Audibles From the Long Snapper

Born to Run
You want to know what's dogging the Bears offense?  Brad Biggs breaks it down quite effectively in his Sun-Times column: 

They are tied for 25th in the NFL in red-zone efficiency at 44.4 percent (12-for-27).

Here's the kicker: Entering Monday, only six teams had more
opportunities inside the 20-yard line. If the Bears were 50 percent
better on their missed chances, they would be regarded as an offensive
juggernaut.

Red zone efficiency more often than not comes down to play-calling and here's a fact: on every first down in the red zone, the Bears called a run.  (Not withstanding a first-and-two with five minutes left.)  These are the same Bears who can't run the ball and whom Lovie Smith called "a running football team" in Monday's presser.  I often make the argument that we give athletes and coaches the benefit of the intelligence doubt but you know what?  These guys aren't smart.  They're jocks.  And they really like proving it.

It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City

David Haugh offers ten ways to fix the Bears offense
and he gets it right from the start.  The best player on this offense
is the quarterback and the offense will produce nothing until the team
utilizes his very special abilities.  What we overlooked for the past
few years is how a limited quarterback may have covered up scheme and
play-calling flaws in the name of "a conservative approach".  You wanna
score like the Saints or the Pats or the Colts?  You have to trust the
guy throwing the ball.  You wanna score like the Bears?  You trust Ron
Turner.

Nothing Man

When did the expectations for Tommie Harris get so low?  Vaughn McClure's Trib piece
has Alex Brown calling him "amazing" and Lovie Smith calling him
"disruptive".  I don't know what word I would use to describe his
performance against the Browns but I'd start with "pretty
good...against the Browns."

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  • Fun with statistics.

    Mid-field, the Bears can and do make big plays because with Knox, Hester, Olsen and Forte - they have the ability to create open field passing mismatches. All of them challenge the ability to cover them straight up.

    When the field shortens, speed takes a backseat to power. And the Bears have none. The Oline is a pass blocking Oline. Lovie may just providing misdirection, because if this home stretch is going to work then they better pass in the redzone.

    Preferably from the gun.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Oh and Butter Harris. He's soft.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I think most of the offensive woes fall on the o-line and their inability to block. But, some of this does go on Cutler. Jay has 11 TDs, 11 INTs, 80.8 rating, and has been sacked 11 times. The 11 sacks is 22nd in the league. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked more than double that (25 times) and is the second most sacked QB in the NFL. But, he has 14 tds, only 2 ints, and a 110 rating. The Packers O-line has been way worse in allowing sacks, yet Rodgers numbers are way better than Cuttys.

    It's time for Jay to step up and be smarter with the ball this week. Sense the pressure and get rid of the ball, score touchdowns in the red zone, go to your check downs if you have to, show us your as mobile and elusive as we think you are, don't throw into double and triple coverage, and don't take unnecessary hits. By that I mean, if there's only 2 extra yards to be had and no immediate first down to get, please save yourself and go out of bounds.

    The most surprising thing I have learned about our QB is how tough this kid is. How much he is willing to put his body on the line to win. What a competitor he is. I knew he had physical talent, but I didn't know he had elephantitis size balls.

    Time to earn the money, extension, and label "franchise" this week. I think Cutty does that big time this week.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Good point, after Turner and the O-line it's time to look at Cutler. Put up some numbers, big man.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Jeff - I agree that we often forget that coaches are ex-jocks and not necessarily smart. One thing I hope is gone forever is the dumb concept of rotation for players regardless of the situation. Wolfe shoudl never be in near the goal line. Olsen shoudl never be asked to block. I don't care if we're telegraphing plays - what's the point of having Olsen in to blaock if he can't? It's a wasted play.

    Statistics can always be misleading. Maybe we have so many red zone trips because we don't score often from outside the twenty either? I think the best measure of an offense is complex combination of points and field position. It extends the red zone concept across the whole field and looks at drive sustainability as well. Not sure this is calculated, but the idea is what is the expected number of points the team will have for drives starting 99 yards away, 98 yards away etc. It's an extension of the field position study that Virgil Carter did in the 70s.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    BillW-

    That was incredibly insightful. And I agree with you that you should play to your players specific strengths..even if that means not disguising plays as much...

    And to your point regarding red zone trips I think its spot on. The lack of the big play could have a lot to do with a large number of red zone trips..

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    The absolutely dumbfounding thing to me.. is that last year with the revolving door St. Clair at LT and Orton at QB, Turner still managed to take shots down the field to Hester at least once a game, 4 times in the NO game. Yet this year we bring in a HoF LT to protect a gunslinging QB who can actually hit those throws... and what maybe two tries this year at Hester runnin the post. I don't get it RT gets his QB and he is trying to turn him into Orton with bubble screens and slant passes.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    The weirder thing is that every time Knox runs a go route downfield something productive happens.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    I'm usually a die hard optimist when it comes to the Bears, but given their recent efforts and looking at their remaining schedule, it's very possible this team could go 6-10.

