Monday, September 10, 2007

Where Is That Protection That I Needed

I have to admit I'm getting a little sick of waiting around for the Bears offense. Their defense has been totally dominant, championship-ready, for at least the past three seasons, and their special teams is always a bright spot, but every year the offense drags the team down. All the press coverage of the preseason talked as if this was finally going to be the year that the offense came into its own, and that may be true, but it certainly hasn't happened yet.

A young offense struggling the first game of the season against one of the few defenses that even deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Chicago's is not reason for panic, certainly. But it is a little annoying that the offense didn't manage to make any significant positive plays that weren't canceled out almost immediately by a mistake. What's the problem? Is it Ron Turner? Is it Grossman? Is Benson not meant to be a feature back? Is the offensive line declining?

It almost goes without saying that most fans are going to feel a lot better after watching the offense play against Kansas City next week. But Kansas City's defense is a joke. Chicago needs the offense to be able to put up some points against a good defense. They need an aspect of the offense that can be counted on to do something no matter what the competition. That was supposed to be Benson, but there really hasn't been indication that Benson can be that for them. Even if you don't buy into the "Grossman is the worst quarterback ever" meme, you have to acknowledge that he's not looking like he can be that cornerstone either. Unless Benson finally turns into the running back he's been claiming he is since he was drafted, it seems like Olsen is about the only other possibility out there, but I haven't really seen much of him, and he's injured now.

My biggest questions about the offense after yesterday's game, though, are, "Where was Hester?" and "Where was Wolfe?" The only time I noticed Hester was even on the field was the one time the camera cut to him checking back out after a play. I don't think Wolfe was on the field once. I don't expect either of those guys to become the foundation of the offense by any means, but when there isn't a single part of your straight offense that's working, why do you not try to work in something to Hester or Wolfe? Both players have the potential to break huge plays every time they have the ball, and even if the don't, at least you gave them a shot? That's the biggest thing that I don't understand about Turner's play calling. He just never seems to have any clue what to do when what he wanted to do isn't working.

I fully expect that the Bears offense will look much better than yesterday, and that they'll improve over the season. But how much? For once, I'd like them not to be the limping part that drags the whole team down.

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