Identity Crisis Hamper Bears Offense, WTF Are We Doing?......
Updated: September 26, 2011, 9:44 AM ET
Even Bears quarterback Jay Cutler sounds unsure what to make of team's offense
http://a.espncdn.com/i/columnists/Is...Melissa_35.jpgBy Melissa Isaacson
It's Only Week 3
CHICAGO -- Jay Cutler has had the kind of week that can make a quarterback consider a career change. Just as he was beginning to get his voice back after having his throat stepped on by an unruly New Orleans Saint last Sunday, he was hit low by one Packer, nailed high by another and had his spine contorted in a way that had those watching in almost as much pain as he was.
If that wasn't bad enough, his team was outmanned, outcoached and out-franchised Sunday by the same division rivals that put him out of the NFC Championship Game last winter in a fashion that blurred all lines between insult and injury. (Once again, thank you Lovie. You and Martz take a bow)
[+] Enlargehttp://a.espncdn.com/photo/2011/0925...ler_b4_300.jpgAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJay Cutler was protected better Sunday, but he did take his lumps.
Cornerback Charles Woodson called his club's 27-17 victory at Soldier Field an "ugly win," for the Green Bay Packers, which says all you need to know about the Chicago Bears' loss.
And at the center of it all, as is usually the case, was Cutler, looking more and more like a player stuck in an agonizing no-man's land of personal development, every good throw negated by a bad one; every flash of brilliance wiped out by a drop or a penalty or a play call that did just as much damage. (What else is new, and allowing Martz to bring in that asshat Williams and install him as the #1 WR without even having to compete for the job did nothing to instill confidence in the exisiting group or help to build their chemistry with Cutler. He's been diplomatically saying that ever since Williams arrived. When we could have pursued a vet like Malcom Floyd who could probably help the other guys we end up with a selfish prick competing with them for playing time instead. Great move Jer!)
For the second week in a row, the Bears finished with just 12 rushing plays, which isn't as appalling as their 13 yards gained. Cutler actually had time to throw this week and was sacked only three times, an improvement over the offense's two-game average of 5.5 per game. But the most troubling part of it all at this point is that for all of his ability, his arm strength and perseverance, Cutler is starting to seemingly sink to the level of his offense. (So much for a balanced offense out of "Air Martz". Cutler didn't have a great game but about 80% of it wasn't his fault. Her point about his sinking to the overall level of what talent surrounds him is spot on in my opinion. Great performances lift everyone invloved and crap like Sunday just sits there and stinks!)
And maybe worse is that he sounds demoralized by the very system that was supposed to lift him to his peak potential but clearly cannot. Asked if the Bears can start installing more plays in which they excel, the quarterback seemed thoroughly perplexed. (I don't think there's any question about it. You can see it on his face and it's not imaturity or lack of leadership. It's coming to a realization of the obvious. He doesn't have the tools to run Martz's offense productively. Get rid of Martz and get Jeremy Bates in here before it really gets bad)
"I don't know," Cutler said. "It's so hit-and-miss of what we're doing well and what we're not doing well that I don't even know where to begin." One thing, however, was clear to him. "We're 0-2 like this, so it's not looking very good," he said. (When the leader of your offense can't imagine what to do to improve it you know there's trouble brewing. As of this moment I'd say Martz has lost Cutler and fairly soon the rest of the offense will follow if it hasn't already)
Cutler led exactly one decent drive Sunday, highlighted by a 37-yard catch by Devin Hester, another short pass to Sam Hurd that went for 17 yards and a deep throw to Johnny Knox that went for 24 yards and landed the Bears' on the Packers' 3-yard line, setting up a 4-yard touchdown pass to Dane Sanzenbacher. (Why can't the do this on at least half of their drives? Maybe it worked because RWill wasn't involved)
The second-quarter drive also included a delay-of-game penalty on the Bears, a drop on the goal line by Roy Williams and a carry by Matt Forte that went for minus-1 yard. In other words, it was typical of the entire day. (And this is what happens when he is. Chalk up one missed TD and two picks to this useless bastard)
"There were spurts, things we did well, clicking. And then other things; penalties, interceptions, penalties, interceptions, missed cues, missed blocks," Cutler said. "If you go down the line, everyone probably had a [mental error], so until we put together a full game and we're consistent and we're balanced, it's going to be tough for us to win, even though the defense is playing lights out." (Then pray that Lovie takes Martz out of the picture and has Tice call plays or you'll be disappointed)
