Posted by sportsmaven on October 4, 2010
In case you are wondering why the Chicago Bears get very little if any respect from the national sports media, then you haven’t been watching tonight’s game against the New York Giants. Opportunities to get a nationally televised game on your schedule are few, and yet with the exception of last Monday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers, the Bears have treated those opportunities to quote the NFL Network’s Warren Sapp, “like a blind dog in a meat house”. Now I don’t know what that means exactly, but it doesn’t sound too good to me.
Respect is something that is earned on the field of play. For the Bears defense, they played their hearts and souls out all night and deserve all the game balls that any team has to offer a unit. Conversely, the Bears offense, and the offensive line in particular, have put the Bears national reputation back in the proverbial trash can, overshadowing all the good things the Bears have done this season. You think the Giants went off on Bears QB’s tonight? Wait until you hear how the national media tees off on the Bears.
The offensive line is a disaster from the top down. the Bears line gave up 10 sacks tonight…9 in the FIRST HALF! If Jerry Angelo is not bringing in a parade of offensive lineman to Halas Hall starting tomorrow, he would be as neglectful a manager as the captain of the Titanic, the guy who was noticeably absent as his ship rammed into the iceberg that would take it straight to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t want to pin all the blame on the lack of blocking. Jay Cutler didn’t do his lineman any favors and neither did Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
The longer this game continues, the more inept the offensive line looks. There may not be any more room in Lovie Smith’s doghouse after this game for those who truly belong. Somewhere, a vindicated Dennis Green is watching this game and telling his dog how right he was about these Chicago Bears.
I have spoken all week about this game being the season for the Bears, and not in the same manner of desperation of which this game is the season for the New York Giants. Playing on the national stage of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, this game was supposed to be a defining moment for a Bears team that many have had doubts about since the opening game of the season. Unfortunately for the Bears, this game has cemented the many opinions of those outside of Chicago, that the Bears are more pretenders than contenders.
In the coming weeks, the commentary will be that the Bears beat the Detroit Lions on a rules technicality, beat the Dallas Cowboys by pure luck, and won the Packers game because the Packers decided to commit 18 penalties to beat themselves. The Bears were considered by many to be the worst 3-0 in the NFL, maybe in NFL history.
Let’s make no mistake, the Bears didn’t lose to a good team tonight. Outside of the outstanding front 4, this Giants team is horrendous. This is a bad loss for the Bears, a loss that can send even the best of seasons spiraling downward. We’ll see if the Bears can recover from this disaster. Now next week’s game against the Carolina Panthers becomes the new season defining game…..
Update: This post was the first post of the Sportsmaven blog written exclusively on the Apple iPad. I used the WordPress app, which is pretty good, but still in it’s developmental stages. The writing experience has been very good and I used the touch keyboard, which I found quite reponsive. While I had no major issues with typing on the type pad, I know some people do. I will continue to use the iPad to write blog entries going forward.
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Dennis Green, Detroit Lions, green bay packers, Halas Hall, Jay Cutler, Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith, mike martz, New York Giants, Titanic, warren sapp | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on March 22, 2010
My grandmother died on January 5, 2005. My mom and dad divided, packed, and distributed her various belongs amongst my two brothers and my cousin. Being the oldest grandchild, with what I felt was the closest relationship with my grandmother, I couldn’t bring myself to go through my box of memories my grandmother left for me…..until this afternoon. Yes, 5 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days later (or 1,901 days later, for those who like large numbers) I decided to unpack those boxes.
AP Photo/Jim Prisching
As I am unpacking the boxes, the very fragile items were wrapped in the January 10, 2005 edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. As I’m gathering up the piles of newspaper to put in the recycling bin, I noticed an article in the Sports section called “Just Call Him Run Turner”, written by Brad Biggs. It was an article announcing the Chicago Bears hiring of Ron Turner to be their offensive coordinator. I sat down in my easy chair in my office to read the article, a quote that Turner made upon being interviewed for the article. It said:
What we need is pretty well documented – an upgrade on the offensive line and at receiver. With any offense, you’re always looking to upgrade.
