Bears Offense: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by The Benjamin, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. A-11

    A-11 Veteran

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    Not as good as expected/desired. Long ways to fall yet before Chicago sniffs the rank odor that is the Buccaneers and Jaguars...
    You realize the Bears can still win the division or/and make the playoffs right? Yes, it looks like they will need to improve but stranger things do happen.
  2. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I completely agree that this is easier said than done. I'm beginning to wonder if our defense has never quite bought in to Tucker as coach. I'm not saying they've quit. They're (hopefully) professional enough to not mail it in. But they seem at times to be just "going through the motions" and not playing at the intensity we're used to seeing Bears defenses play at. Someone on this messageboard mentioned a few weeks ago that even Peppers seemed to be giving a poor effort. When I read that post I thought it was stupid - but then I went back and rewatched his play. At first I excused it as a great player just getting old, and I defended the guy in posts here. But the more I watch, the more it sure looks like a half-effort on his part, and some others. Briggs and Tillman looked good as always to me (before Briggs injury). But most of the others simply don't look like they're fired up and invested 100%. Something is wrong here, beyond the injuries. If you look back on the early games when we were healthier, you see the same disappointing effort.
  3. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    With Peppers, I think he knows as well as anybody that he's gone next year, and that he'll probably just retire. So I think he is mailing it in like Orlando Pace did.

    Somebody needs to be made an example of. Sit Peppers for a game. Or Shea. And let the team know why. Put everybody on notice. Does T-man even have a doghouse? He better get one. and use it.
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  4. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    This D unit and Tucker never "clicked" together at all. There's been a conspicuous lack of motivation and fire in this D (which is the coaches job to inspire) from the very get-go. Peppers has been mailing it in pretty much all year. Melton was nothing special even before he got hurt. Shea plain sucks. And Wooton hasn't done much moving around from outside to in.

    Yeah, I've had that sneaking suspicion for weeks now that it was more than just "age and injury". Clean house.
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  5. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    Yeah, makes perfect sense. You've completely ignored every fact that the offense has NOT HELPED this defense, and that, while giving up hundreds of yards a game, when they get a turnover (which, they are in the top 10 this season), the offense doesn't do anything with it. One hand washes the other, buddy.

    Seriously, how do Bears fans continually forget our defense's late season meltdowns because the offense is such trash that they can't keep them off the field? Well, we have injuries to major players (Melton, Peppers, Briggs, hell, our backup to Melton), and an offense that goes 3 and out more than anyone else, keeps them on the field longer than they even need to be. Not to mention, this offense is a good part of the reason why the Vikings, Lions, Saints and Redskins were able to score so much.

    Seriously, MPBears, I know I'm not going to change your mind, but how do you justify an offense that is nearly the worst at turnovers and 3 and outs, as not being, in any way responsible for this defense being on the field too long?
  6. A-11

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    Good point Henry. I think the three and outs are a bigger hit to our D than I realized. You have play makers like B.Marsh, Jeffery, DaBu, and Forte... They can strike at any time, and that is great; we need them to strike, but TIME. Need to highlight that part.
  7. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    The offense is in its first year under new coaching a new system. It has gone, despite that, from being a bottom-of-the-NFL unit the last few seasons into a respectable, mid-level one. Are there still problems with ball control and ball security? Yes. Is the OL (4 new starters playing together for the first time, 2 of them rookies) improved in pass pro but still struggling in run blocking? Yes. Is the O as a whole still stumbling and disappearing for long stretches? Yes. Is it dominant enough and well-oiled enough to win games all by itself and rack up 30+ at will a la the Broncos or Saints? No way. Was/is it realistic to expect that the first year under a new scheme? No. But, the O has markedly improved and should continue to so with time and experience in the TCO.

    Your chief complaint seems to be: "why can't the O control the ball at will and dominate enough to win shoot outs consistently?" Because, it can't (yet)! It isn't a top-5 unit yet and it wasn't/isn't realistic to expect it to go from utterly sucky for years (outside of Marshall last season) to immediately unstoppable and masterful.

