Saturday, November 22, 2008

My coach's message for Sunday

In order to show that the Bears struggles aren't totally schematic, this Sunday it is necessary for the inactive list to receive a bit of a shake-up. These players need to make way for new guys to have a chance to make a mark.
QB Haine - but if the Bears show up and dominate he should see some 4Q time
CB Hamilton
DT Toeaina
LB LaRoque
LB McClover (inj)
WR Booker (inj)
DE Anderson/Baldwin - if 97 doesn't make some plays it should be his last active game for awhile
LB Roach - it's more important to play receivers against a bad D, send the message that being on the field isn't good enough, Bears defenders are expected to make things happen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This is the most exciting and frustrating tidbit I've seen this season: "Entering the Green Bay game, the Bears were the No. 1 defense in the league against the pass when they blitzed. Opponents had a passer rating of 52.0, according to STATS Inc., and seven of the Bears' 12 interceptions have come on blitzes."
If Brad Biggs knows this why don't the Bears coaches? I had noticed that the four man rush gets beat all the time but this stat is mindblowing. If you're team is really good at blitzing and really bad at not blitzing then maybe it makes sense to do a lot more blitzing!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In troubled times of psychic distress, I often turn to poetry.

I can't sing!
Flames are all over the choir.
Blistered little ciphers of words
and numbers are leaping from
my skull like kids. O fear
clutching at sky..."

--V. Mayakofsky

That's about what it felt like today, watching Green Bay beat us 37-3. I can't remember the last time I saw my team get a good ass-kicking like that--and I don't want to remember.

At least--and that's a very desperate at least--it was only one game. It doesn't matter how badly we got beaten, we're still 5-5, just like the Packers and the Vikings, and we still have the easiest schedule of the three teams remaining. I'm gonna guess (and hope, so strongly that I might start sweating blood) that this Bears team is not as bad as they looked today. And I don't care if we back in, I just wanna get to the playoffs.

I want Lovie running the defense!

Such is my state of upset that I must make a second post praying for the elimination of Bob Babich from ruining my Sundays. Mike Brown wants a new coordinator, at least that's how I choose to interpret this quote. ‘‘Obviously our defense isn’t what it used to be. Everyone wants it to be what it used to be, and it’s not. Once we come to grips that our defense isn’t what it’s supposed to be, we’ll all be better. Our perception is that we have a good defense. The reality is we don’t.’’
Lovie is the only member of the staff who might be able to save the season and honestly I'm really sick of seeing him stand on the sideline not doing anything. It's fine if he's not a yeller and doesn't spend the game getting in people's faces, but he doesn't manage the clock and he doesn't keep Turner from making ridiculous, obvious play calls. What does he do on Sunday?
San Diego's defense played better this Sunday after Rivera took over, there is abounding evidence that changing defensive coordinators can instantly, dramatically improve a team. Chicago needs to become the next example. Lovie absolutely has to take control of the defense for the rest of the season. If the Bears turn it around they could have a shot at making a run, if they don't it will be time for change. I'll take tried and true execution over new ideas for the sake of change any day but there is no execution on the defensive side of the ball. It is time to try some new ideas.
If the defense doesn't improve there is no choice but to turn the focus to Orton and build the coaching staff around him, possibly from the top down. There is no creativity in Chicago's coaches right now. The offense ALWAYS looks better when Orton has more control because he can diagnose problems on the spot and isn't limited by a script. Turner is incapable of adjustments. With Turner, if it isn't working it isn't going to work. The only reason I'm not worried about the offense is Orton.

Observations, desparingly.

