Wed bear practice notes and injuries
Flag Lovie for bypassing own rule
2 blown challenges vs. Redskins started Cutler's, Bears' woes
Lovie Smith, brutally exposed by multicamera angles, painful replays, still shots of a frozen moment and all kinds of graphics and gimmicks, stands as an isolated figure these days.
The coach's ability to rally his team around him now will determine the success or failure of this season and his future with the team.
It's an interesting crossroads during a week of reflection and self-evaluation. Without the double burden of serving as defensive coordinator, Smith's job as head coach is to manage his players, manage his coaches and manage the sideline. He appears to be failing in two of those areas with no one to blame but himself.
There is no way to ignore the impact of a series of foolish coaching mistakes regarding the use of the challenge flag in the loss to the Washington Redskins. Forget for a moment about who saw what and when they saw it, and consider a statement Smith made to the Sun-Times just over a year ago regarding the use of challenges.
''As a general rule, if there's a critical play, you have to take advantage of the challenge,'' Smith said in October 2009. ''If we fumble the ball on the 1-yard line going in, that's a big play -- so even to lose a timeout, if we know for sure there's a chance it could be turned the other way, you go for it. There have been times in a lot of games when you thought it surprised you when they came back with the ruling. If there's a chance it's in your favor, you have to look at the situation.''
Potential impact what counts
Smith's philosophy on challenges is simple: The more important the play, the more likely you challenge. Forget the risk of losing a timeout. Forget saving the challenge for a more important play -- you never know what a game's impact moment might be until it's over.
Forget if you are at home or away, on offense or defense, lead or trail. All that matters is the potential impact of the moment.
Coaches may be ranked and evaluated on their success with the challenge flag -- the number of reversals they get -- but such statistics are irrelevant to Smith because he believes only in challenging game-changing plays. He's not after winning every challenge, he's only looking to reverse calls that have the most impact.
The decision not to challenge Jay Cutler's goal-line fumble is therefore inexcusable. If Smith opted not to challenge because he had just burned a timeout while challenging whether Earl Bennett was in the end zone, well, that challenge did not meet his criteria, while the goal-line fumble did. One bad decision was compounded by a second.
The series of plays may have led to Jay Cutler's mad, self-destructive collapse. The quarterback's four interceptions all came after that sequence. If the Bears had taken the lead at that point, would Cutler have disintegrated?
The issue was further complicated when the NFL's former vice president of officiating, Mike Pereira, criticized Smith for not making the challenge. Pereira works for Fox-TV these days, but he remains a powerful voice on officiating matters. There is a battle going on between coaches and the NFL regarding officiating and, specifically, the new emphasis of rules on helmet-to-helmet tackles and so-called devastating hits.
Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive VP of football operations, complimented New England safety Brandon Meriweather -- a poster boy for bad hits -- for changing his tackling method, drawing the ire of Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
''That would be a first for me,'' Belichick said about Anderson's comment. ''The officials are now evaluating the players and their performance. No, I mean that's great [long pause] ... I can't tell you how much that means to me, really.''
Smith is believed to be the first coach called out by a guy perceived as an NFL company man.
Time to get running
Regardless, good coaching is about putting players in a position to succeed. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is putting his inexperienced, ineffective offensive line in a position to fail. The Bears hired offensive line coach Mike Tice before they hired Martz. Sources say Tice was assured by Smith that the Bears were going to run the football, and Tice even cautioned him that if the plan was to throw every down, Tice wasn't the right choice for the job.
Smith needs to reel in Martz and keep his promise to Tice. The Bears need to develop a running game and be patient with it, especially with Soldier Field's winter turf best suited to a power game.
Smith seems to be operating against his own phil
osophy these days, and the results make him look more alone than ever.
If you're looking for a bright side, consider Sunday when the Bears were getting chewed up and spit out by the Redskins until defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli changed it up.
Rather than the bend-break-and-bend-more philosophy, Marinelli attacked. Tired of watching the Skins dominate, he began blitzing and the pressure seriously bothered Donovan McNabb.
Marinelli turned the game from entirely in the Redskins' favor to the Bears taking control, as they allowed 3 first downs in a stretch of nine Redskins possessions.
With 4:13 left in the second quarter, Washington had a 162-14 advantage in yards. From then until the Skins' final drive when they picked up 37 yards after Jay Cutler's last pick the Bears outgained Washington 308 to 109.
If Lance Briggs is around you have to think Ryan Torain doesn't rush for 125 yards. Throw in Marinelli's adjustments, and it's another strong game for the defense
Streaking/Slumping: Week 7
1. Pisa Tinoisamoa, LB: While Tinoisamoa’s numbers against the Redskins pale in comparison to the season-high eight tackles he made against the Seahawks, the linebacker has demonstrated consistency and a knack for making difficult open-field tackles. Tinoisamoa contributed three tackles against the Redskins, in addition to forcing a fumble, and scoring a hit on quarterback Donovan McNabb. Tinoisiamoa also tallied a tackle for lost yardage. Slightly undersized, Tinoisamoa is often overlooked playing alongside stalwarts such as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But his contributions in six starts can’t be ignored. It’s also encouraging to see Tinoisamoa stave off the injury bug, which kept him off the field 14 games in 2009.
