With the 2008 Chicago Bears' offense being described as dismal, at times, what should they do differently in 2009 to change that perception?
Well, let me be the one to tell you.
Everyone assumes that with the addition of Jay Cutler, the Bears need to throw the ball nonstop. That is not the answer to the Bears problems. Yes, the addition of Jay Cutler will help the passing offense of the Chicago Bears, but with the talent he has lined up behind him at running back, I would argue that the Bears need to run the ball more.
Last year, excluding quarterback runs, the Bears ran the ball 407 times. Divide that up amongst 16 games, and you have an average of 25 rushing attempts per game, with 19 of those going to Matt Forte. That number is way too low for having a talent like Matt Forte.
And, I have heard interviews with Ron Turner saying that he was on the field for too many plays last season, and they want to cut down that number.
I understand that their is a risk of injury, and such a thing as becoming wore down, but I would say lessen the amount of flat passes, and screen passes you throw to the man, and let him carry the ball more often. You are not going to win many games as a running team when your best option is carrying the ball only 19 times per game.
If you look at the top rushing teams from last season, you will see how we compare to them. Baltimore ran the ball 531 times (I am excluding quarterback running plays in all my statistics), Atlanta 505 times, Carolina 484, Minnesota 474, New York Giants 474, Tennessee 473, New England 440, and Washington 431.
Those were the top eight rushing teams in the NFL last year. They were the top eight in rushing attempts per game and rushing yards per game. The worst team, record-wise, on that list was Washington at 8-8. The rest of the teams were 10-6 (1 team), 11-5 (3 teams), 12-4 (2 teams), and 13-3.
If the Bears want to be an elite team like that, they are going to have to open up more running plays for Matt Forte to do his thing. They cannot be 15th in the League in attempts per game, and 24th in rushing yards per game.
With the way Forte runs, he can easily wear defenses down, and do his best work in the fourth quarter. And, if he does his job well enough, he will open up the passing game for Jay Cutler and Co.
For the passing game, I would like to see the Bears stick with the West Coast offense. With the wide receivers and tight ends that they have, the West Coast offense is the best style adapted to their abilities. They have talented playmakers in Devin Hester and Greg Olsen, so they need to take advantage of that.
I would also like to see them go away from the screen passes to Devin Hester. It is one thing to throw a screen pass to Matt Forte, who is on a running start when he catches his screen pass, but asking Devin Hester to stand still while he catches the ball is the dumbest thing the Bears can do.
They have to take advantage of his speed and ability to make tacklers miss. I would like to see more slants thrown in his direction, even if he does lineup as the outside receiver. It is much easier for a defense to tackle a receiver when he is standing still than when he is on the run. Standing still while catching a pass in the flat is much different than fielding a punt while standing still.
Along with running the West Coast offense, I would like to see the Bears move to a no huddle styled offense, as well. Not only do most offenses run better in the no huddle, but a team built on speed can take advantage of the pressure it puts on the defense to hurry into their sets and positioning.
The position, I believe, affected mostly by the no-huddle offense is the defensive line, and a tired defensive line means holes will be open for Matt Forte to run through, and will also allow Jay Cutler the time to find his receivers.
Do not get me wrong, I understand that with an arm like Cutler's, you should throw the ball more often, but if coaches haven't realized now that the key to winning in the NFL is a good running game, then I don't know what else to say.
The key to a successful Chicago Bears 2009 season is allowing Matt Forte to run the ball 24-26 times per game, which will then have the Bears working the clock, allowing their banged up defense (we all know they will be banged up) to rest, and opening up the passing game for Cutler downfield.
Another hope is that the Bears brass realize that Cutler can hit Hester, in stride, 60 yards down the field. I would guess they connect on big gaining plays (40 yards or more) 10+ times this season.
So, you heard it here what the Bears need to do to be a success. Am I right or am I right?
I know I'm right.