After watching every play of that humiliating display a few things are evident without "watching the tape." The Bears got their assess kicked in every way. The Packers didn't even look that good, the Bears just looked completely and totally inept.
Bob Babich should be demoted back to LB coach or anything that keeps him out of game-planning and play calling. This defense is loaded with talented players and they didn't all just forget how to play. They are not being put into situations to make plays. Lovie needs to run the defense. I can't tell what he does as head coach anyway, he certainly isn't exercising any power over clock management. And what the fuck is Ron Turner's deal? How can you be a coach that long and not understand the most basic strategies of time management?
Along with the coaching change, shich should remind everyone on the team that playing well now is more important than having done so two years ago, Mark Anderson should be inactive and Daniel Manning, Nick Roach and Brad Maynard should lose their respective places. If Hillenmeyer isn't good enough anymore give Williams a shot. Roach hasn't done anything in three games. Likewise Steltz should be seeing some regular action by now. The coaching staff needs to start rewarding players who are actually making plays instead of "staying the course."
On offense this means that B. Lloyd should play every snap as the No. 1 wideout. The switching around shit is stupid. Coaching is supposed to be about maximizing ability first, then versatility.
It's also probably time to give Bennett a game and rest Booker for a week at least, he just isn't offering anything at this point.
On top of this Manning should be the new full time kick returner. Keep Hester on punts and try to actually utilize him on offense instead of just playing him on it.
Finally, since the pass rush has sucked all year why don't the Bears try putting Harris and Idonije at end sometimes. Give teams different problems to deal with instead of just sticking with the same tired formula. It certainly couldn't hurt this defense.


Just as a sort of fetish, I'm posting this picture of Kyle Orton and his neckbeard. This will provide the power for us to BEAT THE PACKERS!

UPDATE: Packers 37 Bears 3 Alright, jeez, fine... I won't dabble in the occult anymore!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Virtuoso, nearly

David Haugh has once again surprised me, accidentally doing something good he managed to lead me to B. Lloyd top single which I find totally listen-to-able as a Bears fan. Though I'm fairly certain Haugh is a country music fan and he's under the impression that B. Lloyd sings instead of raps, I'm willing to give him the pass this week for his willingness to say he actually wants the Bears to win. Sitting a healthy Lloyd makes no sense and who knows what was really going on last week, but with Orton and Lloyd back this Sunday, and for the stretch run, the Bears can really catch fire. Lloyd looked like he could be the latest 4-5 year wide receiver to finally turn dominant before his injury. I'd love to see him and Orton together for a few years forming a dominant tandem. As an extra bonus it would be hilarious to see what asinine columns DH could come up with if the Bears star receiver had a moderately successful music career on the side. Maybe he'd just quit as all he holds dear crumbles around him. It's just too good not to happen!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Regardless of what the Bears line may think, the problem starts up front. This is the reason Baldwin was promoted from the practice squad and will likely take Mark Anderson's active roster spot on Sunday. Too many times opposing QB's get a free look 12-15 yards down field and find an easy comeback completion. The Bears line isn't getting enough pressure, not sacks necessarily, but pressure that impairs a QB's timing, throwing lane or at the very least comfort. The truly damaging plays are these easy yards on 2nd and 3rd and long, and they usually come when the LB's are back in their zone. This is certainly not the only problem though.

The Bears secondary is playing too soft this year. The corners need to get better jams and start jumping routes instead of allowing easy completions. Take a few illegal contact penalties but don't let offenses get so comfortable. They need to get their arms in and break up some passes. And Nathan Vasher isn't the problem and Corey Graham isn't the answer. Graham started two of the last four games in which they have gotten torched. Vasher has more passes defended and the same interceptions. Graham is a better fit at nickel where he can help more in the running game which is his best attribute.

The LB's are also getting beat far too often. For this D to function the LB's need to be breaking up passes and getting interceptions instead of running behind TE's after missing reads. The final first down Sunday was a pretty obvious call and a terrible play by Roach?.

Which leads finally to play calling. The defense is obviously far too predictable. The execution has been spotty, but every offense seems to know exactly what to call every time the defense has a chance to really turn the game.

All in all though the defense isn't horrible, they're just not great. They need to start being great in the red zone though. The rest of the field doesn't really matter, if they don't give up any TD's I'm sure Orton will win every time. On top of that all they need is a couple big third down plays or turnovers and they'll be the toast of the town.

When the defense has something to prove they usually get it done. They wanted to stop the run last week and they should have won. If they want to stop the pass in Green Bay I have faith that they will get it done. Rodgers is good but if they keep the pack out of the end zone this will certainly be a win.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I honestly don't think I could sleep before I write this if I tried.

