Tucker Confirms Defensive Changes and Other Bullets

MelTuckerHopefully everyone had a great weekend! The Bears rookie minicamp finished up, and sadly, my pet prospect (Indiana safety Greg Heban) didn’t make the grade for the Bears. (Not that I think that’s a bad decision; I’m certainly not qualified. I just liked watching him play in college.) According to Brad Biggs, the Bears did sign at least two players out of minicamp: North Texas safety Marcus Trice and Louisville running back Senorise Perry. Both players will head to camp with the Bears, and given the relative strength of their respective positional groups, I think Trice has to fancy his chances of cracking the roster more than Perry.

  • Among Perry’s competition, former NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch is certainly the highest-profile candidate. As Adam Hoge writes for CBS Chicago, the key to Lynch making the roster and being a potentially useful offensive player will be his ability to contribute on special teams. As a Heisman Trophy-finalist college quarterback, Lynch obviously wasn’t asked to do a lot of blocking or tackling, so he’s a bit behind the curve.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright has a nice rundown of the potential changes in store for the Bears defensive scheme. Mel Tucker sounds as though he wants to make a lot of changes, and after last year’s performance, I’d think that’s a good approach. From the piece, I received the impression that while the changes wouldn’t be sweeping, they will be felt at all levels of the defense. Tucker notes that the high level of defensive personnel turnover (both coaches and players) helps to facilitate this sort of change. This is Mel Tucker’s defense now; he’s no longer beholden to Lovie Smith’s scheme, and he’ll benefit from a wealth of new defensive talent. I’m very interested to see how the Bears look defensively under Tucker; due to injuries (and the Bears effort to maintain defensive continuity from Lovie’s system) I’m still not really sure I know what a Mel Tucker defense looks like.
  • Marc Trestman plans on giving Jordan Palmer the first crack at the backup quarterback position, as noted by Adam Jahns. I think Palmer has a leg up at this point, given that the Bears certainly view themselves as a contending team; his veteran status probably provides a more reassuring presence. That said, Palmer has thrown all of 15 passes in the NFL, so it’s not as though he’s a seasoned, tested player. Considering the Bears spent a sixth-round choice on David Fales, Palmer probably shouldn’t be too comfortable.
  • Patrick Finley wrote a quick piece for the Sun-Times on the relationship between second-round choice Ego Ferguson and undrafted free agent signing Christian Jones.
  • The Bears released punter Drew Butler, according to ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright. Butler was signed to a reserve/futures contract this offseason, but his chances of making the team were drastically diminished when Chicago selected Pat O’Donnell in the sixth round of the draft.
  • Speaking of O’Donnell, Jeff Dickerson wrote that he’s got some advice from the veteran specialists while at minicamp this weekend. Dickerson also reports that O’Donnell repeatedly hit the roof of the Bears indoor practice facility. Personally, I’m hoping he hits the Dallas scoreboard at some point. Remember when everyone assumed that would happen repeatedly, and it was treated as some sort of “Thing To Worry About”? Has it even happened in a game?
  • Finally, the National Football Post’s Joe Fortenbaugh has the Las Vegas Hotel Sportsbook NFL over/under lines for the upcoming season. The Bears sit at 8, which strikes me as low; I’d probably put it at 9. (Note: I’m not a professional gambler.) Looking at the other divisional teams, the Packers are at 10, the Lions match the Bears with 8, and the Vikings sit at 6. Play at your own risk.

Jay Rigdon is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and can also be found @BearsBN on Twitter.

449 responses to “Tucker Confirms Defensive Changes and Other Bullets”

  1. mdavis

    Demontre Hurst…guess they didn’t like how he played in ST

  2. mdavis

    they might need to make some more moves too. Garza reportedly has a high ankle sprain, and no word on Slauson yet…That leaves de la Puenta, who played well, and Ola in the line up…only other lineman they have is 7th round rookie Leno. As far as I know, Britton is still available. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him back if they need another lineman.

  3. frank

    Surprised it was Hurst – thought they liked him. Yeah, it’d make sense to bring Britton back.

  4. mdavis

    Yea agreed, must not of liked his ST play though.

    Listened to the Cutler show yesterday, which btw if you don’t, I recommend it. He’s good radio. Doesn’t seem too concerned bout Jeffrey and BMarsh injuries, so I think they could be good to go this weekend, and they’ll need them. Apparently, one Marshall came back in after being banged up, there were only certain routes he could run so he was moving from X to Z to flex Y etc, which caused Spurlock, Holmes, Morgan to have to move around also into spots they weren’t used to being in. Obviously makes it tough. Stuck out on the poor INT by Cutler, Holmes was out there stalk blocking. And once again, he’s only been here a few weeks.

    Was very positive about Ola and de la Puenta, which I’d agree with. They looked great, and didn’t miss a beat. We’ll see if Slauson can go, I already expect Garza out a few weeks.

    I’d expect Bennett to be featured this week. Cutler kpet saying they need to get him the rock more, and with those two outside guys a litte banged up, he could be a big time threat in the middle of the field. 6’6″ 265 is just a match up nightmare.

    also, kind of cool, apparently during team film, Cutler stood up and took responsibility for that 2nd pick, says he needs to be better etc. You like seeing that. or hearing about that.

    1. frank

      Yes, Ola and de la Puente did a good job, especially considering the circumstances–the last time we saw depth on the offensive line? I don’t even want to think about that. But at least it seems to be there now.

      They started to use Bennett more last week–turned out pretty well. I’d expect more passes to Forte as well.

      Yeah–one thing everyone has knocked Cutler on is a seeming inability, or outright refusal, to take responsibility for mistakes. I like to hear about that too–another step up in leadership.

  5. mdavis

    well…clearly were not enamored with Spurlock’s play. He’s gone. Britton, as we figured, signed today. Also figures to be a good sign that Marshall and Jeffrey are healthy, otherwise they only have Holmes and Morgan on the roster. Bellamy is still on the P-squad as well, if they decided to make anoter move. Still, puts them at 4 WR for right now, which is a tad concerning…

    1. frank

      Yeah, they can’t stay with only 4 receivers.

  6. frank

    Surprised to hear the Bears cut Fales and Fiametta–not sure I’m that surprised about Hayden though.

  7. mdavis

    well, how bout that??

    O Line was strong in pass pro, not so much in run. Marshall and JEffrey gutted it out hard, made enough plays. And Jay Cutler….after all the heat he took this week, gets absolutely drilled, and comes back and throws 4 TD passes and no turnovers.

    Defense I thought was great. Take away the blocked punt, they only gave up 13. Fuller was outstanding. I thought McClellin flashed. Run defesne was pretty good, and they rushed the passer. Willie Young anyone?

    Gutted for Tillman. I think by his reaction you know his season is done. Same triceps as last year, and he obviously remebers what that injury felt like. That may be it for Peanut, and not just for the Bears, but for good. Feel terrible for the guy. I’d expect Hayden back, secondary took a huge hit. Only had 4 active CBs, and 2 went dwon. Vereen had to play the nickel, and actually looked not bad. Should of had a sack, but other than that was where he needed to be in coverage. Not bad for a guy who hasnt practiced CB since college.

    1. frank

      I was not expecting that. Defensive line looks like they’re finding their identity. I thought the pass defense still had some problems though–too many guys were way too open on critical downs. But overall, as you said, take away the punt debacle and they held San Francisco to 13 points, and only 3 in the second half. On a couple of plays, McClellin actually looked like a LB, and the run defense stopped Gore for the most part–not an easy job. Kaepernick got frustrated and lost some composure–jawing with Houston, if I remember. I don’t think Kaepernick wants to get involved with that–SF would be looking for a new QB.

      Did you see this stat? Coming into this game, the Bears were 3-104-1 when trailing by 16+ points on the road. I hope that this game shows that they can beat anyone, any time, any place–when they play as they’re capable of playing.

      I feel horrible for Tillman too–you could see the tears when he was on the sideline. At least Fuller looked worthy of that 1st round pick. He had some great plays. The run blocking needs something–though SF (and Buffalo for that matter) has a pretty good front.

      After the game last week, Cutler spoke to the whole team, saying he had to be better. And last night, he was. Great games by Marshall and Jeffery–not statistically, but in terms of toughness and leadership. They made key plays despite playing hurt.

