I find it increasingly difficult to justify the logic behind some of the Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith’s decision making and that of the rest of his coaching staff.
What, may you ask, am I talking about?
The answer is simple: they constantly endanger players of importance to this roster in situations that present no competitive gain for this franchise and I fail to understand why.
Jan. 1,2012: Brian Urlacher is injured in a game versus the Minnesota Vikings. Major Wright launched himself like a lawn dart at the ball with no regard for anyone’s safety. The Bears at the time were nursing a 7-8 record after injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte had led to a season collapse of epic proportions.
Fast forward 7 months and we sit in a position where Urlacher’s availability for the start of the season is in serious doubt. The Bears could end up in the unenviable position of having to play a considerable amount of time without their defensive quarterback. Their injury projections aren’t ever exactly accurate.
Aug. 18, 2012: Adam Podlesh is injured defending a punt return against the Washington Redskins. He is a punter, and a fine one at that, he receives a snap and kicks the ball, so how much really do the Bears’ coaches need to see?
Had he not been forced to pointlessly show off a skill that anyone who watched the Bears last season already knows he has in abundance, the Bears would not be worrying that he will not be available for the start of the regular season.
Look, football is a savage sport and the NFL is a sport littered with injuries. I don’t want the Bears to wrap everyone in bubble wrap, but a basic amount of caution would be advisable.
This leads me to an even greater preseason gripe than the Podlesh injury. Why do the Bears persist in making Devin Hester field at least one punt in preseason games?
There is absolutely nothing to gain from doing it. The whole league and every fan (even the most casual fan) from every team, knows what Hester is capable of doing on special teams. He is very likely going to the Hall of Fame because of it. So why is he out there in preseason fielding punts?
I ask the question because, mark my words, this is an accident waiting to happen. You have guys on the field fighting for roster spots when preseason wins mean nothing. I will be furious if Hester were to be injured by a guy looking to make a name for himself because he was needlessly endangered by his coaches.
Preseason is about building cohesion on the roster, taking concepts from practice and working them out on the field. Unfortunately in some circumstances, I really don’t feel the Bears’ coaches have weighed up the cost versus reward of the situation.