I've spent most of today trying to figure out why every qb looks like a world beater against the Bears defense right now and what can possibly change this trend before Aaron Rodgers looks like 90's Favre this Sunday.

The Titans game was a bit of a fluke. Even with Collins' 289 passing yards I think the Bears had the proper defensive strategy. They almost stole two handoffs and had the Titans totally confused the vast majority of the game, it just happened on the wrong half of the field the whole time. If Orton was behind center clearly the Bears would have put up more than 14 points and the field position battle would actually have been a battle instead of a slaughter. Unfortunately Grossman was back and without a defensive of special teams touchdown there was just no way the Bears were going to win that game.

My main criticism is that all phases of the Bears coaching are simply not creative. They have yet to actually utilize the biggest threat in the league in Devin Hester and the play-calling on both sides of the ball is very predictable. When Orton is back the offense will be fine. But what could it hurt to throw in a few direct snaps or an end around option, something to get Hester more open space. This is needed on special teams as well. Hester is struggling right now. The punt early in the third that he caught on the 10 and stood still while trying to juke and wound up getting tackled easily was ugly. He is clearly pressing and running a reverse or a cross field throw could be another sensible option. The man has talent, it's up to the coaches to do something to help him rediscover his brilliance.

On pass defense there are at least a couple simple answers to help start to salvage the situation. First off, if teams are going to throw short timing patterns the corners need to be jamming every release and actually getting their jams. The Bears have three quality corners, lock them up man-to-man and rotate them to keep them fresh if needed, but stop giving up 12 yard slants every three plays! Also if not for two obvious (one so obvious it was actually flagged) offensive interference plays Vasher would have had two picks and things wouldn't look so bleak. Secondly, why don't Bears linemen ever block passes. Brown used to be especially adept at this but this year it seems they never get their hands up. Also, why is Mark Anderson still playing. The Bears should just activate 5 DT's with Brown and Ogunleye and let them play some end.

Beyond this it's mostly just execution. The safeties are playing a little too safe too often. I like the linebackers on the line but they need to be quicker about picking up their reads. And the corners need to start jumping some routes. The Bears haven't given up a 50-yard reception all year but they've given up the most completions and third most yards. That boils down simply to soft coverage.

I also have to note that DH got one point right, one kind of right, two totally wrong, with one worthless point in his five step fixit column. Also letting Orton decide his fitness makes sense and I'm sure it came after medical clearance, so rest easy Haugh Orton isn't going to ruin his season.

Yeah, I'm still on this...

And another thing! Yet another reason to stop putting the loss to the Titans at the feet of the defense: holding the opponent to 21 points would have been enough for a win in all but two of the Bears' previous games. In other words, the Bears had scored more than 21 points in six out of their eight previous games. Both of those games were losses. And furthermore! Yesterday was the lowest number of points the Bears have scored all season. Yes, of course, the defense could have played better. But it was because of Grossman's inability to maintain the production of the offense that the game was lost. "Though Chicago’s porous pass defense was probably more responsible for Sunday’s loss," writes Larry Meyer on the Bears site today. Bzzt! Wrong!

Blame Grossman

"It looks like the continuing deficiency of Chicago's defense will get quarterback Rex Grossman off the hook in the Windy City postmortem this week. Grossman didn't deserve sole blame for the Bears' 21-14 loss to Tennessee, but usually he is a victim of the pile-on factor."

Thus Kevin Seifert at ESPN's NFC North blog. Thing is, this is one of the few times in Grossman's career when I think he really deserves more of the blame than the press is giving him. I know it looks bad that the defense gave up 289 yards to Kerry Collins, but that was on 41 passes, and over the course of 14 drives. Tennesse's longest drive of the game was 56 yards, their first drive of second half, when TN came with their half-time adjustment in place of only passing--it was a six play drive, five of which were passes.

