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.

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