What Happened to the Bears?


By Nate Schapmann

The season looked bright.  A  7-1 start, but against team like the Jaguars, the Rams, the Panthers (who they barely beat), and the Titans.  Their one loss was against the one quality team they played- the Packers, now the division leaders.  Now, we’re at the point in the season where everyone involved with the Bears (whether they be players, coaches, management, fans, or otherwise) must ask themselves, were they really that good to begin with?

You may recall the column I wrote towards the beginning of the season where I said the Bears were “legit” and to some extent, they still are.  The tandem of Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler worked tremendously, but otherwise, the offense stagnated towards the end of the season.  It’s not that they are bad, it’s that they’re at the same level they were to begin the season.  Matt Forte will have a key run every now and again, and then we’ll throw a slant read at you, and while it may be enough to beat teams like the Jaguars and Cowboys, it won’t beat the Niners, the Packers, or even the Seahawks.

The offense’s futility was used as the main justification for Lovie Smith’s firing, as his best offense over his career in Chicago was only in the teens in the NFL.  In 2012 particularly, they were ranked 29th in passing offense.  Considering the pieces we have in place, this was a coaching issue, not a players issue.

Furthermore,  injuries to Brian Urlacher and Cutler could have demoralized the team and probably had some sort of mental effect on the team.  Urlacher has been the captain for the defense before time began, but it’s fairly evident that he’s lost a step.  In fact, our entire linebacking core is getting old; they’re all thirty-somethings (with the exception of Nick Roach) playing the game with people a decade or so younger than them.

It’s obvious that the Bears are in need of some help for next season, but how?  I’d say we have to start by hiring an offensive mind as our head coach.  Our defense is good enough and has enough experience to last us for a season or two more before their problems need to be addressed.  With that being said, I’d love to see Mike McCoy (offensive coordinator for the Broncos) to be hired here.  What he did last season with his Tim Tebow-run offense was remarkable, and he has only improved this season with Peyton Manning.  He would have to work with Jay Cutler, and Cutler would have to swallow his pride and allow himself to be coached, but good things could definitely come of us hiring him.

I think Oregon coach Chip Kelly also would have been a good fit, but he has said he won’t be leaving his current job. Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements would also work, though it’s somewhat doubtful that he would leave Green Bay.

The Bears still have the keys to be a very competitive team, but for now, it’s time to go back to fundamentals with their new coaching.