Other than that, the Titans only scored on two other drives, the first of which was a four play, twenty-two yard drive. What set that drive up was three consecutive drives by the Bears of three plays or less, alternating with three six-play drives by the Titans. The Bears ran eight plays over those three drives, five of which were passes, all of which were incomplete except for an interception (it should've been challenged and overturned, but it still would've been an incomplete pass). The Bears moved the ball a total of seven yards during those three drives. Then Chris Carr pulled off his 29 yard punt return, and the Titans only had to go, like I said, 22 yards to score.

My point is this: The Bears defense played really well that game. Their pass defense was not as dominant as the run defense, to be sure. Their pass rush certainly could've looked better, and the defense did completely break down for that TD drive at the beginning of the third quarter. But other than that, the defense kept the Titans from scoring on all but three of their fourteen drives. The Bears, meanwhile, scored on their first drive, and then went 10 drives without scoring. Of those drives, 7 drives were three plays or less. The most plays the Bears strung together after their first, 14-play drive, was seven, which they did three times--once for 25 yards and a punt, once for 30 yards and a blocked field gold, and once for 68 yards and a TD. The two scoring drives were both about seventy yards, but the longest drive for the Bears other than those two was the 30-yard blocked punt drive. In other words, it was entirely the offense's fault that we lost this game, and the difference between the offense this week and other weeks was Rex Grossman. That was one of the least productive outings by a quarterback I've ever seen. The defense, meanwhile, probably had one of their best games of the season. Any time your opponent runs fourteen drives and you only allow them to score three times, that's a good thing. If Grossman had put together only one and a half more drives, nobody would be complaining about the defense's performance--but Grossman wasn't even close.

Of course, the memory of that MN game and the TB game probably hurt the perception of the defense as well. But those games were either a long time ago or with a completely gutted secondary. None of which is to say that the pass defense doesn't need to improve. Teams have obviously figured out where you can throw the ball against the Bears zone. Those are short, underneath routes, and the defense needs to shut them down more quickly so they result in fewer first downs. Some kind of adjustment needs to be made. But the defense simply wasn't the reason for the loss yesterday. The defense came out yesterday and put together one of their best games of the season, and it only wasn't good enough because of Grossman's terrible performance. They simply don't deserve the pile-on they're getting in the Chicago press this week.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Well, that was about as soft a loss I think it would be possible to take. The best team in the league comes to town and you play them pretty close with your second-string QB looking as second-stringy as possible. And they're not even in this conference. It's frankly hard for me to find a whole lot to be upset about in this game, except that it thoroughly convinced me that Rex Grossman is never going to be a good QB in this league. Probably I should've already knew that. Just pray, intensely and to whatever extra-universal structure might be out there, that Kyle Orton's ankle is really healing as quickly as the Sun-Times insists, and that he'll be back with us next week. If Neckbeard would've been out there today we would've won this game. I'm positive. No way Orton lets eight consecutive drives go by without getting a TD or two and some Field Goals.

A lots gonna be said about how the defense let Kerry Collins throw for so many yards--and, yeah, it is a little worrisome that every week it seems like some QB is coming out and having his best game against us. But I don't think it's time to freak out yet. Part of the reason Collins put up so many yards is that our defense completely eliminated the running game for the Titans. That's my little attempt to look at the silver lining. But, yes, something does have to be done to improve the pass defense. It's becoming clearer every week that the only real weakness the team has is it's pass defense. There isn't a single game we've lost that wasn't because of the pass defense. At this point, we're almost like the Vikings defense of last year--nobody can run on us, but people can go up and down the field on as, practically at will, by passing. I'm optimistic this will be fixed, though. We have plenty of good personnel in our defensive backfield, so it's not like we're doomed to have a bad pass defense until we can get some new players. And Lovie has had good pass defenses before. Something needs to be tweaked to get our pass defense to work better, no doubt. But there's time for that change to be made. There's less time every week, but there's still time. I believe it will be done.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Brian Billick takes a look at Chicago's two tight end alignment. has some pretty cool video stuff, sometimes. Watch out for the ad before the video, tho: if it's that Casio camera add with the gymnastic babies, just mute it, cover yr eyes, and wait till it's over. It might be the must unsettlingly bubbly/creepy commercial I've ever seen.