2. Danieal Manning, S/KR: Bears coach Lovie Smith spoke highly of Manning’s play going into the Redskins game, but added he’d like to see the safety make more plays in the passing game. Manning finally delivered by making a diving interception on a McNabb pass intended for Joey Galloway. Manning also chipped in four tackles and a pass breakup, in addition to returning four kickoffs for 78 yards. Although he’d like to remain a Bear after 2010, Manning -- who had been plagued by mental errors over his first four seasons -- is putting together a strong case for a lucrative contract in Chicago or elsewhere for 2011.
3. Israel Idonije, DE: Just 1.5 sacks away from equaling his combined production from 2008 and 2009, Idonije is proving the Bears made the correct decision when they finally gave him sole possession of the starting job at defensive end opposite Julius Peppers. A seventh-year veteran, Idonije has posted 3.5 sacks in his last three outings. Against the Redskins, Idonije sacked McNabb on third down in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble. The sack snuffed out a potential touchdown drive, limiting the Redskins to a field goal. Idonije also posted five tackles, and batted down two passes.
1. Chris Williams, OL: The latest move to guard hasn’t paid dividends for Williams, who began the season as Chicago’s starting left tackle. Once considered by the staff to be the blindside protector of the future, Williams hasn’t demonstrated any consistency as a tackle or guard. Interestingly, the staff called Williams “stout” as a potential run blocker, but he proved anything but in the first quarter Sunday when Albert Haynesworth drove him into quarterback Jay Cutler for a sack. With Roberto Garza expected to return next week, it will be interesting to see what starting five the club rolls out against the Buffalo Bills. Don’t be surprised if Williams isn’t included.
2. Jay Cutler, QB: In a positive sign of maturity, Cutler shouldered the blame Sunday for all of the offense’s struggles against the Redskins. But truthfully, only a small portion of the club’s ineptitude actually fell on Cutler (receivers played a significant role in at least two of his interceptions). Protection issues over his last three starts aside, it’s difficult to ignore some of the decisions Cutler has made. Cutler continues to make questionable throws into the teeth of coverage, and Smith even admitted his quarterback has recently displayed a few lapses in passing mechanics. Cutler appeared to be deeply affected by Sunday’s loss (he usually appears to be nonchalant), which could mean positive results for the Bears in the future.
3. Matt Forte, RB: Forte has made significant contributions throughout the season, but he’s averaged 2.9 yards per carry or worse in five of the club’s seven games, in addition to rushing for just 1 yard on six carries this year from inside an opponent’s 3. Fumbles have been somewhat of an issue this season for Forte, who coughed up the ball Sunday after an 11-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Given some of the questionable play calls made by offensive coordinator Mike Martz thus far, opportunities for the running backs have been scarce, which means Forte needs to make the most of his limited opportunities. Fumbling with the game on the line isn’t the way to do that.
ZachZaidman With 31 of 104 NFL games (29.8%) decided by 3 points or fewer, league trending towards the highest percentage of 3-point games since 1970
D_Hest23 Tryin to get faster on my day off! http://plixi.com/p/53065701
You may have missed this...
The Bears now have a 2-9 record in games in which Cutler throws 36 passes or more. They are 0-8 when he throws more than one interception in a game.
How do you like those fact stats? It's pretty simple, if Cutler throws 36 or more passes the Bears have an 18% chance of winning. If Cutler throws 2 or more INTS the Bears lose. Going forward that's good info to have. Of course with Mike "Pass-Happy" Martz he'll continue to throw the ball 37 or more times even if this stat is pointed out to him. To the Devil with the reality of a lose being an 82% possibility.
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I wonder if Hester haircut will ruin his aerodynamics lol
A "master of the obvious" stat that works the same for most Qb's and teams.. when a team is behind they throw more and most times have L's, because losing and forced to throw more.. not exactly up there with e=mc2
Originally Posted by GeorgiaJeff
And when all 32 teams have 2 or more turnovers there winning percentage falls drastically. So again not exactly exciting news or something we do not all know
ony thing missing is the " when bears score more points than the other team, they win" stat
The pass/run ratio in both the Seattle and Washington is indefensible. I'll grant the point that teams need to pass when they are behind, but not when the deficit is only 3 points, or even 7 points when it's not late in the game.
Originally Posted by dabears54
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and we have already discussed those 2 games as being too high.. but just saying that article andover-all stats pretty silly and just "captain obvious" stuff, that expect all to know.
Originally Posted by GeorgiaJeff
peggykusinski back to halas hall today for #bears bye week practice. why are they having a short practice? seems like they have a LOT of work to do!
skjensen With the #Bears defense playing so well, here's my suggestion for Mike Martz and Jay Cutler: Take the foot off the gas. http://bit.ly/bdV4CJ