      1. mdavis

        Agreed, still had some open receivers. But for the most part, rallied. Conte had a hell of a pick, but he seems to injure his shoulder every week at this point. Thought they defended the read option pretty well. McClellan stretched it out 2 or 3 times that I can recall, so he did his job.

        I expect Hayden to be re-signed (for the second time this year) this week, and anticipate he’ll be the nickel corner moving forward. Or, come in the sub package, line up outside and kick Jennings inside as they have been doing. We’ll see how McManis is as well. Top STer on the squad, plus I thought had a real good camp at corner…more depth issues. Frey is still stashed on the P-Squad, so he could be a depth option, Vereen has the versatility to play corner, and didnt embarrass himself so maybe they give him some work there this week so they can keep that roster spot freed up.

        1. frank

          I expect they’ll sign Hayden again too. Have to admit, Conte has had two great interceptions in two games. Still doesn’t look like he can tackle a dummy though. When they said it was a shoulder, I figured he re-injured the bad shoulder and will probably be out for a couple of weeks anyway–haven’t heard anything though.

          I was concerned when Ratliffe went out. He’d been playing well–Sutton will have to step up if Ratliffe is out for any period of time. Or maybe they kick Houston to the 3 tech more often.

          I think the read option defense improved from the first to second halves–they got burned a couple of times early. And ST still needs to be fixed. Saw they had Mundy playing on at least one phase of ST.

          1. mdavis

            Yeah, at least Conte is creating turnovers though. If he’s going to do nothing else, at least that contributes. We’ll see if he can go this week, or if its the McCray show.

            Ratliffe was a beast last night before he went out. Sutton played well though, he was rotating in a lot.

            That secondary is really thin though. Luckily, they have an extra day for both WRs to rest, and to get the next man up ready.

            Just a little side note.

            McCown: 362 yards 2 TD 3 INT 67.9 comp % 57.9 QBR 75.1 Rating
            Cutler: 525 yards 6 TD 2 INT 68.7 comp % 63.5 QBR 99.7 Rating

            I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin.

            1. frank

              Agreed on all counts. And thanks for the side note–it may come in handy when talking to my Cutler-basher friends.

              1. mdavis

                not that i’m rooting against McCown…I just can’t take people who think he’s the 2nd coming of Rich Gannon.

                and that Bucs team, woof. Lost two weeks in a row to back up QBs. Derek Anderson and Austin Davis. Davis is actlly a 3rd stringer.

                1. frank

                  I understand that–I’m not rooting against him either. But this says something to those who argued that he’s a better QB than Cutler.

                  1. mdavis

                    Yeah agreed, agreed. And also to Lovie’s continued disaster of hiring OCs. They have some talent down there. VJax, Evans looks good, big young TE, Martin. Their defense though to me has been the surprise…a lot of talent, and they’ve lost to a back-up and a 3rd stringer. Yikes.

                    Tillman officially to IR, which I think everyone saw coming from his reaction, but is still sad to see. I’d imagine it ends his time in Chicago, and possibly his career. Fales was brought back to the P-squad, which i think is good, frees up a roster spot while continues his development. Fiammetta also brought back, maybe he can help in the run game this week if he’s healthy. Jets have a tough front 7, but their secondary is a joke, so hopefully the WRs get healthy. But I’d expect another 35-40 pass night for Cutler. One more roster move will be coming, as we both expect Hayden to come back. Could be a receiver, they currently have Marshall, Jeffrey, Holmes, Morgan, Bellamy, Williams all on the roster. Could be Draughn who was an absolute joke on ST.

                    1. mdavis

                      Wow. Wright just tweeted out that it doesn’t sound like Hayden will be back. Doesn’t want to come back. Maybe got tired of the constant back and forth this year.

                    2. frank

                      So if it’s not Hayden, Isiah Frey? That would be my guess. And yes, they are thin at receiver. Tillman tweeted that it’s not over, but I don’t think he’ll be back with the Bears–and that would be sad. I think he deserves to remain with the team for his entire career and retire as a Bear. The Bills and the 49ers both have pretty good front 7s as well–so if the O line can handle this one, the receivers will have a chance for a big game–all the receivers.

                      You’d think that in all this time, Lovie would’ve been able to find a good offensive coordinator–even if by mistake. However, I seem to recall that the team was scoring well under Martz, at least for a stretch–but that scheme kills QBs. Lots of turnovers, lots of sacks . . .

  8. mdavis

    yeah Frey was elevated from the P-Sqaud, as well as Rashad Ross (WR). Williams, Draughn (brutal on ST last week), Mulligan all were cut. So, unless they play McManis on def, and he had a real good camp I thought, I expect it will be Frey.

    As long as they can establish some sort of run game, i think Cutler could have a big game. Milliner gets beat regularly, and I don’t even know who there other corner is.

    1. frank

      On top of that, Milliner’s not even 100% right now. Their front 7 is good, so establishing the run won’t be easy. But even the threat of the run should open up the passing game and allow the Bears to exploit a weak secondary. But that’s probably why Fiammetta’s back–to be the lead blocker for Forte. Forte isn’t a straight downhill runner, so a blocking fullback should help.

      1. mdavis

        yeah, they’ve been real unbalanced so far. I wanna say 36 runs to 85 passes…somewhere in there? Now, I don’t think they’ll ever be balanced, that’s not Trestman’s style, but maybe a little more would be good. They’ll have their work cut out for them to get the run game going, but they can do some passes that are an extension of that. Screens, swings, and flats. But yeah that secondary is a joke, and Milliner I wanna say is dealing with an ankle?

  9. frank

    Bears signed Demontre Hurst to fill the last spot on the 53 man roster. Depth move for the secondary and special teams.

    1. mdavis

      I liked Hurst. Played in game 1. Still curious to see how that nickel spot shakes out. Frey? or is it Hurst? McManis? I didn’t see anything in regards to that. Sounds like Jeffrey practiced on a limited basis yesterday, Marshall did not. I think both will play though.

      1. frank

        I think it’ll probably be Frey–at least to start. He’s experienced and can step in right away.

        Hester broke the record this past weekend–would’ve loved to see him do it as a Bear. He had a good receiving game in the opener too–5 for 99, I think. But he’s only caught two passes since. Made a veiled comment about Cutler, saying that he has a QB now that’ll get him the ball–something like that. Also read that the Bears offered offensive time for him but he refused–don’t know if that was last year or this offseason.

        1. mdavis

          agreed, probably Frey. McManis has been out all week, so I’d be surprised if he’s active.

          Agreed on Hester, but thats business unfortunately. Read those comments the same as you with Cutler. They just never clicked. Cutler didn’t trust Hester. And that’s that. Had his reasons, whatever they were, but as a QB you’re not gonna throw the ball to a guy if you don’t trust hm to do the correct thing. Not to mention, Lovie and his OCs never found a way to properly utilize Hester. And I believe when Trestman was hired he asked Hester if he wanted to contribute on O, and he declined.

          Wondering who the returner will be this week. Holmes on PR I’m sure, Ross on KR? Doubt its Perry, he kinda sucks.

          1. frank

            No, they never did click–Hester was pretty inconsistent. And it didn’t help when Lovie insisted that Hester be a wideout when Martz said that he would “stupid good” in the slot. Yes, from what I’ve read, Trestman did ask Hester about playing offense, and Hester did decline.

            I read that it will be Frey at the nickel. Agreed on Holmes as PR, but as to the KR–God only knows . . .

            1. mdavis

              big opportunity tonight for the bears. Packers don’t look all that tough. Would give Chicago a lot of momentum coming off last week, to win tonight going into that matchup next Sunday.

              1. frank

                Agreed–let’s hope we see the Bears team that played San Francisco and not the one that played Buffalo.

                1. mdavis

                  big win last night. sloppy at times, but you’re gonna have those games and you gotta get it done. Cutler man, the numbers weren’t huge, and yeah he got away with a couple, but for the most part nothing overly stupid. With no run game at all, it was all on him, facing constant pressure. O line did a nice job keeping him up right for the most part, Alshon made a couple of big catches. Bennett earning his pay check.