Also, just because I'm feeling good about it, I'd like to remind myself that before the season started, when everyone was bemoaning the state of the Bears' receiving core (to the point that the Outsiders even ran an article explaining how the Bears receivers would likely be historically bad this year), I predicted that it didn't really matter much about the Bears receivers because the leading receiver would likely be Olsen. (I'd link to my prediction, but I cant find it... Maybe I actually didn't post that... but I thought it! Believe me!) Well, that wasn't exactly right, but it wasn't really because the receivers have been significantly better than I'd thought they'd be--it's because Forte is the best receiving back in the league right now (with the possible exception of Reggie Bush, but I'm choosing to ignore him). But right now, three of Bears' top five receivers are either Forte or a tight end, and of those top five, Olsen currently has the highest yards/catch at 12.8--a full yard higher than the next highest.
Do Trib reporters even watch Bears games?

Kickers have missed only two of 597 extra-point attempts this year. Extra points have become so routine that the NFL should consider doing away with them. The PAT adds nothing to the game.

That's Dan Pompei on the Trib site today, not even one week after a Bears game in which a missed extra point arguably had a pretty significant impact on how the end of the game played out.

Monday, November 03, 2008

More hate for the Chicago boys

It's articles like these that cause me to feel like vomiting so frequently each week.

Apparently Greg Couch has officially taken the Mariotti mantle and he doesn't plan on entering the scene quietly. He takes the electronic space, I can only hope to god that this was never printed in ink, of the first article I've noticed by him this year to say that Devin Hester is washed up. On behalf of Devin and anyone who has any idea what it means to actually support the Chicago Bears, FUCK YOU COUCH! He even has to balls to suggest that 23 is resigned to his fate. Hey Greg, remember when the blocking sucked on that return and Devin tried to take everyone on and lost yards and everyone was like "this isn't college, you just need to hit the hole and break the ones that are available"? I do and you suck! Just wanted to say that again. 23 was very close on at least one return before being stopped illegally Sunday and totally slipped on another one, so I don't think he can really be admonished. He will break one this year and I hope on that day Greg Couch suffers from the worst fucking case of hemorrhoids.

DH is just being his normal self. Paraphrasing: Steltz looks good and I've questioned multiple times if Manning is solid but come this Sunday the Bears coaches, who I assume don't actually go to practice, should start still injured Manning or just signed Holt. Oh, and Babich was on the sideline again, heh he's such a dork. I would've already won the Super Bowl this year if I were in charge. Hehe. And lets put turf in Soldier Field again because I DON'T LIKE MUD! And I think a veteran who has never seen the playbook is probably a better backup QB option than this Haine guy who has been on the team all year.
Douche also recycles my KGB idea which I think is funny because I saw it first and I gave a legitimate way for the Bears to pull it off. Haugh wants two new signings without noticing that a player would have to be jettisoned to bring each one in.

Finally, Thank you Brian Urlacher. You're not as big a factor this year but I still love and cherish you as my MLB. I am so glad that you are asking fans to stop booing the replacement QB who brought this city to Miami and hadn't thrown a pass yet this year but still won the game last week. Seriously Chicago fans WTF!? Rex is clearly on his farewell tour here, you could at least show him some love before he rides off. We'll have plenty of time to boo him next season when he's throwing bombs to BB and living off of simple, effective play action again.

Turn that Frown Upside Down

Alright, I'm well aware that the number of Bears fans who read this blog is the same as the number of Bears fans who write on it, but on some purely metaphysical level, in light of this little snippet from ESPN's NFC North blog,
3. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has more mobility than most opponents give him credit for, but he was no match for the speed of the Titans' front seven on Sunday. It seemed that every time you looked for Rodgers after a play, he was on his back. He was sacked four times, hurried five others and had eight passes tipped. Assuming he doesn't get faster as his career progresses, Rodgers probably should work on releasing the ball quicker.
I would like to send out this plea to all Chicago Bears fans who are going to be in attendance at the game this week:

