Bears

View from the Moon: Are Bears ready for playoffs?

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View from the Moon: Are Bears ready for playoffs?

Monday, Jan 3, 2011
9:18 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Cleaning out the notebook the morning after...

The one thought persisting through the attempts to assess what Sundays 10-3 loss at Green Bay means is that it may be exactly what the Bears needed: a swift shot to the chops. Or at least one side of the ball does.

The Bears continue to demonstrate that they are one of those teams that has more trouble coming off a good win than a bad loss. And this, for the offense in particular, was a bad loss. Dont excuse this as simply a game that didnt matter and players just going through the motions accordingly.

Lovie Smith playing the starters throughout was the correct call for a number of reasons, including one perhaps unintended. The performance of his offense should dispel any notion that Mike Martz, Jay Cutler, the offensive line and anyone this side of Matt Forte is really ready for playoff football.

On the very positive side, the defense held the ninth-ranked scoring offense (25.2 ppg.) to 10 points and eighth-ranked yardage generator (363 ypg.) to 284.

But as he did in too often 2009, Cutler stops being a quarterback and reverts to being a passer and a not very good one at that. Never confuse arm strength with judgment and throwing an interceptable pass from the opposing 24-yard line with your team leading 3-0 and your defense working on a string of five straight possessions not allowing a very good offense to cross midfield.

Perhaps more concerning should be the direction that the hand on the tiller steered the vessel.

First, it is somewhat misleading characterize Martz as a balanced offensive thinker because the Bears had more runs (238) than pass plays (231) over the previous eight games. That run total included 33 runs by Cutler; does anyone really suppose that Cutler was hearing Keeper in his helmet headset all those play-calls?

More to the point, the protection (and Cutler himself) allowed the quarterback to be sacked four times in the span of 11 plays in the third-fourth quarters. Against a blitzing defense, Martz was writing checks that his blockers couldnt cash.

Yet as he did in the New York Giants debacle that cost him Cutler for a game and a half, Martz kept throwing in spite of Forte and Chester Taylor combining for 65 rushing yards and 7.2 yards per pop in the first half.

A family member just leaned in and asked, Who do we want to root for next weekend in the wild-card games?

My answer is that it doesnt matter. As the Bears themselves have said, it really is all about what they do. Or as was the case Sunday, what they dont do.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Kyle Long looking forward to 'seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch'

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USA TODAY

Kyle Long looking forward to 'seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch'

Former Bears offensive linemen Kyle Long appeared on The Rap Sheet and Friends podcast hosted by NFL insider Ian Rapoport and he didn't shy away from questions about Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Long, while stating that he understood the questioning and criticism that Trubisky faces, still believes in him.

"The Bears have won with Mitchell Trubisky."

Indeed Mitch was the starter for 14 games of the Bears 12-4 season before this year's 8-8 disappointment. The issue was Trubisky's play was of course, as he didn't show any noticeable improvement in 2019 after tossing 24 touchdowns in 2018. "We all regressed this year, but unfortunately heavy lies the head that wears the crown, and Mitch is the captain," Long said. 

"Mitch is the quarterback. He’s also suited to take the stuff that he’s gotta deal with, and that’s what I love about Mitch. He can deal with the noise, and he’s young. He’s so young."

Long seems excited by the idea of Chicago's hires, saying that new faces could have quite the positive effect on Trubisky’s game "I’m looking forward to seeing what another set of eyes from a coaching perspective can give Mitch. It’ll be cool to see.”

This offseason the Bears have brought in a new offensive coordinator (Bill Lazor), quarterbacks coach (John DeFilippo), and promoted former quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone to passing game coordinator. Bears head coach Matt Nagy, similar to Long, has faith in Trubisky developing, especially in regard to Ragone. In December Nagy said, “I think I know Mitch better than anybody in this building, except maybe Dave Ragone.”

Long certainly seems to miss his teammates though he clearly has no regrets about his decision. He and Trubisky definitely share a bond that will last long beyond their playing days. “I love the kid, he’s a great friend obviously, a teammate, but I’m looking forward to seeing him develop.”

Similar to the message delivered by the Bears’ front office, Long was in full support of Trubisky throughout the entire interview.

"Mitch is the quarterback. He’s also suited to take the stuff that he’s gotta deal with, and that’s what I love about Mitch. He can deal with the noise...”

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Kyle Long says retirement was easiest decision he's ever made

Kyle Long says retirement was easiest decision he's ever made

Kyle Long saw the same thing Bears fans did during the 2019 season. His level of play was no longer among the top guards in the NFL. In fact, he became a liability for an offensive line that ultimately became one of the biggest weaknesses on the team.

"Fans who are frustrated with my performance, you don’t think I’m sitting in that film room just clenching my fist because I just can’t make a block, or I’m just not healthy enough to get there?" Long said on the Rapsheet and Friends podcast this week. "It’s frustrating. I feel that. I’ve seen the writing on the wall, the Bears did it right, they gave me every opportunity to get healthy. Any other team in the league would have cut me years ago, I’m talking years ago.

"The Bears did me right, and I wanted to do right by them. I’ll never wear another set of colors but navy and orange. I take pride in that, a lot of guys have gone and played somewhere else when this time came for them and it tarnished their legacy, in my mind at least."

Long started 76 of 77 career games with the Bears and during the course of his seven-year career in Chicago became one of the team's most recognizable personalities on and off the field. It began during his rookie season when he was selected to the NFL's All-Rookie team and was an NFC Pro Bowler.

"The miles that I do have in the NFL are rough ones," Long said. "I played the game hard when I could, I played it as I thought it should be played, I gave everything I could to my teammates, emotionally and all that. I always knew there would come a time where I would not recognize the player that I’m seeing on film, and no player wants to have that. 

"It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made because I didn’t recognize the guy on film. I’ll be honest, I was an ass-kicker for a long time. You line ‘em up, I’ll put ‘em down, but there came a point where I couldn’t do that anymore, and it was frustrating. So I knew it was time."

Long, who said he could play another three or four years, didn't use the word retirement when discussing his status. Instead, he chose 'hiatus' as a better description of his current state.

"Could I play more? Absolutely," said Long. "If I took a year off, can I go play 3-4 more years? No doubt in my mind. Do I want to do that? It remains to be seen, which is why I use the term hiatus."

Maybe we haven't seen the last of Long with the Bears. But one thing's for sure, he won't be suiting up in 2020.