                  Very pleased with the def. Kept both running backs under 50 yards. I think total, gave up something like 26 for 114. You’ll take that. The kids showed up on the stat sheet, Sutton and Ego. Allen is gettin closer. 3 games with no sacks sucks, but he was in Geno’s face a lot of the night. Bostic had 13 tackles, but that dropped INT at the end of the game, i coulda killed him. Fuller….just wow. Kid is so impressive. Always around the football, and looks like he’s been taking notes on the Peanut Punch. And just really, more props to that defense, got crushed with injuries again. Mundy, who has been very solid and a pleasant surprise out, Conte came out with a shoulder (seems like a weekly occurance), Vereen made a play in the back of the end zone.

                  1. frank

                    Agreed on all counts–including the dropped interception. The injuries are beginning to be a problem though. Hope some of those guys can get back in soon–green bay up next at home on a short week. Another big game. But green bay is having troubles too.

                    Matt Bowen said that Fuller, in his ability to always be around the ball–and to finish plays around the ball–reminds him of Sean Taylor. From Bowen, that’s high praise. And yes–he seems to have learned the Peanut Punch. Heard an interview on WSCR with Brian Urlacher, and he said that he didn’t think that anyone could learn the Peanut Punch because of Tillman’s hand strength and hand-eye coordination, and ability to punch the ball and still make the tackle. Seems Fuller’s picked it up pretty well.

  10. mdavis

    well…ouch. prepare for a week of Cutler bashing.

    Here’s my issue with that. The defense was terrible. No pressure on Rodgers, couldn’t cover (granted, they were required to cover all day….can’t do that), dumb penalties, etc. On Cutler’s 2 INTs, from what I saw Morgan stopped running on the slant. Cardinal sin. Was it a tight window…yeah. Maybe had better options, Williams had inside technique. But if Morgan runs through the route, worst case is a collission and you maybe get a flag. The 2nd pick Trestman came out and said was on Marshall. It was obvious there wa sa miscommunication. He was suppose to break off the route. Which brings me to the next point, maybe its time he sits and gets that ankle healthy. Yes, he’s an outstanding talent. But Jets (1 rec, 6 yeards) and Pack (2, 19 yrds) that ain’t gonna get it done. And now that he’s missing route adjustments, if you don’t practice, all week its almost hurting the team. It will be interesting to see this week. If they have to go a week with Jeffrey Morgan and Holmes, its not the end of the world, especially with Martellus being an absolute beast.

    Positives: the offense racked up a ton of yards, great on 3rd downs, and rand the ball down there throat. Forte looked real good running for 122, and Carey looks like a ball player with 74 yards in his first extended action. I’m not going to hit the panic button yet like so many people will. The Panthers don’t look so scary (theyre out of running backs too), the Falcons, no one really knows who they are, Dolphins at home they’re a mess, and the Patriots offensively haven’t looked too good. So the Bears can get on a run, but they have to clean it up and try and get healthy.

    1. frank

      That game sucked. I agree about the Cutler bashing and with the points you make about the INTs. They didn’t lose because of the INTs–though they didn’t help. They lost because the defense was horrible. No pass rush at all and guys just sitting in the seams of the zone all day long. The game plan wasn’t bad–exactly what Detroit did. But Detroit got a pass rush going. The loss of Allen and Ratliffe hurt big time–but gb’s offensive line simply isn’t that good, and the Bears still couldn’t get passed them. And Tucker’s history as far as generating a pass rush does not leave one optimistic. I think the highest any of his defense ever ranked in sacks (though sacks are not the be all and end all) was 25th.

      That the offense could only muster 17 points against a struggling defense is a concern though. They left a lot of points on the field and that is not typical of them. So–is it a one time thing, or the beginning of a trend? I’m inclined to say it’s a one time thing–but it came at a very bad time.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah the picks didnt help of course. Lots of points out there, Bennett at the end of the half, which really I don’t have a problem with. Yes, you typically want to throw that ball in the endzone, but 9 out of 10 times a 6’6″ 265 pound guy is gonna muscle his way in. Their guy just made a better play. They need to get the ball to the outside guys more. I know that’s hard to believe, but 4 catches for Jeffrey and 2 for Marshall is not how they’re gonna win. Agreed the pass rush was terrible. Where was Lamar Houston? With Allen out, he needed to step up. No where to be found. Can’t expect the secondary, especially one as suspect as the Bears, to cover for that long. I wasn’t thrilled with some of the playcalling. Listening to the Cutler show yesterday, he said at the end of the half they were planning on sitting on it….1:03 left, 3 timeouts. That’s a headscratcher. I get it, if they go 3 and out they might not be able to stop Rodgers, but damn. You have to go for the points there. That 2nd run play cost them on the back end. Burned 20-30 seconds.

        The good news is Carolina is banged up big time. That defense has been exposed, and they’re on their 4th string running back, with Newton beat up, and no real go to WRs. Catching them at the right time. Hopefully they can get on track.

        Side note: wonder if they bring in some nickel guys to work out this week. Frey just doesn’t do it for me. Does not create turnovers, at all. Champ Bailey? Not syaing he’s the answer, but a vet, and it does not hurt to come in work out and see if he’s got anything left that he can contribute.

        1. frank

          Agreed–but with Jeffrey and Marshall still not 100%, maybe they weren’t getting open as much as they usually do. Did Willie Young do anything either? Sutton and Ferguson are still learning–but did they do anything at all? Ratliffe is badly missed–maybe more so than Allen.

          I don’t understand sitting sitting on it under those circumstances either. It’s not as if green bay had been stopping them.

          I think Frey is adequate–not good–adequate. And if they can find better-than-adequate, they should go for it.

          The Bears have never, until this season, won their first two on the road while losing their first two at home.

          1. mdavis

            yeah i didn’t see Young or the kids either, though I think Ferguson had a sack. And will credit those guys for stopping the run.

            Jeffrey looks pretty healthy to me at this point. Have questions about Marshall, but I think he needs to be able to practice this week to be active.

            1. frank

              Well, Marshall practiced with no restrictions, so at least that much is good news. The injury to Jermon Bushrod, however, is not.

              1. mdavis

                yeah just cant seem to get over the injury bug. Slauson seems to think he can play this week, we’ll see about Garza. From what I read it would be either Ola or Britton. Ola has played well so far, Britton is a vet. I think they can patch it up for a week….just be thankful 2 of the top 3 D-ends for the Panthers are out. That helps.

                1. frank

                  Slauson is what–questionable? If that’s the case, he may be able to go. Probably move Ola to LT to keep the disruption on the line to a minimum. And yes–we seem to be catching Carolina at a pretty good time.

  11. mdavis

    getting a little ahead of myself here, but should they decide to make a change in the offseason at DC, Dennis Allen, just fired by the Raiders would be an interesting selection. He’s a good young coach who was thrown in an awful situation in Oakland. Had a lot of success as a DC in previous stops.

    Also, which would be very very interesting….Gruden return to Oakland? Obviously, unrelated, but would be fun.

    1. frank

      Well, as I said, Tucker has never been able to scheme for pressure, no matter where he’s been. I was listening to Matt Bowen, I think it was, and he said that the line was doing some of the most basic stuff imaginable. Basic, easy to prepare for, and easy to counter. It can be argued that it’s too early to be able to determine anything, and therefore too early to show Tucker the door. But it’s not too early to evaluate his game planning. And so far, I don’t think he’s putting his players in the best position to succeed.

      It would be fun, but if I’m Gruden, I’d have to ask myself, “Why would I want to step into that mess?” Allen is already gone, and McKenzie will probably be gone at season’s end. It’s one thing if it were a sound organization with a strong infrastructure and a supportive owner. I don’t think any of that exists in Oakland.

      1. mdavis

        Yeah, for Gruden to be there, McKenzie would have to be gone. He’s going to want total control of the team and personel. Also wants a QB in place, and word is he really likes Derek Carr. But the Raiders need to have some direction in terms of a new stadium, and financial flexibility. So we’ll see. A lot of things would have to line up right, but I expect them to make a very strong push for him.

        1. frank

          I think McKenzie will be gone regardless of what they do with the coach–I agree that they’ll make a strong push, but I have to ask again, why would Gruden want to walk into the mess that is the Oakland Raiders? Even if he gets full control, the ownership is less than–ideal. And that’s not even mentioning the things you’ve rightly brought up. Gruden can have his pick of head coaching jobs, pretty much. Why that one? Oakland is no longer a “destination” job.

