The Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers tonight in a pretty ugly game. Aaron Rodgers out-played Jay Cutler and the Green Bay secondary made Cutler look terrible. Was it Jay Cutler’s fault that the Bears lost tonight or is there a bigger picture? I look at the big picture and I lay the blame on someone else.
If you look at Jay Cutler’s line for the game tonight against Green Bay, it looks like either Jeff George or Rex Grossman were under center. He threw for 277 yards, completed less than half of his passes, and threw four interceptions. He did throw one touchdown tonight, but the night was plagued by Cutler throwing ball after ball to one of Green Bay’s defenders. He should have thrown more than four picks, since there was a period in the first-half that Cutler threw five straight passes that should have been picked off.
I watched the game from coin toss to post-game show and I don’t blame Jay Cutler for the 21-15 loss tonight. The pair of balls that were intercepted could be blamed on him, but he’s dealing with receivers that quit on routes and aren’t very good at running them. His top non-tight end receivers are Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, and Johnny Knox, not exactly establish receivers. Hester runs sloppy routes and still lacks the ability to beat double-teams when the safety is in front of him. Earl Bennett looked decent, but he’s still catching up to the speed of the NFL. Finally you have Johnny Knox, he’s fast, but that’s about it. He looks completely lost out there, although he did show a flash of brilliance when he beat Charles Woodson on a play. If you run that play ten times, I doubt Knox will beat Woodson, on that exact play, more than once. If Cutler had an elite receiver, or even a veteran possession receiver, he could have a good year with the bears, but this team lacks that piece. The tight ends didn’t help Cutler out either. Greg Olson and Desmond Clark both dropped balls and didn’t do a good job of getting open.
Matt Forte caught over 60 balls last year and there wasn’t many balls thrown in his direction today. The one that I remember was actually intercepted by a defensive tackle, Johnny Jolly. Forte did carry the ball 25 times for 55 yards, but that’s only 2.2 yards per attempt, not up to par with his ability. He is a good running back, but you need to pass him the ball on the flat and let him work against cornerbacks and outside-linebackers more. It will open up the deep ball, which Cutler loves to throw. Forte wasn’t used properly against the Green Bay Packers.
Patrick Mannelly didn’t help the Bears out with his fake-punt audible in the 2nd-half. The Bears were up at that point and he thought he caught the Packers ill-prepared and sent a direct snap to Garrett Wolfe. He wasn’t ready for it and barely gained four yards on a 4th and 11 attempt. That kind of play isn’t going to win games when you just giveaway great field position so late in the game.
After saying all of that, I lay the blame of this loss on Offensive coordinator Ron Turner and General Manager Jerry Angelo. Clearly this team needs an actual wide receiver. Devin Hester would be a great slot receiver on a team, but he has yet to show the ability to be a solid #1. If they went out and signed a veteran wide receiver like Torry Holt or Marvin Harrison, maybe Jay Cutler wouldn’t have to guess where his receivers would be. A precise route-running wide-receiver can make play quarterback pretty easy. Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and especially Brandon Stokely are great route-runners and you have seen what he can do with those kind of receivers. Ron Turner’s blame would lay on his lack of screen passes to Forte. I know Kyle Orton passed so many balls to him last year because he had to dump the ball off, but he did a great job after the catch. If would bring the defenses in and make them defend against it. The safeties and linebackers would play in and you could utilize the speed of your receivers and run a streak or deep post pattern with a higher percentage of success.
I thought the Bears would be good this season and it’s only the first game. Brian Urlacher and Pina Tinoisamoa were out for a good portion of the game, but if they played as sloppy as they did tonight, it could be a long season.
This may be a horrible end to this story, but can someone please tell me what the Bears’ obsession with players from Vanderbilt is? They have five players on the team and the last time I checked, the Commodores weren’t exactly a perennial BCS Bowl team.