The Offense: The biggest gripe I have so far is that Tice is not running the offense in the way that he claimed in preseason that it would be run. I'll buy the "it's a new offense and we're still learning" just so much. It's a pretty easy pat excuse to use and one which publicly protects both Tice and the team. After hearing how well they were picking it up in camp and how they weren't gonna use it in preseason and tip there hand it all that rings pretty hollow right now. The bottom line is that so far the offense isn't delivering what was promised or even projected. Not even close.
Cutler Love: I'm with Bear Stuff on this one. If we accept that the demographic balance of this board isn't all that dissimilar than Bears fans in general I'd say it's 50/50 too. That's pretty typical of the breakdown around here after a game. I can believe there are guys on the team who don't like Jay Cutler the person or teammate but I think very few lack respect for Jay Cutler the football player and QB. Those of us who played team sports at one time or another usually found ourselves at odds with the personality of one or more guys on the team. If they prepared for and played the game hard to win we respected them for that but we probably didn't invite them to party with us after the game or date our sisters. There's 53 guys on that roster and they aren't all gonna be best buds.
Cutler/Marshall: The bottom line here is that Cutler needs to stop being so obsessed with getting him the ball when he's double covered as often as he is. If he's drawing two then somebody else has man coverage on him and that needs to be exploited more often than it has been. I don't buy the trust thing as being anything more than misguided trust so far. Marshall is dropping way too many balls that are thrown his way and Bennett cost him a pick in the GB game that shut down a drive. They've both let him down so far. When Marshall is doubled on that means there's only on Safety back there so the seam routes should open up and whoever is playing Flanker has single coverage on him. Jay needs to stop looking at Marshall first, last and always and start using him a as a decoy to attack other spots.
Urlacher's Play: I think he's right about where we should expect a 34 year old player who missed the entire preseason to be. He's not playing at 100% speed or intensity so far but I do agree with Wright. He's shown improvement each game. That's what is expected and that's what he's delivered. I just want him healthy and in top form when the playoffs roll around.
Matt Forte: Even though it's obvious that the offense isn't the same without him what's key is that we can win without him and that's something I said was true back last spring before he signed his new deal. Michael Bush is a very good RB it's just that he's not a "big play" RB. Bell has more potential to bust a long one than Bush but Bush can keep drives going by getting consistent gains and he can score from close in but it's entirely possible that missing Forte is costing us at least one score per game that comes off a big play of his. He may still be out against Dallas but it looks like that will be the last game he'll miss for now. We can use him.
What it seems like to me is that if we're missing just one key element in this offense they stall. They haven't reached the point yet where they're able to pick up the slack with Forte out. I'll give 'em that much but we still aren't using these supposed "weapons" of ours well. I don't see much "deterrence" going on out there. We aren't exactly making the other guy pay for being so single minded in their attack on Cutler.
We spread the ball around very well in the Indy game but after that it stopped and Marshall got all of the first looks until finally somebody must have suggested Jay start throwing to an man in some other direction who was actually open. I expected them to develop a little more slowly but not this slowly.
The line has to protect better to give Cutler a chance to go down field and we need to establish a strong running game early so that he can use play action to slow the rush and use some roll outs or naked boots. Without those this offense is still too plain vanilla to score 30 points per game and with the skill players we have we should be doing that.