Thursday, October 21, 2010

Should We Be Concerned About The Front Four?

The game against the Seahawks this past week was ugly in more ways than one. We could talk all day about the problems the offense is currently having, but I've got to pretend to work sometime today so let's not.

For the first time this season, the defense did not play up to their own lofty standards. Some of this can be contributed to facing a veteran QB such as Matt Hasselbeck that has seen everything over his time in the league, but overall, the defense failed in many aspects including the pass rush.

This brings me to my question; should Bears fans be concerned about the (lack) of a pass rush from the front four?

As most know, Lovie Smith runs a Tampa 2 style defense which is predicated on getting a solid pass rush from the front four. Ideally, the front four will generate enough pressure so that the only option for opposing QBs is to dump the ball off underneath the coverage and the back seven swarm to make the tackle after a short gain. This style is a classic "bend don't break" mentality and if the defense can generate a turnover or two, can be extremely effective.

However, if the front four can not generate consistent pressure, veteran QB's like Hasselbeck will pick the cover 2 apart with short/medium passes. This was the case last Sunday on the lakefront.

Look, we all understand Tommie Harris is a shell of his former self. The man has knees of a 55 year old. Last time I checked, there aren't any 55 year olds playing defensive tackle in the NFL. Unfortunately, Tommie still represents the best interior pass rusher on the Bears roster. As much as I like Anthony Adams and Matt Toeaina, their strengths are clearly stopping the run and occupying blockers to keep Urlacher/Briggs/Pisa clean to make plays. They both excel at doing this and the solid rush defense is evidence.

The problem is, that outside of Peppers, there isn't a consistent rusher on the roster. Some may say Izzy Idonije has the chance to develop into one, but the coaching staff has jerked him around so much over the last few seasons (changing positions, asking him to lose/gain weight) and severely stunted his development. I'm an Izzy guy, and I do think he has a chance to develop into a complete defensive end (he's already an above average run stopper) but until the staff leaves him at one position for an extended period, we wont ever know. The release of Marc Anderson could possibly be a sign that the staff will finally give Izzy the chance he's earned. If Izzy can continue to improve over the course of the season(he leads the Bears with 4 sacks through 6 games), then maybe the pass rush issues go away. But that's a lot to ask of a player who is getting his first real opportunity to learn and master a position.

This brings us back to Tommie. When Tommie was playing well, he could generate mass amounts of pressure through the "A" gap in the middle of the offensive line. It forced QB's and offensive coordinators to know whenever Tommie was on the field and adjust their blocking schemes to him. This would create 1 on 1 match ups for everyone else on the defensive line. Past players like Alex Brown, 'Wale Ogunleye and Anderson took advantage of these opportunities when Tommie was playing at a high level. But when Tommie plays like the overpriced sack of shit he is now, there is no threat from the interior lineman.

Until the Bears find an interior defensive lineman that can create a rush, offensive coordinators will continue to scheme double/triple teams toward Julius Peppers to neutralize him. This leaves 1 on 1 match ups for the rest of the lineman. Can the players on the roster win these 1 on 1 matchups? So far, no player outside of Izzy has. We can't expect Peppers to play at the level he has been performing at all season. He's going to have games like this last Sunday when he isn't going to have the enormous impact we've come to expect. Someone must take advantage or the Bears will revert back to the defensive form they have displayed the last 2+ seasons. Not good, not good at all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trent Dilfer: Big Douche or Biggest Douche Ever?

I have a problem (well many problems but let's stay focused). My problem is with ESPN "Analyst" Trent Dilfer. This clown is a cereal Bears hater and more specifically a Jay Cutler hater.

I live by the moto "to each his own." I could care less what your opinion is, but if you believe in it then stick to your guns. If your thing is to rip into a player or team any chance you get, go for it. I do this all the time, I'm as guilty as anyone but that is what makes America the best country in the world. You can say and write whatever the fuck you want about almost anything. I just used the word "fuck" in a sentence, THAT'S FUCKING AWESOME!

