Chicago Bears Biggest Problem is a Lack of Trust


.Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

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I think I’ve finally figured it out.  People know that I’m a crazy Chicago Bears fan and they’ve been asking me for several weeks, “What’s wrong with the Bears?”  I mumble through different X’s and O’s reasons why the Bears are failing to live up to the sky high expectations.  After watching another nationally televised embarrassment, the latest a 41-28 drubbing at home at the hands of the usually unreliable in December Dallas Cowboys, it finally occurred to me.  The Chicago Bears biggest problem is a lack of trust.

Think about it, football is the ultimate team game.  It’s highly choreographed, organized chaos packed into a three-hour made for TV package.  It’s a series of moves and counter-moves that require all 11 men on the field to be on the same page with each other and with their coaches on the sidelines.  If everyone isn’t on the same page, if one person is running off script, it becomes a mess.

Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Trestman doesn’t trust Jay Cutler to take care of the ball, so he’s devolved into calling wide receiver screens.  The Bears have eliminated the vertical passing game because the head coach and offensive guru doesn’t believe the highest paid player in the league can be smart enough to throw it away when the coverage dictates it.

Trestman doesn’t trust Cutler to keep from checking out of running plays, so he’s taken away a lot of the audibles that keep the team from running into a brick wall from time to time.  Trestman doesn’t trust his offensive line.  Not even a little bit.  How else could you explain 6 rushing attempts in the first half of a game that was tied until the last 8 seconds of the second quarter?  Maybe he doesn’t trust Forte?  Nah, he’s giving him plenty of targets.  Maybe too many and that’s because they don’t trust the rookie backup running back who was brought in to take some of the pressure off the aging Forte.

Trestman doesn’t trust Mel Tucker and his beleaguered defense to stop anyone, so he’s calling offense scared to make mistakes.  Trestman knows his defense can’t recover from a short field, so he’s neutered his offense and taken their

Cutler doesn’t trust his best favorite wide receiver.  Rightfully so, perhaps.  Brandon Marshall has been awful this year.  He’s got 61 catches on 106 targets for 721 yards.  You have to be connecting on more than 60% of your targets if you’re the highest paid wide receiver on the team and want to be in the discussion among the league’s elite.

Cutler doesn’t trust the system which calls for him to throw to a spot.  Cutler likes to see a receiver come open before unleashing his canon arm, which he trusts too much.  He’ll fling a ball off his back foot trusting that it will get there regardless of his mechanics.

Matt Forte doesn’t trust his offensive line, who don’t trust each other.  Maybe that’s why they’re committing false starts and holding penalties.

On the other side of the ball, no one on defense trusts anyone.  That’s why you’ve got guys overpursuing and jumping out of their gaps.  It’s why you’re allowing teams to convert on third and long every game.  Its why you’re among the league leaders in giving up big plays.

The entire offseason, we chronicled the #SouthBears as they trained together with Brandon Marshall near his south Florida home.  There was this false sense of relationships being built, of trust in each other.  We trusted it.  We embraced it.  We were misled.  I no longer trust the Bears because they don’t trust each other.  Until they earn my trust, I won’t be rooting for this team.  I’ll still watch.  Heck, I might even cheer.  But I won’t trust them and neither should you.  Not until there are significant changes at the top.