Bernstein: Bears Break Kreutz Addiction

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) It never felt right that a shaky offensive line seemed so desperate to retain a mediocre center.

Olin Kreutz at 34 is more reputation than ability, more intangible than tangible, more history than future. That he was viewed as so important to the Bears’ success this year – both by fans and teammates – speaks more to their problems blocking opponents than anything else.

Without a competing offer in hand, Kreutz tried to pit the team against itself, relying on players to campaign for him publicly and coaches to lobby in private, all while Jerry Angelo and Tim Ruskell held the line on their final proposal: one year, $4 million.

The message from upper management, as they excise the unquestioned leader of the offense?

Get over it and grow up. That goes for those in uniform and those with clipboards and whistles.

Do your jobs. Call the play, run the play, and execute your assignment, without worrying about what “57” thinks of anything you’re doing.

You know who should lead the offense? The franchise quarterback. Go ahead and lead, Jay. All clear for you to assert whatever personality you may have. Prove the doubters wrong who keep comparing you to Jeff George, and show how teammates can unite behind you.

You know who’s in charge of the offensive line? The offensive line coach. Mike Tice was a head coach in the NFL, and he’s perfectly capable of commanding the meeting room. The offensive coordinator can hold his own, too, when it comes to exercising authority – I think he’ll be ok.

Most importantly, you know who the “locker room leader” is? The head coach, who makes enough money that he shouldn’t need any player’s blustery presence to help him communicate effectively and on message.

Seattle castoff Chris Spencer takes over at center, following an all-time great who was well past his prime. Kreutz may be the best anyone has ever seen at huddle-breaks and line-calls, pointing out the “mike” ‘backer and making various other pre-snap gesticulations, but that isn’t as valuable to the team as stopping the man in front of you. Ndamukong Suh, BJ Raji and Nick Fairley don’t care about how many years you’ve been a Bear, or how you mentor rookies.

With a line already this reshuffled and uncertain, what’s the definite harm? Roberto Garza can stay at right guard, Gabe Carimi can develop on his own (perhaps the kid’s intelligence and work ethic were viewed to be sufficient enough, and not in need of a de facto assistant positional coach?), and decisions can be made on where Chris Williams, J’Marcus Webb and Frank Omiyale fit best.

Everyone likes to pay attention to the tackles, because it’s easier to see when they get beat on the open edges, but the interior of the line had plenty of its own dreadful performances last year. And while Mike Martz may have been chastened into calling more runs and fewer slow-developing, vertical passing sets, he’s still the same guy, and he’s going to run his stuff – the seven-step drops will be used and must be blocked.

So let’s drop the emotional and political sensitivity and just get on with it, then. A Bears team that seemed convinced it couldn’t live without Olin Kreutz now must do so.

Toddlers have to give up that favorite stuffed animal sometime.

Addicts only need their next fix because they can’t imagine coping with existence otherwise, even if going cold turkey is the best thing for them.

Safety Chris Harris was quick to take to Twitter as the news came out Sunday afternoon. “Olin Kreutz departure won’t sit well in the locker room for a few days,” he wrote. “Sad day n Chicago he was the glue in locker room.”

Quit sniffing it.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Bears Break Kreutz Addiction
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • sfkforever

    your an idiot

    • dhb


    • Chris in Scottsdale

      His “an idiot”? is that like his “gay”?

      • Schmecky

        Dan’s Gay and Wrong can now rendezvous with new-found buddy An Idiot to reflect on ol’ Kruetz’s decorated career with our Bears over tea tonight.

  • Omar

    Sfkforever, if YOU’RE going to call someone an idiot, at least spell YOUR words correctly.

    Dan, spot on. Loved it and agreed with everything written in the article.

  • AT3374

    Olin = Ben Gordon . Time to cut bait on the addiction and move on . His replacement should have been drafted years ago along with Urlacher and Briggs . Going to be a long season regardless .

