Chicago Bears

Report Card: How many F's? Coaches get an 'I'

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Report Card: How many F's? Coaches get an 'I'

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
8:41 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears will be looking for positives in a 36-7 loss to perhaps the NFLs best team. It will be a difficult search. New England dominated the game from the second series and never let the Bears develop momentum or production on offense, defense or special teams.

Quarterback F

Jay Cutler provided a fitting cap to a dismal game with a high-school-grade pass to a New England DB in the end zone in the fourth quarter. He lost the ball inside the Chicago 10 with a fumble on a sack and finished 12-for-26 passing for 152 yards, two interceptions and a 32.9 rating, his second-lowest as a Bear.

Running backs F

Chester Taylor scored on a one-yard run and Matt Forte turned in a 30-yard reception. But Bears backs totaled 26 rushing yards on 12 carries and were able to add just 44 receiving yards catching three of the eight passes thrown to them.

Receivers F

Footing was a problem but Patriot receivers were able to pick up substantial yards after catches and the Bears were not. Johnny Knox lost a fumble that was returned for a TD and only Earl Bennett (17.7) and Devin Aromashodu (16 yards, one catch) averaged as much as nine yards per catch.

Offensive line D-

New England sacked Cutler twice and got three other hits on him as protection was not as much a problem as receivers getting open and Cutler getting the ball out of his hands quickly. The Bears went with packages including three tight ends and unbalanced lines but failed miserably to control the line of scrimmage in a game that needed to be kept out of Tom Bradys hands.

Defensive line D

Israel Idonije shared a sack of Tom Brady in the first quarter. Julius Peppers sacked Brady in the third quarter and deflected two passes, and Anthony Adams took Brady down late in the fourth quarter. But against a very good New England offensive line the Bears could sustain no consistent pressure, particularly on third-and-long situations, and failed to control the line of scrimmage to blunt the Patriots on the ground.

Linebackers D

Brian Urlacher got a piece of a Brady sack but was out-positioned by TE Rob Gronkowski for a New England TD in the first quarter. Urlacher was credited with a game-high 11 tackles, three for loss and three passes broken up.

Secondary F-

Blown coverage accounted for a 59-yard Deion Branch TD catch just before halftime and Brady had no trouble picking the secondary apart for 369 yards, with Branch totaling 151 yards and Wes Welker 115, both with eight catches. Receivers were able to add substantial yardage after catches and the Patriots converted 12 of 19 third downs, many of longer than 10 yards.

Special teams C-

Danieal Manning and Devin Hester combined for 6 kickoff returns averaging 36 yards and Hester added a 17-yard punt return, only one of which (Hesters 61-yard KOR) the offense was able to turn into points. Conditions limited Brad Maynard top a net of 23.6 yards on 5 punts. Coverage units allowed the Patriots to return 2 punts for an average of 21.5 yards and benefit from field position that the Bears could not afford to allow.

Coaching I

Incomplete because execution in offense and defense was so poor as to make evaluating game plans virtually impossible. The Bears werent ready to play but the fault for too much lay with the players, not with coaching.

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.

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.”