What I don't like about this is when doucher Trent Dilfer pounces on Jay Cutler whenever anything is wrong with the Bears. His latest gem:

"Jay Cutler was introduced to this offense last spring in organized training activities. He went through an entire training camp with it. He was force-fed all of the information by Mike Martz and shown clearly what this offense is about. They use complex protection schemes and utilize one back in the backfield most of the time. It puts a tremendous burden on the quarterback to know who's blocked and who's not blocked. Ultimately, it's Jay Cutler's responsibility, when secondary people are coming, he needs to know they're either being picked up by my offensive line and my backs, or I'm responsible for them with hot throws. Regardless of what the issue is, ultimately it falls on Jay Cutler to get the ball out of his hands and to prevent these sacks and the turnovers that come with them."

Listen here Difler, you were a terrible football player. I don't care that you were part of a Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV. As far as I'm concerned, you did next to nothing helping Ray of Light and the Ravens win that game. 12-25 for 153 yards would win you nothing without playing with the 2nd greatest single season defense of all time. All you did was not fuck things up, good for you. I bet the 29 other backup QB's in the league that year would have killed to be in your position. But I regress...

I'm not saying that terrible football players such as Dilfer are all bad analysts. There are loads of sub-par ex-football players that are enjoyable to listen to while breaking down a situation: Charles Davis, The Bears very own Tom Waddle, Mike Golic and Ron Jaworski are players that had varying levels of success in the league but are knowledgeable and present information as well as any analyst around. The afore mentioned analysts do not step out of their comfort zones and attempt to analyze situations they were never exposed to. Example: Tom Waddle is never going to tell you what it's like to have to work against bracket coverage on the outside like Randy Moss. Sure, he'll be able to explain the concepts of it but as we all know, Waddle excelled over the middle and was less of a downfield threat. If he wanted to tell me what it's like to have your bell rung going across the middle, the guy has vast experience doing that and you know he's speaking from real-life experience. Bottom line, you need to take everything these guys say with a grain of salt.

This brings me back to Dilfer. This guy has never know what it's like to be a QB that is counted on to win games and make everyone better. While I'm not disputing that it is ultimately Cutler's responsibility to know where pressure is coming from, the O-line and Mike Martz need to have idea as well. This last week there were at least 5 sacks that were a direct result of the outside tackle blocking down on a double team instead of picking up the blitzer coming free off the edge. The tackle needs to be more aware of possible pressure. Last week doesn't fall on Cutler. When you're forced to have to make plays for your team to be successful, you need to take chances and hold the ball to let receivers get open. You also need to be confident in knowing the O-line will be able to pick blitzers up. Last time I checked, all these offensive lineman were in mini/training camp as well and were "force fed" the offense just like Cutler. Don't pin all the blame on him. While I can admit he needs to do things better, this one is on the line and Martz.

Back To Work Wednesday

It's a back to work Wednesday at Halas Hall today. What are some of the biggest issues the Bears face this week as D. McNabb and the hogs from DC roll into the city of wind?

1. The offense must be in sync - The offensive line, Cutler and Martz must anticipate what the 'Skins will do on defense to confuse. Communication breakdowns that plagued the Bears against the Seahawks can not happen again. Here's to hoping that an additional week together for the O-Line will help the cause (doubtful)

2. Run the ball!!! - There needs to be more balance on offense. Martz must stick with the run game for longer than the first quarter. Let this line run block and get comfortable. Be patient and give Forte/Taylor a chance to wear the 'Skins down and hopefully it leads to a few big runs in the 2nd half

3. Keep McNabb contained in the pocket - The Mt. Carmel product still does his best work when flushed from the pocket. Too many times he'll break contain and is able to wing it downfield to a receiver behind the defense. Keep McNabb in the pocket and the receivers in front of the defense to limit big plays.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They Did It! Bears Solve O-Line Issues In-House

They did it! They actually did it! The Bears didn't even have to look outside the organization to solve their offensive line issues.

A lot of praise was given to Mike Martz after the week 2 game in Dallas for the brilliant adjustments he made. Perennial flip-flopper, David Haugh, even wrote an article stating that we should "enjoy Martz while (we) can" since he's likely to be a head coach next year with his genius qualities. After getting dominated by the Boys' front four on the initial 3 possessions, Martz stops calling 5 and 7-step drops and starts calling for some quick passes to reverse the pressure. Bears start moving the ball and go on to win the game.

Now, after week 6, the critics are out and they're blaming Martz for a lack of adjustments in the embarrassing loss to the Seahawks. So what if he continued to go for the big play instead of moving the chains? So what if 7 of the 12 run plays that he called occurred in the 1st quarter of the game?

It's probably because we don't have the same view that Martz is afforded (a mere 75 yards away from the line of scrimmage), but these critics are failing to see the incredible move that The Genius pulled off....

Imagine that you are THE Mike Martz.

It's halftime and your team is down 14-13. Clearly an insurmountable lead for any other team, but these are DA BEARS we're talking bout (BEARS!). You are Mike MF Martz! You know Lovie's not one for motivational speeches, so you decide it's time to step up and solidify your role with this team. "You got this, you're Mike Martz," you say to yourself while looking in the mirror post-halftime-piss. After rinsing your hands off without using soap, you walk into the center of the locker room and you rally the troops. "I'm Mike Martz! I know what to do. Take a knee with the rest of the guys, Lovie... I'm about to save your job."

After explaining the single adjustment you need to make to win this game, your team is so pumped that the defense goes out and forces a punt on the initial possession of the 2nd half after only 6 plays and one first down. You get the ball back on your own 10 yard line. "It's go time, Michael. Don't chunk this," you say to yourself, knowing damn well you couldn't possibly chunk it with your fool-proof plan. Your team lines up at the 10 with an unbeatable formation... from right to left you have Frank Omiyale at TE, J'Marcus Webb at RT, Edwin Williams at RG, Olin Kruetz falling down the middle, C Will at LG and lifetime 7th Floor Crew member Greg Olsen holding down the fort at LT.

With so much beef on the right side, there's no chance that the Seahawks could stop this play anywhere short of 50 yard line. The ball is snapped, Cutler hands it off to Forte. Forte fakes left and counters back to the right side behind a monster push by Frank Omiyale and J'Marcus Webb. Daylight.... Forte to the 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5 and TOUCHDOWN!!!

Oh wait... That's not how it happened? You're Mike Martz; how could it go wrong? "DARN!" Instead of running behind the beef, you call for Forte to follow the dominating blocks of Greg Olsen against puny 323 lb DE, Red Bryant. Instead of the Bears' usual push from the LT position, Olsen gets blown up and Bryant easily takes Forte down for an astounding 0 yard gain. Next play: 10 yard sack for a safety. "You lose, Mike Martz... you loser."

Lovie Smith Generic Quote of the Week

Each Tuesday here at Bear Down Chicago Bears we'll bring you the best Lovie Smith generic quote from his weekly Monday news conference that will make you say "No shit, Lovie. Thanks for the update you fucking assclown"

"We realize we have to have more balance on the offensive side of the football, and we plan on doing that"

Well thanks Lovie, so you're telling me that running the ball only 12 times while dropping back 47 times isn't a good balance? Leaving yourself with 3rd and long numerous times after incompletions on first and second down isn't a good plan? Could of fooled me, Lovie. Let me know when you have the stones to tell Mike Martz to run the fucking ball and maybe I'll believe you then.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wait, Jerry Angelo Still Runs This Team?!? Well Fuck Me

Alright ladies and gents I'm back! Mr.Peanut On Your Face has returned after a 2-year hiatus filled with fast livin' and good times to once again spew gibberish about the beloved, Chicago Bears.

As we sit here today, the beloved stand at 4-2, including 2-0 within the NFC North. To the naked eye, many would believe Lovie Smith and the boys are off to a great start. Winning games is the only thing that matters at the end of the day in the NFL but don't let the Bears record fool you, this team is seriously flawed in more ways than one. There are severe talent/personal issues at several key positions on the offensive side of the ball. Typically, it would be unfair to pin the blame on just one person for the numerous problems the Bears have but this situation is far from typical. Jerry Angelo and his brain trust are solely responsible for most all of the Bears issues.

