Chicago Bears

Offensively Challenged: Deja Vu for Cutler?

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Offensively Challenged: Deja Vu for Cutler?

Friday, November 13th

Maybe I am just a glass is half full kind of guy! Because, if you look closely at Jay's performance tonight, he hit 12 different receivers. That is some serious distribution of the football and spreading the wealth. Unfortunately, seven targets were on the Bears roster and five others played for the 49ers.

You cannot sugercoat Jay's performance one bit. He needed to be the difference maker for the Bears, not SAN FRAN! The game was set up for Jay coming into Thursday night. Running the football was going to be difficult as the 49ers were fourth overall in the NFL at stopping the run. Furthermore, the Bears should have featured the passing game due to the 49ers losing their star cornerback, Nate Clements, for six weeks to injury. It was not to be and Bear faithful are left wondering how their prized franchise QB now leads the league in interceptions. Is Chicago where QB's come to die?

All of Jay's miscues are correctable and some the fault of others. But when you blow Red Zone scoring opportunities with as much frequency as the Bears, it is now must be considered a trend. The first and last interceptions are without a doubt the most alarming. We have witnessed three games this year where Jay has demonstrated poor decision making in the Red Zone that has cost the Bears football games. The first interception by Nose Tackle Abrayo Franklin of the 49ers is inexcusable. There was no passing lane! Never going to be a passing lane to complete that football! Three other 49ers had TE Greg Olsen blanketed in the Endzone making it way to risky of a throw. THROW THE BALL AWAY! Go back to my Atlanta Blog. Take the three points. You are on the road in a MUST WIN game scenario. The bigger picture needs to sink in and Lovie Smith needs to hammer it home to his starting franchise QB. Time for a trip to the principles office for a chat because Jay's poor decisions are now putting Lovie's livelihood in harms way.

Jay's carelessness displayed throwing the football makes it difficult for everyone moving forward. It certainly affects Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner's ability to call a game. Jay will not say it publicly, but his confidence is shaken. You do not apologize to your teammates after the game if you are not questioning yourself inside. Tommie Harris dealt with it last week and now Jay has to get back to work. Ron has to stress the fundamentals. Poor footwork and technique are killing Jay's production. It is not the time to let Jay off the hook after a so called "bad day at the office". This has been brewing for quite some time, when it should have been addressed in the first place.

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

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USA TODAY

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

The Bears' best offensive player won't be suiting up in Saturday's preseason game. In fact, he won't even be on the sideline. 

Jordan Howard suffered an eye injury Friday, preventing him from flying with the team to Arizona. 

Although ESPN's Adam Schefter believes it's minor, that's not a good sign for an offense that relies heavily on the run game.

Joining Howard on the inactive list are more key offensive guys: 

- Kyle Long, OL

- Jeremy Langford, RB

- Joshua Bellamy, WR

- Markus Wheaton, WR

That means Mike Glennon, who is embroiled in a growing quarterback controversy, will have his work cut out for him. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will also be missing some notables: 

- Danny Trevathan, LB

- Mitch Unrein, DL

- Bryce Callahan, DB

- Alex Scearse, LB

- Jonathan Anderson, LB

- Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL

Hopefully Howard and the team can get healthy before the real deal begins because last year's injury-plagued season was certainly no fun. 

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

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USA Today Sports Images

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

One of John Fox’s favorite sayings is that the best ability is availability. No player exemplified that line more than left tackle Charles Leno Jr. in 2016. 

Leno played all 1,010 of the Bears’ offensive snaps last year. His effectiveness may not have matched his availability — Pro Football Focus, for what it’s worth, described Leno as being a “below average” starter. The Bears like Leno, though. But enough to give him another contract?

“He’s pretty reliable and dependable,” Fox said. “But we all have room for improvement so I think he’d tell you the same thing.”

For Leno, there’s no time like the present to make those strides. He’s due to hit free agency after this season, and, unless the Bears sign him to a contract extension, will enter a market that last spring saw five left tackles (Riley Reiff, Matt Kalil, Russell Okung, Andrew Whitworth and Kelvin Beachum) sign contracts each including eight-figure guaranteed money. But Leno, who will be 26 this spring, isn’t doing a lot of thinking about what his future could look like beyond this year. 

“It’s in the back of your mind, but at the end of the day I’m trying to go out there and just perfect my craft,” Leno said. “That’s really what I’m trying to do. I’ve been doing that the last two and a half years now. It’s the same routine every day. Just trying to go out there and perfect my craft, things will take care of itself. If I do what I need to do out there, everything will follow.”

For Leno, perfecting his craft means perfecting the basics of being a left tackle. What he rattled off: Placement of hands, base in pass set, staying square, not opening up too early. Being consistent in those areas is what Leno sees as that next step in his development. 

“I think Charles Leno does a really great job focusing attention to detail within his set,” left guard Kyle Long said. “Whether it’s a set angle, his hands or his strike, he always has a plan and he’s somebody that’s athletic enough to recover if he ever does get in a bad situation. It’s a really difficult position to play out there but I think Charles Leno is one of the most athletic guys that’s been around here.” 

Practice has provided an ideal opportunity for Leno to work on all those things, given the array of pass rushers he’s facing from his own defense. 

“I got a very fast guy (Leonard Floyd), I got a very tall, long guy (Willie Young), and I got a short, powerful guy (Lamarr Houston). I mean, what more do I need on a practice field? I got the best guys in the world to go against every day.”

But the point remains: Leno does have room for growth. A fully healthy Bears’ offensive line, with a more consistent Leno, can be one of the best units in the NFL on which the team’s level of production can be based. 

And if that’s the case, Leno can expect a significant payday next spring, either from the Bears or another team. 

“I never expected I would be in this situation, absolutely not,” Leno said. “I’m very blessed, I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve got into. But also, it’s a testament to the work I’ve been putting in for myself and I just don’t ever want that to stop. I don’t ever want the work ethic that I have to ever go down because I’ve got some money or because I’m in a contract year. I want to keep improving whether I have the money or not.”