  12. frank

    Bears promoted Chris Williams from the practice squad,and waived Ross. Here’s hoping he can add a spark to the return game.

    1. mdavis

      musical chairs continue. Spurlock, Perry, Ross, Williams. I was disappointed they didn’t try to acquire LaMichael James. Was a free agent for several weeks.

  13. mdavis

    well that was disappointing, to say the least. I don’t know what the deal is with these second halves. Are the coaches not adjusting, anticipating the opposing team to be making adjustments? The turnovers are killer. Cutler missed high and down the middle….that’s a recipe for disaster. And Forte….dude never fumbles. That first INT by Cutler, meh. You throw to that match up all day. Marshall on a LB. I don’t have a problem with that. But speaking of Marshall….Where you at? That’s 3 weeks he has had very little impact on the game. What’s going on here? Do they need to make a point of targeting him (funny, after all those articles bout Cutler targeting him TOO much). Jeffrey made some plays and looks like he’s picking up where he left off. Another thing….where are the explosive plays? Seems like they aren’t taking many shots down field. The more I see of this squad, the more it looks like an 8-8 team again.

    Defensively, what can ya say. They took the ball away 3 times, and the offense put them in some bad spots. You have to wonder if at some point Conte is going to need to shut it down for a few weeks. Everytime he makes a tackle, the sideline reporter is “Conte is out with a shoulder injury”, and now a concussion, his second one in 7 weeks. If that’s the case I’d rather see Vereen out there than McCray. Ferguson is making plays and looking worthy of the early draft pick, and Willie Young, my man. I won’t dog on J. Allen for this week, first one back form pneumonia and still underweight. But next week, I want to see an impact.

    1. frank

      Yeah, that sucked big time. They had that game and blew it. Atlanta at home is not going to be easy, and Hester may score 3 TDs the way these STs play.

      Marshall’s on a pace for 61 catches and about 650 yards. Very un-Marshall-like. The injury accounts for some of it, and it looks like teams are trying to take him out of the equation altogether–looks like they’re seeing less man and more safety over the top coverage than they did last year.

      Houston has been disappointing so far. Hope it’s just an adjustment thing. Of course, he wasn’t brought here to get after the QB; that’s not his game. But he needs to make more of an impact.

      Conte might have to shut it down for good.He’s had at least 3 concussions as a pro, and more in college. Tom Thayer said that one reason teams are eating them up over the middle is that Conte hasn’t been in–he may not be great, but he’s been pretty solid this year. Agree on Vereen–McCray isn’t cutting it.

      We knew the defense wasn’t going to be top 5–or maybe even top 10. But the offense being 17 in both scoring and yardage is a huge disappointment. And that’s including nearly 500 yards against green bay.

      1. mdavis

        Agreed on all counts. Its almost kind of funny, before people ragged on Cutler for throwing too much to Marshall, and now its not enough. I’d look for them to try and get him the football more, they need to get him going again. Also, and prob attirbuted to the coverages as you said, not taking many shots over the top.

        Houston and Allen haven’t really given a return on the investment yet. The Falcons are down 3 starting lineman or something. They NEED to have a big game, no excuses this week. and yeah with Conte I think there’s concern. I don’t think he’s as bad as everyone has made him out to be, but at this point he’s real fragile. Every time he has to make a tackle he’s out with a shoulder injury, and now the concussions are popping up which are never good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was down for awhile.

        I really can’t dog on the defense too much. They’ve gotten I believe 11 takeways in 5 games, and for all purposes, done there job. They ran into a buzzsaw in GB but I think part of that was coaching/scheme/ARodg is excellent. But I don’t have many complaints. This offense though needs to pick it up. Big time. Now.

        1. frank

          I agree that the offense, right now, is a bigger concern than the defense. The number 2 scoring offense in the NFL last year is now 17th? Simply not good enough.

          I have some problems with the defense–though I don’t know whether it’s scheme or execution–or both. An ailing Cam Newton destroyed the secondary. That’s not good. As Doug Buffone said, Carolina was a tomato can. They hadn’t been able to score, or stop anyone else from scoring. Tucker has never been able to scheme for pressure. If they can’t pressure the QB, that secondary will be eaten alive all year long. And the weakest point right now is safety–the one position that was not adequately addressed in the offseason.

          And I don’t even want to get started on the debacle they call special teams. I don’t know whether it’s the coaching, or whether the coaches just have absolutely nothing to work with. The bottom of this roster is not very strong.

  14. mdavis

    Frey has been released apprently….very interesting. The cupboard is bare behind him. Hurst, Williams, McManis (injured though)….wonder if they talked Hayden into coming back, or they are picking someone else up to fill that nickel role

    1. frank

      Bass was released too. They called up Al Louis Jean from the practice squad. But he’s a corner–don’t know how he would fare as the nickel, unless they’re going to move Jennings back there again. Or, as you said, pick someone else up.

      1. mdavis

        Yea I like his talent and potential, but I don’t see them using him on defense. He’s 20, had limited college experience. I think its more of a ST move, and probably a nod to McManis being healthy again. He had a great camp so I could see them giving him a shot, plus he brings some size. 6’1″ 200. Hurst could also get a look as well, but my money will be on McManis. Still have 1 roster spot open with Bass out. Maybe bring in another safety with Conte almost certainly out, and Dixon down.

        1. frank

          That will be interesting. I think it’ll likely be McManis as well–if only because he was good enough to make the roster out of training camp.

          1. mdavis

            Tucker said it would be McManis if healthy, but Vereen and Hurst were other options. Vereen was pressed into duty a few weeks back and held his own.
            None of the top 4 LBs practiced today (yikes), but Ratliff and Conte were out there

            1. frank

              I think that the loss of Ratliffe has been huge. He’s a monster.

              Yeah–all of a sudden, all the linebackers are out. Don’t know what’s up with that. Is it my imagination, or have the injuries gone up substantially since Rusty Jones left?

              Though I thought it would be McManis, I’m not sure if I like him over Vereen in that spot.

              1. mdavis

                Yeah Ratliffe has been a beast this year. Glad he’s back, makes that rotation better. Ferguson and Sutton have played well though.

                DJ was back at practice yesterday. Briggs and Bostic were still out. Certainly concerning as that would leave Khaseem Greene and Christian Jones as the starters. Not good.

                I wouldn’t be opposed to giving McManis first look. He brings nice size to the spot, whether he plays the nickel, or comes in the outside and Jennings bumps inside. McManis is a solid 6’1″ 200 so that brings another element. But I do like Vereen’s potential and his versatility. We’ll have to see how it plays out Sunday, but as far as I’m concerned this a must win. I don’t see them recovering for a 2-4 start to make the playoffs if they drop this one.

                1. frank

                  That group of linebackers does not inspire a lot of confidence. Williams should be ok, and he’ll call the signals–but the other two? Maybe in a year or two . . .

                  Heard today that McManis has a knee injury on top of the quad injury he had earlier. Don’t know whether he’ll play or not. So who’s next up? Vereen or Hurst?

                  1. mdavis

                    Briggs is out, so that hurts. The current plan is for Bostic to play weak side, which I’d be excited to see because I believe that’s his future…the problem? He’s a game time decision. They elevated a LB from the P-squad, Lattimore I think, which could mean there is concern about Bostic playing. If he can’t go, it’ll be Greene, Williams, Jones. Yikes.

                    I’d actually lean towards Vereen, but who knows.

                    1. frank

                      Yikes, indeed. Atlanta’s defense isn’t great either–the Bears may have to score 40 to win this one.