Here we are, March 22, 2010 and after Bears GM Jerry Angelo’s high profile spending spree that netted DE Julius Peppers, RB Chester Taylor and TE Brandon Malumaleuna, if you ask almost anybody with football knowledge what’s left for the Bears to upgrade on offense, you guessed it, it’s upgrading the offensive line and the receiving corps.
Now Jerry Angelo does get credit for signing perhaps the two biggest free agent acquisitions in team history with consecutive season signings of QB Jay Cutler and Peppers. And if the Bears were two players away from being major Super Bowl contenders, Angelo may have been hailed as the savior of Chicago sports with those signings.
But as astute as Angelo was in his big signings, he has failed in almost every other free agent signings and has yet to hit it big with any of his own draft picks. It’s safe to say that Angelo’s poor draft and free agent signings has put the Bears to the point of desperation to be in a position to have to overpay for big name free-agents in an all or bust 2010-2011 football season.
If you ask anyone what the Bears needed to upgrade since their Super Bowl run in 2006, you’d also be a big winner if you said the offensive line and wide receiver. So 5 years after the Ron Turner hire, we still need the same thing on offense — offensive lineman and wide receivers. Funny how some things never change.
For the record, my grandmother LOVED the Bears and would have loved Cutler and Peppers. But even she would have told you that she would have loved to have seen an upgrade to the offensive line and receivers before she died….
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Brad Biggs, Brandon Malumaleuna, Chester Taylor, Chicago Bears, Chicago Sun-Times, Jay Cutler, Jerry Angelo, Julius Peppers, offensive lineman, Ron Turner, Super Bowl, wide receivers | 1 Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on October 19, 2009
The optimistic Chicago Bears fans will say the bounces just didn’t go the Bears way in tonight’s Sunday night nationally televised game against the Atlanta Falcons. The realist will look at the same game and say that the Bears found yet another way to themselves in front of a nationwide audience, losing on the road to the Falcons 21-14. The Bears treat nationally televised games like a child’s trip to the dentist. Lots of fumbling, mental and physical mistakes and stupid penalties marred tonight’s latest sub-par prime time performance. Once again, there is a big question mark hanging over the head of Bears head coach Lovie Smith when it comes to the quality of weekly game-time preparation.
(AP Photo/John Amis)
The Bears looked rusty from the outset of tonight’s game, treating the red zone more like a demilitarized zone on the offensive side of the ball. Execution in the red zone, offensively, hurt the Bears tremendously. Bears RB Matt Forte’s two fumbles in a row inside the 5-yard line was the missed opportunity that was the difference maker. Forte began his careers with an amazing 2 fumbles in 480 touches before those 2 consecutive fumbles on the goal line. Defensively, the Bears started strong, with 3 straight three-and-outs to start the game…..until the no-huddle neutralized the Bears defense. Combined with the untimely turnovers, the Bears continued to not just shoot themselves in the foot, but empty the entire clip along the way.
Huge penalties by OT Orlando Pace and OG Frank Omiyale on the final drive of the game killed a promising charge led by QB Jay Cutler and various Bear receivers who are improving with each passing week. Cutler didn’t walk away without his small share of blame, with his 2 ill-timed interceptions and more than a couple of balls thrown behind or overthrown to receivers. At this moment, the Bears offensive line is the glaring weak point of the team. The lack of successful run blocking has stuck out like a sore thumb this season.
At any rate, all the Bears demons came out tonight. Two Sunday night, NBC prime time games, two embarrassing, bone headed performances. Listening to NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth describe the play of the Bears is like listening to a sadistic parent criticize the performance of a shell-shocked, underachieving child. The contrast between his analysis of the Bears and the Falcons was virtually night and day. It’s almost as bad as listening to former analyst John Madden’s love for anything Brett Favre. Something about NBC Sunday Night Football brings out the dark side of once promising, talented analysts. Mr. Collinsworth, if you want to see a top notch analyst in action, tune in to ESPN’s Ron Jaworski for a lesson in expert analysis.