    The D on the other hand hasn't just "slipped" (we all expected some slippage). It has collapsed into the near-basement of the NFL in pretty much everything other than takeaways. It gets run on, passed on, and scored on almost at will by other teams, including vs such offensive powerhouses as NYG, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh. It won't surpise me at all to see GB put up 500 yards and 38 points against us despite having THREE TOP RECEIVING WEAPONS OUT.

    Which side of the ball is the greater problem this year so far? An O that's gone from pathetic to quite respectable/looking up OR a D that has gone from great to total hot garbage in one year? If you're gonna blame the O (despite its admitted problems) for such luminaries as Brandon Jacobs and Jonathan Dwyer and Christian Ponder having big days week in and week out, then we have to agree to disagree.

    I maintain that, despite the O's obvious growing pains, a decent middle-of-the-road D performance this season would have us at 5, maybe 6, wins right now with a legit shot at beating a Packers team that is missing several of its key elements. As it is right now, it would require a miracle for Monday's game to not be all but over by the 3rd quarter because the D can't stop anybody unless the opposing QB throws them the ball. And Rodgers isn't going to do that.
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  8. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    There is no doubt in my mind that Tucker is a big part of this.
    Prior to the strings of injuries, they were not playing well either. I had noted that I had NEVER seen a drop off of the magnitude of Peppers (even due to age) unless an injury was involved. There is no fire out there.

    When I try to analyze why whys (no different than in business), I try to accumulate as much as I can and then I look for information that might actually give more insight than it is meant to. I try to rate the information as so what might be most reliable and and least biased to give it the most weight and then I try to come to a concensus as to what might be the most probable cause. Usually, it is not one cause. It is several. Sometimes one thing causes several others to break down and sometimes they are independent factors that come into play.

    I'm sorry I just looked, but I didn't have as much time as I would have liked, but hopefully someone can come to the rescue and find and repost the comments I will refer to.

    The most credible comments made to date that I have read are comments made by Briggs, pre-injury. There was some reference to the schemes being used and that you aren't going to get pressure when you have the guys rushing being used to voer, or some such thing. I put a lot of value on those comments because:

    1) he is in a position to know
    2) his tone was one of someone not trying to say negative things about the coaches (so when you read his comments, there must be frustration involved for him even to have said anything)
    3) he came off as sincere and trying to be positive

    So if you take a look at the drop in performance on the D, take into account that most people other than Urlacher are still here (pre-injury), the fact that Urlacher and Tucker are the major changes, the lack of fire, the comments from Briggs about the scheme, and some other tidbits I read about players not always being in position, I think a clearer picture emerges.

    Some has been talked about here, but I think most people (myself included) did not think it would make as big a difference as it had. I knew there was a void in leadership with Urlacher gone, but I had convinced myelf that the added speed would just about make up for it. Plus, I really respect Briggs and thought that he could get everyone in the right formations. Well, when reference is made to players not always being where they need to be or missing assignments, that tells me that that they are not as adept as getting placed as they were. I think Urlacher has made a bigger difference there than I ever would have thought. And the fallback - the guy who's shoulders it REALLY lies on (Tucker) has not been able to get them there. I also sense that the players may not be happy with his schemes. They certainly are playing that way. It looks like Peppers is not into it. If I'm an elite rusher and I'm getting told to cover, I may not like ti too much and might be thinking "what is this guy doing?".

    In short, I think Tucker has them demotivated and not playing to their abilities, and between the new questionable schemes and the lack of coaching field presence, they are not always where they need to be.

    If we can make this big a change in the O (we are in the top 5 I think for points) with some key rookie positions because of a new coaching staff, I do not think it is at all unreasonable to go from a top 5 D to where we are because of the same coaching factor. The knife cuts both ways. I think we have enough talent in place (for sure prior to the injuries) that with the right schemes, and drive and passion we would still be above average. Maybe not top 5, but still top 10. We aren't. And I agree that Tucker will not be to blame and I think he will be here again next year. Emery will get us some D studs (we will lose Peppers, which is a HUGE loss when he plays well -- and I think the only reason he is not is Tucker), so we will gain some on talent, but I still predict we won't be much better.

