Seriously. The 2014 Chicago Bears are in my opinion one of the two most talented offensive units the team has fielded since 1985. Which makes them in the top three in the 35 years that I’ve been watching the team. Probably in the top three most talented going all the way back to 1956, when Harlon Hill was leading the NFL in receiving.
Which makes the current state of the team just disgusting. Embarrassing. Embarrassing to be a fan of the team. The players and coaches are in disarray, evidenced by the extreme amount of stupid penalties, dropped passes, ridiculously being blown out of games, and quitting once they’re down.
Now the revelation that offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer had to make a “tearful apology” to the team. Kromer apparently admitted that he was the source of a story stating the Bears had buyers remorse over signing Jay Cutler to the $100 million + extension he received a year ago. More evidence that the players and coaches are in complete disorder.
The buck doesn’t stop with Head Coach Marc Trestman and his staff. Bears’ President Ted Phillips hired General Manager Phil Emery, who hired Trestman over Bruce Arians. Arians reportedly craved the Bears’ job, and now shepherds the first Arizona Cardinals team to win 11 games (with three remaining). Despite losing about half of their starters to injury.
Emery said in 2012 that the goal was to “narrow the talent gap between the Bears and the Packers.” FAIL.
In 2013, the plan was for the Bears’ defense to continue to play at the level it did under Lovie Smith. FAIL.
This year, the plan was for the Bears’ offense to build big leads on their opponents, allowing their highly paid pass rushers to pin their ears back and prevent comebacks. FAIL.
Emery’s regime drafted Shea McClellin in the first round and Brandon Hardin in the third round. FAILS. He signed defensive end Lamarr Houston to a contract worth over $30 million, an albatross. For a player that his incumbent team made no effort to re-sign.
Other draft picks including Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene, Evan Rodriguez and Isiah Frey are either already gone or on their way out. Granted the last three players listed were picked in the fourth round or lower. Those players are at least expected to be adequate special teams performers. Yet the Bears’ special teams, after years of setting the standard for excellence in the NFL, have been abhorrent under Trestman!
So as mentioned, Emery has failed in his initial goal of closing the talent gap between the Bears and the Packers. In fact it has widened by an extreme margin. At this time, the Packers are the NFL’s best team. Talk about causing even more rage for Bears fans that have to watch the incompetence in their favorite team’s leadership….
I’ve saved the worst part of this all for last. Despite the lack of discipline on the field, obvious disarray in the locker room, repeated embarrassing blowout defeats that cause their team’s biggest rival to openly laugh at Chicago, there is no question in my mind that Emery and Trestman will continue to run the show in 2015. The stodgy McCaskey family, fronted by decision maker Phillips, just doesn’t cut bait on regimes. I would say they don’t do it quickly but that wouldn’t be accurate-they try to avoid doing it at all.
Dave Wannstedt was retained after 7-9, then 4-12 seasons. Dick Jauron after 6-10 and 5-11 seasons. Lovie Smith after failing to make the playoffs in four of his last five years. In my estimation, hell freezes over before Phillips and the McCaskeys clean house after two seasons of a coach, or just three seasons of a GM (who has taken a 10-6 team with a proud defense and special teams and turned it into a literal laughing stock).
Contrast the Bears’ reality with this. In 1999 the Green Bay Packers were coached by Ray Rhodes. They finished 8-8 that year. After having made the playoffs in six straight seasons, the Packers fired Rhodes after ONE season. Interestingly, the 1999 season was Phillips’ first season as Bears President and CEO. He was appointed to that position by team matriarch Virgina McCaskey, after her son Michael had proved over his sixteen seasons in charge that he was driving the organization into perpetual irrelevance.
So, this is the 15th NFL season since the Packers fired Rhodes after just one season, and the McCaskeys appointed Phillips as team president and CEO. Results? The Packers have made the playoffs in 12 of those 15 seasons and won a Super Bowl. The Bears have made the playoffs four times in 15 years.
Bears fans, brace yourselves because this roller coaster is still going down, and picking up speed.