Jerry Angelo began his reign of terror following the 2001 season in which the Bears played with a horseshoe up their collective asses and finished the regular season 13-3 before crashing and burning in a playoff defeat to Donovan McNabb, Hugh Douglas and the Eagles. The Bears were successful that season due to an opportunistic defense led by up and coming standouts Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown and a solid running game featuring Offensive ROY Anthony Thomas. Things seemed to line up perfectly for Angelo as the right pieces were already in place to replicate the formula that made him successful at his previous stop in Tampa Bay; A solid defense with multiple pro-bowl caliber players and an offense predicated on the run.

Angelo's first 3 seasons (2002-04) were a complete disaster on all fronts. The team on the field was terrible with a combined record of 16-32 with zero playoff appearances. This also marked the beginning of the worst stretch of draft picks EVER by the Bears. Over this 3 year period, the Bears had 29 total picks. Let's start with the good. During this time frame the Bears selected standouts: Lance Briggs (3rd rd - 2004), Charles "Peanut" Tillman (2nd rd - 2004), and Alex Brown (4th rd - 2002). Among players drafted that made an impact for 2-3 seasons: Nate Vasher (4th rd- 2004), Tommie Harris (1st rd - 2004), Tank Johnston (2nd rd - 2004), Bernard Berrian (3rd rd - 2004), Rex Grossman (1st rd - 2003) and Terrance Metcalf (3rd rd - 2002). Notable busts during this time: Marc Colombo (1st rd - 2002), Michael Haynes (1st rd - 2003). This 3 year stretch, unfortunately, is the cream of the crop when it comes to draft picks as most of the players listed above contributed to the Super Bowl run in 2006.

Finally following the 2003 season, Dick Jauron was put out to pasture and a new optimism was born with the hiring of Lovie Smith. Initially, the defense seemed to be in good hands under the guidance of Smith. The Bears rode the strength of the D to back to back division titles in 2005/2006 including a Super Bowl appearance following the 2006 season. The influx of talent on the defensive side of the ball continued through the draft: Danieal Manning, Jamar Williams, Marc Anderson and Corey Graham all contributed during their first few seasons with the club.

The combination of Angelo/Lovie has proven over time that drafting for defense has been the least of their problems. The issue has been the inability to draft any offensive talent whatsoever. The NFL over the last 4-5 seasons has become a league geared toward offense and more specifically, passing offense. During Angelo's tenure, the Bears have drafted ZERO offensive pro-bowlers. Let that sink in, ZERO offensive pro-bowlers. Since Angelo took over, you can count on one hand how many offensive players drafted had a positive impact on this team: Matt Forte, Devin Hester (although originally drafted to play DB), maybe Greg Olsen(terribly inconsistent), maybe Johnny Knox(jury is still out on him) and the combination of Ortman (Orton/Grossman). That's it people. Among the many offensive misses in the Jerry Angelo era: Colombo, Mark Bradley, Garrett Wolfe, Chris Williams(?), Juaquin Inglesias. This does not factor in the numerous wasted high round picks on players that were, for lack of a better term, really shitty: Dan Bazuin(2nd rd), Michael Okwo(4th rd), Roosevelt Williams(3rd), and Jarron Gilbert(3rd).

There are zero players on the current roster from the draft class of 2005 (Chris Harris was drafted that season, but has since been reacquired), zero from 2002, one player from 2004 (Tommie Harris, ugh), two from 2003, two from 2006, three from 2007, three from 2009, four from 2010, and seven from 2008. That's a total of 22 drafted players on the current roster. Of those 22 players, only 6 players are starters. Fucking 6! Over 8 fucking draft classes!

The draft is the lifeblood of any NFL franchise. Jerry Angelo has proven over the last 8 seasons that he is incapable of drafting quality NFL talent. The man has failed over and over again. Sure, Angelo has made many bold moves including the signing of Julius Peppers and the trade for Jay Cutler but in the process has left the cupboard void of NFL talent to surround these pro bowlers with.

I'm not the first to call for Angelo's head and wont certainly be the last, but the bottom line is a change is long overdue. The beloved will continue to swirl in the pool of mediocrity as long as Angelo is in charge. Sam Cooke said "A Change is Gonna Come" Let's hope sooner rather than later.