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Loved watching Kreutz. Have many fond memories of his intensity and hard-nosed high-caliber play but it’s been over a decade. It’s not 2003 anymore. He’s not the player he once was. To be honest, if they had a better candidate, they should have considered it last year. It’s just business. He’s still in the running for a statue down the line :)

    • Curt Motisi

      What would the statue depict? Olin hitting Fred Miller in the head with a weight? Olin committing an “unsportsman-like conduct” penalty. Olin was great, a long time ago. Not sure he will ever be immortalized in stone. HOF centers do it for 10+ years. Olin played at the HOF level for 6-7 years. More than I could do,
      but not enough to be an all-time great.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        I was looking at what constituted HOF centers, and there’s less than 10 true centers in Canton… and Kreutz was overshadowed by Dawson and Mawae as far as ranking. Third best in his own era at an interior lineman position? Yeah, he’s not going to get to the HOF in all likelihood… Hilgenberg goes first, right? ;) …but Chicago seems statue-happy, so I figured that was the way to go.

        Strangely, one of the less-than-10 is Dwight Stephenson. I found that interesting. He played for what, 8 years? He was also quite recent. I know that injuries were a factor, but those are the breaks, right?

  • charlie

    you’re the man…. When is the Rickets hendry castration article coming…

    He’s right, the blue collar idiot fan base just loves “fan favorites” from AJ pierzynski to to kreutz to whomever in spite of lack of production or the fact that they might die of old age before their contracts expire…. kreutz

    • Murphfan1138

      As opposed to the “white collar” fan base who love only the “stars” and pretend the other players don’t exist, as Bernstein and many in the local sports media would prefer to see from the fans?

  • Stan

    Just primer/fodder for the show tomorrow. Bernstein no dummy he knows how to tweak the issues and get the biggest bang for his buck. More power to him he has it figured out!

    • Denver Deadite

      I had a reply, but apparently this website doesn’t want me to give it.

  • Denver Deadite

    “That he was viewed as so important to the Bears’ success this year – both by fans and teammates – speaks more to their problems blocking opponents than anything else.”

    No, it speaks to the utter @%^ing incompetence of Bears management that they did not have ANYBODY to replace him. That they have no other leaders ON the field. That intangibles became so important in the first place.

    I find it amusing that, of all things to defend the Bears on, that you would pick this, Bernstein.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    His best years are looong behind him.

    ‘roid rage is seen by the meatballs as “leadership.”

  • AT3374

    What is Bernstein ” defending ” ? He making a valid point that too much importance was placed on Olin returning , when the rest of the line was barely blocking anyways . I figured the Bears would have to overpay for Olin but glad they did not .

    But you made a good point about the lack of leadership on this team .

    • Denver Deadite

      And what came out of the Angelo press conference earlier? That the Bears would not really be looking for any more OL help.

      So, It wasn’t TOO much importance, in the end, it was ANY importance on what is easily the most worthless unit on this team.

      Because the Bears certainly aren’t playing any importance on keeping Cutler upright.

  • steve8

    I’m proud of the Bears for being proactive and disappointed in the media acting like the ass hats they are.

    • Pete

      Proactive? are you nuts. The Bears are anything but proactive.

      • Denver Deadite

        No kidding. steve8 must be working from a dictionary pulled from a dung pile if he thinks this fits the definition of ‘proactive’.

  • Howie-D

    his replacment better be way better!!! ie. Kyle Orton replaced by Jay Cutler

  • R-Dub

    While I agree that an upgrade at that position could be a good thing I’m disgusted how the Bears treated this guy and it can’t be doing wonders for team morale. The word is he had 2 hours to take or leave their offer. If they didn’t want him why even make an offer in the first place? They are a classless organization and this has to affect other players. If you worked at a job for 2 yrs and they treated their senior employees that way you couldn’t wait to get out of their. I can only hope they do the same to Jerry and Lovie.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      signal: we really don’t want you back

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      R-Dub- this whole FA “offseason” has compressed months of roster adjstment and shift into a four-day weekend. Two hours is probably all they could afford to give.

