The Bears rank 23rd in in yards per game, though they are not as good as their totals suggest. They have allowed 18 sacks, the league's third highest total. Their drives are sputtering progressions of penalties and sacks, tied together by the occasional long run by Matt Forte or hot-read pass by Jay Cutler.
This offense needs serious repair. Coordinator Mike Martz isn’t up to the task. Nor is offensive line coach Mike Tice. But we can do the job. First, we must establish two important ground rules:
1. No blaming Jay Cutler
His role so far this season has been to deliver the ball before getting buried alive by pass rushers, and he has done a fine job.
2. No complaining about the run-pass ratio
It was horrible in the Packers game, when Matt Forte got just nine carries, but Forte had 25 carries against the Panthers and 22 carries on Monday night. No Martz team is going to start running like Vince Lombardi’s Packers, and 20-25 carries should be enough to feature Forte and keep the defense honest. Our goal is to make Forte and Cutler work smarter, not harder.
Here is the gameplan:
Offensive linemen are not playing cards
Tice shuffles linemen the way a Vegas croupier shuffles at the blackjack table, preventing the Bears from establishing any continuity up front.
Let’s straighten things out for the Bears. Spencer is a career center, Roberto Garza a career guard, so naturally Garza is playing center and Spencer guard for reasons that probably make perfect sense to Tice. Let’s flip them as soon as Spencer is healthy enough to return to action. Get Carimi back into the lineup as soon as he is available. In the meantime, we will make do with Omiyale, who started 28 games in the last two seasons, giving him as much additional help from the tight end as we can.
Louis will make a great crossing guard near a neighborhood elementary school.
Once we get every lineman in place, we must make sure they stay there, at least until the ball is snapped.
The snap count and other advanced math
The Bears have been called for a whopping 17 false starts. Omiyale and left tackle J’Marcus Webb have committed five each. The rest are scattered around the offense, with skill position players doing their part to get a head start before the ball is snapped: tight end Kellen Davis has committed two false starts, Forte and Devin Hester one each. Not surprisingly, most of the false starts came in two dome road games against opponents with dangerous pass rushes; the Saints game in Week Two and Monday night’s flag festival against the Lions.
I watched replays of all of the Bears' false starts. (This job is wall-to-wall glamour). Some of them, particularly Webb’s, are the result of a lineman trying to get back into pass protection quickly by anticipating the quarterback’s cadence. That will happen from time to time, though the Bears can minimize the problem by focusing on their silent count in practice.
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Eliminating those false starts must be top priority. The Bears lead the NFL with 10 plays of 1st-and-more-than-10. They also lead the league in plays of 2nd-and more-than-10: 21 runs, four passes, and a doomed scramble in which Cutler lost 13 yards. For a team with pass protection problems anyway, false starts create a vicious cycle — the Bears are forced to the air on early downs, which causes more pass pressure, which digs a deeper hole.
ProFootballTalk: Patriots QB Tom Brady addressed Wes Welker’s decision to head West to Denver. Brady says he isn’t surprised by anything after being in the league for so long and hopes that Welker has a great season with the Broncos.
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