In Cutler's case, the mental errors are unacceptable, particularly in a sixth NFL season that should be showing a pronounced upward climb. Instead, on his only other trip inside the red zone, at the end of the first half, he took chances with passes on first and second downs at the Packers' 7 before throwing away a third, and looked stiff and off-balance. (Why blame Cutler? Those were Martz's calls and he has no permission to audible. Poor play calling doesn't constitute a mental error)
But the third quarter was even more troubling. With the score, if not the overall feeling, indicating that the game was well within reach, the Bears began the second half with three consecutive three-and-outs that included eight straight Cutler incompletions and resulted in a combined minus-20 yards. On the day, the Bears converted on just 3-of-12 third-down opportunities. (Once again don't blame Cutler for the play calling and the drops. He may have thrown a couple of bad balls but 8 out of 9 plays were passes. Mike "fvckin'" Martz is the guy who gets the blame for that. How can Lovie let the guy do this two weeks running? He practically gives the game away. That's just piss poor game day coaching as usual)
To be fair to Cutler, his receivers are not doing him many favors these days. Williams looks like he needs every ball to hit him in the numbers; Knox made the rookie mistake of failing to secure a pass before turning around and facing a defender; and Hester showed flashes of poor judgment all day with a costly false start and another later for unnecessary roughness. (Williams is a complete waste. Both picks came on passes to him that he wouldn't even contest. Many of you got on Knox for that last year and now we see it from the guy Martz brought in to replace him? I can more easily forgive a 6' 185 lb Knox for that as opposed to a 6'3" 215 lb pussy like RWill. The guy is not gonna take any hit he can avoid, that's clear. What I can't forgive Knox for is the drop of a perfect pass because he failed to secure the ball. That's not rookie it's just plain old fashioned poor playing)
"It's unacceptable," Knox said of his drop. "I play receiver, I have to catch the ball, simple as that." (He means it too and I'd be willing to bet he won't drop another like that)
"We just have to connect and make the play," echoed Williams. "The ball can't be perfect. I have to catch it wherever it is in my radius and just make the play. [Cutler's] good. I have to do a better job." (And he is just playing lip service to it. He'll continue to pussy out of contact and short arm passes all season long)
The blame extended to the Bears' offensive line, which on a day when it provided above-average pass protection, also produced a host of costly penalties, including three on one drive by three different linemen. That followed a Brian Urlacher interception that gave the Bears hope, down 10 points with 9:27 remaining in the game. (I wouldn't get too excited about that the Packers were only bringing 3 guys on a lot of passes and they didn't blitz as much as usual.)
It was the same drive during which a Cutler interception was called back after a vicious hit by Packers linebacker Erik Walden.
“http://a.espncdn.com/i/headshots/nfl...rs/65/9597.jpgIt's so hit and miss of what we're doing well and what we're not doing well that I don't even know where to begin.
”-- Jay Cutler (Not a good sign when the leader of your offense can't figure out what to do in order to improve)
"It was a critical moment and we just didn't get the job done," center Roberto Garza said. "Obviously they're pinning their ears back and trying to get at the quarterback and we have to do a better job of protecting him at that time and not make those mistakes. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot continually. That's what loses football games." (Like I said don't get too excited about the pass blocking. This one almost got Cutler cut in half)
It was the same drive that saw Hester called for unnecessary roughness. "You're never happy with that, especially post-play penalties," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Again, that's all a part of us not playing our type of football today. We'll clean those things up." (Stupid drive killer. He hit you first Devin but you can't retaliate! He suckered you into that penalty to try and get you ejected and he almost succeeded. Gotta be smarter than that)
They are obviously going to have to with two games against division opponents in the next two weeks and a fired-up Ron Rivera bringing his Carolina Panthers to town next Sunday. And they're going to have to do it with a quarterback who looks and sounds the part of a confident leader.
As of Sunday, Cutler couldn't even say for sure if a Bears' offense with 19 regular-season games under the current system has an identity. "The first game we were clicking and the next two we were kind of misfiring, and here and there," he said. "So until we're more consistent, I guess we don't." (It's an identity called "Air Martz" but it's flying with no engines, a broken wing and it's not the right offense for the offensive personnel the Bears have. Unfortunately nothing about that will change this year)
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com