  • Jeremy Bennett

    I’m scared that I agree with the Bears on this.Olin was a great player 5 years ago, but I can think of plays last year where he cost the offense points. He just couldn’t hold solo blocks any more. I hope for his sake he retires.

  • steve8

    Yeah it’s so embarrassing to listen the media and players right now. Get over it. Great job DB.

  • Eliot

    Sure point taken… But Chris Spencer and Carimi thats who we get to improve the O-line. I can see why there are loud complaints.

  • D-Satan

    IF indeed the 49ers were as far away from hammering out a deal with him as they claim to have been, then you can only assume that Kreutz’s goal all along has been to milk every last cent out of the org, and he and his agent basically lied to the team in the process.

    To make it worse, he’s now floating this “retirement” rumor out there, which will no doubt serve to further divide the locker room of the only franchise that ever gave him a career in this league.

    Sorry, guys, but Olin Kreutz is a b****

  • Keegan Rush Anybody interested in a Chicago Bears message board, swing by

    • Robert Johnson

      I dunno, I sure remember a lot of quarterbacks running for their lives, including Grossman, in the time people like Kreutz were”anchoring” the O-line.

  • ken

    amen bother, olin was done a couple of years ago!!!

  • Larry

    The guy is nuts. Sayonara.

  • ac086896


  • Meatless Meatball

    Dunno, Dan. I mean, I’m with you that the Olin addiction had to be cut, and the guy is quite obviously on the downside of his career. That said, my worry is that there’s neither a mentor NOR a good up-and-coming lineman in that offensive huddle now. I don’t know what to expect with Carimi. Maybe he’ll be brilliant; maybe he’ll be Chris Williams.

    Either way, I think it’s unfair to say “get over it” to Bears fans that are made a little more nervous about the upcoming season by this move. Not all of us are mouth-breathing idiots who pine for the days of Ditka and want linebackers to just beat the snot out of somebody. I’m worried not because Kreutz is gone but because I have absolutely zero faith that Jerry Angelo is capable of making the right decision. We’ve been sold a bill of goods on offensive lines in the past, be it Chris Williams being the tackle of the future or Manumaleuna being a “blocking” tight end…

    I realize the illogic that goes into this. The Bears under Angelo have twice been to the NFC Championship and once to the Super Bowl. But as stupid and illogical as it sounds, I worry that Jerry’s successes have been from dumb luck, while his failures have been on a magnificent scale. I could easily be wrong about this — I mean, it’s entirely possible that the guys who’ve failed have all been “Lovie’s guys.” But it just worries me when we spend oodles of money bringing in a guy who’s not even with the team anymore (Manumaleuna) and a guy who probably won’t be with the team after camp (Taylor) while getting rid of a guy who, while on the downside of his career, could have been some semblance of an assistant to the otherwise unimpressive lineup the Bears’ o-line has been fielding for a few seasons.

    Again, I’m not saying this was the wrong move. I’m just saying that the moves that have been made in the past so far as the offensive line is concerned have not instilled me with the confidence that Jerry Angelo knows what he’s doing when it comes to player personnel for the line.


      Those are very good points, M.M.

      Angelo drafted guys with injuries, before. Maybe, Williams is healed. Geez.

      I still don’t think Chester Taylor was really used. I remember him thrown in at odd times, or not at all.
      Anyone expecting Adrienne Peterson to carve up the Bears secondary? Not me, and I think that Angelo, at least, took Taylor just so Minnesota didn’t have him.

  • RealRick

    This is one time that Dan Bernstein has it absolutely right.

    Blind Squirrel, meet Acorn.

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious, Dan.

    Namely, that the locker room glue that Kreutz provided led to losing 2 out of 3 to The Pack last year.

    And, last time I looked, the Packers are still in the Bears’ division.

