Chicago Bears Week 15: Takeaways
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Early in the season one of my favorite nights of the week was the day after a Bears game. After work I would sit down to watch the tape of the Bears game, have a few beers, and write my weekly takeaways article. Now it’s the worst night of the week. Reliving the shame, embarrassment, and utter hopelessness that these Bears make me feel is pure torture.
Each loss seems more pathetic than the last one. The coaching staff somehow gets more incompetent every week, Cutler has regressed exponentially each game, the special teams unit is good for one or two bonehead plays per week, and there aren’t even any young players that look like future stars on the team. Every week the Bears spiral deeper and deeper into a pit of inferiority that is going to be really hard to dig out of. The whole organization is a train wreck.
I’m a couple days late on my takeaways because honestly I didn’t want to ruin my week by sitting through that wretched display of football from Monday night. It didn’t help that my friends and co-workers were kind enough to remind me on a daily basis how defective my favorite team is and how amateurish our whole organization has acted lately. So I’m hoping that writing about Monday night’s disaster will be cathartic for me and will wash some of the taint from my soul.
I finally watched the game tape last night and as painful as it was, there were a few bright spots. Maybe bright is too strong of a word but compared to the lethargic, apathetic play of most of the team at least a few players stood out. Don’t get me wrong, most of this will be negative, but the Bears may have a couple of young players that could eventually develop into competent NFL starters. It may take awhile, but this Bears team isn’t going to be competitive for at least a couple years so we have time.
1.) That may have been Jay Cutler’s last game as a Bear
Thinking about the end of the Cutler era sparks a lot of conflicting emotions. The surface emotion is happiness; I am sick of watching him fail to run the offense and turn the ball over. Next comes regret; The feeling that the Bears never fully capitalized on Cutler’s immense talent. He may have a bunch of flaws as a leader or men, but there is no doubting that he has all the physical tools to be a Pro Bowl QB. Lastly, dread; If the Bears get rid of Cutler, who takes over? Clausen? Fales? Please, no! The Bears will either have to sign a failed QB like Bradford, Locker, RG3, or roll the dice and draft one. As it stands now, the Bears would be lucky to pick as high as 5 which is probably too late for Marcus Mariotta or even Jameis Winston. Even if one of the top college QBs falls to the Bears first round pick, it will take at least a year or two for the QB to develop. Not to mention that I have zero faith in the current coaching staff’s ability to ever develop a QB. Whatever happens, getting rid of Cutler is going to mean another year or two at least of the Bears being a bad football team.
2.) The botched fake punt was so Bears
On 4th & 3 near the 50 yard line the Bears decided to try a fake punt that they have supposedly been working on for two years, ever since ST coach Joe DeCamillis took over for the solely missed Dave Toub. You would think after practicing a play for two years the Bears would have it down. Ha. The Bears only managed to get 10 players on the field for the fake, so even if it would have worked it wouldn’t have mattered. It’s not like they were missing a non-essential edge player player either, the Bears were missing their left guard on a play that was designed to run between the left guard and center. You think someone, like the center, left tackle or the guy in charge of calling for the ball, Danny McCray, would have noticed that right? The decided to run the play anyway behind the non-existent left guard. Predictably it failed and the Saints took over in Bears territory. Comical.
Even if the Bears had the requisite 11 men on the field the play still probably would have failed. According to Saints players, they realized the fake was on when they looked across the line of scrimmage and saw Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long and starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod in the game. For those of you unfamiliar with special teams play, the starting O-lineman don’t play on special teams… Unless the Bears are attempting a fake of course. The Saints knew what was coming and stuffed the middle of the line keeping the Bears about a yard and a half short of the first down. The stupidity of sending out your first string O-line (coaching staff) and running the play with just ten players (players) really sums up the Bears season.
If that wasn’t bad enough, on the opening kickoff the Bears failed to get the ball past the 20 like usual, but also somehow managed to get a holding penalty (Senorise Perry). Can the special teams unit get any worse? How do you start the game with a holding penalty and still not get past the 15 yard line? Mariani also fumbled, but the Bears caught a break and recovered it.
I can’t talk about the special teams unit with out mentioning Pat O’Donnell. The Bears rookie punter was one of the few bright spots on Monday night. O’Donnell punted 6 times for an average of 49.8 yards with a long of 56 and 3 punts pinned within the 20 yards. One of those was a beauty that O’Donnell placed out of bounds inside the 5. Plenty of Bears fans scoffed when the Bears used a 6th round draft pick on O’Donnell, but he is a major improvement over last year’s punter,Adam Podlesh, and gives the Bears at least one young starter in place for next year.
3.) Cutler was bad, but his WRs didn’t do him any favors.
Cutler gets a lot of flack for his turnovers, but his first two interceptions weren’t all his fault. The INT on the Bears first drive is perfect example; On 3rd down, Cutler threw a bullet right to Martellus Bennett and it bounced off his hands into the arms of a Saints defender. It wasn’t a perfect pass, it was a little behind Bennett and had some zip on it, but an NFL TE needs to make that catch.
His 2nd INT was on a clear miscommunication with 2nd year WR Marquess Wilson. If Wilson breaks outside it’s a TD, but he broke inside and the ball was picked. It’s tempting to blame Cutler, but I’m going to go with the 9-year vet over a WR making his first NFL start.
For the record, the 3rd pick was a rainbow to a WR that Cutler had his eyes locked on since the snap. The safety read the play and picked off the floater easily. Inexcusable, but 1 INT a game is acceptable for even the best NFL QBs.
4.) What does Trestman have to do to get fired?
Dan Bernstein from the Score broke the story on Tuesday night that Trestman is going to be fired after the season. Let’s hope so. The Bears came out listless and apathetic on Monday night and were shut out in the first half for the 4th time this season. When a team consistently starts slow and uninspired, that is on the head coach. Trestman has made a bunch of other incomprehensible mistakes over the last few weeks that have already been covered by better sources than me, so I won’t rehash them. It has just never been clearer that Trestman is in over his head and doesn’t have what it takes to be an NFL head coach and leader of men. I hate having to wait a few weeks, but as long as he is fired eventually I will be satisfied.
5.) Who was Martellus Bennett talking about?
It’s a rhetorical question. Bennett’s quote that “I think there are some positions on the team that need to step up with leadership… I just feel like we need passion to come from certain places….I don’t think the passion is always there all the time…They know who they are” is a clear shot at Cutler. If that is the consensus among Cutler’s teammates it may have a lot to do with him getting benched for Jimmy Clausen this week.