Chicago Bears Insider: How to Fix Those Passing Problems

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 26: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears throws a pass as Shaun Ellis #92 of the New York Jets rushes at Soldier Field on December 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 38-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Are you a concerned Chicago Bears fan?  Are you a little worried that the Bears won’t be able to pass their way to victory in the playoffs?  After seeing what happened in Green Bay this past Sunday are you a little worried that Chicago won’t get far in the playoffs?

Well, never fear.  There is a way that the Bears can fix their passing problems before their next game and pass their way to the Super Bowl.  Let’s find out what they can do to make things better and possibly win the NFL Championship.

Protect Jay Cutler

The offensive line did a pretty bad job of protecting Cutler at the start of the season and then, following the Bears' bye week, they did end up doing better. 

In final game of the season (against the Green Bay Packers) the Bears gave up six sacks, numerous hits and pressures on Cutler.  This threw the Bears' passing game off and, with Cutler unable to get into a rhythm with his receivers, Chicago lost the game.

If the offensive line can provide him with the same kind of protection that he saw against the Minnesota Vikings (in the second game) and against the New York, Jets then the Bears will have a lot of success passing the ball and will win their playoff games.  

Run the Ball Often

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When the Bears had balance on offense (during their five game winning streak after the bye week) they didn’t have too much trouble on offense.  The running game helped set up the pass during that time and because of that the Bears had success.  Keeping the defense guessing is what the Bears need to do, so running it about half the time should work out well for them.

Cutler Needs to Make Better Decisions

There are those who don’t like criticism of Cutler, but he has made some poor decisions at times this season.  There have been some instances where he hangs onto the ball too long or forces passes into places that he shouldn’t and ends up either turning the ball over or having it fall incomplete.

Cutler, like any other quarterback, is the kind of guy that wants to make plays all the time, but may not make the right play. He needs to think things through better and curb the mistakes because in the playoffs, mistakes can mean an early exit for teams.

Watch the Corner Blitz

In three games this season, against the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and the final regular season game against the Packers, the Bears struggled to contain safeties and cornerbacks coming off the edge.  The Giants used their corner and safety blitz with success, as did the Packers.  

One problem that the Bears have had is blocking that type of blitz.  Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, with all his size (and the hefty wallet he has, due to the contract he signed this season) has been out maneuvered by those smaller guys and is directly to blame for several sacks.

Perhaps it would be better to have someone else in there to block at that position.  The Bears did have tight end Desmond Clark active for their game against the Packers and he’s a much better blocker than Manumaleuna is.  If they could get Clark in there to block and handle the blitzing safeties and corners, then the Bears could have a lot of success passing the ball.

Call the Right Plays

This is obvious, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz needs to be sure that he calls the right plays for the right situation. 

Martz is an offensive genius, but there are times when he makes some odd calls.  He needs to be straight with his calls, call the right thing in the right situation and not get “creative.”  Good play calling will lead to wins in the playoffs.

There has been a lot of speculation about what the Bears can do to help increase their chances of winning in the playoffs, but one thing is for sure—they aren't going anywhere without their passing game working.  Hopefully, they will be able to do some of the things outlined herein and, thus, find success with their passing game in the playoffs.


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