Bears have no clue how to start fixing offense
BY RICK MORRISSEY email@example.com September 25, 2011 10:20PM
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler reacts to an incomplete pass in the second half of the Chicago Bears 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday September 25, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 11, 2011 2:03PM
It depends on the day and his mood, but most of the time, Jay Cutler doesn’t venture far afield in his musings with the media.
But Sunday, after the second straight game in which the Bears looked hopelessly lost on offense, he was blunt. Frustration and no running game will do that to you.
Someone suggested to Cutler that surgically removing all the things in the Bears’ game plan that aren’t working and adding more of the good things (whatever those are) might help.
‘‘It’s so hit and miss in what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing well that I don’t even know where to begin,’’ he said.
Three games into the season, that’s the scary part if you’re a Bear or have an emotional investment in the team. Where do you begin with the problems on offense? The Bears rushed for 13 yards on 12 carries Sunday, their lowest rushing total in more than 50 years. It came a week after they ran the ball only 12 times, one a Cutler scramble.
Is it possible for an NFL team to win with an offense so imbalanced that it wobbles?
‘‘We’re 0-2 doing this, so it’s not looking very good,’’ Cutler said.
It’s so bad that coach Lovie Smith would be happy if the Bears got off the bus racewalking.
Someone asked Cutler if the Bears had an identity on offense, and if he had been honest, he would have said: ‘‘Yes, as a matter of fact, we do. We’ve been identified as not having one.’’
‘‘The first game we were clicking,’’ he said. ‘‘The last two games have been misfiring and here and there. Until we’re more consistent, I guess we don’t [have an identity].’’
Packers weren’t losing this one
The defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers beat the Bears 27-17 because they’re the better team. You had the feeling that even if the Bears’ offense came to life through some Vatican-recognized miracle, Green Bay would have found a way to win.
But bear in mind the Packers’ defense had been shredded in the first two weeks of the season. Sunday was an opportunity for the Bears to forget about their embarrassing offensive performance in New Orleans. Instead, they dropped balls, overthrew passes and committed penalties in earnest. Cutler threw two interceptions and would have had another if not for offsetting penalties.
The Bears had three yards of total offense in the third quarter.
The strangest thing? The much-maligned offensive line did a solid job, thanks, in part, to the Packers’ decision to drop eight players into coverage at times.
Matt Forte rushed nine times for two yards, which is almost as impossible as it sounds.
It doesn’t matter whether you believe Forte is an elite back or not (I don’t). The Bears can’t win if offensive coordinator Mike Martz keeps ignoring him. Making Forte’s involvement even more necessary is that he’s the kind of back who might run the ball 20 times before he cracks off a long run.
‘‘We’ve just got to find ways to get him the ball, get him rushes, get him touches, get him going because he’s an explosive, explosive player,’’ Cutler said. “I feel bad for him right now. He wants the ball. He wants to help out, and we’re not giving him a lot of opportunities.’’
So sloppy and so far to go
You watch the Packers’ offense and how smooth Aaron Rodgers is, and it makes you realize how far behind the Bears’ offense is in terms of talent and execution. But the Bears’ offense wasn’t going against Rodgers. It was going against a Green Bay defense that had given up a total of 851 passing yards in the first two games.
Tiny Dane Sanzenbacher, the rookie free agent from Ohio State, probably will turn into a cult hero in town, but the truth is that his presence on the field shows just how bad things have gotten on offense. Cutler threw to him seven times Sunday and to putative No. 1 receiver Roy Williams four times. Williams had no catches.
“Not a lot of time with Roy,’’ Cutler said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. Missing camp, injuries. He’s still a little bit sore. Until we put some time in there and we get some practices and get some reps and make us comfortable, it’s hard. You can ask any quarterback that.’’
Smith spent last week saying the Bears would “clean it up” on offense, but they walked away sloppier than ever.
They are 1-2. They will get better. But it’s going to take a long time to rid themselves of feelings of inadequacy.
‘‘Until we put together a full game and we’re consistent and we’re balanced, it’s going to be difficult for us to win, even though the defense is playing lights-out,’’ Cutler said.