The Bears finished a .500 team this season. Were they a .500 team? No! The Bears should have won 10 games and with that should be in the playoffs either as the five or the six seed. Even with the injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, adjustments should have been made by the coaching staff and ownership to provide the best chance possible to secure a playoff berth. Instead, your team will be sitting at home this weekend watching the playoffs with everyone else in the Chicagoland area.
Who is to blame? I would blame the coaching staff, Jerry Angelo, the scouting department and last but certainly not least the McCaskey family.
George Halas must be rolling over in his grave.
I think Bears fans should shoulder some of the blame as well.
Losing is unacceptable!
I've been listening to 670 the Score and ESPN 1000 of late and I know Bears fans are frustrated and "get it". I know the hosts also share in the frustration of the "Same Ol Bears" mentality seeming to emanate from the powers-that-be up at Halas Hall. Everyone knows stuff has to change but it seems no one is willing to make a point to those people up in Lake Forest and say enough is enough.
The Chicago media is too soft. Lovie Smith would have been out of here several years ago if the media leveled some culpability on Bears management and the McCaskey family. It doesn't seem local media has the ability or the willingness to ask the hard questions and put the pressure on those who deserved to be pressured. I think that is a blatant disservice for the fans. Objectiveness is one thing but not catering to your readers is another. A newspaper should be an advocate for its readership
The Coaching Staff
Lovie Smith is too soft. He is too passive and does not exhibit any passion or desire. A head coach more often than not is an indirect representation of the identity of a team. The thing that I liked about Mike Ditka. He was a straight shooter who had a football passion. He was a fiery individual and I think the teams he coached played with that same level of intensity. I feel that Smith has never truly had control over his team and since the hiring of Mike Martz has lost the ability to effectively coach his football team. A strong coach would have put Martz in his place a long time ago. He would have also been more vocal to management in regards to personnel matters.
Unfortunately the coaching staff problems don't end with Smith. I think Martz has had a lot to do with the problems with the team. He is a stubborn man who refuses to make the adjustments needed to be successful. Instead of evaluating the team and working with their strengths, he has stuck to this myopic view of what he feels works and in the process has caused the Bears to regress. I think the hiring of Martz was a needed experiment but has run it's course.
I think some blame should also be levied on Shane Day, the quarterbacks coach. I haven't heard anyone mention his name or levy any level of culpability on him. Everyone has been blaming Martz for the quarterback failings but isn't Day responsible for the improvement of Caleb Hanie? I mean, Cutler came to Chicago as a pretty polished NFL quarterback. I don't think the weakness at the QB coach position was realized until Culter went down and the backups were required to take a significant number of snaps. It really comes down to adjustments and if ownership is unwilling to spend the money and bring in a veteran quarterback to take the helm, you need a coach who is able to help a young and inexperienced adapt to the pro level.
I think the Bears coaching staff needs to be evaluated and changes should be made. I think you need to fire Smith and clean house. Making the playoffs once in five years is not an acceptable goal. I think ownership needs to make this clear.
Jerry Angelo and the scouting department
I think Angelo should be fired as well. He has done a poor job of evaluating talent and filling the weaknesses at the wide receiver and on the offensive line. He has also let Martz dictate the roster move decisions made for the team. You get rid of Greg Olsen because he doesn't fit the Martz scheme. You sign Roy Williams, who has not done anything at all and has had a history of not being effective. Why? Because Martz felt he could "fix his problems". The offensive line was old and ineffective and you fail to make the necessary acquisitions via the draft and free agency. Your team needs playmakers at the wide receiver position and you ignore those weaknesses and target players who have similar existing skill sets or at positions where there is depth and abundance.
The scouting department has failed as well. Teams who draft well consistently more often than not stay competitive. This goes even beyond traditional means such as the draft. There have been many instances over the years where gems have been plucked out the Unrestricted Free Agency scrapheap. The Giants have found a couple of gems, most notably Victor Cruz of late. Other teams have as well, James Harrison, Fred Jackson, and Wes Welker to name a few. The Bears need to do a better job of filling their roster needs.
The McCaskey family
This is where the real problem lies. There seems to be no sense of urgency coming from them. You have a quarterback Cutler in his prime, and you have an aging defensive core in Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Charles Tillman. I have not even mentioned Forte, who will probably challenge many of the team records set by the late, great Walter Payton. Speaking of Forte, what a joke? The McCaskey family should not be playing chicken with a talent like Forte. He should be locked up! He should be signed for the next 3-5 years and paid what he is worth. He should also have some help in the backfield as well. The poor guy was bound to get injured considering he was shouldering more than 50% of the offense. The McCaskey's are not going to wake up unless people start levying pressure upon them. I think they should be held responsible for the lack of action, er inaction.
Finishing the season 8-8 should be considered "unacceptable". Losing five out of the last six games should be "unacceptable". Making the playoffs one out of five years should be "unacceptable". Winning one Super Bowl championship should be "unacceptable". As wonderful as the 1985 Bears team was that was a long time ago. It's ancient history!