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.

Want to be in on Bears QB deliberations? 'Look at the film'

Want to be in on Bears QB deliberations? 'Look at the film'

Back in 1992 the Dallas Cowboys were in draft deliberations around the No. 17 spot of the first round, looking for upgrades on defense. A scout made a suggestion that they target Ohio State defensive end Alonzo Spellman, one of the most physically imposing (6-4, 280 pounds) players and best athletes in that draft.
 
Coach Jimmy Johnson responded, "Tell me about the production."
 
Came back the answer: Three years at OSU, nine total sacks.
 
"Oh, please!" Johnson scoffed, calling in cornerback Kevin Smith and leaving Spellman to the Bears at No. 22. Spellman had several respectable seasons but never more than 8.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons.
 
As investment advisers counsel, past performance is not necessarily a predictor of future results. But past performance can be, and an axiom in NFL personnel rooms is, look at the film.
 
CSNChicago.com is doing that as the NFL Scouting Combine approaches (Feb. 29) along with free agency and the start of the league year and its trading window. It becomes an increasingly relevant exercise to look at the intricacies behind some of the key players and positions the Bears will be addressing through the upcoming weeks. CSNChicago.com previously looked at the need to evaluate quarterbacks from the intangible standpoints first, then the measurables.
 
Using Jay Cutler as an object lesson for how immense physical skills have questionable correlations to immense NFL performance, a look at one aspect of quarterback "film" warrants more attention than the measurables that command a disproportionate share of attention and scrutiny.
 
Ball security.
 
It has been Cutler's single biggest issue through his eight Bears seasons, was a reason why coaches once wanted to stay with Josh McCown instead of returning to Cutler following a Cutler injury absence, and why Brian Hoyer played his way into prominence in the discussion of 2017 Bears plans. Adam Gase went from offensive coordinator to hottest head-coach prospect in no small measure because he managed Cutler into better ball security.

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But the point here is less Cutler – expected to be traded or released within the near future – than the level of ball security in the available options beyond Hoyer.
 
So, look at the film:
 
The widespread drooling over a possible trade with New England for Jimmy Garoppolo. The best thing in Garoppolo's favor is that he has been a Patriots backup to Tom Brady. Garoppolo, drawing distant comparisons to a Matt Flynn, Matt Cassel and other past experience-lite quarterback options, has thrown 94 NFL passes without an interception, which is impressive until matched against Hoyer's 200 last season without an interception, for comparison purposes.
 
But evaluating Garoppolo against the coming chief draft competition – DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson – suggests comparing apples to apples, meaning college ball security, since that's all the kids have to this point.
 
Garoppolo vaulted up draft boards (to New England's second round) on the strength of an Eastern Illinois senior season with 53 touchdown passes vs. nine interceptions, against chiefly FCS opposition. But in his first three seasons Garoppolo threw for 65 touchdowns and was intercepted 42 times.
 
Kizer? In his two Notre Dame seasons, 47 touchdowns, 19 interceptions.
 
Trubisky? 30 touchdowns last season, six interceptions. Including his two years as a North Carolina backup, 41 touchdowns, 10 interceptions.
 
Watson? 90 touchdowns, 32 interceptions in three Clemson seasons, the last two as Tigers starter.
 
Observations:
 
Garoppolo put in four college seasons, but has a little of the Trubisky/Flynn/Cassel, one-year-wonder feel. 
 
Kizer and Watson have more starting seasons, but the Watson intangible of getting his team to two national-championship games speaks to another level of "intangible."
 
GM Ryan Pace will incorporate heavy input from coach John Fox and coordinator Dowell Loggains. Coaches love ball security. Garoppolo? Watson? Trubisky? Kizer?
 
Look at the film.

BearsTalk Podcast: The risk and reward for Bears in trading for Jimmy Garoppolo

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USA TODAY

BearsTalk Podcast: The risk and reward for Bears in trading for Jimmy Garoppolo

In this edition of the BearsTalk podcast, CSN's Chris Boden, Sun-Times Bears beat writer Patrick Finley, and CSNChicago.com's Scott Krinch discuss the Bears' approach to the two-week window opening to franchise-tag Alshon Jeffery again, the risk/reward in trading for Jimmy Garoppolo or drafting a QB (and how high to draft one), Scott's 2.0 mock draft, plus the workers' compensation controversy the team found itself in last week and the club's decision to raise ticket prices.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: