Where is the Bears offense going with Cutler, Martz?

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Where is the Bears offense going with Cutler, Martz?

The yardage explosion perpetrated on the Bears by Cam Newton & Associates and the one delivered by Matt Forte and the offensive line Sunday pulled attention away from a disturbing slide that the Bears need to reverse if they have even a remote hope of playing more than 16 games for the 2011 season:

The offense was expected to take flight literally and figuratively after the trade for Jay Cutler and hiring of coordinator Mike Martz.

The trend line, however, is going in the wrong direction with both.

YearQBCoordinatorOffense points
2008Kyle OrtonRex GrossmanRon Turner
2122009Jay CutlerRon Turner
202
2010Jay CutlerMike Martz
2002011Jay CutlerMike Martz
168 (projected)

Through the first quarter of the 2011 season, the Bears special teams and defense have accounted for more points (52) than the offense (42). This is not a good thing.

An obvious qualifier would be the production of kicker Robbie Gould, whose 34 points so far might be construed as offensive points. Indeed, some are.

But five of Goulds eight 2011 field goals have been 26 yards or shorter, meaning failed drives in red zones.

For purposes of perspective: Of the Bears 334 points in 2010, Gould accounted for 110; Devin Hester returned three kicks for scores and D.J. Moore scored with an interception return to account for 24 more.

The offense scored 200. At the current pace, the offense will score just 168 for 2011.

"Were not playing perfect football, Cutler said. We know that. We should get better. We got the W, which is always good, but there is going to be room for improvement.

Changes, but for the better?

Skewing the offense toward the pass has produced fewer points but far more abuse of Cutler, although sack totals have not correlated to passer rating in Cutlers career.

Blame can be heaped on offensive lines and receiver groups. But the receiving corps was ostensibly upgraded with Roy Williams (over Devin Aromashodu) and Sam Hurd (over Rashied Davis). And the talk during training camp and preseason of what the second year in the system was going to be like take that particular excuse out of play.

None of the 2008-2011 offenses had anything close to the offensive line quality that the 2005-2007 teams did with Olin Kreutz at center, Roberto Garza and Ruben Brown at guards and Fred Miller and John Tait at tackles.

The 2008 offensive line had Josh Beekman starting at left guard. The 2009 group had Orlando Pace at left tackle initially and Frank Omiyale in and out of the lineup at left guard, with Chris Williams at right tackle and then at left.

Sundays game, with Lance Louis not starting but playing right guard, right tackle and short-yardage tight end, Omiyale benched then back in the lineup and right guard Chris Spencer out for a time with a fractured right hand, did have 20 points scored by the offense and Gould.

Im pleased for the most part with what were doing, said coach Lovie Smith. Were just still not quite there yet, but were making progress. Last week vs. Green Bay even though we didnt see as much progress as we wanted, we saw some, and we saw more this week.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

As a sign of good things to come, three Bears were selected to the NFL's all-rookie teams. But there's a negative thread running through the honors of linebacker Leonard Floyd being named to the rookie defensive team, and the selections of center Cody Whitehair and running back Jordan Howard to the rookie offensive team.
 
The concern lies not in the players or the personnel department under GM Ryan Pace that designated them for drafting. It is in the fact that the position coaches for all three rookie standouts are all gone from the staff of coach John Fox.
 
Finding talent is difficult enough. Developing it is the crucial next step in the football process, and what was evident in the rookie years of Floyd, Whitehair and Howard was that each developed into NFL-grade players with some very solid coaching.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
 
Offensive line coach Dave Magazu was not brought back, reportedly in favor of former Miami Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, as reported by Sirius XM radio and Sporting News.
 
Stan Drayton, who coached Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, then Howard this year, left for the University of Texas.

Outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt appeared to be exiting for the New York Jets, although sources report that the deal may not go through.
 
Coaches can't create talent but they can certainly foster and maximize it. Replacing the mentors of their three top rookies from arguably the best draft class since 2004 (Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian, Nathan Vasher) now becomes a talent search in its own right.

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

The 2016 NFL Draft could be one that will define Ryan Pace's tenure as GM of the Bears.

Just last week, Jordan Howard became the second rookie running back in Bears franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl since Gale Sayers in 1965.

The PFWA released their 2016 All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, and Bears center Cody Whitehair, linebacker Leonard Floyd and Howard all made the list.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Howard, the Bears' fifth round selection (150th overall) out of Indiana, set the rookie franchise record with 1,313 rushing yards on 252 carries and 6 touchdowns. Howard also had 29 receptions for 298 yards and one receiving touchdown.

Floyd, the No. 9 overall selection out of Georgia, registered 33 tackles, 7 sacks and 9 quarterback hits in 12 games.

Whitehair, a second-round pick out of Kansas State, started all 16 games at center for the Bears after spending the majority of the preseason at guard.

The Bears (tied with the Chargers) had the second-highest number of selections behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

Check out the complete 2016 PFWA All-Rookie Team below:

Offense

QB – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
RB – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
WR – Sterling Shepard, New York Giants; Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
TE – Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
C – Cody Whitehair, Chicago Bears
G – Joe Thuney, New England Patriots; Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins
T – Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans; Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions

Defense

DL – Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers; DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers; Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs; Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars
LB – Jatavis Brown, San Diego Chargers; Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears; Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
CB – Vernon Hargreaves III, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
S – Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders; Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons

Special Teams

PK – Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
P – Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos
KR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs