I remember seeing an NFL special on former NFL (and Chicago Bears) quarterback Rick Mirer. It talked about how Mirer would strongly favor one side of the field. When teams figured this out, they forced Mirer to throw to his less comfortable side and he became a bad quarterback. While he stuck around the league for 11 years, he never lived up to his draft status as the number two selection overall in 1993. His NFL failures were a direct result of not recognizing an obvious weakness.
The 2012 Bears seem to have this same issue. While the Bears were winning games early in the season, there was never a comfortable feeling with this squad. There are gaping holes at tight end, offensive line, receiver depth and safety that weren’t an issue early in the year. As teams began to better understand the Bears, they attacked these weaknesses. While Brandon Marshall will make his catches, in huge situations, teams will clamp down on Marshall forcing Cutler to seek another target. When that target is tight end Kellen Davis, bad things usually happen. Teams also identified the embarrassing angles that the Bears safeties take on plays and began to exploit that as well. On the offensive line, the Bears inconsistent blocking has taken any offensive consistency away. When the Bears are able to run the football, they give up sacks. The same is true on the flip-side.
If there’s been a failure of head coach Lovie Smith, it has been his inability to compensate for the team’s weaknesses. When you force the Bears out of their comfort zone, usually something bad will happen. There’s still time for this team to make some adjustments, but from what I’ve seen, the Bears really don’t have an answer for their weaknesses. They hope if they continue to ignore the problem it will go away. Let’s take the Bears loss last week to the Minnesota Vikings. The Norsemen let Marshall catch passes. But when they really needed to stop the Bears, they forced Cutler to throw to someone else. Even though they were burned by Alshon Jeffrey, that strategy forced two turnovers. If you think the Green Bay Packers aren’t going to do this same thing, you’re in for a rude awakening.
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