Chicago Sun-Times

Who is dropping the ball?

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Drops were costly for the Bears in Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

According to STATS, the Bears had four of them.

But for the season, the Bears are tied for 15th in the NFL with 24 drops, well behind the dubious league leader, the Detroit Lions (37). On the other end, the San Diego Chargers have dropped just 13 passes. Kellen Drop.jpg

So who has the Bears drops?

Brandon Marshall is tied for fourth in the NFL (with Calvin Johnson) with eight drops, followed by tight end Kellen Davis with six then Devin Hester with four, according to STATS.

Kyle Adams and Earl Bennett also have one drop apiece.

Marshall has blamed himself for his drops, but he leads the league with 101 catches. Davis, meanwhile, has just 17 catches.

The league leader in drops is Victor Cruz of the New York Giants with 10 then Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints and Wes Welker of the New England Patriots with nine each.

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Kellen Davis leads the league in catch to drop ratio with his 17 catches to 6 drops, thats horrible. I don't know why Chicago keeps force feeding Kellen Davis into the starting lineup? Maybe his backup Kyle Adams isn't much better? I'd give Adams a shot if he isn't. The tight end position needs to be addressed this offseason through the draft or free agency, next to pass protection, production from the tight end position is a huge need for Chicago's offense.

Dropped passes have killed the Bears on both sides of the ball, the Major Wright dropped interception at the end of the Seattle game comes to mind, had Wright held onto that ball, the Bears win. Catching is something that maybe needs to be worked on a little bit more, but thanks to the leagues new rules on how long a team can practice, thats probably a big reason you're seeing so many drops, not really a lot of time to work on a basic fundamental of a sport, oh well, GO BEARS!!

I never trusted STATS, other sites have Marshall at with 11 drops still tied with Johnson. Wes Welker leads the league again with 14, Hester has 4 on ever site, and Davis has 8 drops tied for 3rd among TE's.

But none of those are the stat you really want, you just want to know the ratio of drops compared to catchable balls. Or you can simply go with percentage caught. Interceptions can also be a telling stat with a reciever, how many times has the QB been picked while targeting a player.

Looking at Marshall, he has been targeted 147 times, his percentage caught is just under 69% which is third best in the league with any receiver targeted over 100 times. He drops 1 out of every 9.1 receptions. Johnson drops about 1 out every 8.7 receptions. Randall Cobb who has the second highest catch percentage in the league at 79.8% but only has been targeted 89 times drops a pass 1 out of every 8.8 receptions.

Now for Kellen Davis, Kellen has been targeted 41 times and caught 17 balls. His catch percentage is 41.5%. He drops 1 out of every 2.1 passes. He has the second lowest catch percentage in the league and the highest ratio of drops in the nfl.

A really telling stat can be interceptions although in Marshalls case and a few other recievers like Fitzgerald, there are exceptions to this rule. Both Marshall and Fitzgerald are among the league leaders in facing double and triple coverage and neither has any real help forcing the QB to go to the only trusted weapon he has. Teams like the Giants tend to have very few interceptions because the they have so many offensive weapons in the passing game that the secondary is spread out giving the QB multiple single covered and often uncovered receivers.

Take Tom Brady, he has 4 picks on the season, but he plays in a great scheme with a strong rushing attack, strong line, and multiple weapons, Welker, Lloyd, Gronk, Hernandez, Ridley, and Woodhead. Not all of them are great players, but they are all great at what they do.

Then you have Matt Ryan who is having a great season, but has thrown 14 picks, he plays behind a strong line, with a good amount of weapons, White, Jones, Gonzalez, Rodgers and Turner. Although having a weak rushing attack, means they are forced to throw the ball when they don't want too.

Then you have the Bears, they have a very weak line and only two real weapons, Marshall and Forte, although Forte is not playing at the same level he did the last two year. The struggle in both passing and really struggle in passing. Your offense is not going to be able to keep up with any of thses offenses if the other team is better at almost every single position and running a better scheme. It should be no surprise that the Bears offense is no good. You have Cutler, Marshall and Forte although Forte could be struggling with ankle issues. How could anyone have expected them to be good? They have no weapons, and a very very bad offensive line, with a first time play caller at OC.

Imagine Cutler on a team like the 49ers. It has a strong scheme, the best line in football, is loaded at the skill positions with Crabtree, Manningham, Moss, Davis, Gore, Hunter and Miller. You want to know why Alex Smith got better, because he was put in a better scheme, surrounded by talent and has a great HC and a smart OC.

The Bears offense will continue to struggle until the Bears actually build a offense, with talent, scheme, and coaching. All of which the current offense is lacking.

I have to weigh in on panning Davis. That he drops easy-to-catch passes at critical times is crystal clear if you watch the games. Everyone drops passes he should catch at one time or another, generally when he looks where to run before securing the catch, Certainly Marshall has dropped a critical passs or two as well as Davis, but he makes up for it with catches almost no one else can make, not true of Davis. With his size and speed, Davis could be a powerful force for the Bears but simply has not shown it so far. Whether or not the Bears would be better off without him is open to debate, but he has had adequate time to eliminate his problems; let's hope he does so and has a career game tomorrow.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on December 13, 2012 11:11 AM.

What was with Brandon Marshall's Christmas tree? was the previous entry in this blog.

Lance Briggs on Jermichael Finley's criticism of Brian Urlacher: "He's an idiot." is the next entry in this blog.

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