    I do not think we can win the GB game. And not because of scoring points. I am actually thrilled way beyond belief how well McCown did. As a matter of fact, it made me question whether Cuther is the best guy to run this O. Maybe a hand picked rookie might be even better. I think we can score enough to beat GB, even with our backup QB, but the only way we can fo that is to keep Rogers off the field and I don;t think we can do that. We can even maybe get into long grinding drives (and I think we have the best RB tandem in the league), but at some point, Rogers will get on the field and we can't stop him or the run. So they will have some fairly fast scores and not even wear themselves out. I still like Cutler, but I do have to say that losing the gunslinger mentality and having a guy in there that runs it the way it's drawn up sure seems to work pretty damn well too. I'm sorry, but McCown is not as good as he showed against the Skins. That was the Trestman O. McCown sure did seem to take to it well. We've seen him play for us before and he was only average at best and obviously he played for teams prior to the Bears. Average at best. Trestman is the key. As is Tucker.

    I think they will outscore us simply because they are a high powered O and we can't even stop an average O.
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  9. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Amen brother ^^^^^^^^

    I too find it hard to explain the drop off in the play and passion of this defense based on age and injury alone. Those are exacerbating factors no doubt but as you pointed out the D looked sluggish and lackadaisical even before the injuries reached critical mass. And there have been hints from Briggs and Peppers that Tucker hasn't exactly impressed anyone as captain of the ship.

    For those people critical of the O, I also have to agree that there seems to be a curious divergence between Trestman's O and Cutlers O. Lets admit first off that McCown's excellent performance came against a pretty weak Skins D and it was only a small sample size (2 quarters). But there's also been a few games (IIRC, Detroit, NYG, and Pitt) with Cutler at the helm where the Bears came out strong on the first possession or two clearly running a solid WCO. Definitely saw a few solid drives running the ball and hitting short, high-percentage passes. Then...it disappeared seemingly for a quarter or two. I wonder how much of that was Cutler running what HE WANTED TO RUN rather than what Trestman was calling. The second half of the season will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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  10. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    We all know this. THIS is an excuse. The argument being made is that the offense is not helping the defense, so, that the offense's "first year" is irrelevant to this discussion. Too many on here believe the defense's problems are all their own. They clearly are not.

    No, it isn't. My argument, is that the offense (Jay Cutler, in particular) is inefficient at getting the defense off the field for more than 4 plays in a row.

    Again, why was Minnesota even close to winning that game? This board has demonstrated an incredibly short memory, especially on this game, as many were very critical of cutler for turning the ball over enough in the first half, that the Vikings were allowed to come back. The Bears beat the Steelers 40-23, but the defense had 5 turnovers. Without those turnovers, we lose that game. As far as the NYG are concerned, did you notice a more conservative play calling on our offense, to keep the defense off the field? Probably not.

    Again, you clearly are incapable of grasping what I've said thus far. I'm done arguing with you. Strawman arguments of "well, you're criticizing the offense, so you think the defense isn't to blame" are counterproductive, and a waste of time.

    With a moderate defense, we might have one more win, but the rate at which our offense is turning the ball over, and going 3 and out, would eventually give the same results that happened in
    2012, when defensive players were noticeably tired towards the end of the season,
    2011 when our entire offense imploded, when Jay went out.

    No, this is not a good defense, but judging how this team fares, based on recent history, they DO suffer from being on the field longer, unfortunately, for this season, that happened much earlier in the season, and with injuries to better players than we lost last year.

    Peanut has been obviously hurt all season, and both DT's, along with age ARE going to affect a defense.

