The Bears 3 preseason games have done nothing to inspire confidence in Chicago fans. The latest of which was a 14-9 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. A Cardinals team that lacks a true starting quarterback and played without star receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Throughout the preseason the offense has been offensive and the defensive porous. I typically don’t put much stock in preseason games but there are too many signs which point to what could be a rough 2010 season.
Though Cutler hasn’t played much in the first 3 games and will play even less in the finale it is clear he still isn’t comfortable in the new offense. Cutler has played in west coast offenses for both the Broncos and Bears and it will take time to master Martz’s encyclopedia of a playbook. I have confidence that Cutler can eventually learn and succeed in this new system though. What I don’t have confidence in is the offensive line which needs to protect him. Martz’s play calling requires deep routes and 7 step drops which equates to more time in the pocket for the quarterback. In the first 3 games Cutler has been sacked 10 times and has been pressured or flushed out of the pocket many more. The hope is the newly shuffled set of linemen develop chemistry in time but, with 1 warm up game left, time has run out. Even though the pass plays haven’t looked crisp yet I do believe these receivers are fast enough to get to their spots and Cutler will be able to deliver the ball on time. If Jay has time to deliver his passes the Bears could put up solid numbers this year.
So far this preseason the defense retains the title of ‘same shit, different year’. Even with another new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith continues to run an outdated defensive scheme with less than stellar results. Failed 3rd down stops continue to plague the defense as the starting unit allowed the Cardinals to convert 5 of 9 third down conversions. As the season progresses I expect the front four to provide more pressure than we’ve seen thus far but the defensive secondary has the same unanswered questions this year as year’s past. And the linebacker injuries make me feel I’m looking in the rear view mirror. Until those questions are answered the Bears defense will remain a middle of the road unit that stays on the field more than it should with the starting talent it has.
No matter how bad (or good) the Bears turn out to be this year we’ll all watch because we all enjoy watching Bears football. They have a tough schedule this year but at least they have a good change Week 1 against the Lions. Right?…