Chicago Bears Week 8: Takeaways
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
After last week’s loss to Miami, I thought all of the “fire everybody” talk was typical fan overreacting, but after Sunday’s embarrassing 51-23 loss to the Patriots I am not so sure. The Bears came out flat and unprepared again and again were clearly out-coached by the opposing staff. It’s not just the coaches though, almost the whole team played awful on Sunday. With all the talent on the Bears roster, it’s unacceptable how badly they are being beaten. Something has to change; whether it’s the coaching staff, the QB, or a significant number of starters. I’ll get to the brutal specifics below, but it was another depressing week and I am happy to have a break next week due to the Bears bye.
Week 8 Takeaways:
1.) Jay Cutler is officially a mess
Cutler’s final stat line of 20/30, 227, 3 TD, 1 INT doesn’t tell the story of how bad he was on Sunday. When the game mattered in the first half, Cutler missed on everything but the dump off passes he seems to love lately. His deep passes are still off, he’s not showing any touch on his intermediate passes, his decision making is terrible and the few times his receivers got separation they were overthrown. I’ve been one of the biggest Cutler supporters over the years and still haven’t given up on him despite plenty of damning evidence, but he is not good right now. Whether it’s a mechanics issue, a head issue or a result of Trestman’s suddenly pedestrian offense, these last two weeks are the worst I’ve seen Cutler play in the Trestman era. Hopefully the head coach and his QB can get on the same page over the bye week because if there isn’t a drastic improvement by week 10 in Green Bay the Bears season will be over.
2.) Marc Trestman is coaching for his job in the second half of the season
Like most Bears fan I was optimistic about the offense this year after finishing 2nd in the NFL in points scored last season in just the first year running Marc Trestman’s offense. It seems like the league has caught up to Trestman’s scheme and he hasn’t been able to adjust between quarters, halves, games… The offense has regressed from an exciting scheme based on deep throws, stacked receivers and crossing patterns to a predictable scheme based on dump off passes with the occasionally deep ball sprinkled in. The Bears defense is better this year, but still isn’t good enough to hold teams to under 20 every week. The Bears offense needs to score 30 every week which is pretty much what they did last year (averaged 27.9), but they haven’t been able to crack the 30 point barrier all season. Trestman was brought in for his “brilliant” offensive scheme, but halfway through year 2 of his regime the Bears are averaging 22.5 points per game and ranked 20th in the league (between SF & BUF). If Trestman’s offensive scheme isn’t working, then what does he bring to the table? Trestman has struggled in clock management situations, the fact that he employs Mel Tucker shows how little Trestman knows about defense, he hasn’t shown the ability to adjust his schemes at halftime, his “everyone is equal” locker room management has eliminated any potential leaders, and the Bears have come out sluggish and not ready to play the last two weeks. I want Trestman to succeed as much as anyone, but it seems like he is in over his head and might be better off with a coordinator gig or perhaps back in Canada. Hopefully Trestman and the Bears can right the ship in the second half and make the playoffs, but right now I am having a hard time finding a reason to keep Trestman around in 2015.
3.) How is the Bears offense this bad with so much talent?
I was talking to my friends about this at the bar during the Bears game, the announcers touched on it as well, as did a random Vikings fan sitting near us… How is the Bears offense so bad with that much talent? If you compare the Bears and Patriots position by position on offense, how many Patriots would you rather have? Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the obvious ones, but of the other 9 starters the Bears have more talent at 8 positions with RT being the only other position that the Patriots have an edge (Sebastian Vollmer). I did the same comparison with the Bears/Dolphins offenses and it is even worse. Assuming you would rather have Cutler than Ryan Tannehill (I still would), the Bears have more talent at every position but one (LT Brandon Albert). That’s two offenses in a row that the Bears are more talented than at a combined 18 of 22 positions. How is the offense this bad?
4.) Matt Forte deserves better than this
Over the last season and a half, Matt Forte leads the NFL in all purpose yards. On Sunday Matt Forte had another 168 total yards and a TD. He’s one of the three best RBs in football and it is unfortunate that he is stuck on such a pathetic offense. He’s surrounded by similar talents in Marshall, Jeffrey, Cutler and even the Black Unicorn, but Forte is the only player who is bringing it every week. I’d hate to lose Forte, but if the Bears are going to blow it up and rebuild he is the Bears only asset that teams might break the bank for.
5.) Lamar Houston is the Bears worst free agent signing of the off-season
Lamarr Houston was the #1 name on my free agent wish list, so I am not criticizing GM Phil Emery at all here. Based on his play last season (4th in the NFL in QB Hurries + Hits) Houston seemed poised for a breakout season. What is the opposite of a breakout season? In the 4th quarter of his 8th game as a Bear, Houston finally got his first sack of the season and celebrated as if the Bears had just won the Super Bowl despite the fact that the Bears were down by 25 points at the time. The karma police struck Houston down mid-celebration with a season-ending knee injury eerily similar to the one Lions LB Steven Tulluch suffered in the same exact celebration earlier this season. When you combine Houston’s lack of production (1 sack), his salary ($7M), his criticism of the loyal Chicago fans, and his moronic celebration/injury… Houston was the biggest bust of the off-season.