Mullin: Bears gettingsending mixed signals?

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Mullin: Bears gettingsending mixed signals?

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011
Posted: 11:19 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Mixed signals result in false starts or worse on an offense. For an offense lacking identity and production, some of the disparate cadences coming from Halas Hall are both puzzling and concerning at this early tipping point of the 2011 Bears season:

Receivers

Against Green Bay, Bears wide receivers struggled at times with bad Jay Cutler passes and their own bad hands. Or did they?

Off. Coord. Mike Martz: The wide receivers are playing much faster, good routes. Their game has really been elevated.

GM Jerry Angelo, on the team website ChicagoBears.com: The receivers have hit a plateau so far but its still early.

Offensive line

It wont go down as the most enthusiastic endorsement by a quarterback of his offensive line. Cutler said Wednesday that he indeed had confidence in his offensive line. Sort of.

Cutler: Yeah, I dont have a choice. Those are the guys weve got to go with, and weve got to get them ready, and Ive got to believe in them (which is not quite the same thing as saying he actually does believe in them).

You talk to any quarterback, whenever youre getting a lot of pressure and youre getting flushed and youre getting hit a lot, that clock in your head is going to be tinkered a little bit, Cutler said. Its going to start ticking a little bit faster.

That could well be. But while pressure has an obvious impact on passing offenses, its effects on Cutler are harder to assess conclusively.

In his 2008 Pro Bowl season with the Denver Broncos, Cutler was sacked 11 times. He completed 62.3 percent of his passes. In 2010 Cutler was sacked 52 times. He completed 60.4 percent of his passes.

Against the Atlanta Falcons in week one, Cutler was sacked five times. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes.

Martz: The offensive line did a terrific job Cutler was very pleased with the protection.
Jay Cutler

Cutler missed badly on a number of throws in the Green Bay game. In the first half alone he threw a poorly aimed interception, overthrew Devin Hester and Roy Williams, and threw twice behind Dane Sanzenbacher at the goal line when he was not particularly under pressure from the Packers front. He was not sacked in the first half.

Cutler: Even sometimes when you do have a good amount of time, youre going to be feeling it even if its not there. So its a constant battle. The more consistent we get up front and the more time I have, and the more comfortable I feel, the more consistent Im going to get.

In this instance the various parties do appear to be on the same playbook page. Cutlers protection ostensibly is in place.
Angelo: In our last two games, penalties, dropped balls and protection have all played a part in the lack of consistency, Angelo told the team website ChicagoBears.com (http:tinyurl.com6d5vpf8).

Restricting the offense

The Bears were 11-5 last season. Within that, the record was 7-2 when a more conservative offensive approach was adopted and some restrictions were put in place, in the form of cutting back on certain elements that werent working.
Matt Forte (prior to the start of the season): The offense in general was restricted a little bit in both running and passing games. We were shifting around linemen and trying to get everything under control and making it fit.

But now, with an offensive line missing two starters, a new center, a left tackle moved over from right, and a starting wideout (Williams) conceded by all to still need more acclimating to Cutler.

Martz: No, no. Cutting back is probably the worst reaction you could have. Youre telling players that you dont have confidence in their ability. Thats what youre saying.

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 believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

Bears believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

PHOENIX – The signing of Mark Sanchez last week gave the Bears what they view as a bona fide No. 2 quarterback, something they have needed at least one of in each of the last seven seasons. Sanchez has started 72 NFL games vs. the 18 of Mike Glennon but GM Ryan Pace reiterated on Tuesday that Glennon is ensconced as the starter.
 
More than just finding a viable backup has been at stake in the Bears' quest for a backup, and in a clear statement of philosophy, Pace affirmed that intangibles played a significant part in deciding on Sanchez. Part of those specifically involved an assessment of how Sanchez would work off the field with Glennon.
 
"He's knowledgeable, he's smart and him and Mike have already kind of clicked," Pace said. "They're together and they're organizing workouts on their own and those kind of things are important.
 
"We've talked about it before: There's no more important room than the quarterback room and we put a lot of thought as to how that room blends together, especially with the number two position. Obviously we're evaluating the physical traits and what he can do physically but how they fit in as teammates, how they help each other, how they support each other. I think we've all seen really good rooms that are better as a whole because of the people that are in there. And maybe some rooms that don't click well together. I think we've created an environment not only with him but also with Connor Shaw where it's a room that can really click together and make each other better."

[MORE BEARS: No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety]
 
While Pace and coach John Fox have preached competition throughout the depth chart, that does not appear to apply at quarterback the same way. Indeed, a true quarterback competition can divide teams and become a distraction cloud over more than just that one position.
 
Glennon in fact may not need a lot of external competition. He is effectively playing to restart his NFL career, with $16 million guaranteed for the 2017 season but only $2.5 million guaranteed beyond that on a contract with a top-out of $45 million over three years.
 
"I think it's good for them to always be pushing each other so there's competition," Pace said. "Glennon's our starter… but that doesn't mean they're not pushing each other throughout practice and I think that goes with Connor Shaw, too. So those guys are all competitive guys, we wouldn't want them if they weren't competitive, and I just think it's a healthy competition."

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

PHOENIX – If the Bears intend to cut ties with Deiondre' Hall after the first-year cornerback become involved in an ugly police incident last weekend, they have not indicated their decision yet. They have, however, begun looking at a possible position change for Hall as they gather information on events of last Saturday night.

Hall was tasered by police in Cedar Falls, Ia., after he and a former Northern Iowa University teammate were allegedly involved in a fight at a bar. Hall was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and interference. Hall allegedly spit in the officers' faces, according to an affidavit, police saying that an officer used a Taser on Hall's legs in order to get him into a squad car.

GM Ryan Pace confirmed that the team is still gathering information and said, "it's just [that] the circumstances are a little disappointing, to be honest with you. We're aware of it, it's just kind of gathering more facts as we go forward."

Pace has spoken to Hall and said that the team wanted to investigate thoroughly, "but the circumstances surrounding it are obviously disappointing."

In the meantime, the 2016 fourth-round draft choice is slated to be tried at safety when the team convenes for the start of offseason work. Hall played the position in college, and has traits that the Bears value at the safety position.

"One of Deiondre's best traits is his ball skills, his ball clock, the ability to time the pass breakup," Pace said. "He's very natural at playing safety and that's one of the reasons we drafted him, because he has the versatility to do both. That's something we're going to talk about this offseason and he could start taking some reps there in the offseason program."

Cornerback Kyle Fuller, who missed all of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August, will stay at cornerback.