Chicago Bears Have Solid Tailback Depth; With or Without Chester Taylor

The free agent signing of Chester Taylor has been pretty much a huge mistake for the Chicago Bears. Actually, his production has been so disappointing in Chicago you’d almost assume he was a Jerry Angelo draft pick.

Taylor took the blame for the confusion, in the “am I cut” or “am I not cut?” soap opera this week at Halas Hall.

So that’s admirable of him. But still…Taylor did not play in last week’s preseason game at Tennessee. Instead, the Bears went with Kahlil Bell as the third running back behind Matt Forte and Marion Barber.

[Read more…]

The Chicago Bear Necessities: Ground and Pound Attack

matt_forte_bears

Ground and pound.

It’s historically been the staple of the offensive scheme in the Chicago Bears organization since the team’s inception. Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, and Neal Anderson were all products of a system that worked ­– a power running game and a gruesome defense.

But with the league becoming more trigger-happy than Rambo, the Bears finally submitted to the natural evolution of the NFL. In betting the farm on Jay Cutler and hiring Mike Martz to revive and orchestrate his greatest show on turf, the Bears waved the white flag on the running game high and proud for the entire league to see.

By Ethan Asofsky

[Read more…]

Former Bears & Loyalty Lines as a Chicago Football Fan

cutler_training

By Soxman

As the Bears record drops to 3-2, with tough divisional match-ups still on the horizon, I couldn’t help but notice how well former Chicago Bears players are doing these days.  Yes I said FORMER players.  What’s even more shocking is that fans’ desire for these player’s exits from Chicago came almost as fast as the gusts of the windy city could push them out of town.

At this point in the season, would we take them back?  Let’s examine and see where your loyalties lie.

Out:  Kyle Orton

In: Jay Cutler

Orton has a 100.1 QB rating on the season, has thrown for 1465 yards and only one interception in six games.  His team is 6-0.

Cutler has an 86.9 QB rating and has already thrown 7 interceptions on the season.  We know “his team’s” record.

Out: Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones

In: Matt Forte

Benson has become the third leading rusher in the NFL (594 yards) and has found the end zone 4 times.  Yes.  I’m talking about the same Cedric Benson who I was critical of since he was anointed the “face of the Bears” two years ago and left Chicago with mace in his eyes and the label of another RB bust. Thomas Jones, who the Bears pretty much gave away after he rushed them to the Super Bowl, has racked up over 1100 yards every year since he’s left Chicago and has already rushed for 481 yards and six TDs this season.

It would be an understatement to say nicknames like “Sweetness II” and “the answer” once being bantered about Matt Forte have been put on hold as the Bears’ running game is now a defined as “a problem.”  Forte has rushed for just 294 yards and scored one touchdown. Is it not inevitable that as Bears fans we are so quick to rush to judgment?  Especially when the year 1985 is our only recollection of super bowl glory?  matt-forte-inside

I still remember when Rex Grossman returned from one of his many injuries to supplant Orton as the Bears starting QB in 2004.  How many Chicago Papers said how great it was to “finally have a real QB in Chicago?”   Remember how quickly that changed when Grossman posted a 66.4 QB rating in 8 games in 2007?   Last weekend, I noticed a Grossman jersey being used as a hand towel at a local Chicago restaurant.

It goes without saying that if the Bears were 5-0, we would care less about former players, or that Matt Forte is currently one of the lowest ranked RBs in the NFL.  But, we are here instead.  So instead we voice our frustration and fantasize about a backfield with the 2009 Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones, or spew hatred at Kyle Orton because he “found himself” in Denver. A special lady in my life recently opened my ears to the possibility of appreciating country music.  Something that I never thought possible.  So as a Bears fan I can say with 100% assurance that it is possible to find something good out of something perceived to be bad.  Ironically, a song by Little Texas entitled “What Might Have Been” just randomly started playing on I-tunes  as I type this article.

The refrain is interesting: “Try not to think about what might have been.  That was then, and we have taken different roads, we can’t look back again, no use giving in, there’s no way to know, what might have been.”

So I guess you can say that in the spirit of divine intervention, I will not begin to theorize or debate how Forte would fare in New York, or how Benson would perform with the 2009 Bears offensive line blocking for him. But in the spirit of irony, I’ll also reveal that I’m wearing my Chicago Bears Kyle Orton jersey as I type this article and strangely find myself thinking that the 2009 Broncos have all the fixings for Sportsbank readers to love:bearspractice1

-New England Patriot ties
-Chicago Bears castaways
-Underdogs predicted by everyone to be in a re-building year
-The Sportsbank colors or Bears colors.
-The “Monsters of the Mountains” defense.  Catchy isn’t it?  (patent pending by Soxman)

And both cities have fair weather…conditions… albeit fans. Now we only need to come up with a sappy white man’s rap to rival the 85 Bears Super Bowl Shuffle and we truly might be on to something here. For diehard fans who love the Bears no matter what, remember, a trade is not measured in one season alone. Jay Cutler is 5th in the NFL in interceptions.  Only Mark Sanchez, Jake Delhome, Kerry Collins, and Carson Palmer have thrown more picks.  Three of those four players may lose their starting gig before the season is over.  Roast accordingly and swim in the cess pool of negativity that only the Chicago media, or perhaps more aptly the Bears PR (“Police Resistance”) staff can generate.