    But I'm still hoping for 13-3.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Its a good thing we have a 6'5" TE named Greg Olsen that is hardly ever used in the red zone to counteract the lack of goaline run production. C'mon Turner get your head in the game USE OLSEN!!!

  • In reply to RealityCheck:

    Actually, they have passed several times to the TEs for touchdown when in the red zone. Twice on 4th down, iirc.

  • In reply to RealityCheck:

    Here's something to ponder:

    The Seahawks cut Edge. Should the Bears sign him?

    Go ahead. Talk amongst yourselves!

  • In reply to RealityCheck:

    Also, with Edge being cut, former Bears practice squad vet Mike Hass gained a roster spot...finally.

    Good for Mike!

  • In reply to RealityCheck:

    I don't think "The Edge" still has one. An edge, that is.

    The Chargers cut Chris Chambers loose, but he has all of about 120 yards receiving to date with Philip Rivers doing the throwing. There seems to be some off-field baggage too, so I wouldn't look for the Bears to go after him.

    The Chiefs want to dump Larry Johnson before he gains another 75 yards. The love him SO much they don't want him becoming their all-time leading rusher. That guy's had issues through 3 coaching regimes so, again, I don't see the Bears showing any interest.

  • In reply to RealityCheck:

    Bears holding at -3 with the Cards. I'm a bit surprised. I thought this game would be a pick 'em.

  • In reply to RealityCheck:

    Screw Olsen. He sucks. Kellen Davis is two inches taller, blocks, catches. Please, please, please, for the love of god, start him already .....

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Good ideas for improving the offense. All no-brainers, actually. RedEye's Bag Boy wanted more suggestions. http://bit.ly/2IzqNY

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Agreed on Knox, Jeff. I honestly thought that during the bye the Bears would make all the right adjustments and come out and be the greatest show on turf part two. It could happen. The talent is there . . . We have too many dynamic players to be this boring.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Let's see - a few years ago we handled NO very easily (as it turned out) in the NFC Championship game. We lost to an arguably better Colts team in the SB - but shoudl have been on the rise.

    Now it's the Saints on the rise and us spinning our wheels.

    Sometimes I wonder if this SB hangover thing is right. Rivera gets fired; Lovie says "trust me" and yet the Bears disappoint three years in a row.

    Here's a radical suggestion -
    Change the personna to take advantage of what we paid so much for - even if it means trading a high profiel player or two. Man, I love Lange Briggs but if we got 2 #1s for him and a throw in LB, and then traded those #1s for a couple of OLinemen - maybe we're a better team overall?

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    BillW

    I know it was a typo, but you may be on to something. Lets see if we can get Al Davis to take "Lange Briggs" (some random dude) for 2 first round picks.

    I bet we may be able to sneak it past him...he's seriously lost it.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Dmband:
    Whoops - I type too fast and I'm used to auto-spell check.

    Al Davis is starting to remind me of Howard Hughes. Expecting him to grow long fingernails any day now.

    You know - the Bears are in trouble but they are not laughing stocks like Oakland, Detroit, Rams, Cleveland, Washington.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    HAHAHAHAHA. Howard Hughes...perfect comparison.

    Seriously, I was at the bar and accidentally watched some of the St. Louis v. Detroit game....we were literally laughing at some of the plays in that game...its bad.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Software on a Commodore-64 could design a better Red Zone offense that Wrong Turner.

    "WE GET OFF THE BUS TURNING!"

    /or "love you wrong time"

  • In reply to KentuckyBearsFan:

    actually, maybe "fall off the bus turning" is more accurate.

    /might make a decent bumper sticker if the season continues this way

  • In reply to KentuckyBearsFan:

    Are we really going to have a critique of the Bears piss poor redzone offense without talking about the biggest issue. Cutler throws too many interceptions down there. I like the guy but come on. You can't blame everything on playcalling. Brian Griese got benched in that shitty 2007 season for doing the same thing (throwing ints in the redzone). You need to be able to look past the idea of Cutler as the savior of the Bears and give him real criticism when he deserves it.

