Monday, December 14, 2009

Things the Bears are bad at.

1.Talent evaluation.

Living in Chicago, you hear certain refrains about the Bears. Most of it is meaningless pabulum, but one stuck with me; Jay Cutler swore up and down all season that the frequently inactive Devin Aromashodu (or “The Stinky Beatnik” as I like to call him) was their best receiver. He never got to play because:

a. There’s now too much money invested in the ruined Devin Hester.

b. Earl Bennett went to the same school as Jay Cutler, and hey, apparently that counts for something, and

c. Johnny Knox had a few good games.

d. Oh, and you can’t have too many Devins. It’s bad karma.

Anyway, this guy’s been sitting all year (with another receiver named Juaquin Iglesias who is apparently the bees’ knees as well) and as it turns out, he probably is their best receiver. Huh. From cutting Thomas Jones for Cedric Benson, to cutting Cedric Benson for Matt Forte, to drafting Garrett Wolfe, the Bears are a non-stop thrill-ride of talent evaluation suckitude.

2. Trading.

I don’t think the Bears have a first or second round pick until 2084. This is due to the Jay Cutler trade, which was certainly defensible, and the Gaines Adams trade, which isn’t. Making it less defensible still is the fact that the Bears have a terrible offensive line, and rebuilding lines through free agency is really hard.

3. Challenging calls.

In the game on Sunday Greg Jennings lost a touchdown on the new “going to the ground” rule. I find this rule annoying, but I understand the rule and know how to apply the rule. The refs explained the rule as it applied to the Jennings situation, and we all moved on.

Fast forward a few quarters to throw over the middle from Cutler to TE Greg Olsen. Olsen was not able to maintain possession when going to the ground, and because of the earlier Jennings play, this should have been fresh in everyone’s mind. The Bear coaching staff should have dropped a few cuss words, figured out a new play and moved on. Instead the following sequence occurred according to some hidden microphones I have on the Bear sideline.

Jay Cutler – Shit, we’re running out of time to get the next play off, and I don’t have the play yet, and Greg isn’t in the huddle yet, and Ron Turner is staring at the Jumbotron for some reason. Fuck! Time Out.

Lovie Smith – Ron, let’s get the play in a bit quicker next time.

Ron Turner – Let’s challenge it! Greg wants us to challenge it. I think it was a catch. Greg thinks it was a catch. We’re all in agreement.

Lovie Smith – Didn’t the refs say something earlier about “going to the ground” or something like that? What’s that mean again?

Ron Turner – Probably some night club or something.

Bear replay booth guy – Uhm, you really don’t want to challenge this.

Ron Turner – Nuts to that. The ground can’t cause a fumble right?

Lovie – I don’t think this really applies to…

Turner – Throw It!

Lovie – If you’re sure Ron. (Throws flag).

Refs – What are you challenging? Really? Uhm, OK. You know you already used a timeout, right?

(Tells other refs. They all snicker.)

Jay Cutler – Fuck.

4. Counting.

The Bears had 4 false starts in the serene tranquility of their partially empty home stadium.

5. Falling in love.

Tommie Harris was the best player on the Bears when they made the Super Bowl a few years ago. Tommie Harris then suffered a leg injury and has been playing with one leg ever since. But the Bears love Tommie Harris, and the idea of Tommie Harris, so they keep him around and assume he is awesome. They also overspend on local players like Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe, who was a 3rd round pick of the Bears even though he wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. The Cubs do this too with guys like Jeff Samarjdasl;htkh;. They also had their hearts broken by Mike Brown, Rex Grossman and many others who they stuck with for just a little too long.

6. Building a stadium.

As we’ve mentioned many times before, the Bears play in some kind of space toilet. They did such a poor job that Soldier Field was stripped of its landmark status.

7. Writing songs.

“The Superbowl Shuffle” is high comedy of the unintentional variety, and ages more hilariously all the time. “Bear Down” is insipid, relying on a terrible pun for its inspiration. Not as bad as “Go Cubs Go”, but still terrible.

8. Drafting healthy players.

The Bears attempted to address their offensive line by draft LT Chris Williams in the 2008 NFL draft with the 14th overall pick. Unfortunately, Williams had a herniated disc in his back and missed his entire rookie season. He has spent this season playing mostly out of position, however when moved to left tackle has played more poorly than the elderly Orlando Pace.

9. The Peter Principle.

The Peter Principle states that players/employees will be promoted until they are too incompetent to perform their job. For instance, say you have a guy who is the best kick/punt returner in NFL history in his first year. If you took some of his return responsibility away and tried to make him into a WR, which ended up making him worse at both jobs, that would be an example of the Peter Principle in action.

Another example would be taking a great pass-rushing specialist named Mark Anderson and turning him into an every-down player, which would allow him to be exploited in run defense and too tired in pass defense. Hypothetically, of course.

10. Stopping slow RBs from running 62 yards untouched into the end zone.

It was a nice run by Ryan, but really, when was the last time you saw Ryan run that far?


Rubie Q said...

I still don't understand how Jennings' catch wasn't a catch.

I believe the rule in question states that "if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact with an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or in the end zone."

The problem, as applied to Jennings, is that he WASN'T going to the ground in the act of catching the pass. He'd already caught the pass, maintained possession, then got stripped/tripped.

Olsen, on the other hand, fell over in the act of catching the pass. In that situation, I see the application of the rule.

Help me out. What am I missing?

PaulNoonan said...

I don't know, I hate the "going to the ground" rule because I feel it adds unnecessary subjectivity to rules, exactly like you say. I hate any rule that adds subjectivity. Getting rid of the "force out" was a step in the right direction, but then they added this.

Is the "going to the ground" rule an offshoot of the "Bert Emanuel" rule? I think it kind of is.

Anyway, I don't know what "going to the ground" means. Apparently I'm doing it right now, as I will presumably fall down at some point in the future. I wish they'd define how long the "act of catching a pass" takes. Maybe it's until you make a "football move."

Rubie Q said...

Totally agree. I don't think any system of rules should be constructed around Potter Stewart's* "I can't define it, but I'll tell ya when I see it" principle.

* Gratuitous law joke, just for you, Paul.

PaulNoonan said...

Potter Stewart knew that Jason Kendall was terrible when he saw it.

Eric said...

Given the Bears fairly recent superbowl appearance I'm skeptical they are suddenly incapable of talent valuation.

Unless Jay Cutler really isn't as good as Kyle Boller

PaulNoonan said...

That was such a weird Super Bowl team. It was really built on the back of special teams and defense. They've been slowly ruining their special teams (and that's not reliable anyway), and they haven't really reloaded on defense. The only studs from that team are injury prone (Urlacher, Harris), gone, or both (Mike Brown). Or they've declined enormously like Nate Vasher. Lance Briggs can still bring it, but the Bears actually seem to have lost their ability to draft well.