DO NOT FUCKING BOO REX GROSSMAN THIS WEEK! The Titan's have a very good pass rush, probably the best in the league right now, and handling a pass rush has always been the thing that Grossman fails at the most. So show the guy a little support! He's going to need every bit he can get! Look, we all know, and that includes the Bears coaches and Rex Grossman himself, that Grossman is not going to be our "starting" ever again. He's a replacement right now. He's going to start one game at Soldier Field. Hold back on yr booing for one fucking week! It won't do anything except make him play worse. What, do you think they're going to put Hanie in? That would be just completely stupid. It made a little bit of sense to boo when Grossman was stinking it up out there and the coaching staff seemed unwilling to consider another possibility that just to continue playing him. But those days are done. Kyle Orton's job is absolutely secure. There is just no reason to boo Rex Grossman. So stop it! Srsly...

That said, I do think there's a chance we can win this game this weekend. The coaching staff has shown three times this season (Indy, Philly, the first Detroit game) that when they really hunker down and put together a game plan, they can look really good. Now is the time to do that again.

Frankly, I think what Ron Turner needs to do is try to take advantage of the fact that we have a different starting quarterback this week. There's plenty of film out there of Grossman, but none of him playing with this offensive unit. Grossman has different capabilities than Kyle Orton, and what he's good at, he's shown in the past, he can be very good at. So go out there with the most Grossman-focused offense you can think of. It only needs to work for about a half. That should be enough time to catch the Titans defense off their guard and to put up a few touchdowns, and if the defense comes out knowing that they have to stop the Titans the entire game--and surely this defense has to have one good game in them--we can take this game from them. The point is not to dominate the Titans. The point is to surprise them, get a lead, and then hold on long enough to leave the field with more points than them.

Please please please.

Orton's down but he and the Bears are not out

The first first thing I want to suggest is that every Chicago Bears fan who can grow a beard should not shave until Kyle Orton lines up behind center again. This is simply the best way to express our solidarity in wishing for a quick recovery, and maybe all our beard power can unite and hasten his return.

The injury Kyle suffered marked an emphatic end to by far the worst quarter this Bears team has seen. They gave up 23 points, Devin Hester fumbled, Tillman and Vasher were both beaten for touchdowns, Mike Brown limped to the locker room, and Orton was carted off the field after failing to convert on an ill-advised scramble. But something happened at half-time that gives me a lot of hope. The Bears decided that it was finally time for the season to begin, and with their backs against the wall they answered all their Chicago critics and booing fans by beating the Lions 14-0 in the second half.

This team's goal is to win their division. That is all they talk about and throughout the year is has looked like it's all they're playing for. They weren't the team that let up in each of the NFC South games. They came out of the locker room and made sure that they walked back into it undefeated against the North. I'm not exactly sure what this means for the showdown with Tennessee, but I do know that it gives me hope for the game in Green Bay.

I don't want to ignore Lovie's advice and get too far ahead of myself though. If Rex Grossman starts Sunday, I say if because if it isn't a break then it's mostly a matter of pain-threshold for Orton and I don't question his toughness, he will have the chance to make millions in that game. I can't even imagine the prospect of spending a week preparing to win the lottery. This isn't a normal ticket, Rex actually controls the outcome of the drawing. If he puts up points and beats the toughest, undefeated defense in the league, March 1 will not come soon enough for his agent. Sunday's second half looked like the '06 Bears. Hester would have had his first return of the season if not for a horse-collar tackle, the defense was dominant and Forte played well enough to give any quarterback a chance to succeed. I hope we see more of the same this Sunday.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I don't normally worry too much about this sort of thing, because I think the "expert" analysts, mostly former jocks, make a much bigger deal out of it than it really is. But something bothers me about his photo. There's Rex Grossman emphatically spiking the ball after what turned out to be the game winning touchdown. There are John Tait--one of the biggest leaders on the team--and Greg Olsen--who's emerged during Grossman's time on the bench as the most important receiving threat on the team. They're both just watching Grossman celebrate all by himself. They're just kind of staring at him. They're not even smiling. If Orton is really going to be out for four weeks--if he's even only out next week--we need the team to be behind him. But the way he always has seemed to have just been hanging out by himself on the sideline every time we've seen him so far this season, and in light of how strongly the team has embraced Orton, I wonder if the team figures Grossman's already halfway out the door--and good riddance. I hope my suspicions are incorrect, or that they have no actual impact on the playing of the team, because we can't afford to have something like that trip up our season just at the crucial time that the playoff run begins.

