Normally this time of the week, you'd be getting the Pleased to Meet You feature, where we get into the workings of the Bears' opponents for the coming weekend. Obviously, the problem is that the Bears are on bye this weekend, leaving me with no feature this go-around. As was so helpfully pointed out to me in the comments yesterday, I can't exactly do a mid-week preview on an opponent that isn't there.
So instead, this week, I'm going to take a slightly different tack. Last year, the talk was about how the Bears somehow cornered Martz and threatened to play him behind the Bears offensive line until he altered his playcalling. This year, those adjustments seemed to have been made a little earlier (except for last week's second half). So this week, we're going to look at some other adjustments the Bears could make on the bye week. Some will be humorous (or attempt to be), and some will be dead serious - and I'm pretty sure some will be both. Let's get to it, then add your own.
1) Rig the Scoreboard Clock to Only Show the First Half
Most of the sacks the Bears allowed this season have been in the second half. If the Bears carried the protection they've had in first halves (5 first half sacks, 16 second half) into the second, they'd only have ten sacks on the season. I'm starting to really believe we've got a foundation of a decent offensive line, but there's been a lot of contributing factors lately to the better protection - namely, max protect, Cutler's escapism, more runs and shorter drops.
2) Hire Theo Epstein as General Manager of the Bears
Why not, the guy won two World Series trophies in Boston, I'm pretty sure he's Superman enough to double-dip. With an emphasis on statistically-driven analysis combined with traditional scouting practices, I'm sure he'd be able to expand his drafting window to include areas outside of Abilene Christian and various minor directional educational facilities (I'm pretty sure Angelo didn't have a say in Carimi). I'll allow him to retain Angelo, however, as a defensive-lineman drafting consultant.
3) Continue Ignoring Terrell Owens
Not an adjustment per se, although what does Owens provide that we don't already have on the roster? Size? Roy Williams and Sam Hurd are both over 6 feet. Speed? Johnny Knox and Devin Hester have that in bunches. The ability to make a tough catch? Dane Sanzenbacher leads the team in touchdown catches! And Earl Bennett should be coming back from injury soon! Did I mention all six receivers have two fully functional legs with no ACL surgeries?
4) Replace Martz' Playbook With A Coloring Book
If he wants to draw random 7-step drops and deep routes all over creation, let him. I won't go so far as to say firing him is the move, but sometimes, the guy has to know when enough is enough. Speaking of...
5) Turn Up Jay Cutler's Microphone
Let's just end the speculation for sure, next time. And while we're at it, let's fix his helmet speakers too. Maybe then we'd actually see a play properly called and snapped without a disgustedly-burned timeout.
6) Figure Out The J'Marcus Webb Problem
Tice seems to believe Webb is the left tackle of the future. He's been passable. Very passable. But to be serious, I'm not so sure tackle still isn't a priority next season - While Webb's looked... okay at times, he's still not something I'm comfortable with, and if Louis continues on at tackle, he and Carimi are both more of right tackles. Who plays the left and does so well?
7) Which third round safety will stick best?
Major Wright hasn't enamored many of us, but how about Chris Conte?
Through seven quarters of Vikes and Bucs football (up till the fourth quarter on Sunday), the Bears outscored the two 60-15. Also, don't look now, but according to Pro Football Reference, the Bears have the second highest strength of schedule behind only the Rams.
9) Figure Out If Jay Cutler is a Leader
One last time. ONNTSA.
Honestly, I'm not sure why it matters to us. He's not leading us. He's not telling us how to go about our jobs, he's not getting blitzed by other clients because his support team keeps letting him down (well, wait, bad analogy...). Does it make us feel good to see him taking charge? Sure. But does it matter to us in terms of what he does on Sundays? Not really. Sure, quarterbacks are captains nearly all of the time - that shouldn't be read as a default setting ("You're a captain because you're a quarterback."). If he's an NFL quarterback, by default he has to have some leadership capabilities in terms of managing and directing the offense. The only people his leadership really matter to are the guys that suit up with him and his coaching staff. If his leadership is good enough for them, it's more than good enough for me.
Yes, I know it's something to discuss around the water cooler, but if he couldn't handle being a leader in the most high-profile NFL position and the one that has the most direct control of the offense, he wouldn't be a quarterback. I don't even see why it's up for debate.
10) Roy Williams, paying off?
Don't write him off just yet - he's not a great receiver, and won't be, but he's snuck up with a couple decent games here. Could he be a viable weapon going forward?
What do you guys have? What adjustments do you want to see the Bears make on the bye period?