5 Reasons Why the Chicago Bears are Free Falling
With three games remaining in the Chicago Bears regular season, the team is currently on a downward spiral losing four of their last five games after starting the season 7-1. The Bears coming into the season had Super Bowl aspirations. It started with Owner George McCaskey firing Jerry Angelo after years of bad drafting and questionable personnel moves. McCaskey hired Phil Emery as the team’s new general manager with the intention of him helping close the talent gap with the rest of the divisional teams.
Emery acquired Brandon Marshall, who Jay Cutler had great success with back in their Denver Broncos days. He signed Michael Bush who just came off a solid season with the Oakland Raiders to be Matt Forte complimentary back-up. The Bears came into the off-season with needs at defensive end and wide receiver, and Emery drafted Shea McClellin, a speed rusher from Boise State with his first round pick. The second round, he added Alshon Jeffery to be compliment number two wide receiver to Marshall.
All these moves Emery made in the off-season had coaches, players, and fans talking Championship in training camp back in July. Fast-Forward to December; the Bears are not only fighting for a playoff berth, but also to keep theirs and head coach Lovie Smith job.
As the Bears are in a current free fall, here’s a look at five reasons why they are in the position they’re in.
The Bears for the second season in a row are hit with injuries at key positions. Brian Urlacher is lost for the season with a hamstring injury. Urlacher is not the player he used to be, but his absence was felt this past Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Injuries to players such as Jay Cutler, Tim Jennings, and Alshon Jeffery have had an effect on this year. Now the Bears have to deal with other key injuries to Robbie Gould (placed on I.R.) and Shea McClellin (Sprain MCL) for the remainder of the season. These injuries have come at bad time for the team.
Bad Offensive Line Play
Years of neglect of the offensive line under former G.M. Jerry Angelo is costing the Bears this season. The Bears had high expectations for the offense this year with the new look at Wide Receiver; Mike Tice taking over at offensive coordinator, and a new quarterback coach in Jeremy Bates that Jay Cutler worked with in the past.
Instead the line has handcuff Tice as far as play calling, and is one of the main reasons why Matt Forte is having a down year. Most teams are dealing with OL problems, but the Bears OL is one of the worst units in the league.
Years of Bad Drafting from Jerry Angelo Regime
Perfect way to counter the injuries the Bears have suffered throughout the season is to have good depth. The Green Packers are a perfect example of that as they have lost key players also, but yet still able to stay afloat because they have sufficient depth. The Bears don’t have that same fortune mainly because of bad drafting by Jerry Angelo over the past few years.
Angelo is also solely responsible for the lack of talent on the offensive line. There’s still a talent gap between the Packers and Bears and Angelo is solely responsible for that.
Uneven play from Jay Cutler
As bad as the rest of the Bears players have been playing, you really can’t afford for your franchise quarterback to be playing uneven and that’s exactly how Jay Cutler has played thus far this season. While his connection with Brandon Marshall has lived up to the hype, Cutler himself has regressed this season.
While most people (including myself) have pegged Cutler as a potential MVP candidate before the season started, he has look far from that this year. While the bad OL play and lack of a #2 option can be used as an excuse, great QB’s should be able to overcome that.
Lovie Smith's Offensive Decision-Making
Lovie Smith is not on this list mainly for the defense, but his decisions on the offensive side of the football. It was Smith’s decision to promote Mike Tice to offensive coordinator despite his lack of experience in that position. It was Smith who after the end of last season said that Kellen Davis (Worst TE in the NFL) “can do all the things the good tight ends can do”. Don’t blame Tice solely for the offense problems, but Smith himself who continues to be clueless on that side of the football. Jay Cutler prime years are being wasted under Smith.