Bears

15 on 6: Ugliest offensive performance ever

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15 on 6: Ugliest offensive performance ever

Monday, Oct. 4, 2010
8:23 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

If Sunday night's game was the precursor for an early Halloween scare, the Bears succeeded!

I could not even believe what I was witnessing, then asked to comment on, as a former player, for Bears Postgame Live. The outcome of this debacle was the total opposite of what I anticipated. The Bears needed to be like the Jets who went into Buffalo and gave the Bills exactly what they expected - a beat Down!

The Giants were a team at the crossroads and waiting for their own demons to take hold all the way up to halftime. For the Bears to even jog to the locker room down 3-0 after 30 minutes was a miracle. This is after giving up nine sacks, a sack fumble, an interception, three offensive line changes and a total output of only 22 yards offensively.

It truly was the ugliest offensive performance I have ever witnessed from an NFL team.

If the Bears were given a rock for Halloween, (like good ole Charlie Brown), for that performance it would be generous. But before we get ahead of ourselves and fire everyone for a Halloween day massacre, let's understand why the Bears' play was so horrendous and attempt to put it into perspective.

Lost Quarter

From the information I have gathered, Jay Cutler went ghostly at the beginning of the second quarter. Mike Martz calls a 258 with whatever route combination tagged at the time. A 258 is a "QB Dash" play - a good play call at the time - allowing you to change the launch point for a QB when pass protection is an issue.

As a QB, you show a straight drop back of five steps from underneath the center, then dash to the right enabling offensive lineman to "pin in" pass rushers who are "teeing off." The problem is, you have to secure the backside cut off block, or a defensive end (Osi Umenyura) has a 20-yard sprint targeting your QB dead to rights. Greg Olsen amazingly tries a "cut block", when he should just face up. It truly is amazing that Jay Cutler actually got up after such a vicious hit, but he started walking to the wrong sideline. Clearly, he was not sound mentally and anyone who took that hit would have been out of sorts.

It is never a fun moment to be in that sate! I have experienced it, and it truly becomes a one-play-at-a-time senario, where you are trying to pull yourself together.

As the quarter progressed, even former NFL wide receiver Chris Collinsworth noted on a play, "How does Jay not see Earl Bennett on the Shallow cross?" I personally knew something was amiss when Jay missed a nickel blitz from an "empty set" (spread out, no backs), and took another vicious hit from cornerback Aaron Ross. Not recognizingmissing that blitz for Jay would be like Bears fans missing a Bears game - it does not happen! It is football 101, they are bringing one more than you have to block!

The second quarter was now lost, in terms of execution, and the coaches had to figure out if Jay can go in the third. In this house of horrors is where I have a huge problem, outside of the Offensive line protection issues.

Normally, players on the field sense when a player has been "dinged." Mike Martz and the offensive coaches had to have sensed it as well with how Jay was readingexecuting plays. All this withstanding; the blown blocking assignments, missed open receivers, lack of running game and the injured starting QB - the storm could have been weathered again by the Bears.

Instead, much like the confusion on the field, the Bears go in at the half with doctors evaluating Jay and no one prepping the offense - Todd Collins or Caleb Hanie for the inevitable. Collins said in his post game presser, "I did not know I was playing until coming out of the tunnel for the second half."

That is unacceptable and poor preparation by the Bears coaching staff!

From Now On...

Bears QB's better be equipped to manipulate this offense. After a three-game warning, Jay should have known he cannot trust his protection early. As a QB, you have to learn to negotiate it!

The play called in the huddle may have primaries, but you better know your dump-offs on every play. Offensively, you must log more snaps when things are "harry." It is the only way you find any rhythm. The "dump off," may not be a big gain, but they may miss a tackle or make a mistake, and you continue to make them line up to diagnose a weakness and find a spark.

Accountability

If we are holding players accountable for performance, the same goes for coaches. That was a horrific game plan by Martz. Mike had his hands full with shuffling offensive lineman, but going in, this game begged for the running game to be tapped. Play action would have been set up and the Bears could have been off to the races at 4-0.