  15. mdavis

    now that’s what i’m talking about. complete game by the O. awesome awesome job by the defense. If you had told me that the LBs would be Greene-Sharpton (uh…who?)-Jones, and the Bears would only give up 13 points I’d of called you nuts. The secondary laid some lumber, White wasn’t the same after Mundy drilled him, DL got good pressure, Young with 2 sacks, Allen (finally), Paea, and Fuller. Fuller is looking like a steal at 14. The kid has been drawing teams top WR every week since he began starting. Shut down Jones for the most part, another strip, he’s a stud. We rip on Tucker when he’s bad, but he deserves a ton of credit for getting this group ready to shut down a tough offense (when they’re at home). Side note: time to shut Conte down for a few weeks. Every time he lays a hit he’s missing the rest of the game with a shoulder injury. Give him the next two weeks off, plus the bye, and get him back for the stretch. I was glad to see it was Vereen who replaced him, not Mc Cray

    Offensively, nice complete game. Cutler was tremendous. Terrific fade away throw to Marshall to set up a score, the bomb to Jeffrey. It was the first game I can remeber they actually took shots down the field. And there weren’t any throws that I can think of where it was a poor decision either. Forte had a nice day again, 150+ total yards, 2 TDs. Line did its job. Very encouraging game all around, regardless of the team they played. They needed that. One itch I need to scratch though…that clock management end of the first half. Had 3 timeouts, and they let 30 seconds burn off. Ridiculous. I can understand not wanting to use them, but then they huddled? Terrible. It cost them a couple oppportunities to get ino the endzone. Good play by Cutler down there throwing the ball away with his left hand too.

  16. frank

    Agreed on all counts, including the clock management issues. But they held the #3 scoring offense in the league to 13 points without their top 4 linebackers. Crazy–in a good way. It’s a small sample size, but Sharpton looked good. He was the one calling the plays, too. If he continues to perform in practice, I don’t think it’s a stretch for him to start over DJ Williams. He can call the plays, get everyone lined up, and free Briggs to be–well, to be Briggs. The linebackers looked fast, and the secondary was hitting hard. Atlanta’s receivers wanted none of that. The entire defense was hitting hard. Of course, when the front four can generate a pass rush on their own, everyone else is bound to look better. If this is what the Mel Tucker defense is supposed to be–then I’m in.

    The offense finally started scoring again in the second half, and Cutler played a great game. Controlled, and no real mistakes. They answered back when Atlanta tied the game, took the momentum back, and the wind out of Atlanta’s sails.

    And the special teams weren’t a disaster. Still some penalties (are they the most penalized special teams unit in the league?), but the cover teams did well, and they limited the damage that Hester could have done. Good job of punting by O’Donnell too.

    Now–can they continue to do it week in and week out? Let’s hope so.

  17. frank

    Here’s one–though not Bears related.

    Reports are that the Seahawks have traded Percy Harvin to the Jets for a draft pick. After paying handsomely for him, the Seahawks got only 10 games out of Harvin. The Jets are 1-6, so this may be too late anyway–at least for this season. Why do this now? Maybe the previous stories about Harvin being a malcontent and a locker room problem with the Vikings were true, and Seattle found out the hard way. Hard to say, but curious timing at the very least.

    1. mdavis

      yeah from the reports I read, Harvin had some physicaly altercations with teammates. Sounds like he was a problem. If you’re the Jets, I think its a free lottery ticket. I believe all of Harvin’s guarenteed money has been paid out, or will be by the end of the year. So it gives them a 9 week try out to see if he fits with them/can be a player for them.

      Funny thing I read: Seattle tried to get Julius Thomas from the Broncos for him, and Jordan Cameron from the Browns. Yeah…sure.

  18. frank

    Will the real Chicago Bears please stand up? Another major disappointment. I don’t know what to think about this team . . .

    1. mdavis

      it was embarrassing. no other way to put it. and now the Marshall news is coming out. Torn on how I feel about it. Part of me is like, well damn, at least someone cares. But then they’re saying him “calling out Cutler” was because he wanted the ball more…so eh. This team is too talented to be playing like this, and I’m starting to have some major questions about Trestman. The team just did not look ready to play. They were flat, no passion. It was ridiculous. And the play calling is awful. Forte had 12 carries…and I want to say 6-7 of those came on the opening drive of the second half, and I believe 3 in the fourth quarter on the last TD drive. Its terrible. They have no identity, no rythm and as I said, looked flat and unprepared. Defense was brutal, made Tannehill look like an All-Pro and now word is Fuller has a broken hand and a hip pointer. This team looks like a 7-9 group right now, and it’ll be interesting if heads roll or the HC seat gets hot.

      1. frank

        Agreed. I’d rather have them fighting about it than apathetic–but they are pros. This is what they do. The passion should be there. Marshall is a “me” guy, but most wide receivers are. But Marshall is not the guy I would want running that locker room. I thought that the hiring of Trestman was unorthodox, but one that had a good chance of working out. Now I think I’m beginning to see why he hasn’t gotten a head coaching job before. He was decisively outcoached by Joe Philbin–who is under scrutiny himself. So far, they have lost 3 very winnable games. When that happens, you have to look at the preparation and the coaching. Situational use of Forte has not been good, though he did lead the league in receptions going into that game; time management has been questionable at best; personnel decisions have been questionable–for example, has McLellin done anything to warrant a starting role again, especially after the way the other linebackers played last week? I don’t think so–and his play didn’t show it either–before this game or during it. This is a big test for all of them–players and coaches. They can come out of this stronger, or it can get real bad real fast.

  19. frank

    Oh my Lord, did that suck. From start to finish, top to bottom, in every single phase including coaching — a horrifying game. And Houston’s injury on a sack celebration with the game well out of reach? C’mon now.

    1. mdavis

      yep. i don’t even know what to say about that. ran into a buzzsaw from hell. media is already ripping Cutler, and yes the fumble was ridiculous again, but he wasn’t playing on a defense that gave up 44 points. Marshall, man I’m disappointed in that guy. After looking like he was trying to step up as a leader this week, it appeared to me he gave up on several routes, and took himself out on a 4th down play. This team is consistently out coached every week, and they flat out do not look ready to play. With the bye week its time to shake it up. They won’t fire Trestman, right or wrong, but I think we’ve seen enough of Tucker. 16 games last year gave up the most points in the NFL. Through 8 games this year, given up the most points in the NFL. Time to switch it up. They need to take a hard look in the mirror these next two weeks. Lose at GB and its done this year, and we can start talking bout hot seats. Forte needs to be given the rock. Plain and simple. And 1 guy I gained some new level of respect for is Bennett. Cutler said it in his presser, that guy played from the first snap, to the last snap. Down 30 or whatever, he was still fighting, breaking tackles, etc. And Houston.,…what a jack ass. That’s all you can say. And Trestman’s presser just po’d me.

      1. frank

        Again, agreed on all counts. Cutler’s stats are better, but when he makes a bad play, it’s always at the most inopportune time. Plus, he’s been staring down his receivers for the last couple of games. Defenders always know exactly where he’s going to throw. A green bay DB said that the Bears’ offense is very predictable–when they get into certain formations, they always throw to the same spots. That’s a huge playcalling problem. And Bennett fighting to the end–they should all play like he does.

        Tucker has to go. How do you not double up on Gronkowski? Defensive Rule #1: Do not let the opposition’s best player beat you. Force them to go elsewhere. Never in his entire career has he been able to scheme for pressure, and it shows. The linebackers? Nowhere to be found. Louis-Jean was overmatched, but you expect they’re going to pick on a rookie. They just don’t know how to get good matchups. Houston? You’re down 25 with 3 minutes left, you sack a second string QB–and you act the fool. Just get back to the huddle. Exactly, step for step, the same idiotic thing that Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch did. And with the same result.

        They’ve already said that they’re not going to make any coaching or personnel changes. Why not? What has Shea McClellin done to deserve a starting spot? What has Tucker done to deserve a job as DC of the Chicago Bears? He’s defenses have been a mockery of the Bears’ tradition. Yes–there have been injuries–but NE was playing without their best DE (the guy the Bears should have drafted), and their defensive captain. They were playing without two of their best offensive linemen. They still get it done. This NE team is not as good as their past teams–and the Bears got embarrassed by this one. Even with the personnel upgrades Emery has made, they have a long way to go. And coaching is a big question mark right now.

        1. mdavis

          i agree with you, lately Cutler has def been locking on and staring down. The Dolphins game when he threw the pick looking towards Bennett was a great example. Holmes was down the sideline wide open. I’m a big Cutler defender, but he has been making it a little tougher this year. Needs to really focus on holding onto the pill, and making better reads. I agree with the predicitability. Its to the point I almost feel like I can call what’s coming next. The point is to call plays in non-obvious situations. 2nd and 14, everyone in the building knows Trestman is going to call a slip screen or a swing screen. It got blown up. He needs to self evaluate as well.

