First off, I'm going to apologize for that title. But there is absolutely no way I could avoid using it, because it's perfect.
We've been watching, waiting, listening for weeks now, and we've now gotten to the point where everyone is speaking the classic end of season double-speak--saying things without saying anything at all. Let's go back and take a look at a few of my favorites. Some of these have been discussed before, some haven't, but I wanted a place where they were together, so we could really get a feel for what the various parts of this organization are thinking.
After writing this up, I've realized it's crazy-long. So long that I wanted to break it up to two parts, so I'll post the next part Thursday. I don't need a nation of already upset Bears fans telling me that I talk to much. Let's go to the jump!
Before I go too much further, I should point out this wasn't my originally planned article for the day. I was going to write about money and coaching and why you should spend money on new coaching, but everyone's doing that. Then going through press conferences and reading and listening to sports talk, I started to really think about what these people are saying, and how they say so much, yet so little, while saying what sounds like nothing. (Does your head hurt yet? Mine too.)
The first three quotes are from the Bears official site.
From the Front Office
A lot of hubbub has come from the conversation that Jerry Angelo had with reporters before the Ravens loss. The main concern has been about the fact that Jerry Angelo has seemingly backpedaled towards some uncertainty about Lovie Smith's future. However, he had some other interesting points in there that aren't getting as much focus.
Do any decisions you make next month have to be based on how to build around Jay Cutler?
That’s our starting point, yes. It is about our offense. When we came into this year, we felt like we were going to have a pretty good offense or had the ability to be a pretty good offense. I should say it that way. We had young receivers, it was a new system. I said this way back when, that there were going to be some growing pains and it was a process. So things didn't quite come together on offense. Things didn't quite come together on defense like we wanted either. That's an important part of what we need to make happen to have the success that we all want.
I'm not entirely sure what he means here. He seems to be avoiding blaming the personnel and coaching by saying, "It was a new system." But how new could the system be? It's Ron Turner's system, and while they worked to develop some plays that would suit Cutler's strengths, it's not as if it was some sort of revolutionary new offensive system that was going to blow people's minds--we run all the similar plays we used to run, but less effectively.
Does team need to be competitive in the final three weeks?
I feel very much so. We need to get a win, that’s very important right now, and I feel like we’ve been competitive, we just haven’t been able to win, and that’s the bottom line in our business as we all know.
How can he feel this is true? This season they have had four losses by 20 or more points. That's nearly half of your losses. The other five losses are all one score losses. While this sort of points to "being competitive" take a look. If you win 2 or 3 of those games you should've won, you're still not looking competitive for a playoff spot in the NFC this year.
Do you feel strongly that this roster is better than the team’s record shows?
I like our roster. Your record is your record. This is who we are. So I'm not going to get into that game. We didn't play well as a team this year. We were inconsistent. We just seemed to never get the offense and defense playing well on the same Sunday. That's very hard to do and win if that's not happening. So I like the roster, we have a good nucleus of young players. So pretty much our roster will be intact next year. But I look at that as a positive, not a negative.
I think, quite obviously, of course he's going to say this. Given that he's responsible for everyone on the team being on this staff, he's probably not going to sprint out admitting that his draft picks often bust, and his free agent acquisitions are often overpaid and underperforming.
That being said--I do think there's a good core of players. Several young wide receivers, still developing tight ends, a QB who still has time to learn again, some young defensive guys who look alright. There could be some players on this team right now who are here a long time. But you can't just hope they develop. You have to COACH them, which brings us to.....
From the Coaching Staff
"I'm not really interested in a whole lot of that,'' Smith said today during his news conference at Halas Hall. "We're 5-9 right now -- as I have said about three or four times, your life isn't going to be good. It's kind of as simple as that. We can keep going down that road but same answer, we're 5-9, nobody is happy about it."
That's Lovie Smith, Monday afternoon The first part is related to how he doesn't have a solid PR mention of his job security. He mentioned that record several times, almost as if he was intent to remind people how bad the team was doing. Intentionally telling people how bad you are. Interesting tactic.
The really cynical part of me wants to say that he's doing that on purpose, because if he can convince the team he's not good, maybe he can get the paycheck and go home and not have to deal with the myriad issues this team has. I don't really believe that's the case--I think he'd really like to win--he's just not able to.
"I think you have to look at what's happened this year," Smith insisted. "As I look at our losses, three of them were legitimate losses. The other five, we were right in there, had opportunities.
That's Lovie Smith, too. That's him speaking shortly after the Packers loss. What he's either failing to realize, or refuses to admit (much more likely) is that it's those "illegitimate losses" are the ones that usually separate good coaching from bad coaching. Good playcalling from bad playcalling.
Coaches like to talk about execution. Dan Bernstein on the score, who I realize is quite polarizing, made a good point about this. Execution is indeed kind of a coaching buzzword, as if to suggest that if the players had just done what they were told, everything would've worked. Which is, to a large degree, true. However, if you're telling them to do bad things, or making ill-advised coaching directions, it can and will blow back on you at some point. That point seems to be coming now.
So that's Part 1. Coming back on Thursday, we'll take a look at what Ron Turner, Bob Babich, and the players have to say. Or not say. Or sort of imply without trying to say too much.
Comments appreciated down below.