“Finding the balance” seems to be the rallying cry of the Chicago Bears offense. It’s strange how terrible the team is at putting that plan into motion.
We all know the solution. The coaches “know it.” The players definitely know it. Bears fans know it. Fans of the colors navy and orange, bear hunting enthusiasts, and even regular people who just like the way the letter “B” looks on the Bears sideline baseball caps… yep, they all know it, too:
Give the ball to Matt Forte.
Problem is, they don’t give the ball to Matt Forte.
When you’re pass happy, you get a franchise-low eight rushing attempts in a miserable 34-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, all but assuring Chicagoans that their Thanksgiving Dinner wouldn’t be the only thing causing indigestion this year.
Even the Denver Broncos, led by the greatest quarterback of all time in Peyton Manning, have slammed the ball on the ground for the past two weeks to get their season back on track.
Maybe the Bears are protesting the idea… Maybe they think it’s #basic. Oh! Or maybe, just maybe, Bears coaches have a secret betting pool on who can say the most bizarre thing in a press conference and get away with it.
Coach Trestman was the leader in the clubhouse with his “our team is in the right place” line following the blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers, but Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer is giving him a run for his money.
“The game didn’t present itself the way we hoped… then we had to try to throw it to get back in it, we felt,” Kromer said, following last week’s loss.
Hmmm. So amuse me for a second here, Aaron: in the first quarter, when your team was up 7-0 and eventually 14-3, that “presentation” didn’t please you? What about the first 11 and a half minutes in the second quarter where your team still held a lead? You felt you had to throw the ball to “get back in it?”
What in the name of Santa Clause is going on here, folks? (‘Tis the season for Christmas puns.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m not necessarily talking about a borderline fire sale, but that is on my Christmas List for the offseason. (Santa, if you’re reading, I’ve been a reeeeeally good boy this year!)
Since the sweet science of turning around, extending an arm, and driving the football into the well-developed abdomen of one Matt Forte is just too much for Jay Cutler and his coaches to understand, we need to get creative.
Allow me to pitch some ideas (Warning: Sarcasm ahead):
Make Matt Forte the Quarterback
This move effectively kills two birds with one stone. All of the Cutler haters can rejoice, and now you’ve removed the middle man in the all-too-complicated quarterback-to-running back exchange.
I mean, cut Jay some slack, guys. Do you know how hard it must be to hand a ball off? Well, not physically hard, but emotionally? It must kill him on the inside. Imagine the internal conversation, all in emotionless monotone, of course: “fine. You think I’m not good enough to trust me with the ball on this play? I’ll just throw into triple coverage for the next three quarters.”
Maybe Forte can’t throw any better than you or I, but at least he won’t be slinging to the other team as often! Silver lining!
Let Jay Cutler get Sacked More Often
If you’re going to be terrible, be terrible by design. Cutler already leads the NFL in fumbles lost with six (and counting). Why not design a few plays that let the defensive ends break free? Let them level Cutler, have Forte stand reeeeally close, and hope the fumble rolls into his hands. Run that play ten times a game and you’ll have move success on the ground then the Bears did last week. Now THAT’S what I call progress.
Let Matt Forte Return Punts and Kickoffs
At least then he could remember what it feels like to have the ball in his arms with blockers and an open field in front of him.
I mean, seriously, guys. How hard can it be? The coaches preach balance every week, and yet the only sign we’ve seen all season was the victory over the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cutler dropped back 27 times; Forte and backup Kadeem Carey ran 26 times.
Outside of that, there has been a clear bias towards the passing game. Only once have the Bears ran the ball more than relied on the passing game, and it came in their first loss to the Green Bay Packers.
When a soft-spoken, level-headed guy like Forte finally pipes up, it’s time to take notice.
“It’s of the utmost importance, especially if we’re playing outside with the weather and stuff,” Forte said. “You can’t just sit back there and throw 50 passes a game and expect to win.”
You can expect the “weather and stuff” to be pretty frightful this Thursday at Soldier Field when the Bears welcome in the Dallas Cowboys. Will the Bears practice what they preach? The Cowboys are 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game allowed, so no better time than the present.
The ironic part is that if the Bears gash Dallas on the ground and pull out an impressive win, fans might be more pissed off about why they haven’t seen that all year than they would be if the Bears just lost again.
But that’s what happens when your team falls miles short of sky-high expectations.