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The Very Bad News Bears

By George Ofman

I've now read and heard just about every description about the Bears loss at Cincinnati. Let's see . . . there is abominable, repugnant, disgusting, miserable, shameful, abysmal, embarrassing, gutless, humiliating, sickening, overmatched (too complimentary for my tastes but I had to include it), pathetic and we sucked!

  • The Heisman and HAL

  • "We sucked" came courtesy of Lance Briggs.

    Those descriptions also could describe the people at the top. They're the ones who chose these Bears. They're the ones who coach these Bears. And they deserve just as much grief as the players. Maybe more!

    It was Jerry Angelo who pulled the trigger on Frank OhmyGod (Omiyale, the tackle playing guard who can't play dead), Orlando Pace (who is dead), Zack Bowman (lost in space) and Jay Cutler. The deal to obtain the so-called franchise quarterback still was the right one, though the price may ultimately prove too much. The Bears are without first-round picks in the next two drafts and without a second next year as a result of the trade for Gaines Adams. The last I looked, NFL teams build through the draft. Smart ones do, anyway. There are a lot of dumb ones in the league. Check out the Rams, Chiefs, Browns, Bills . . .

    The Bears?

    Didn't they draft Cedric Benson?

    And Kyle Orton?

    And Bernard Berrian?

    Are they better players now than then?

    But this is just as much about coaching as it is a lack of judgment and talent.

    The cover two can't cover one! Please, send it back to Tampa.

    The coach who employs it also took over the reigns as defensive coordinator this season. This would be Lovie Smith who, along with Angelo, sacked Ron Rivera after the Bears appearance in the Super Bowl. Smith wanted his buddy Bob Babich to run the defense. It was a disaster of such proportions that Smith demoted him and took over the defensive play-calling for himself.

    The results speak for themselves.

    And the Bears still can't tackle.

    Granted, this team is playing without Brian Urlacher and Pia Tinoisamoa, both of whom would be starting and, one would suggest, having more of an impact than Hunter Hillenmeyer and Nick Roach. But Lovie stressed the Bears have depth at that position.

    Depth is a matter of perception.

    Even the addition of Rod Marinelli, the miracle worker who was supposed to amp up the defensive line, hasn't made much of a difference. How many times did the Bears sack Carson Palmer? None. How many times did the Bears sack Matt Ryan? None. How many times did they pressure either guy? Not many.

    So quarterbacks with any talent are killing the Bears. And one day soon, their quarterback could get killed. Cutler has been sacked once every 18 snaps. In Denver, he was sacked once every 57. Do the math.

    While the offensive line has been woeful, Cutler hasn't been much better; witness his 10 interceptions, which rank second in the league. His judgment has been cloudy and his head could wind up in the same condition.

    Then there's the saga of Tommie Harris. Angelo also awarded Harris with a new contract. A $40 million contract after he underwent knee surgery. Harris has been a non-factor this season, unless you factor in the subterfuge.

    Harris didn't play on Sunday, having not practiced during the week with an alleged knee injury. But was Harris really injured? "It wasn't true," he told the Sun-Times.

    This was while Harris was on the field in Cincinnati working out in shorts before the game.

    And on the previous Thursday, Angelo said that Harris was healthy. Yet he missed the game because of a knee injury.

    Well, not exactly. After the game Lovie said he benched Harris there were better options for the Bengals game. Translated, Harris wasn't ready because he doesn't practice hard enough, doesn't care or just can't play well anymore. Pick one or pick them all!

    Just another subplot to this season's edition of All My Bears. Stay tuned to find out who gets bumped off the show. You won't want to miss that.


    George Ofman, an original member of The Score and a veteran of NPR, has covered more than 3,500 sporting events over the course of his career. Comments welcome.

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