    In addition:

    Marinelli's coaching like **** in Dallas, so I don't think he's "the missing piece"
    When Urlacher was lost for the season last year, the defense actually played better, and held the Packers to 3 TD's, so outside of "veteran leadership", his absence is overplayed
    We've all known for a number of years that this defense would age ungracefully sooner or later, and with the injuries they've suffered, they're aging rapidly.
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  11. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    ^^^This

    10000 internet points to you sir.
  12. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Henry, I just don't see how you can pin this on the offense. It is in the top 5 in scoring points. I know there were people pointing to last years D also when it was top 5, but anything can be found to have holes in it. When you are top 5 out of 32 in any phase, that unit is doing it's job. Turnovers, sure. Bad plays... certainly... but with their current output, you take those away and you are no longer top 5. You are probably the best. Is that the only way to satisfy you on the offensive production? I am ok with an offense that is scoring in the top 5. I think most of the teams energies should be focused on what is near the bottom, not trying to get the top 5 to get even better.

    That would be the D. I agree with you on Marinelli. I have always thought that Marinelli is good. I still do. I don't think he is one of the best though. As far as Urlacher, I can't argue the point, because I simply don't know. The point I was trying to make is that one of his main functions was to get people where they belong. That does not seem to be happening now. Would Urlacher be helping right now in terms of that issue? Hell, I don't know. I just know there are grumblings about not being in the right place and hitting their assignments. So for me, it was either Urlacher or the coach. I think probably both. Something has changed. That is for sure. And as far as Urlacher goes, he was going to have to be leaving soon anyway. At some point, someone in charge was going to have to be responsible to getting people in position. That is the same whether or not losing Urlacher is a big factor. That person is not getting it done.

    And I'm not arguing with you. I understand your points. I think, that people will use the given data or arguments to support their beliefs. I am no different. I try to be as logical as I can, but eveyone is human. I just don't see a problem worth addressing with the O right now. If we were a playoff caliber team and we had a few things left to clean up, certainly. But right now to expend energy fixing the O is like trying to stop some wind noise in the windows when the foundation is possibly going to fail the building. I just think that we have bigger issues with the D, and there is only so much time and energy to be spent. The biggest diviends will be had with addressing the D. To score even more points when we can not stop the other team from scoring just seems like a race to infinity.

    IDK, I certainly could be wrong, but I strongly feel the D has problems much deeper than is publicly known right now. I'd like to see Tucker held accountable, but with all of the injuries, I think it has gotten to be a grey area and much of the blame is going to injuries.

    We put two guys on the OL. Next to each other no less. Then we lose the starting QB. We still managed to put up points. Lots of them. Wasn't pretty, but the points were there at the end of the day.

    We lose some very valuable people on the D (Tillman, Briggs, Melton, etc), and the wheels fall off. I think the argument is that there were just too many injuries to make up for. Yes, there were a lot, but I don't see the fire and other teams have had killer injuries also. As a talking point, we had Cutler go down previously. It was a disaster. Even when McCown took over for him. This time, McCown came in and almost saved the day. Is it because the skins stink (probably was a factor), or because the coaches had a system that would allow success even with injuries (ala Patriots)? Probably also a factor. That element is missing on the D. Forget being able to cope with injuries. They could not even cope with a full complement of playes less only an aging Urlacher. That part keeps getting glossed over. The injuries a a factor. not a small factor, but they do not tell the entire story.

    I am very curious as to how well McCown plays in GB. Will he be relegated to his old form, or will he play decent ball? How easy will it be for GB to score on us? Weill we make any defensive adjustments? Anyone see any real defensive adjustments to date? Me neither.
  13. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Would the D be helped by the O doing a better job on ball control and security? Of course. No kidding. That is kind of like saying my roof would stop leaking if only the sun would come out more.

    But, at some points in the game (hopefully a bit fewer if the O can tighten up) the opposing team IS going to get the ball and the defense IS going to have to make some stops. Yes, even some some stops that require actual punts. I love takeaways believe me but you can't rely on "turnover or touchdown" as your only two options. At some points it IS going to rain and the roof needs to be able to repel water. So far this season, the defense hasn't stopped any team that didn't basically stop itself.

