Angelo: Bears must create consistent identity on offense
ChicagoBears.com senior writer Larry Mayer sits down with general manager Jerry Angelo to discuss the most pressing issues involving the Bears every Wednesday. This unique feature will provide you with inside information directly from Jerry that you can’t get anywhere else.
LM: The Bears have struggled offensively in losing three of their last four games. What do you think is the main problem and how will it get rectified?
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been sacked an NFL-high 27 times this season.JA: “What we haven’t done on offense is create a consistent identity. We’ve done some very good things both running and passing the ball; our problem has been doing it consistently. The turnovers have really hurt. They limit our ability to sustain drives and create the continuity I’ve talked about. The positives are we have a much better feel for our players, particularly on the offensive line. Now it’s a matter of getting better execution from the unit and eliminating the turnovers. I have confidence that we’re going to get that right and get that right right now.”
LM: How will the team’s focus be different during the bye week?
JA: “There’s going to be a lot more self-evaluation because we don’t have an opponent to prepare for. We’ll spend some time on Buffalo, but it gives us some time to look at ourselves and be reflective on the things that we have done well, but mostly on the things we need to improve on. The nice thing about the bye for us is we have seven games to study. So there’s a good body of work that we can draw from.”
LM: What specific things will be evaluated?
JA: “You look at the players, but you’re doing that every week. Again, it’s more of: ‘What’s working well and what must we do a better job of? These are things that all teams do at some point during the season, and we’re no different. I know our coaches will spend a goodly amount of time on all the things that will make us more effective. The bye came at the right time for us in that regard because evaluations are more accurate when you have more games to draw from. Are we satisfied the way the players are functioning and developing in our schemes? What can we do a better job of in terms of helping them perform to their potential? Those are some things that were gone over and discussed.”
LM: What positives have you seen from the offense and what reasons are there to be optimistic?
JA: “There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. We have weapons on offense with our running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. That’s what coaches want. They want players who can create big plays, and we have big-play players. Our offensive line played better this past week than they did the week before. They were playing with a lot more confidence. So those are all things that I feel good about going forward that we can build on. The key right now is to create a consistent identity on offense. That’s what we are going to do.”
LM: The defense is playing very well. The unit didn’t give up any points after all those turnovers against the Redskins and kept the Bears in the game. What have been your impressions?
JA: “I’m very pleased with the defense. I don’t necessarily see us being an invincible defense, but I see us being a resilient one. We play hard, we play with discipline, we’re tackling well and our players are playing within the framework of the scheme and buying in. You know that by how we’ve handled the adversity of a game, particularly when there’s a sudden change and they have to get back in there with little time to regroup. They’ve done a great job of that. Certainly we’re getting some really good play by some players week-in and week-out, in particular Julius Peppers, who in my opinion has had a stellar season to date for us. We’ve expected to see it and we’re seeing it.”
LM: Other than Peppers, who else has stepped up on defense?
JA: “Brian [Urlacher] is having a fine year. Lance [Briggs] is a Pro Bowl player for us. Anthony Adams … I don’t really think there’s any player that’s not playing to his abilities and playing within the framework of the scheme. That’s why we’re having the success we’re having on defense.”
LM: Israel Idonije and D.J. Moore are two guys who have really emerged of late. What’s your assessment of them?
JA: “Israel has stepped up. He’s had two really good games, in Carolina and then this past week. He’s playing smarter. He makes his opponent play hard for 60 minutes and eventually Izzy wears him down. D.J. Moore is a playmaker. We knew that. We saw that in college. The more comfortable he gets with his role, the more plays he’ll make. The other player I would throw in there is Tim Jennings. Playing Tim on the left side—it’s not an easy task given the match-up against an opponent’s best receiver—he’s done a very good job in coverage and versus the run game. He’s a tough guy who plays physical, and we really need physical corners against the run in our scheme. Those players have done very well for us.”