Miller: Last night was embarrassing

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Miller: Last night was embarrassing

Everyone is going to hammer the Chicago Bears after last nights embarrassing performance while losing to the San Francisco 49ers, 32-7. There really wasnt much to cheer about in terms of effort, execution, and heart.

Not all Bears players lack the want to in the heart department, but the few that do forget its all broadcasted for everyone to see. As disappointing as last night was, there are some very painful realizations of who the Bears are and where they need to go. Here would be the three most glaring realizations:

Jay Cutler

No one can question his toughness, drive, or demeanor moving forward. Without Cutler, the Bears lacked the edginess of accountability this offense apparently desperately needs. Cutlers methods may be unorthodox and at times not professional or pleasing, but his desire to win, ownership in his team, and his emotions was sorely missed.

Offensive Line

I think it's clear that the Bears cannot play from behind, and its ironic losing to the 49ers because they cant pass protect either. Here are the offensive lines who have given up the most sacks in 2012, including the six sacks the Bears gave up last night:

Arizona Cardinals: 44

Chicago Bears: 34

Philadelphia Eagles: 33

Green Bay Packers: 32

San Francisco 49ers: 31

San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh may elect to start Colin Kaepernick moving forward because of his athleticism to avoid sacks, but their formula to win is no different than the Bears'. They want to get a lead, play good defense, and run the football.

As embarrassing as last night was from a pass protection standpoint, right tackle Gabe Carimi was drafted to run the football. Its what he did in college at Wisconsin where he played left tackle, but almost every scout had him moving to right tackle in the NFL because he could run blocks and know his assignments.

Just looking at the Bears' most recent history of where the offensive line has struggled most, reflects when they play a dominant front four defensive line. They have a difficult time when other players like tight ends or backs cannot always be committed to giving every guy help upfront who is outmanned.

Everyone remembers the 10-sack performance against the Giants in Metlife Stadium two years ago, but outings against the Packers this year (seven sacks), and when Jay Cutler worked magic against the Lions front four at Ford Field under former offensive coordinator Mike Martz stick out the most. This is Lovie Smiths chosen path philosophically and why the Bears currently have who they have on the roster.

The key to this is that the Bears must play with a lead or keep games close for this philosophy to be utilized.

Heavy sets give Bears' defense problems

Unless the Bears play with a lead to take an opponent out of these sets, they will continue to see heavy sets.

Heavy sets are two tight end sets, or in last night's case, the 49ers used 350 pound tackle Leonard Davis as a third tight end to run the football. Ive said it numerous times; heavy sets are the blue print to beating the Tampa-2 defense. Its how the Bears beat Tony Dungy, Monte Kiffen, and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli twice in one season in 2001.

Some consider those defenses with defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive end Simeon Rice, safety John Lynch, and cornerback Ronde Barbert. Heavy sets destroyed them; much like the Bears got destroyed with it last night.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

MESA, Ariz. – This is a big bowl of wrong: Cubs manager Joe Maddon might have missed his only window to make the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" cameo appearance Jeff Garlin promised. 

Garlin – a Second City alumnus and one of several celebrity fans within the team's orbit – had offered Maddon a role whenever Larry David brought the band back together for the loosely scripted HBO comedy.

But last week's Cactus League media event at the Arizona Biltmore conflicted with filming in Southern California, where "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is working on a ninth season after a five-year hiatus.

"There was one matchup, and I couldn't get there," Maddon said before Sunday's World Series rematch against the Cleveland Indians at Sloan Park. "I just couldn't do it. It'll happen."

During an all-over-the-place session with reporters that lasted 20-plus minutes, Maddon declined to make any Oscar predictions, saying he's into Netflix and Hulu now and doesn't really go to the movies anymore.

Maddon also hasn't watched much – or any – of the World Series highlights or documentaries. When it came to the handling Aroldis Chapman part, there were some boos inside Chicago's Civic Opera House during the premiere of Major League Baseball's "The 2016 World Series."

But Maddon said he basically skipped that type of content after being Mike Scioscia's bench coach for the 2002 Anaheim Angels and managing the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2008 World Series.

"You get busy and I don't know," Maddon said. "I need to start reading more and watching Netflix less."

Didn't you say that last spring?

"I did," Maddon said.

Maddon had been addicted to cable news during last year's polarizing presidential campaign: "But, damn, it's gotten really annoying, so I stopped watching all that stuff. It's just not good for your brain. It's really not. There's nothing to be gained."

When Maddon starts rolling, it's not hard to picture him in a scene with David and J.B. Smoove. Shaquille O'Neal, John McEnroe and Bill Buckner are among the sports figures with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" credits.

"That was the only day, so I don't know how we're going to figure this out," Maddon said. "First, they had one day set up, and that was going to be good. And then they had to change it to this other day, which was not good. So we'll have to (come up with something else), even if it's maybe a picture on the wall or a phone call."

Preview: Corey Crawford ill, Scott Darling in for Blackhawks vs. Blues

Preview: Corey Crawford ill, Scott Darling in for Blackhawks vs. Blues

The Blackhawks were already without Niklas Hjalmarsson on Sunday night. Now they’re without Corey Crawford as well.

Crawford is ill and Scott Darling will start in his place when the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Crawford was expected to start but did not skate this morning – goaltending coach Jimmy Waite took the other net. Coach Joel Quenneville does not believe Crawford has the mumps – “I haven’t heard the word mumps around here,” he said. The Vancouver Canucks are currently working through an outbreak of the mumps and several teams battled it a few seasons ago.

As for the backup, Quenneville was hoping Lars Johansson could be up in an emergency situation, as long as logistics work out. The Rockford IceHogs are scheduled to play at the Ontario (Calif.) Reign later today.

Marian Hossa did not skate this morning but he is expected to play tonight. As Quenneville said on Saturday, Hjalmarsson is day-to-day with the upper-body injury he sustained on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes but is out tonight.

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Blues was in their Winter Classic game on Jan. 2. A month later coach Ken Hitchcock was fired and, now under Mike Yeo, the Blues have gone 7-3-0 since then. That includes two losses heading into their bye week, however, which they come out of tonight.

“I think usually teams seem to respond pretty well with coaching changes. Whenever you get something new, something to renew the group, whether it’s systems or different energy in the locker room, teams seem to respond at least in the beginning,” Jonathan Toews said. “We can expect this team to be really hard to play against and obviously pretty eager to, maybe, be better overall than they have been all year, knowing what they’re capable of as a team. We know whether we’re playing St. Louis or Minnesota, teams that are close to us in the points race, the points are always huge.”

BLACKHAWKS VS. ST. LOUIS BLUES

6:30 p.m.

TV: NBCSN

Live stream: NBC Sports app

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Tomas Jurco-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Andrew Desjardins

 

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Michal Rozsival

 

Goaltender

Scott Darling

 

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Corey Crawford (ill).

 

St. Louis Blues (via NHL.com)

Forward lines

Alex Steen-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz-Patrik Berglund-David Perron

Dmitrij Jaskin-Jori Lehtera-Magnus Paajarvi

Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves

 

Defensive Pairs

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson-Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

 

Goaltender

Jake Allen

 

INJURIES/ILLNESS: None.