the scoring up to 170 but the offense itself is at 149. To give you an idea of the points the Vikings have scored 148 points. If you want really bad like omg that's bad you look at the Rams,who have scored 56 points, compare them to Miami who has scored 90 points, and Miami is bad. The nfl could be looking at three teams that don't win a game this year. 149, the Cowboys have scored 149 as well, they only played 6 games though. Wait I forgot Bears had a safety, that's 147 points.

It's one of the worst years of football you will ever see at this point. 3 winless teams, 5 teams with 1 win or less, 10 teams with two or fewer wins. Bears are basically middle of the pack, and the Packers are not the Montana 49ers. Your talking about a team that dominted at the peak of football compared to playing in this crappy nfl. Rodgers is playing great I will give you that, but the Packers are beating up on mediocre or bad teams. They are a good team not a great team, that defense tells you they are not a great team. They have an excellent offense. But they lack an elite back and most of their running is do to their offensive line which is pretty damn good, they pretty much loaded at 4 spots, except for LT that is a good line. One thing about the GB defense, it gives up the yards that's for sure, but they don't give up a ton of points, they have given up less than the Bears and they have been playing soft in a lot of games because of huge leads. Seems like that's a team when it wants to it can turn it on at any point. On the other hand everything has to go the Bears way for them to win. If they don;t have great starting field position they struggle, if special teams does not make big plays they struggle, and if the defense does not get a lot of takaways it struggles. If Peppers does not have a big game they struggle, if Fortte is not playing lights out right now they would have two wins. They don't have anyway to replace certain things, you lose your starting QB and yeah your season is over for any team, but if you lose just one player like Peppers, or Urlacher, or Forte and they are done.

Some teams like the Packers and Pats, they lose a guy and it's just cut and paste. I know people are thinking well not everyone can draft as well as the Packers, or have everything the Packers do. Problem is they are in the Bears division, so you kinda need to be better than them.

Kevin,
Thanks on the correction on Josh Moore...How'd I miss that? I don't disagree that their best set of corners is on the field, but they aren't even close in coverage, so to me that means they need to try something different. Tillman is great at making plays on the ball AFTER the receiver has caught it and is trying to make a move. I would really like it if they could start making more plays on the ball in the air, or preventing catches. This is a position of need going into 2012, but it ends up just another one on the list along with LB, WR, and OL.

I agree Conte looks a lot better than I thought he would coming in as a rookie. But then again, we have had rookie safeties tease us with solid performances, and never take that next step. Hopefully this kid is an exception, as he definitely has the coverage skills that none of the previous guys have had. He also seems to be a pretty sure tackler, even if he doesn't deliver big hits.

Seriously though, can Charles Tillman make a cut without slipping, just once this season? That would make me happy...

Joe Webb is too slow coming out of his stance the guards are closer than the tackles are it would be a disaster, Williams has been at guard all season it would be another mistake to move him. The simple thing to do is put Carimi where he played in college and put Webb back where he played last year rotate Louis and Spencer to insure plays get to Cutler quicker. Hester if he plays would be better served in the slot where he and Knox would be better served since Sanzebacher seems to be able to get off the line rotate him with Williams and Bennett. Major Wright is a major health risk time to raid the practice squad during the bye and see what you have in Venable and for some O-Line support dump Omiyale and promote Levi Horn. These are moves I would make.

Tillman is not having bad year man, but I get what your saying. But he is not really the problem he is a solid number 2 who is trying to shut down the other teams number 1 reciever every week. Bears are going to have problems with a team like the chargers. Plus Tillman gets blamed a lot for some scheme flaws, he only plays about 18 yards deep most of the time and then he releases to the safety. He is just doing what he is told to do, the Bears don't play man all day, they have to many problems with it and it's really hard to find any corner who is good in both zone and man.

Looking at the line, it's basically a patchwork line, it was not drafted for one system you got some guys they took for a WCO and nobody really fits the Martz mold, that's a tough line to build, it really is. Anyway looking at line and what they have and what the problems are. First you have Webb, he is athletic for his size, but he is not really athletic he is very slow out of his stance which is pointed out often, and he thinks he is a finesse player, he really isn't and he does not know how to be a mauler. Chris Williams has been average in pass prtection as a guard and he can pull and engage a DB. But again he is a finesse player and while you need to be athletic you also need to anchor and he lacks the power to anchor. Garza is a stop gap no matter where you put him, but he has not really been good at anything this year. Spencer is pretty solid agains the run and he anchors well, he is mediocre in pass bloocking though but on the right side you can get away with that more times than not. Carimi is a mauler type, he really does not fit the offense that well but is pretty much better than anyone else on the line. He needs work but he is a rookie, I am a little worried about his knee, it's not the first time this has happened to his knee. You backups, Omiyale does not belong in the nfl and this guy has been benched every year he has been with the team, so why is he still with the damn team, he is not a rookie or close to it. Lance Louis, some people think he is a mauler and think he is big, he isn't, look at him compared to the other players and the biggest part of him is his stomach. He has not played well at tackle, it's just when you compare him to Omiyale its like a miracle when he does not false start every other snap, but he spends a lot of time on the ground, Bennett slamed him to the ground 3-4 times in the last game and picked up multiple pressures and hits, and he is not a pass rusher. I think Louis really belongs at guard in zone system, he is athletic and he can pull and he would not have to anchor in a zone. I feel the same way about Chris Williams, and I think Carimi would be at his best in a system like Baltimore's that plays more of a power game.

Right now it's a miss matched line trying to run a very limited version of an offense. I think long term, they will need a LT sooner rather than later, they need a center and I think it would good for Cutler to have a young center to build a relationship with, Cutler is still young and that line reeally needs a leader. No offense to Garza but he is a little soft, and a little to nice. Plus he can't handle nose tackles, 3-4 defenses kill the Bears and you need a center who can handle those big nose tackles and Garza is not that guy, Raji destroyed him and the Bears are going ot have to deal with Raji for awhile. It would be nice to have an elite guard as well and your probably going to need one down the road as well, again sooner rather than later.

You can say the line is coming together, but if the team has to go max protect for 5 step drops, and the sevens are all but gone, and the line is being asked to do as little as possible, then they really are not improving, they wouldn't be doing less if the line improved. Forte leads the nfl in missed tackles a lot of those attempted tackles are coming behind the line. Forte often goes through an open gap but usually he does it after a defensive player came through it first and he made them miss. That's not good blocking that is Forte being really good. Throw in the fact that the Bears tackles do a lot of chassing and that's not good. Saying they improved at the same time a team is asking them to do a minimal offense doesn't fit to me. You don't ask players to do less when they have gotten better. It's just a scheme adjustment, and like the nfl always does other teams will adjust to it.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on October 23, 2011 8:47 PM.

Forte keeps raising the bar for himself -- and Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

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