Upon further examination of the remaining Chicago Bears schedule for 2009, there are 3 more nationally televised games left on the schedule, plus the NBC Sunday night flex schedule that could potentially add additional prime time opportunities for the Bears. At this rate, the Bears could be flexed out of the playoffs by NBC and Cris Collinsworth, or their unmitigated, performance anxiety brought about by prime-time television.
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Atlanta Falcons, Brett Favre, Chicago Bears, Cris Collinsworth, Frank Omiyale, Jay Cutler, John Madden, Lovie Smith, Matt Forte, NBC, Orlando Pace, red zone, Ron Jaworski | 1 Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on September 28, 2009
The similarities with the Chicago Bears two victories this season are eerily striking in its very nature. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks are two entirely different football teams, but the Bears approach to each game seemed to be virtually the same. The Bears began each game very lethargically on both sides of the ball, stayed in the game while being steamrolled for most of the first half, picked up the intensity in the second half, scored on late drives engineered by Bears QB Jay Cutler and capitalized on two missed field goals by the opposing kicker to scratch out hard fought victories in each game.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Where the similarities end for the two victories are in the post-game press conferences from the opposing coaches. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is fresh off a Super Bowl winning season in 2008. Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, Jr. was just anointed heir apparent to former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren. The common denominator: each coaches team lost to the Chicago Bears with their kickers missing 2 field goals that ultimately proved to be the margin of loss. But this is where the similarities end for Tomlin and Mora.
In yesterday’s loss to the Bears, Mora was asked about his reaction to his kicker, Olindo Mare missing two field goals:
“No excuses for those,” Mora said. “If you’re a kicker in the National Football League, you should make those kicks, bottom line, end of story, period. No excuses, no wind, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to make those kicks, especially in a game like this where you’re kicking, scratching and fighting, playing your tail off and you miss those kicks, not acceptable. Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.”
So, coach Mora, can you tell us how you really feel about the kicking situation? Mora was asked if the team will consider a change at that position.
“We’ll look at changes everywhere,” Mora said. “We’re not going to fight our [behind] and have a field-goal kicker miss two field goals. It’s not going to happen.”
In contrast, when Tomlin was asked by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about K Jeff Reed’s two misses his response was more muted:
“I haven’t talked to Jeff yet about why he missed two kicks. Of course, this is uncharacteristic of him. He just kicked the game winner in overtime last week, and that’s what we’re used to. We aren’t used to what happened with him today.”
The comparison of reactions between Tomlin and Mora couldn’t be any more divergent in nature. In addition to Tomlin, several Steeler teammates came to the defense of Reed, each stating their contribution to the loss. The same for the Seahawk players, who each accepted their responsibility in yesterday’s loss.
Rarely is a loss attributed to one person, especially in the NFL. Each player has a role in victory and defeat and virtually every coach worth his salt recognizes this and states so appropriately in his post-game press conferences. Mike Tomlin displayed the class and professionalism of a true champion in his post-game press conference. In contrast, Jim Mora, Jr’s lack of class and professionalism in his post-game press conference is highly symbolic of a coach who still doesn’t get it .
Attitude and tone are extremely important elements in the dynamics of successful teams. Head coaches are directly responsible for setting the attitude and tone to foster a winning environment. Tomlin’s approach has led his team to the pinnacle, a Super Bowl championship, in only two years. As for Mora’s approach — he is most likely looking for his next fall guy on the waiver wire .
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler, Jeff Reed, Jim Mora Jr, Mike Holmgren, Mike Tomlin, Olindo Mare, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl | 2 Comments »
Posted by sportsmaven on September 14, 2009
Chicago Bears fans, welcome to the Jay Cutler era. Don’t you wish you had QB Kyle Orton today? It is incredibly easy to put all the blame on the horrific play of QB Jay Cutler, but he had plenty of help from his teammates and the coaching staff tonight in a 21-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers. This truly was a total team effort. The Bears made key mistakes on offense, defense, and special teams. There was bad playcalling, missed blocking, tackling and coverage assignments, dropped balls, receivers quitting on routes. The expectation is that no team in the NFL plays an entirely perfect game, but the totality, timing, and magnitude of the mistakes is startling and alarming.
(AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
The Bears dominated the Packers statistically tonight, but overcoming the many mistakes that were made tonight proved to be beyond the realm of the Bears performance tonight. Glaring mistakes include:
- Cutler’s 4 interceptions — pick one, they were all devastating
- CB Nathan Vasher’s blown coverage on Packers WR Greg Jennings 50-yard touchdown, inexcusable
- Upsnap from long snapper Patrick Mannelly — the boneheaded play of the game, giving the Packers an easy FG with the Bears leading by 2 points
- WR Johnny Knox and TE Desmond Clark quitting on routes — dumbfounding
- Game management, especially in the 2nd half, burning timeouts including one on a ill-fated challenge on the failed upsnap play.
- TE Greg Olsen — where were you?
I don’t want to take anything away from the Packers, they had to capitalize on the errors the Bears were making. They didn’t capitalize on every mistake, but the Bears kept them in the game, giving the Packers opportunities time and time again to convert, and I don’t think any Bears fan was comfortable when the Bears kicked the last field goal to take the lead 15-13 with 2:36 left in the game.
So what did the Bears do right? I liked a number of things:
- Receivers played better than expected. WR’s Devin Hester and Earl Bennett had nice games. Knox had a good game minus the bailout on the slant pattern
- The Bears have a pass rush! Defensive Line coach Rod Marinelli gets a game ball for getting this group of lineman to constantly pressure Packers QB Aaron Rodgers into an average night (until the last, late TD pass)
- Tackles Orlando Pace and Chris Williams were blowing people off the ball with their strong play
- SS Al Afalava had a strong game, with 4 tackles and a sack. Afalava has a nose for the ball and plays big, something the Bears defense needs
- P Brad Maynard punted out of his mind tonight, pinning the Packers with bad field position, with 4 punts for 49.5 yard average with 2 punts inside the 20. Maynard is definitely a weapon for the Bears.
So what do you think the Bears (we hope) learned tonight? Hopefully plenty:
- Jay Cutler can’t win games all by himself. He needs help and didn’t get much from his receivers (especially the TE’s), early play-calling, and early blocking from a OL that came out of the gate creaky. Cutler’s bad decisions led to disaster tonight.
- Nathan Vasher is not nearly the same player that he was in his 2005 Pro Bowl season. He is back-up material at best. Get CB Zackary Bowman in there, early and often. The Bears secondary leaves Green Bay with the same questions it had going in to Green Bay.
- Receivers can’t quit on routes and need to get on the same page with Cutler pronto. There play wasn’t good enough tonight, especially Olson and Clark. Clark quitting on that pass in the end zone in the first half was absolutely inexcusable. He keeps running, easy TD.
- Even coaches need to work on fundamentals. Bad offensive play calling through most of the first half, the ill-advised challenge in the second half on the upsnap play marked and the general look of unpreparedness that seemed to hover around the team, especially the offense.
The Bears play their home opener next Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and may have to play without the heart and soul of their defense, LB Brian Urlacher, strong side LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, and backup CB Trumaine McBride. The offense needs to step it up three notches and the defense another notch to compete with the Steelers. Only time will tell if that is realistic, or if the Bears move through the toughest part of their league’s easiest schedule with more blemishes.
Posted in Chicago Bears | Tagged: Aaron Rodgers, Al Afalava, Brad Maynard, Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears, Chris Williams, Desmond Clark, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, green bay packers, Greg Jennings, Greg Olsen, Jay Cutler, Johnny Knox, Kyle Orton, Nathan Vasher, Orlando Pace, Patrick Mannelly, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rod Marinelli, Trumaine McBride, Zackary Bowman | 2 Comments »