The Chicago Bears Are The NFL's Worst Team In 2014
Back in late July the city of Chicago was buzzing with excitement for the upcoming Bears season. I like many others thought that between the offensive progress made in 2013 with the additions made on defense in the offseason would lead to great success on the field in 2014. Boy was I and many experts very wrong on this one! Despite a few warning signs early on, there were very few (if any) that saw the complete collapse coming with this football team.
There were a few warning signs in camp and preseason that disaster was looming both on the field and off. Early in training camp tight end Martellus Bennett and rookie corner back Kyle Fuller were involved in a skirmish in practice with Fuller taking Bennett to the ground in a pass drill. Bennett took exception and began fighting with Fuller. The problem in this incident is Bennett was sent home for several days as punishmet, Fuller meanwhile seemingly got no punishment that the public was made aware of. That was the start of the lack of consitency and discipline that would rear its head more and more as the season wore on.
Another big sign of what was to come was the third preseason game versus the Seattle Seahawks. The third preseason game is supposed to be the "dress rehersal" or the most like a real game. The Bears would go on to be blown out by the defending champion Seahawks by a final score of 34-6. It was not so much that the Bears lost the game to Seattle, it is the fact that the Bears looked like they did not even belong on the same field as the Seahawks. The defense looked utterly confused and lost, particularly in the defensive backfield. Yet another sign of the disaster that was just on the horizon.
Despite these warnings many like myself just passed it off as a preseason game and that the right adjustments would be made.....A pattern is starting to develop here.
Opening day came with a great feeling of excitement and optimisum came with the first game versus the Buffalo Bills on September 7, 2014. Experts and Bears fans alike looked at this game as a cakewalk that the Bears should easily win. The game started with a bang with the Bears marching right down the field and scoring a touchdown with each playmaker on the offense touching the ball on the way. After that Chicago played undisciplined football and ultimatley lost the game in overtime.
Looking back the Buffalo game is where this coaching staff showed that it really had no clue what it was doing. You had the very impressive opening drive against what would turn out to be a very good Buffalo Bills defense. Yet how many times the rest of the year did you see this kind of drive, playcalling and spreading around of the football did we see again? Not much at all....
Now I am aware that some of this is on quarterback Jay Cutler. I will get there.
I have been a Bears fan as long as I can remember and been a serious follower of this team since around the year 2000 and I can never remember a team that has been as undsiciplined as the 2014 Chicago Bears. For instance a fumble by the Bills on opening day that players did not even attempt to recover! You would think they would have learned their lesson in the loss to Green Bay in the 2013 regular season finale. You had Lance Briggs that decided it was more important to fly out to San Diego to open a restaurant than attend the first practice of the regular season. Oh and on Friday of the same week stay out until 5 am drinking, which is always a good idea when you are 30 plus and need to be at your best 31 hours later. Worst of all is the Lamar Houston torn ACL in New England. If that is not the best example of how stupid this team was in 2014 I dont know what else is.
This coaching staff seemingly never had any control in 2014 over this team. Marc Trestman really set the tone when he allowed Briggs to skip that practice without even asking why. All year Bears fans had to hear what great practices this team was having and how hard they were working. Yet outside of only a few players this was rarely seen on Sundays.
Then there is the issue of the play calling. Going for a long bomb to Alshon Jeffery on 3rd and 1 versus Miami is a huge example of the playcalling issues. Not to mention all of the stupid screen passes on 2nd and 3rd and long. Why would you ever call a play short of the first down marker on third down is beyond stupid on any team! This team became so predictable and one dimensional that many opposing defensive players throughout the season said they could tell what the Bears were doing as soon as they hit the line of scrimmage. When your opponent is saying that it is time for a change, a change that appears to have never happened all year.
Then there is the issue of the running game. You have arguably a top 5 running back in Matt Forte that seems to be a forgotten man in this offense. A prime example of this again comes from the game versus the Dolphins in October. The Bears only ran the ball twice the enitre first half, twice!! Talk about one dimensional. Or when the Bears set a franchise record only running the ball 7 times. I dont care that the Lions were number one versus the run going into that week you have to attempt to run the ball to get the offense moving.
Then there is Jay Cutler. Coming into the season and even a good portion of this season I was a huge Jay Cutler fan. I really believed that Cutler could help get the Bears to the next level. Well I was wrong and look really silly for being behind him as much as I was. Are his numbers (outside of turnovers) good? Yes they are very good. But it goes well beyond the numbers with Cutler. His poor decisions in crucial moments, lack of leadership and general lack of any kind of poise has killed any excitement that was there when the Bears traded for him in the Spring of 2009.
So many QB coaches and coordinators have come and gone since Jay Cutler became a Chicago Bear. Yet for many years people like myself blamed those coaches and everything but Cutler. Were some of those coordiantors to blame for some of the problems, sure they were. Was the offensive line bad until 2013, yes it was. Did the Bears always give Cutler the weapons he needed, until the last two seasons no they didnt. Through all of that there is one consitant, Jay Cutler struggling. So Cutler has to take a long look in the mirror and see he is going to have to change if he wants his NFL career to continue much longer and have any kind of success at all. Though it probably will not be in Chicago.
In what may be the worst moment (though there were so many) of the entire disaster that is the 2014 Chicago Bears you have Aaron Kromer and his big mouth. Kromer was the source of an NFL media report that the Bears had buyers remorse of Cutlers contract. While this is certainly true, as a very prominent member of the coaching staff you can not allow yourself to be the source for this kind of information. Coaches in the NFL do this all the time but Kromer was stupid enough to be caught as the source. This final straw fractured the Bears beyond repair. Kromer as the Bears offensive coordinator attempted to discuss in game adjustments with members of the offense Monday night only to have players walk away from him. And can you blame them?
Out and out the 2014 Chicago Bears are an embaressment. While there may be Teams worse than the Bears in the NFL record wise, none have looked as bad as the Bears. The dysfunction that keeps emerging is just beyond belief. It seems like every day something new comes out that just has Bears fans shaking their heads. The fans are fed up and thankfully it appears that Bears management and ownership is as well. According to reports Bears ownership had a meeting on Monday night and they will be firing Trestman and his staff after the season. This is a good sign that this kind of effort and disappointment will not be tolerated. We will still have to wait about a week and a half to see if this does come true it is a sign of hope in an otherwise bleak and cloudy time as Bears fans. Oh and there are still two more potentially embaressing games to go...