Also, did you notice in Smith's press conference, he didn't seem to really be willing to commit to Grossman being the starter in Orton's abscence? It would be bizarre and stupid, I think, for them to throw Hanie in right now, and I can't imagine that's actually what's going to happen, but it just seemed odd to me how waffly Lovie seemed about Grossman being the starter for now...

All I want, regardless of anything else, all I want is for the team and the coaches to come together and pull out a victory against Tennessee next week. Either Green Bay or Minnesota is going to be 5-4 after next week, and I don't think we can afford to be tied with either of them at any point for the rest of the season.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Okay, there are a lot of reasons to feel not especially ecstatic about that game, but when you boil it down, if that's the type of thing you feel like doing, but we needed the offense to score two touchdowns in a half in order to pull into sole possession of first place in the NFC North, and the person who was responsible for both of those touchdowns was Rex Grossman. He looked about as completely thrilled/angry to be spiking the ball in the end zone, I'm sure the emotion behind that spike was directed more at the home crowd than anyone else. And, yeah, he earned the right to that spike. I hope Orton isn't hurt too badly, but I have to say at this point it seems pretty unlikely that we'll see him behind center again before the 2009 season. I think Rex Grossman is certainly a capable back up, who's probably got a few spectacular quarters left in him, but Kyle Orton's emergence was the best thing to happen to this team in the past two years, and if he's gone for the season it's hard to really see any reasons to put a lot of faith in this Bears team.

Which sucks, because I walked to the bar to watch the game this morning--all of five hours ago--fully ready to finally believe in this team. There's still reason for hope, but no reason for belief.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Speaking of Numbers

Lots of Bears fans around the internets have been bemoaning the decline in production of Matt Forte, which seems pretty stupid to me. Over the past four games, the focus of the offense has definitely been the passsing game, and Forte's been the best receiving back in the league by a considerable margin. So even though his rushing production hasn't been as much as it was early in the season, it's not like he's been unproductive overall.

But even putting aside his tremendous value as a receiving back, he's still been doing a lot of important things on the ground. The major NFL statistics that everyone pays attention to are pretty much worthless, and this is one of those cases. Forte's running production has dropped mainly because the Bears offense has been using the run game tactically, for immediate advantages (like first downs), rather than to do much of the actual moving of the ball. I'd felt like Forte had continued to be incredibly productive in that respect, but I hadn't really bothered to look into whether or not my perception had any evidence for it. "He has picked up 37 first downs this season, tied for the fifth most in the NFL, and his 17 first downs on third down are tied for the most in the league," says the article on the Bears website today.

Not that it will shut up any of the whiners out there. But we've got a really solid back in Forte, who does far more important things for our offense than just racking up yards. I expect over the second half of the season, now that Orton is being discussed as an actual threat, we'll see less of teams stacking up against the run, and as a result Forte's yards-only production will probably go up, and everyone will be happy again.


The Green Bay Packers released defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, the franchise's all-time sacks leader on Saturday. KGB only has a handful of tackles and half a sack this year making him expendable in Green Bay. I'm not really a big fan of picking up divisional castoffs, given that I think the Bears are better than the rest of the division at every position, but in this case I think it would be a good idea for Chicago to take a look. KGB haunts many of my pre-Lovie Bears memories and he has a sweet moniker. Mark Anderson has three tackles and no sacks this year. He's just not getting the job done, and with Williams healthy it makes sense to release Fred Miller and bring in KGB to compete with Anderson. Metcalf is off for a couple more weeks so the Bears are going to have to dump him, or more likely, Miller at that point anyway. Why not use the suspension to try and improve the team instead of just waiting for it to end?