It will be interesting next week in Carolina to see what the Bears unveil. Martz will be making the trip to the principal's office and we'll see if he makes the necessary adjustments.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Vic Fangio delivers some refreshing honesty about the state of the Bears' defense

Vic Fangio delivers some refreshing honesty about the state of the Bears' defense

Vic Fangio took the podium at Halas Hall on Thursday after coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich fielded questions for about 30 minutes, and began his press confernece with a classic quip. 

“Alright, let’s continue this lovefest,” Fangio said. 

For a Bears team coming off a 5-11 season — the fourth consecutive double-digit loss season for the franchise — there’s been plenty of positivity pinging around Halas Hall since Nagy was hired last week. But Fangio showed up with a reality check on Thursday, at least as it relates to the defense he’ll return to coach for a fourth year. 

“There’s no doubt strides were made," Fangio said. “Not enough. I think it’s a wrong picture to paint that the defense was great and the rest of the team wasn’t. We were 5-11. 

“If we were a great defense we’d have more than five wins. There’s a lot of room for improvement there — a lot — and we need to do that.”

The Bears opted for continuity in enticing Fangio to return to coach their defense, which ranked 10th in total defense and 9th in points last year, but was 14th in defensive DVOA. This was a good, not great defense that won the Bears a few games (most notably, the 17-3 win over the Carolina Panthers) but struggled at times, too. 

A great defense? That’d be the Jacksonville Jaguars, which on the back of one of the league’s best pass rushes and secondaries has vaulted Blake Bortles into the AFC Championship game. A great defense wouldn’t have let Brett Hundley post a 110.8 passer rating against it in Week 10; a great defense wouldn’t have allowed Matthew Stafford to scythe through it on two occasions. 

And that Fangio — who’s generally honest and brings a no-B.S. attitude to his press conferences — acknowledged that eight and a half months before the 2018 season starts was refreshing to hear. It’s almost been easy to forget the Bears lost their 11th and final game of the 2017 season less than three weeks ago with a new, young, offensive-minded coach stepping into Halas Hall. 

There will be plenty of turnover on the offensive side of the ball — possibly an entirely different receiver corps than was regularly on the field in 2017 — but the defense will have some consistency, starting with Fangio and extending to his defensive coaches, who he said Thursday he expects to be back. This is a group that needs more talent at edge rusher and cornerback, Fangio is more concerned with developing the guys who are already here — and were why this was a “good” defense last year. 

“Guys like Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan, Leonard (Floyd), Eddie Jackson, I know I’m going to miss some, I think they all have a lot more to give to us than we’ve seen,” Fangio said. “And it’s our job to get them to improve and become even better players. That will be more important to us than anybody we can acquire between now and whenever our first game is. 

“So, and I know it’s always sexy to talk between now and the first game, you know, who are you going to draft, who’s in free agency, etc., but we’ve got to get our so-called good players playing even better. And that will be critical.”

And that approach — moreso than his lengthy experience in the NFL — is why retaining Fangio made so much sense for the Bears. Nobody knows the strengths and flaws of the Bears’ defense better than Fangio; and keeping Hicks, Goldman, Trevathan, Floyd, Jackson etc., in the same scheme with the same coordinator and same coaches gives this Bears’ defense the best chance to go from being “good” to great. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bears use Jags/Vikes as blueprints and build an elite defense over offense?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bears use Jags/Vikes as blueprints and build an elite defense over offense?

On this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Schuster (670 The Score), Dan Cahill (Chicago Sun-Times) and Jordan Bernfield join David Kaplan on the panel.

The Bulls keep on winning. Should they try to make the playoffs? NBCSportsChicago.com’s Vincent Goodwill joins the guys to discuss.

Plus, with Bortles, Foles and Keenum starting in this weekend’s Championship Games should the Bears prioritize improving their defense this offseason?