Bears

15 on 6: Cutler still in pursuit of perfection

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15 on 6: Cutler still in pursuit of perfection

Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010
7:07 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

It's easy to travel back from Toronto feeling good about a Bears victory.

Defense preserved a win and the offense converted 58 percent of their third downs along with scoring down in the redzone when goal to goal situations arise.

Lovie Smith nailed it in his postgame press conference, "it's a good place to start for growth". The bears were balanced running and passing, but your imagination runs wild what they are capable of - if or when - they put it all together.

Jay's stats look nice: 97 rating, 2 TD's, 17-for-30 for 188 yards, but he should have shredded the Bills and their last ranked defense. He was inaccurate with some throws which should have been easy completions and made some ill-advised passes as well. Throwing the ball late to Greg Olsen on a middle read when he was triple covered is just never going to be a good outcome. Jay is lucky to be playing the Bills on that play, whose lone interception this year is by linebacker Andra Davis, and he did not even suit up on Sunday.

I only bring this decision up because the bears left points on the board again! The following play, Robbie Gould missed a 42-yard field goal.

When you are struggling offensively, points are at a premium and jay needs to respect that.

Jay nicely tucked it and ran several times earlier in the game and this situation called for it as well. The bills dropped eight into coverage and were playing prevent almost daring Jay to dump it off and kick a field goal. If he just tucks it and runs, he gets 5-10 yards and Robbie is kicking a 32 yarder instead. A good defense intercepts that throw and Robbie would not of even run onto the field.

Clean it up

A lot of positives, but Mike Martz cannot let a win cloud what Jay needs to correct.

Poor footwork and three poor decisions are all correctable. A 188-yard game should have been 250. A nail biter should have been blown open.

The pursuit for the perfect game continues.

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.

What do the Bears have in their running backs? They’re about to find out

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USA Today

What do the Bears have in their running backs? They’re about to find out

The Bears were pleased with what they saw from their overhauled running back room during non-padded OTA and minicamp practices during the spring, but consider that an incomplete evaluation. 

David Montgomery, in particular, impressed with his quickness, athleticism and route running. Nothing Mike Davis showed dissuaded the team from believing in the free agent signing’s untapped potential. Positive things were said about seventh-round pick Kerrith Whyte Jr. and second-year undrafted free agent Ryan Nall. 

The only running back returning from 2018’s unit is Tarik Cohen. But while Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy and the Bears’ talent evaluators did their homework on their new players, they won’t really get to see what they have until the pads come on in Bourbonnais (Nagy expects the first padded practice of training camp to be Sunday). 

“I know (Montgomery) kept asking coach, ‘when do we put the pads on?” Pace said. “And so we’re to that point. One of his greatest strengths is his contact balance and his ability to break tackles, and now we’re at a point where that can be showcased.”

It’s one thing for a rookie to stand out during OTAs and minicamp. Tight end Adam Shaheen did two years ago, bodying up NFL-caliber defenders to make some impressive plays in those non-padded practices. But he faded when pads came on in training camp and didn’t play a significant role in 2017’s dour offense. 

The Bears believe Montgomery’s ability to break tackles — he forced the most missed tackles among FBS running backs in 2018 with 99, per Pro Football Focus — will translate to the NFL, giving their ground game a dimension it didn’t have in 2018. Jordan Howard avoided 22 tackles on rushing attempts last year, 28th in the NFL and nearly half the total of Kareem Hunt. Hunt appeared in 11 games (five fewer than Howard) before the Kansas City Chiefs released him after video surfaced of him pushing and kicking a woman; Montgomery’s style of play has favorably been compared to Hunt’s.  

As for Davis, Pace said: “I think I feel like he’s a little bit under the radar right now. Mike’s had a great offseason and we’re fortunate to have him. That’s a strong room — we talk about the receivers, we feel the same way about the running back room. And Mike Davis is a real important part of that.”

The Bears feel like Montgomery, Davis and Cohen leading their running back room will allow them to be less predictable and more efficient on offense. Last year, Howard carried the ball two-thirds of the time he was on the field, while he was targeted with a pass on just six percent of his plays. Yet no skill position player (except Mitch Trubisky, of course) was more involved in the Bears’ offense last year — 33 percent of the Bears’ total plays involved Howard. 

All three of the Bears’ top running backs in 2019 will be expected to catch passes out of the backfield as well as running the ball with a blend of efficiency and explosiveness. We’ll begin to find out this week in Bourbonnais if Pace’s overhaul of that corner of his depth chart will produce the results the Bears’ offense needs. 

Confirmed: Vic Fangio is still grumpy as hell

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USA Today

Confirmed: Vic Fangio is still grumpy as hell

Former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is starting his first (overdue) season as an NFL head coach. 

It's his first time running the show, making the rules, etc. One particularly important rule that Fangio has emphasized to start the year? Music has no place on the football field! 

Fangio won't be playing music during practice because, as noted Grump Bill Belichick can attest to, if you're having fun, you're not getting better. Here's his rationalization: 

"There's no music in games. And when it comes to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise in practice, which we will do, it will be noise. It won't be music," said Fangio, via NFL Network's James Palmer. "Noise, by definition, sounds annoying. Music sounds nice."

He's not wrong - music DOES sound nice. That's about where he stops making much sense, though. 

Vic Fangio: still kinda grumpy!