          Yeah Tucker is just….no. He’s gone in the offseason, no doubt. Christian Jones at the Will actually, I thought, played pretty well for an UDFA. I don’t really think Briggs is a difference maker at this point, but having him and Bostic back next week should provide a little help I would think. Louis-Jean, yes over matched. I mean, he’s an UDFA, didn’t play a ton of college ball. But he didn’t back down, so I’ll give him that, and I actually think he could develop into a decent player. He has the physical tools.

          We’ll see what happens coming out of the bye. Its pretty much, need to run the table/maybe have room for 1 loss in there. That’s it. I’m curious if Wilson is going to be back. I haven’t heard he’s practicing yet, and they’ve said he’s set to come back in “the next two weeks”. Not sure if they are being coy or what. But maybe he could provide a boost of playmaking ability, because that #3 spot has been non exiistant. Holmes has just 7 rec 56 yards, Morgan 5-36 1 TD. So….that’s pretty terrible. Now obvisouly part of that is so many passes going to Bennett and Forte, but still. And on that topic…they need to focus on Bennett even more I think. Get that man the rock. It might pull some safeties off the outside guys and open things up, but that man needs to be featured.

          1. frank

            Yup–that’s the position they put themselves in–3 games down with 8 left to play. Not good. Win out and you’re 11-5, which still may not be enough to win the division, because their conference record isn’t that great. And I don’t think anyone expects that they’ll win out.

            You’re right–they may as well not have a 3rd receiver on the roster.

            Read an article that says the team was poorly constructed from the jump–too weak up the middle on defense: Ratliffe has been good; not enough out of Sutton or Ferguson; Williams in the downside; Mundy is average; and then there’s Conte (even though he has played fairly well–when he’s been able to play). And that although the offensive line is better than it had been in the past–it’s still pretty average; they consistently have to add a 2nd TE or other blocker to protect Cutler, which limits the offense, and run blocking has not been great. Interesting–and it does make some sense.

            I wonder though–it was Emery that hired Ticker, not Trestman. So we’ll see if Emery owns up to this mess and they get rid of Tucker, or if he “throws good money after bad” so to speak. But they cannot have another year of historically bad defense. And even though he was critical of Cutler, especially his leadership ability, Bill Cowher said, ‘It wasn’t Cutler that gave up 51 points on Sunday.’

  20. frank

    Oh. My. God.

  21. mdavis

    i think that about sums it up….i dont have any thoughts on last night…how could anyone. its pathetic. plain and simple.

  22. frank

    Outplayed, outcoached, overmatched–in every aspect of the game.

  23. frank

    And they say there will be no changes in the starting lineups. I find that absolutely incredible, and not in a good way. I heard that someone above Emery was pushing for firings after the green bay game, but was convinced otherwise. Well, only Phillips and McCaskey are above Emery. At least one of them has some sense of what’s going on.

    1. mdavis

      yeah amazing to me not one change. then again, who are you going to replace? Briggs, that would certainly send a message. DJ. but that’s really it, and the LBs as a whole, to put it bluntly, suck. there needed to be firings. not that it would of done much, but at least change the status quo. Cutler though, in the presser, seems to really be taking the struggles tough. Hopefully that gets him going. that being said, I’d like them to start looking in the draft, top 2, 3 rounds for a guy to groom. Obviously, unless they completely tank and lose the rest of their games Mariotta won’t be in the picture. But a guy like Mannion or Petty in that 3rd round, with my pref being for Petty could be a nice option. but I digress, just please play good football this week.

      1. frank

        Your point is well taken. I think they could replace McLellin–I don’t see that he’s done anything to merit a starting job. But I don’t think Christian Jones is quite ready. Is Sharpton out? I don’t think I’d have many qualms about him replacing DJ. But yes–the bottom of the roster isn’t very good–and neither is the top or middle in some places.I heard–I think it was Matt Bowen–say that strong defenses are built from the middle out. Strong at Tackle, Middle Linebacker and Safety–but the Bears seem to have been built from the outside in–the strengths were supposed to be DE, OLB, and CB. And opposing teams are destroying that defense in the middle of the field–and lately? Everywhere on the field.

  24. frank

    Well, that’s a bit better. Still some problems, but improvement as well. The penalties on the offense are not acceptable–especially at home, and especially in a game they must win. And I still don’t understand the clock management at the end of the half–despite the explanations. What it sounded like when Trestman said that they had to protect the ball, was that he didn’t trust Cutler not to throw an interception. But far too passive at the end of the half–they were going to get the ball at the beginning of the second half, and even a field goal at the end of the first half and another on the first drive of the second would have changed the complexion of the game. Both offense and defense played better, but still, a lot of points left on the field. Although they were able to keep the ball away from Patterson, special teams still had problems–an apparent lack of emphasis on that phase continues to hurt the team.

    1. mdavis

      yeah agreed on all counts. though apparently the Cutler penalty was BS. the yard to point production is still not there. almost 500 yards, and only 21 points. unacceptable. the clock management has been a joke at the end of the half. why take the timeouts on defense then? it was like forte broke a nice run and then all of the sudden he decides to maybe try and go for it, so Cutler forces a throw thats picked. its just brutal by Trestman, and he’s done it all year. you’re a 3-6 team. go for it. DeCamills will be gone at the end of the year. The ST have been a disaster, unprepared. I actually liked the gameplan a lot. Quick passes, easy reads getting the ball out of Cutler’s hands, and then take some shots with your big receivers. Theoretically, they should have a real good idea for what they’ll see sunday, considering Cutler practiced against that for several years past. we’ll see though. I’m keeping my expecations in check.

      1. frank

        With what we’ve seen so far, keeping expectations in check is a good plan. I agree–the game plan was a good one–get the ball out of Cutler’s hand quickly, build some rhythm, and pick on the shortest corner they have. That may be the first time I can recall them really going after a favorable matchup and exploiting it. And Tucker did make the adjustment to stop the running game.

        Trestman often seems to abandon the game plan as soon as they fall behind. As soon as they fall behind, even by a manageable margin, they give up on the run entirely and begin throwing the ball around like nuts. And yes, the point production has been horrible based on the yardage they’ve gained. As to clock management, I believe that’s exactly what happened. Trestman said that they had to protect the ball–sounds to me like he didn’t trust Cutler throwing it at that position on the field. Then they gained some yards and the story changed.

        I wonder if it’s DeCamillus or the talent he has with which to work. He was a well respected ST coach when Emery hired him. But the bottom of that roster has been pretty brutal–and it just seems that this coaching staff doesn’t emphasize ST play as much as the past staff did. And it shows.

  25. frank

    And–if you can believe it–a 2015 mock draft is out from SBNation, and they have the Bears picking Landon Collins, a safety from Alabama, with the 11th pick.

    1. mdavis

      certainly would like to see them snag a safety, but i dont see them doing it round 1. I haven’t really dove into prospect rankings just yet, but i have to think they’re looking for a LB early, or maybe even another corner. But there are so many holes on this roster, defensively, who knows.

      1. frank

        Yeah, right now, I’d say LB is a huge need–especially if Briggs retires. The defense does have a lot of holes–and is lacking in depth as well. That’s the consequence of drafting poorly for 10 years.

        1. mdavis

          yeah, even if Briggs still plays I just don’t see him back. Still a mixed bag with Bostic, but he’ll get a shot next year. Also should give them some flexibilty, since he can play will or mike. Christian Jones should be in the mix as well. We’ll see what happens. If they’re gonna suck, just suck the rest of the way and get a top 10 pick haha

  26. frank

    Yup–in sports, there’s nothing worse than mediocrity. Not good enough to be exciting, not bad enough to create the hope of a turnaraound–especially if you can’t draft worth a damn.

    I don’t know about these linebackers. I agree–I can’t see Briggs back, and I think DJ is a loingshot at best. McClellin does not inspire confidence. Bostic and Jones should be in the mix, and possibly Sharpton–he played well in the few chances he’s had. And I still have no idea of what they have in Greene.

    1. mdavis

      Greene has been inactive past few weeks unless I’m mistaken, so I’m thinken they’ve become pretty disenchanted with him. Jones and Bostic seem to be their “top” young backers. Can’t really go wrong anywhere on defense in round 1, though I don’t see them going DT. Paea has really come on, though an impending FA, and they have Ferguson an dSutton who have flashed some nice potential.