    I guess my point is that I see the O's shortcomings as "kinks" in a new system (which should surprise no one) that will be worked out and improved. (And if Cutler continues to be a giveaway-machine I have no problem with moving on). The talent is there. I like what I am seeing in the coaching on that side, not everything for sure but improving and it sure beats Tice for instance. I do see the "arrow pointing upward" for the O. I do not see it that way for the D at all. I see a unit that has been mailing it in all year--Briggs and Tillman excepted--and looks passionless and lost. The arrow is in steady decline, with Romo, Stafford, Flacco, and Rodgers X 2 still to come. I see no "light at the end of the tunnel" or "we are getting there" sensation.

    So, yes, I do blame the defense overwhelmingly for what looks like another lost, playoff-less season (even if the O could have helped out more).
  14. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    This is the last time I am addressing this: Yes, it is overwhelmingly the defense's problem for losing us ball games. This offense, however, doesn't do much to win ballgames. 31st in offensive plays run, 5 most turnovers, 31st in 3 and outs. These are not "minor hiccups", and they are excuses for defending the offense's role in this team's demise. Is "well, it's a new system" relevant to the argument that the offense is wildly inconsistent? No, because that's deflecting a true criticism of why the offense does so little to help the defense out; it tries to change the subject to the offense's "potential", which has NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on the CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS.

    This whole season I've been criticizing Cutler, and been getting crap for it, because I've said:

    1. He doesn't play well in the first half of the game, which I'm going to go well into detail here:
    • Against the Bengals: 1 TD, 5 punts, longest drive of the half 4 minutes
    • Against the Vikings: 2 TDs, FG, 2 turnovers and a punt. the longest drive of that whole game ended with Cutler fumbling
    • Against the Steelers: Probably their best offensive game, but the Steelers gave them GREAT field position to open the game. Still couldn't put them away, were it not for 2 defensive touchdowns.
    • Against the Lions: FG, Interception, FG, Interception, Touchdown, and then 6 straight punts, with TOP on the majority of those plays at 2 minutes or less. Also, the Lions got 2 TDs off of turnovers that gave them the ball at the Bears 2 yard line, and the Bears 20 yard line. You cannot abscond the offense from culpability here.
    • Against the Saints: Punt, Fumble, Punt, Punt, Punt, Touchdown. The longest they held onto the ball was for 3:16. The Saints had the ball for longer than that 5 times. (see how that just might contribute to a defense getting tired and giving up points?)
    • Against the Giants: The Bears performed the MOST CONSERVATIVE gameplan, and whaddya know, they only had ONE offensive series under 2 minutes, and that was to kill the clock
    • Against the Redskins: a touchdown on a drive starting on the Redskins 10 yard line, and a FG, starting on the Redskins 47 yard line
    2. He plays too aggressively, and has lead to speculation here, and in the media, as to what his role is in changing offensive plays at the line of scrimmage, as well as avoiding the dumpoff pass. EVERY FREAKING GAME that Forte has had the ball in his hands 20 times or more, by a combination of pass and run, the Bears have won. Those are also the same games in which the offense has its fewest turnovers. Do I really need to spell it out any further that Jay doesn't need to be throwing the ball downfield as often as he has been? Because I KNOW someone is going to misunderstand this: this offense goes into "**** the run, let's pass", either from the gate, or as soon as they're down by a single touchdown.

    Now, you may say "It doesn't matter WHEN they score, as long as they win in the end." That's also missing the point, because the overwhelming majority of points scored against this defense has been in...........The second quarter, which is such an odd coincidence that the offense seems to turn the ball over the most, and go 3 and out more, there, than any other time. Outside of the Redskins game, the Bears D has actually held opposing offenses to no more than 13 points in the second half. While that sounds good on paper, this is when the other team starts going for time killing drives, as they've already gotten the lead. One can logically deduce from this, that an opposing defense's job, with a lead, is to prevent the big plays, to force the opposing offense to spend valuable time accruing short amounts of yardage, so they don't have a good chance of "getting back in the game".



