Week One: What We Learned About the Chicago Bears
It was just one game, but many Chicago Bears fans feel it is the end of the world, and are calling for the returns of people they forgot they whined about.
There are already mutterings of the great "game manager" Kyle Orton or the fairytale preseason game Rex Grossman had...against a second-string defense. Chicago Bears fans need to relax, put the bedtime stories away, and go to sleep.
Like any loss, Week One for the Chicago Bears brought up a lot of questions about the team, but, like any loss, there is a good chance the Bears will learn something from them.
The Special Teams Play Wasn't Good
Aside from the mind-boggling Patrick Mannelly fake punt play, the kickoff team was terrible. Jordy Nelson had 124 yards returning on four kick returns including a 46-yard return on the opening kickoff. We can let the Mannelly incident go; if the Hall of Fame ever recognizes a long snapper, Mannelly would be it, so give him a break.
And would someone point Devin Hester in the direction of the endzone? I wonder if he misses Brendon Ayanbadejo.
The Offensive Line Wasn't Good
Watch left guard Frank Omiyale on every play next week and explain to me why he is starting over Josh Beekman. Actually, you don't need to, it is because of his four-year contract the Bears signed him to.
On a positive note, Chris Williams played pretty well, but as a whole, the line was bad. Don't worry, I'm sure Olin Kreutz will somehow get to another Pro Bowl.
The Receivers Weren't Good, But What Do You Expect?
The wide receivers of the Chicago Bears took a lot of flack from C(h)ris "Beeker" Collinsworth during the game and fans after the game, but what do you want from them? Devin Hester is not a No. 1, this is technically Earl Bennett's rookie season, Johnny Knox(ville) is just fast and teams now know who Greg Olsen and Matt Forte are.
Collinsworth kept talking about receivers running the wrong routes, but in reality the routes did not work and so then it became a guessing game between Cutler and the receivers he barely knows as to where he was going to throw the ball. Chicago Bears receivers are rarely, if ever, going to help on a broken play or make a bad pass look good. That's the way it is.
There is no excuse for dropped passes, however, which the receiving/tight end core had their share of.
The routes did not work, so some fault must lie with offensive coordinator Ron Turner, shouldn't it? The better question is, what did he do to earn this job? He was a good coordinator in the mid '90s then went on to be an awful head coach at Illinois, so the Bears re-hired him in 2005.
Makes sense to hire someone based on the fact they were good a decade before.
The Defense Was Good
The defense was surprisingly good against a very good offense, especially the defensive line. Adewale Ogunleye was incredible, but Tommie Harris still looks slow. God bless athletes in their contract years, but god damn athletes who find god and use it as an excuse to play terribly.
Unfortunately the Bears lost Brian Urlacher for the season, which means Hunter Hillenmeyer will move to the middle linebacker position. That is not good. Teams are going to pound the middle all day against the Bears now.
Surprisingly Lance Briggs completely shut down any idea of moving to the middle, which has to make you question whether his dedication is to the team or his own stats.
Just when you think Nathan Vasher might be decent, he reminds you why he is not good on a 50-yard touchdown pass. However, there should be some blame on the call of having him one-on-one in a third-and-one, four-down situation against Greg Jennings.
A play-action pass was a great possibility with the thought process of "if this doesn't work we can always run the ball at Hillenmeyer to get the first down on fourth down."
Why Vasher was playing bump-and-run, however, no-one knows.
On a positive note, Charles Tillman played well coming off his recent injury.
Jay Cutler Was Bad
I have made plenty of excuses for Cutler regarding the play-calling of Ron Turner, the uselessness of the receivers, and the breakdown of the offensive line, but Cutler was bad.
Yes, the play-calling was suspect, but the screen to Forte in the redzone worked and Cutler somehow found a way to throw an interception to a defensive lineman.
Yes, the receivers are useless, but it looked as though Cutler hadn't worked with them at all. He had to know what he was getting himself into coming to Chicago regarding weapons.
Yes, the offensive line was bad, but Cutler is supposed to be a mobile quarterback.
The golden excuse Bears fans are making is that this is just the first week and Cutler and the offense have to get used to one another.
Brett Favre and the Vikings looked used to one another, Mark Sanchez and the Jets looked used to one another, and, of course, Kyle Orton and the Broncos looked used to one another. The simple fact is the Bears were not prepared for this game and it showed in all facets.
That is what the offseason is for. This isn't an 162-game season where you have time to get acquainted. You have 16 weeks to win, so the time for introductions is over. It's game time.
The Bears better get used to one another quickly because before you know it, people are going to run out of excuses.
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