      Tell ya what though, Round 2, if he’s there, I’d love for them to go get Bryce Petty. I know the knock is he’s a “system” guy, which I think is BS. They actually run the football about 58% of the time at Baylor. He’s got good size 6’3″ 230, throws a great deep ball, has a strong arm, mobile. And he makes excellent decisions. I think he has only 8 INTs…in his career. Give him a year or two to sit, and learn, develop, and hand him the reigns. He is a little older, already 23. Will be 24 by the time the draft comes around.

      1. frank

        I can’t see them going DT either, but DE may be a possibility, unless they think that Bass and Washington will be maturing and ready to provide meaningful and productive snaps next year. I think for the first round I’d go LB or safety. One mock already has them taking Collins, the safety from Alabama. NFL draft scout has one ILB and 2 OLBs projected for round 1–McKinney from Miss State is the ILB, and the 2 OLBs are Shaq Thompson and Vic Beasley. They have Petty projected for round 3, and Hundley and Prescott for round 2. I think looking at a QB to groom as Cutler’s replacement has become a greater need, especially as long a Cutler keeps making odd decisions. His numbers overall are up, but the mistakes just seem to come at the most inopportune times. I don’t know whether that’s bad luck, or the effects of high pressure situations.

        I think much will depend on who’s coaching, but I don’t see them dumping Trestman with 2 years left on his contract. I think Tucker’s as good as gone though. I think they have some pretty good assistant coaches on the defense though–so that’ll be interesting. Maybe they make Pasqualoni the new DC.

        1. mdavis

          Yeah I could see them maybe going safety, but they like Vereen and Mundy has been solid. Conte, actually, hasn’t been terrible either. I could see another corner as well, if there is one worth taking. I don’t love Hundley, and I really don’t like Prescott’s game. I think Petty is going to be a guy that rises in the pre-draft process. We’ll see if they take an heirto Cutler this draft or wait 1 more year. I think Trestman, only signed a 3 year deal, but I could be wrong. Tucker and DeCamillis will be the scapegoats and gone at the end of the year.

          I can’t remember who, but I heard Shaq Thompson getting some love to the Bears (obviously very early). He looks a little undersized. Listed at 6’1″ 228. would need to bulk up into the 235-240 range in my opinion, and then the question comes in if he’d be sacrificing his athletic ability that makes him special, by putting on the weight.

          1. frank

            I thought I heard on the radio that Trestman’s deal was 4 years. They also said that right now, Tampa is paying Lovie Smith, Greg Shiano, and Raheem Morris.

            Oh–a Tampa newspaper headline was “TAKE HIM BACK” — apparently, they’re not as enamored of Josh McCown as a number of people here were.

            Yeah, 6’1 228 seems small for a LB, unless maybe he’s going to be a rush guy in a 3-4. And even then it’d be hard, I think. I still like Christian Jones, and would like to see what he develops into. Briggs has been looking a bit slow–even before the groin injury. What amazed me was that there was actually a Cornelius Washington sighting. He did show some closing speed, as did Bass.

            I think it’s hard to assess the safety play because the linebackers have been so horrible. Part of that has been injury, but part has been just poor play–not knowing where to be, overpursuing, biting on too many fakes . . . I think Mundy has been pretty good–average anyway, and even that is a step up from last year. It seems Conte hasn’t been too bad either, but opposing QBs have torn up the middle of the field against the Bears’ defense–so is that the safety play, or the linebackers? Or have the corners been so bad that the safeties have been trying to make up for lost ground on blown coverages? Probably a bit of everything.

            1. mdavis

              you’re probably right, i’m not confident in the 3 year thing. Yeah, Tampa…yikes. probably why that GM is no longer there haha.

              As for Tampa, yeah, there is no reason for McCown to still be starting. They’re 2-9. Put in Glennon. See if he’s the future, because otherwise they possibly could be in a position where they need to decide if Mariotta should be taken (he should). But, we all know Lovie…”Josh is our quarterback..”. If they cut him, I’d be cool with Chicago scooping him up, but from what I’ve read, Clausen has done a nice job filling that void in the meeting room, and seems to have a good relationship wiht Cutler (Cutler mentioned on his radio show Clausen and his fiance were coming over for Thanksgiving).

              Yeah we will see on the LBs…they seem to really like Jones, and word is he was a 3rd rd talent. Still think they should find one if they could. Washington, yes. 8 snaps, and I want to say me had a 1.5 sacks? Or at least got to the QB right around the line of scrimmage. He’s a freak athlete, if he can crack the rotation and put those skills together, he could be a nice rotational guy.

              What I’m curious to see is…who the hell is calling the defense this week? As in, who’s going to have the speakers in the helmet. That was Briggs. Can’t be DJ…he comes off on nickel. My thinking, is in base, we’ll see Bostic at the Will, and in nickel, Jones will come in to the Will, Bostic bumps to the Mike. So Bostic will be making the calls.

              Jennings has been pretty bad in the secondary, I’d like for them to bring in a big corner. Fuller has flashed that he can be a shut down guy. If they go the free agent route, Sean Smith would be really interesting. 6’3″ 220 as a corner. Jennings could bump inside to full time nickel, and that secondary starts to look ok.

              But we’ll see. the Lions offense has been brutal. Maybe even worse than the Bears. If they can somehow pull out a W, get themselves to 6-6, then maybe we’re cooking with something here. Tough game against Dallas next, and then the Saints, who frnakly do not scare me at all. Outside, i believe monday night, they just aren’t that good. But let’s see how they fare this week.

              1. frank

                I don’t know why so many people couldn’t see it coming–McCown has been a journeyman backup for his entire career. Those types of QBs don’t become Peyton Manning overnight.

                I think Washington had 1 sack and one TFL. Pretty good in only 8 snaps. Bostic calling the defensive signals is a bit frightening. I don’t know if Bostic even knows where he’s supposed to be half the time–much less how to figure out what the opposing offense is doing and set everyone else up. Sharpton can do it–when is he coming back? Your memory is correct–Jones was projected as a third rounder–which, coincidentally, is where they got Briggs. I believe most scouting reports on Briggs at the time claimed that he would likely never crack a starting lineup.

                That secondary does need help, especially since Tillman is not likely to be back. I don’t know what’s happened to Jennings. Of course, if there was any kind of decent linebacking, and in many games this year, a pass rush, the secondary would look a lot better.

                The Lions’ offense has not been good. But for the most part, neither has the Bears’ defense. And the Lions’ defense, especially that front four, can wreak some havoc. And they’re playing in Detroit. And it’s a short week–and the Bears have not shown the ability to prepare well whether the week is long or short. These things don’t make me confident that they can pull off a win. Dallas will be tough (who would’ve thought that a year ago?), and the Saints are a shell of their former selves. But the Bears have not played well against good QBs, hell, they haven’t even played well against some average QBs. And Brees, though not having the best of years, is still a pretty good QB.

  27. frank

    Oh, lord.

    1. mdavis

      i’d say that sums it up. good news: started out hot. bad news: tanked. 5 hand offs to Forte??? I understand the game plan, and the screens are extensions of the run game….but forte is the best player on the offense. He needs to get the ball. Defense, played 3 all day. Hardly, if at all, got up and jammed the receivers, so they just had free releases and ran all over the field. Vereen, what the hell was he doing on the Johnson TD? Had a chance to put a hit on him and possibly seperate him from the ball, and he just pulled up. Cutler for the most part I think played a fine game. He did have the INT, horrendous footwoork and just threw it up there. But other than that he played within the gameplan, got rid of the ball. But once again, the offense could not move the football unless the had short fields.

      Briggs to IR, though he looked slow and disinterested all year anyway. Bostic will be the Will in base, Jones in nickel with Bostic at the Mike. 4 game audition for those two. What else is there to say? 5-7, its terrible. And despite the awfulness that is t he defense, I think the offense is more concering. All the talent over there, the offensive coach, and they havent scored 30 points all year.

      1. frank

        Agreed. Another thing that I find disconcerting is that when Detroit adjusted and stopped the short passing game, the Bears had no response. And the pass rush concerns me as well. For once, they looked prepared and started out well–but then they could not sustain that. Trestman and Tucker seem to be outcoached in every game.

        That the offense hasn’t scored 30 points in a game, in the second year of the offensive system, is shocking. Yes, defenses have a year of film and have adjusted to what they do–but it’s their job to counter that. And it’s simply not getting done. They seem to go one-dimensional as soon as the other team takes a lead. A defense’s goal is always to make the opposing team one-dimensional–but the Bears are doing it for them.