    Again, our defense is trash, but if you notice, before Peppers, Briggs, Melton and everyone else were injured, THEY ACTUALLY PLAYED WELL. The Bengals game was a tossup, and turnovers kept the Vikings in their game (granted, the fumble recovery for a touchdown was 100% on a protection call, and not on Cutler), while turning the ball over INSIDE OUR OWN 20, TWICE, gave the Lions the advantage to win. The Lions game, offensive turnovers is what ultimately cost us, not a defense that is ***** and stuck trying to prevent a team from STARTING IN THE RED ZONE.

    The defense, essentially, was serviceable until the injuries. Now it's likely to finish as one of the two worst in the league, and that will be a big part of why we lose games from here on out. HOWEVER, the offense and defense work hand in hand, to keep the ball in the offense's hands, keeping the defense fresh/off the field, and to score some points. Right now, both are dysfunctional as hell, and continuity is what they MUST find, to win another game, because with all the defensive injuries, we're not going to see many turnovers, in all likelihood, anymore. If Trestman (and I've slightly undercut his culpability in the offense being unreliable) can cut the **** with his lopsided playcalling, and find running plays that work, we might have a better offense overall. That is, if McCown doesn't go all "turnover machine" on us.
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  15. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Henry:

    I get it if you don't want to keep going on this. There are times that I have felt the same. I'm going to respond to a few points, and if you don't want to respond, that's fine.

    Absolutely. I don't think you will get any argument from anyone on this board on that. But I just don't see us winning too many more games because of the D, whereas, I think I am hearing you say that it is because of Trestman's lopsided play calling. I just think that would cause us to score even more. It's anyones guess at that point which team would score the most. Us because we had a better O or the opponents because they were scoring at will.
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  16. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Well put ^^^^

    If Cutler refuses to "buy in" (ie, changes plays at the line that shouldn't be changed as I suspect) then management seriously needs to consider moving on. Either he can become a TCO QB or say goodbye. That's what is supposedly being evaluated this season.

    But the idea that the D was "ok" before injuries reached a critical mass is crap. IT SUCKED FROM GET-GO and it still sucks. One unit is pointing up (albeit with quite a way to go to be elite) and the other is imploding and pointing down. I understand the frustration with the O not meeting elevated expectations, but gimme a break, this D is the reason we are gonna be out of the playoff picture after Mondays game.
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  17. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I blame Jerry Angelo.
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  18. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Who wouldn't?
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  19. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I do too.

    With a secondary blame on Emery for whiffing on Shea/Hardin and on Tucker for sucking as bad as Tice did as an OC.

    This is a role reversal season we aren't used to seeing--the D let down the team and kept us out of a playoff berth.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  20. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    Jesus christ, how many times do I have to say in the same thread, IT IS THE DEFENSE'S FAULT? Reading comprehension, learn it. Our offense "does no favors", because they directly (as well as the defense, I know some of you have already forgotten I mentioned that, in this post) affect the time our horrible defense is on the field, and turn the ball over, which, directly leads to losses.

    You, I'm done with you. You seriously do not understand complex issues, and have this myopic view of the team.

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/chi/2013_games.htm

    Here, read this. You'll notice that, yes, the defense did give up a lot of yards in those games, but if you understand football to even a basic level, you should understand the value of a turnover.

    Again, I think I've made my point. I understand what each of you are saying, and you are, without a doubt, completely incorrect.

    BUT, ONE LAST TIME, because I fear you may not "get it" with the 5-6 other times I've mentioned it:

    The Defense is the overwhelming reason we lose games, especially when they can't turn the ball over. The offense has turned the ball over IN THEIR OWN TERRITORY, ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. Our defense was "good enough" in four of our first 6 games, to not LOSE outright. The offense helped them lose it, by turning it over IN THEIR OWN TERRITORY, ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS, against the Lions.


    TL;DR Seriously, this offense has been wildly inconsistent, at best, and can be a little more than partially blamed for each loss.
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