Chicago Bears’ season now rests on MRI results and a bad defense

Chicago Bears’ season now rests on MRI results and a bad defense
Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune

Here we are again. How in the world did we get here again?

The Bears re-tooled their entire offense, brought in a new “offensive guru” head coach and managed to improve the long-dysfunctional offensive line. Jay Cutler had only been sacked nine times this season, but it was the 10th that took him out on Sunday.

I still haven’t quite figured out how, but it doesn’t much matter as Cutler injured his groin coming down on a sack in the second quarter Sunday against the Redskins. And now the Bears and Bears fans alike potentially find themselves in an uncomfortable and unfortunately familiar situation just two seasons after Cutler was sidelined with a thumb injury in 2011.

Assuming he misses time, 2013 will be the fourth-consecutive year Jay Cutler will fail to play a full season.

And could it be time for yet another “return” campaign in Chicago? I’m not sure this city’s sports fans are ready for that again. As reported by Marc Trestman Monday morning, the verdict should come this afternoon in the form of MRI results.

While the offense sputtered horribly in Washington during the time Cutler was on the field, you have to expect they would have produced in the second half judging by how bad the Redskins play defense and by what the Bears have done so far in the third and fourth this season. A shootout would have undoubtedly still happened.

And even with as well as McCown played in relief (14 of 20 for 204 yards and a TD for a 119.6 rate), you can’t quite rely on him to play that efficiently once teams run the tape on him in Trestman’s offense and he faces up against a better defense.

Let’s face it, guys: if Cutler is out, the season is over. The Bears have played in eight games in which they started a backup QB since 2009 when Cutler got here. They won two of those games — one against a 2-14 team, the other against a 3-13 team. And those were in this team’s defensive heydays.

This defense simply hasn’t played well and is now decimated by injury. But with Cutler in this revamped offense, the Bears will always have a chance to win. If Cutler is — cross your fingers — out for the season or even a significant portion of the season, it’s only a matter of time before these guys self-destruct.

Trestman’s offense won’t get destroyed the way Lovie’s did without Cutler, and the Bears could be in games, but I sure wouldn’t expect too many wins. Depending on the severity of the injury, if we’re talking about something less severe and perhaps a three to four week recovery time, the playoffs could still be a possibility. But things would really have to come together even in that situation.

So let’s go back to Josh McCown …

His performance actually had me confident the Bears could come back for the win once the run game got going. He scrambled well, didn’t force bad passes and did just what Trestman’s west coast offense asks a QB to do; 1,000 little paper cuts all the way down the field till you score.

This kind of system is backup QB friendly, and McCown has been around a while. He knows how to prepare and he knows the system and playbook well. And great play calling from Trestman and a good dose of Forte plus short passes kept them alive and ate up some clock.

But the bottom line on McCown is this: he is a backup quarterback. The team could survive two or three games with him as long as he doesn’t have to put 40 points on the board again. But with this aging, poor performing defense they might need 30 every week to have a chance — especially against the Packers.

Injuries or not, the Bears’ defense can’t do anything right now. Corey Wootton was one of a few bright spots Sunday, and trust me there were only a few. He was fairly dominant from the three-technique spot, despite being just way too tall to play it all the time.

Jon Bostic made a few plays, stuffed the run and made a few big tackles. He definitely flies around the field, but on one of Helu Jr.’s touchdowns, he was the reason the ball carrier got in. I still think the future is bright for the rookie, but there will definitely be growing pains.

Chris Conte is purely bad at football. He played perhaps his worst game ever against the Redskins. His pursuit angles are always horrible, but he was especially bad in one-on-one coverage all day. Something has to change at that position, and his counterpart (Wright) isn’t any better.

On the Hail-Mary touchdown Conte played the ball instead of the receiver and ran into him when it should have been picked — not that Tillman was much better on that play himself. These guys were absolutely killed by Jordan Reed, who you would have thought was Tony Gonzales in his prime against this defense.

Shea McClellin can’t rush the passer. He was slightly better Sunday, but being slightly better for him still isn’t anything worth noting. He’s too small, too weak and too bad to play defensive end. I feel like I’m watching a fast Hunter Hillenmeyer trying to play DE.

McClellin cannot get off a block to save his life, and this pick continues to look like a serious bust. Typically, I am a wait three years on a draft pick kinda guy, but there’s just been no improvement whatsoever.

All-in-all that was hands-down the worst defensive performance I have ever witnessed from the Chicago Bears, or at least in recent memory. It doesn’t surprise me, it’s just the sad reality we now face. For the first time ever, the offense can look at the defense and say, “C'mon guys, WTF?!” Only … without Cutler, they may have enough to worry about on their own.

Subscribe to Chicago Bears Huddle:

Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Filed under: Post Game Report

Leave a comment