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.

410 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.

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