  • In reply to SexyPants:

    Jay Cutler is the last issue anyone should mention, certainly he's the only bright spot on the healthy Bears roster for me, apart from Briggs. Major problems are :

    1. O-line crapness.
    2. Weakness at LB position.
    3. Lovie/RT/Angelo/Hiestand/Drake .. .in other words ... The Muppet Show ......
    4. Greg Olsen as starting TE.
    5. T Harris as starting DT.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Everyone has had a role in this shit show. Jay has been part of the problem too. 11 ints, throwing into double and triple coverage when he should just throw it away, hasn't been able to punch it in in the red zone. I put Turner and the O-line ahead of him as far as problems, but lets not put this guy on a pedestal. Let's have him prove to us that he is an elite QB in this league and earn his franchise mark. I know I keep saying it but I love his toughness. I think he thrives on that. However, I don't like how he looked disinterested several times during the Browns game. Some frustration about getting walloped is fine, but I don't want to see him looking like he doesn't care or that he's folding. That's the attitude we heard about in Denver, and It scares me a bit.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Don't know if this is going to piss you guys off as much as it did me, but WTF are these guys thinking (read the last question/response):

    http://www.chicagobears.com/news/ChalkTalkStory.asp?story_id=6269

    I mean, it's like they are watching different games. Everyone has seen these guys on the sidelines during the games right? I could have sworn I've seen them at the games watching what's going on. Jebus Christo!

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Anyone notice the beating Lovie is taking in the press? I love this from Potash in the SunTimes:

    I'm not sure which is more offensive, his arrogance or his ignorance. If Smith really thinks he gained an advantage by having the Browns prepare for Frank Omiyale at left guard and then starting Josh Beekman, he'll find himself in Eric Mangini's shoes before he knows it.

    Morrissey has a worse article. I hate him, but I see his point. Hub and Hampton went off on him pregame, and Buffone/O'B went off on him post game.

    Gee - Lovie said we shoudl trust him. No playoffs ever since that statement.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    1. Yes, it was crap last year and somehow they made it worse.
    2. ehh, I'd say more specifically no depth at Mike.
    3. agreed.
    4. Olsen is fine as a starting TE just stop making him block and line up as a FB. He can still learn to chip and get out on his route but I wouldn't ever rely on him to block a blitzer.
    5. Harris is fine. No he isn't what he was 3 years ago, he never will be. But he can still do the job adequately. At least we didn't pay him 100mill over 8 years to have him disappear and sink to last in our division, imagine being stuck like the skins.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/nfl/11/02/bears/index.html?eref=sihp

    I believe that this article by Mr. McGrath is painfully true. Unless we can gain some confidence, find some passion, capture some magic (and/or luck), I think we're going to finish where he predicts, 9-7ish.

    JDub, your uplifting positivity aside. Like you said, this is the NFL and anything can happen... let's just hope it does.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    That was actually a good sports illustrated article MB. It makes sense that this game is practically even odds, since both teams are the epitome of mediocrity so far, and their records show it. Looked at both teams stats, and they are VERY similar. They both average scoring and giving up between 20-22 points a game, and the two QB's have almost identical ratings. Bears have a slight edge on turnover margin (-1 to -6) and neither team can run at all. This will probably be a close game that comes down to TO margin and special teams. The Bears need to win this one at home.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Interesting SI article.

    "0-3 vs. contenders." ?

    Is anyone, besides me, surprised that SI has apparently dismissed Pittsburgh from the ranks of contatention?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I don't like SI Albert, but in fairness it did say the "other" three contenders.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Agree Corm... I enjoyed it as well. So many of these dolts just write froth pieces, but this one was well thought out and well written. So much so that it depressed me a bit reading it, simply because it was hard to dismiss like the biased drivel that guys like Don Banks write.

    Anyway, while quietly acknowledging the painful inherent truths of our situation, I

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Even though there are aspects of this years team that scare and kind of depress me a little I just refuse to take on the pessimism that most fans take because i know every team has to overcome obstacles. It is so much easier to find reasons why the Bears should lose and not do well but yet we see other teams lose all of the time that are supposed to win...that are supposed to be contenders. The 49ers are 3-4, the Falcons are 4-3, the Pack is
    4-3, the Cowboys are 5-2 soon to be 5-3 with a loss to Philly and 5-4 with a loss to the Pack. The Bears can fucking do this. People need to stop blowing all of these other teams that are not invincible. I am not just drinking kool aid. there is no reason why we can't get a wildcard spot.

  • In reply to SexyPants:

    I agree, Jeff. I don't see how the Bears lay 3.

    Vegas is taking an absolute BEATING on the heavy favorites thanks to the Tampas, Clevelands, etc. The bookies can't make the lines big enough to account for how truly bad some of these teams are.

  • In reply to SexyPants:

    It is a pick em game. Bears getting the 3 just due to home field. Still surprised though.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/wires/

    Loooots of shit going down on the wire this week gents (and ladies). Would be really nice to see the Bears Coaches aggressively picking up some much needed gap filers. Maybe on o-line, or a LB, or even a FS or corner if an interesting one(s) becomes available. We

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Da funny

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/jay-cutler-superstar/2009/10/chicago-bears-as-simpsons-characters.html

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