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.

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Rookie Deiondre' Hall flashed in the preseason a year ago, leading the Bears coaching staff and fans to believe they found something amidst their trio of 2016 fourth round draft picks. 

He’s hoping to do the same this August after overcoming one physical hurdle, while waiting to see if he can get past a legal hurdle he created for himself.

Let’s start on the field, where, just days after his first NFL interception in the fourth game last season, he sustained an ankle injury in practice, sidelining him for two months. Once his walking boot and scooter were finally put away, he was active for the final four games. But what progress he’d been making on the field was difficult to recapture.

“Just coming off the injury, there was a little rust here and there, but the training staff here’s great and I had to push through it,” Hall said at last week’s minicamp in Lake Forest after he was one of numerous Bears hit by the injury bug, but not one of the 19 who wound up on Injured Reserve. “(I was) getting comfortable with the defense and in myself playing with those guys out there, getting the opportunity in the red zone and making plays. But the injury kinda sucked because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play since Week 5, so I’m not necessarily starting fresh.”

As the offseason unfolded, Hall was informed the coaching staff was going to try him at safety, if not permanently, then as an option for the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Northern Iowa product. 

But Hall’s not totally foreign to the position. He was a free safety his first year in college, then transitioned to outside linebacker/nickel as a sophomore, moved to cornerback as a junior before breaking his hand his senior year, playing through it back where he started at safety. So the decision wasn’t a big deal, especially if it enhances his chances to get on the field. But his preference?

“Defense. Opportunity,” Hall responded. “You get in where you fit in and the more you can do, the better it is for the team. If opportunity presents itself at corner, then I’m at corner. But right now at safety, I’m making strides (there) and keep pushing for that.”

“We’re gonna float him back and forth,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month, after the Bears signed free agent cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the off-season, while Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are expected to battle for slot duty and former first-rounder Kyle Fuller and veterans Johnthan Banks and B.W. Webb hope to impress. “He (Hall) had some experience there in college. When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”

But before Hall gets back to work in Bourbonnais, he’ll find out if he has some other dues to pay. Hall was back at his alma mater’s Cedar Falls campus March 26th when he and a former UNI teammate were arrested outside a bar called Sharky’s. Police had responded to a call, and by the time all was said and done, Hall needed to be tased before being arrested on charges of public intoxication, interference (with an arrest), and disorderly conduct. 

The case was continued late last month and Hall’s jury trial is scheduled for July 11th. Pending the outcome, he could face disciplinary action from the team and the NFL. He’s told his side of the story to Bears management and while expressing remorse for putting himself in the situation, Hall says it wasn’t in character and feels confident in what the outcome will be.

“People make mistakes and the truth always comes out,” the 23-year-old said, adding the situation isn’t weighing on his mind or affected his preparation in off-season workouts. “You gotta let people make their own mistakes. I won’t shed light but the truth always comes out, and (I’ve learned) just don’t take anything for granted.”

“My main focus is football and keep pushing to make strides to become good, and great.”

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule: