Hot Take Tuesday: The Incoherent Rantings of a Belligerent Bears fan.
There is so much to discuss that I am going to have to try to limit this piece to 1000 words so I don’t bore anyone to tears. To make things worse, I’m on the road for work, so I’m not near my recording equipment so I can’t vent into the microphone and do a podcast, and oh man, do I want to vent.
Before I start, I just want to wish all the best to Zach Miller. After he’s had successful surgery it appears that things are headed in the right direction, but just the fact that he might have needed his leg amputated is scary stuff. He appears to be turning the corner and that is a very good thing. As for the non-TD for Miller, we will get to that aspect later.
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First, I think it’s clear after watching this game that the Bears aren’t ready to make the jump to a 10-6/11-5 type football team. That’s the caliber of team they need to be to win on the road in a place like New Orleans. Yes, they might have stolen that one if a couple of things went their way. But let’s be honest, if the Bears won that game, you would have come away feeling they stole it, not that they outplayed the Saints. Good teams find ways to win games, and bad teams find ways to lose games, and the Bears just aren’t at a point where they find ways to win.
The Bears made some boneheaded penalties against the Saints, Kyle Fuller and Charles Leno, I’m looking at you. That really hurt them in critical parts of the game and the Bears aren’t simply good enough to give teams extra chances at scores or put their offense behind the 8-ball. Shooting yourself in the foot, typical Bears crap.
Speaking of putting the offense behind the 8-ball, I’m looking at you Dowell Loggains. Look, I get it, Mitch Trubisky is limited as to what he can do offensively. He’s very raw and Loggains feels he’s doing what’s best for his development. But here’s the problem, the offense shows no ingenuity. It’s so predictable that defenses can just tee off on the poor kid and that’s what the Saints did. The Saints brought the pressure on Trubisky and while Trubisky’s elusiveness allowed him to only be sacked twice, he was hit seven times and hurried constantly.
The Bears pass in obvious passing situations and run in obvious running situations. There’s nothing creative. Run, run, pass. Run, run, pass. Run, run, pass. Then do something creative. Run, run, pass. Doing a couple unique plays in a game doesn’t mean the play calling was well executed. Loggains is really having issues.
This was none more clear then the ridiculous play calls on third and fourth down late in the fourth quarter when the Bears were down 17-12. Facing third and one on their own 39, the Bears chose to pass on both third and fourth down when Jordan Howard was an option. They still had two timeouts. They could have easily ran the ball there and gotten a fresh set of downs at their own 42 or 43. Sure, they would have lost 20 seconds as they lined up for the next play, but that’s fine. They had two timeouts. It wasn’t going to be easy to go down and score six, but you certainly aren’t going to do it with stupid pass plays when you have a fantastic running game. Loggains play calling has reached “throwing the remote control” level, and I don’t know how many more throws my remote has in it before it finally succumbs.
Now, while stupid penalties and a stupid offensive coordinator certainly hurt the Bears, stupid referees also hurt the Bears. I’ll just focus on the Miller TD, although there were other ridiculous calls by the refs. Zach Miller didn’t catch the ball? Give me a damn break. The NFL needs to get their collective heads out of their collective rectums and change the catch rule. Catch the ball, gain control, two feet in bounds, end of story. Stop with all this other nonsense. Zach MIller’s leg literally exploded (internally) and he held onto the damn football and the refs took the catch away. Saints fans and Packers fans alike said it was a catch, that’s all you need to know. The rule is profoundly stupid. It needs to be fixed this offseason. People aren’t tuning out the NFL because a few players take a knee, they are tuning out the NFL because it’s a ridiculous league with ridiculous rules.
Finally, Jerrell Freeman. Now, I’ll try to be careful here. First, I think Jerrell is a good man. He does good things in the community. Hell, he came on my podcast. Perhaps I was biased, but I gave him a break on the first PED suspension. Mistakes happen. Now, I’m not saying I don’t believe Freeman about his post-concussion issues with the memory loss and all. That certainly seems scary and I wish Jerrell all the best in his recovery. However, the “Jerrell was smoking marijuana for his concussion” defense doesn’t work. Marijuana is a substance abuse suspension in the NFL, this was a second PED suspension. You tell me what PED you can take to help with concussion symptoms. If there is one, I take this back, but I certainly don’t think Freeman was taking a PED to help with his concussion. He was taking a PED because he takes PEDs. So no, I’m not buying Freeman’s excuse. Probably makes me callous and probably makes me sound like an ass, but PED use really pisses me off. I blasted the Packers for their involvement with them a few years ago and now the Bears’ locker room is turning into an illegal pharmacy. I assume the Bears part ways with Freeman after this season and I’m fine with that. This team certainly doesn’t need captains that are pulling this crap.
Good time for the bye. With two winnable games on the other end, if the Bears don’t celebrate Thanksgiving with a 5-5 record I will be thoroughly annoyed.
- While Trubisky continues to struggle, he still shows flashes of how good he can be. The touch on the Miller should-have-been TD and the 47-yard scramble is exactly why Bears’ fans should be excited about this kid.
- Despite Loggains deficiencies, they are starting to use Tarik Cohen better, rather than just forcing him the ball 10-15 times. Less touches, but in better space is going to work better for the offense. I would like to see more screen passes with a wall of three or four blockers in front of him and let him manuever through the traffic.
- The defense continues to dominate on multiple levels.
- The Bears don’t have any receivers, but, you give me a WR core next year of say, Allen Robinson, Cameron Meredith, Kendall Wright, Tre McBride, a rookie WR, and Tanner Gentry (if he develops) and I’ll take my chances in 2018. It’s not that far off from being fixed.
- With Miller’s season over, it’s time to see what Adam Shaheen can do. No need to expand on that thought.
- Connor Barth? Enough. Get him off the team. There are definitely a handful of kickers on the street that are better than he is. The Bears aren’t going to blow teams out, making the kicker critical. Barth will lose more games than he wins.
- Jonathan Bullard has made a few good plays over the last few games. Is he turning the corner? Tough to tell, he’s also missed contain and been mauled at the point of attack a few times too.
- These next 8 games are critical in terms of player development for the team to make the jump they need to make in 2018.