Every loss by the Bears brings more criticism of the offense. While much of the criticism has focused around Jay Cutler and the offensive line, the receivers’ weaknesses are starting to become more of an issue.
Former Bears receiver and member of the 1985 Super Bowl team, Dennis McKinnon spoke about the team’s current receivers. “If Cutler doe not buy extra time with his legs, [the receivers] don’t get open.”
LISTEN: Dennis McKinnon On The Boers And Bernstein Show
McKinnon put much of the blame for the interceptions against the Redskins on the receivers. “If I know [the defensive back] is jumping the route, I’m not just going to pull up and let him make the pick,” McKinnon said. The reason McKinnon saw for the receivers pulling up on routes is rooted in two issues.
“I saw [Johnny] Knox pull up a lot [on Sunday] when he knew the ball was already in the air. When [players] start thinking about getting hit, this is the thing that you see,” McKinnon said. It’s the receivers’ jobs to prevent the defensive backs from picking off passes when they jump routes, even if it means taking a pass interference penalty.
The other reason for receivers pulling up on routes, according to McKinnon, is the lack of a receiver rotation. “The Bears receivers don’t run a lot of short routes, unless there’s a hot read…All the routes are deep and [the Bears] don’t rotate receivers.” And as a result of that, McKinnon says that “a lot [of the receivers] are loafing on plays when their numbers are called.”
These mistakes and tendencies will only worsen if the coaching staff does not use the bye week to address them. The added practice time should allow for the players, especially the receivers, to focus more on fundamentals and eliminating bad habits.