Where do your loyalties and thoughts lie?  Think about it while I consider accepting a Jay Cutler and Matt Forte for Kyle Orton and Cedric Benson swap in one of my fantasy leagues.   After all, there are loyalties.  Especially when it comes to winning games.

Bears-Lions Exchange

emo-jay-cutler

Paul M. Banks and H. Jose Bosch preview Bears-Lions on Sunday

(PMB) Wow!!! Your Lions won! What is the world coming to? Of course, Detroit also once produced a very good and well-accomplished Caucasian hip-hop artist, so I know the Motor City can be “where amazing happens.”

After all four teams in the NFC North won for the first time since Week 10 of the 2005 season (I think we can guess which team has held the league back those four years!!), the Bears remain tied for second place in the division with the Green Bay Packers (2-1), one game behind the Minnesota Vikings (3-0) and one game ahead of the suddenly sizzling Lions. With that torrid winning streak the Lions are on, should the rest of the division be wary of the footsteps behind them? Is this a new Golden Age for the NFC North?staffordgrinding

(HJB) Of course the rest of the division should be scared! OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but the time will come where the Lions aren’t an easy two wins on the schedule. Is that time now? I wouldn’t go that far yet. This week’s game will go a long way in answering that question. But if the Lions give the Bears a good game or (dare I say) win, the NFC North should watch out. Especially the Bears, who travel to Detroit to end the season.

(PMB) I noticed the Lions are 30th in pass defense, so the area expected to be Detroit’s biggest weakness (and that really says something..it’s like being the shortest midget, or the fattest sumo wrestler) is their secondary. I’ve accepted the fact that the Bears WRs are not as bad as I once thought, but do you think they’re mediocre enough to give the DBs some burn marks, complementing their Honolulu Blue and silver?
(HJB) On most weeks all you need are two legs, two hands and a heartbeat and you’ll beat the Detroit secondary. But I wouldn’t put it past any receiver missing a limb to have a career day against the Lions secondary. I’ve only watched one game this season (and they won!) and Washington clearly didn’t fear the DBs. Just 13 runs the entire game for the Skins.Detroit couldn’t get pressure on the quarterback or cover the receivers. Santana Moss had a big day. The only confidence I have is that the Bears tend to play down to their opponents rather than crushing them. But Cutler may change that. Is he a fantasy free agent?

(PMB) Possibly, you’ll have to go on the open market and check. Good joke about the Detroit secondary. On the flip side, tell me about the youngster Cliff Avril, is he the real deal? And what about this year’s crop of rookies, do you think they’re ready to defend Chicago’s VAUNTED 28th ranked rushing attack?

I don’t think it’s all Forte’s fault. Yes, he’s looked bad, but how do you “run to daylight” when your offensive line never lets you see any? The OL has been pretty bad, as it’s been incessant nighttime for Forte through the first three games.

(HJB) You mean 2008 Sporting News All-rookie team member Cliff Avril? He clearly had a good first season, but he injured his hamstring the first week of the season and has been out since. If he plays this week, he probably won’t be much of a factor. You might be thinking of safety Louis Delmas, who hasn’t done anything to improve the secondary from what I’ve seen. Or defensive tackle Sammie Hill, who has just one solo tackle in two games. Whoever you mean, the defense might not have to worry about the running attack because of the awful secondary.

But the Bears can’t completely ignore the running game. They need to, at the very least, convert on short yardage situations, something Washington struggled with.  That’s killed them, especially when the field got shorter. So the Bears may not have to worry about the run, but they need it juuuuuuuust enough for the win.

loser_lions


(PMB) I figured I’d close on a high note, and bring up a stat which should become even more superlative after Sunday. For the season, Cutler has now thrown for 760 yards on 65 of 101 passing with six touchdowns and five interceptions for an 86.2 passer rating. Cutler’s 253.3 passing yards per game average is currently highest in Bears franchise history. Cutler is on pace to throw for a franchise record 4,053 yards this season. I show you this chart for two reasons

1.) it highlights how sorry Bears QBs have been over the years

2.) Look at who #2 is on this list, your good old friend was indeed the most accomplished Captain of “Air Chicago”

kramer

(HJB) That’s a pretty sad state of affairs when your quarterbacks are just as pathetic as the Lions. And in great Chicago tradition you’ve signed a guy that carries himself like anything other than an NFL quarterback. If I want a beer pong partner at a frat house, I want Jay Cutler. Hell, I’d want any Bears quarterback from the last 10 years. If I want a clutch quarterback, someone who can actually win me games late in the season and not just rack up stats, well Cutler wouldn’t be my guy. I hope you guys enjoy having a quarterback sans neck beard but when the games matter most, you’re going to wish you had a winner like Matthew Stafford … who will be a winner next year … probably. As for this week, Cutler will probably look like Joe Montana.

MOST PASSING YARDS PER GAME             Bears History

Player  Season  G    Att   Cmp   Yds    Yds/G

1 . Jay Cutler 2009 3 101    65   760      253.3

2. Erik Kramer 1995 16  522  315   3,838   239.9

3 . Billy Wade 1962   14  412   225       3,172    226.6

4 . Sid Luckman 1947  12   323  176    2,712    226.0

5 . Johnny Lujack 1949 12 312 162    2,658    221.5