  28. mdavis

    well. first things first. i’ll give props to the bears O for continuing to battle. i dont buy the “it was garbage time”. they battled and at least made it interesting. if Cutler can get in the endzone instead of the INT, you’re lookin at a 6 pt game with a chance at on side. didn’t happen, but he gave them a shot. Cutler was battling as well, i think Sarah Spain tweeted it on his TD run…you don’t have to be a “rah rah” guy to show you care. He was gettin in there for 6. Marty had a big game, Alshon had nice #s.

    Now the negative. This defense is just awful. you know theyre going to run the ball, and they jammed it down their throat. Fuller is getting thrown to the wolves, and he’ll be better for it in the long run, but he’s taking his lumps the past few weeks with Nelson, Megatron, Bryant. Conte needs to consider retirement, or at the very least they need to IR him. He’s been beat to hell, give the guy the rest of the year off to possibly preserve his career, but more so to give him a chance to think if he still should be playing. Marshall was playing well, but it sounds like his season is now over with fractured ribs. Caps a disappointing year for him t osay the least. The running game was a joke again. 13 for 26 for Forte. 2 for 9 and a TD for cutler. Now yeah, I get it they had to start chuckin it down 35-7. but damn. DeCamillis will for sure be fired, this ST is awful, but at the same time he’s working with kids. Years past they’ve had vet players filling these roles, but they decided to plug with young guys and they’re paying for it. At this point, 6-10, 5-11 is a very real possibility. And I almost think I want them to do that, because that is the only way I see Trestman getting axed, and frankly, Emery might too. His drafts have been brutal. That’s why this roster is where its at. We need some changes.

    1. frank

      I agree. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of positives with which to agree, and many more negatives. What’s happened to this defense in the last two years has been appalling. And by Bears’ standards, horrific. I’ve seen some great Bears defenses and I’ve seen some bad ones–I remember the 1-13 team of 1969 (not well, I admit) and some bad defenses after that. But nothing–nothing–like this.

      I’ve heard sportscasters say that Tucker hasn’t been given a fair shot, with first having to learn a system rather than putting in his own, and then with injuries. But he flat out doesn’t scheme well, and when he does, his defenses cannot execute. And never in his career has he been able to scheme for pressure–and that’s what this defense was designed to do–get a lead (ok–that’s been a problem too), and pressure the QB. DeCamilis has been given nothing–but the penalties on ST are horrible–and even rookies should know that if you see the name on the back of a guy’s jersey–don’t hit him. And the lack of discipline on both sides of the ball is inexcusable.

      I think 5-11 or 6-10 is a very real possibility. The Lions and Saints are still playing for something, and the Vikings just might beat them anyway. However, I’m not sure that they’ll axe Trestman even if they go 5-11 because I don’t think they’ll pay out two years of his contract plus another coach. I do think Tucker and DeCamilis will be gone (oddly enough–both were hired by Emery (assuming with input and an ok from Trestman)). And I don’t know that I trust Emery to hire a coach. And if they axe Emery, I don’t trust Philips to hire a GM. He’s an accountant who needs an executive search firm to find the 50 or 60 people in the world who might be qualifies for a GM position. And they’re all in the NFL, right in front of his face. But as bad as some of Emery’s picks have been, he has hit on Jeffery, Long, and it looks like Fuller. Sutton and Ferguson, and maybe Bostic and Jones, show potential. That’s probably already better than Angelo did–at least proportionally, given the number of drafts each have had. Hub Arkush said once that maybe Emery should be a VP of personnel, but he wouldn’t trust him to hire a head coach.

  29. frank

    Hell.

    1. mdavis

      that sums it up. i was searching for positives for most of that football game. here’s what i came up with: Bostic and Jones were flying around a lot it seemed and making some plays. The End.

      What a disaster. This team has no life. The offense is embarrassing. The d at least had an excuse with as many as 5-6 rookies on the field at once. The ONLY good thing, is the reports yesterday that ownership met that night, and Trestman will likely be fired at the end of the year. I think they need to get rid of Emery too. Just a disaster.

      1. frank

        Yup.

  30. mdavis

    well…wow. never thought i’d se this. Cutler benched for Clausen. Seems like a last ditch effort for Trestman to put the blame on Cutler. If Clausen plays well (he wont) he can turn and say see, it wasn’t me, it was Cutler. There is no way Jay Cutler is a Chicago Bear next season. First, you try and trade him. Tenn, Jets, Bucs, Texans, Bills, Redskins, Rams are the teams that come to mind. They’ll ask for a 1st rounder. I’d be shocked if they got 1. If they absolutely can’t trade him, then they need to cut him before March. 3rd day of the league year, his $10m for 2016 is guarenteed. If they release him, they have offset language on his $15.5 guarenteed, so if another team signs him, the Bears will pay the difference.

    Then its time to blow this up, and start over. You hope you can get into a position to take Marcus Mariotta….they won’t be able to. Let’s just get that out of the way. I really dislike Jameis Winston. So, who else is available? I’ve mentioned I like Bryce Petty a lot. 6’3″ 230, big arm, athletic, and he doesn’t turn the football over. Draft “experts” seem split on him, so we’ll see. I hope he plays in the Senior Bowl. He’d be a round 2-3 guy. If not then Brett Hundley is the only other player around, and they need to stay far far away. He’s going to be a disaster I think.

    So option 2, is you find a vet who can keep the boat floating next year. Not entirely sure who’s available, but you’re talking someone like Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez, Mike Vick, Matt Cassel, etc. No sexy options. And then draft a QB the next season in what could be a deeper class.

    Option 3, trade for a young QB who is blocked right now. Couple names that come to mind are Brock Osweiler in Denver and Jimmy Garroppolo in New England.

    Either way, we’ve seen the end of the Jay Cutler era.

    1. frank

      I don’t think it’s a lock that we’ve seen the end of Cutler. From what I’ve read and heard, no matter what they do, trade or otherwise, when he walks out the door, $38 M walks out with him. Add to that about $25 M to pay off this coaching staff and hire a new one. I don’t think the McCaskeys will do both.

      And I don’t care who they put in as QB, when your defense gives up 30 points a game, you’re not going to win. And certainly no one available now will be able to. Suppose Aaron Rodgers decides he needs a new challenge and that is to QB the Chicago Bears. If all else remains the same, I still don’t think they’re a playoff team. Cutler has been bad and there is no defending that–but last year this offense was the 2nd highest scoring offense in the NFL with Cutler running it (at least against the best defenses the team played)–Cutler and a journeyman backup. What happened? The turnovers have been killers, yes. But there’s also the “offensive genius” of a head coach who has yet to figure out how to beat a two deep zone. The genius who has not figured out how to readjust once the defenses have figured out his offense.

      Unfortunately, I think the problems run deeper than Cutler, than Trestman, than Emery–the GM was hired by two accountants and a PR director. As long as that continues, there will be problems.

      1. mdavis

        I agree. however that $ figure is a little off, at least from how I understand. If he’s cut before the 3rd day of the leauge year, then his 2016 salary for $10m becomes guaranteed. If they cut him before that, I believe it is just the $15.5 for next year. And then as I said, there is offset language, so if the Titans sign him for $10m, the Bears are only on the hook for $5.5m.

        But you’re right, this team is a disaster from top to bottom. They need to blow the whole thing up. Heard Kaplan float the name of Gary Fencik out there as potential team President. But this whole roster is a disaster, and with this move I just don’t see Cutler being brought back. I’m sure he will also request a trade regardless. But I hope Chicago, who’s been killing Cutler, realizes this is going to be bad for 2-3 years before it gets better. Its a shame.

        1. Brett

          Just as a head’s up to you and Frank – as much as I love that you guys have this space to dialog (I think it’s nice), it’s going to be going away at some point in the new year.

          1. frank

            Well, I’m actually surprised you kept it this long–thanks for letting us know. There’s no way you might start this up again with mdavis doing the write ups? He indicated a willingness to do it in the past. Thanks, Brett.

            1. mdavis

              agreed with Frank, thanks for keepin it up for while you did. If you ever want to give it a go again, let me know, I think we could make it work! Thanks Brett.

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