    • Tyler Hansbrough

      I think you mean “a corn.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the liberry.

      • Beverly Brewmaster

        Or try listening to Boers & Bernstein once in a while:

      • WYD

        I love you

        // Spit out my water when I read that

      • RealRick


        An acorn.

        That’s what squirrels eat.

        And the saying “Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn sometime” is so old that it was probably scrawled on a cave wall somewhere.

        Try watching something other than Comcast Sportsnet and you might learn something.

        Or you could just keep reading my posts.

        Pick one.

      • Paul Edinger's Chess Set


        What’s your timeslot on Chicago Sports Webio? Maybe I can be “caller of the show”!

        // Thanks for the link BB!

  • Pga Tour

    While I enjoyed this article and it’s overall message about the importance of the Bears players and coaches moving forward and putting this whole situation behind them, my favorite part is that DB has the sack to openly disagree with Hub Arkush on this issue. Hub has been around football a long time and certainly is knowledgeable when it comes to all sorts of NFL information. However, he is also an arrogant blowhard who doesn’t feel as if he’s ever been wrong and generally thinks those who disagree with him are misinformed idiots. I suppose we all have that attitude in some way. I assume most people who read this article also read the article from a few days ago where Arkush claims that not resigning Kruetz would be the “biggest mistake” they’ve ever made. Huh? Did he watch any Bears games last year? I cannot speak to his leadership level on the field and, by all accounts, it is significant. However, his physical play… blocking, moving his feet, etc., were sub-par in 2010 and really has been for several years now. This is the same Hub Arkush who repeatedly defends Peanut Tillman and refers to him as “one of the best CBs in the NFL” when any person who knows a think about football can see that he is one of the WORST cover corners in the league. He is a decent tackler and there are few better at stripping the ball but there’s a reason he has so many opportunities to strip the ball… his attempts to strip the ball come after he’s been beaten on a slant in man coverage or fell down (for the 38th time in the game) trying to recover because he was playing 8 yards off the ball on 3rd and 4 and they ran a 5 yard hitch at him for the 6th time in the first 3 quarters. Tillman may be a pretty good football player overall but he should be playing safety for the Bears. His inability to cover will cost the Bears games this year (again). Somebody should tell Hub this… he will continue to say he’s the only strength of the secondary when he is truly the biggest weakness.

    • D-Satan

      Great points; I agree with everything.

      Also, in response to the Arkush article on Kreutz, (I haven’t read it yet) I’m reminded of yesterday’s front page article in the Trib about the “death” of the Kreutz negotiations… written by Biggs AND Haugh? I’ve never seen an article co-written by 2 writers before, and anyone who reads the Trib knows that for the last several weeks, Haugh has been acting like Kreutz’s departure would doom the Bears this season.

      My question is, why do all these guys feel the need to kowtow to this guy? It’s so weird and creepy to me… he’s NOT GOOD at football anymore! What is wrong with this city?

      • D-Satan

        … it’s as if Haugh found out Biggs was writing an article about Kreutz and absolutely insisted that his name be tagged to it somehow.

    • Cameltoe Rancher

      OH WOW am I sick and tired of seeing the Bear secondary burned by a quick slant! The corner misses the bump, the safety to that side is in no-man’s land and they complete a 30 yarder. Didn’t that happen twice in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game last year?

      I think though, good or bad, we have seen the last Center who was able to pull and protect off-the-edge in Kreutz. The Bears will now need to find a guard who can pull and kick-out and/or pull & replace.

      What role do you think Ruskell had in signing a former Seaduck?

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        good angle about Ruskell, hadn’t thought of that until you flagged it

    • Spoon

      Tillman isnt a cover corner, never has been, was never supposed to be. The fact that he’s having to play like one is directly based on the fact that the D-line isnt getting to the QB, and anyone that ‘knows a think’ about football can tell you that. The fact that you also think that his horrible coverage skills would be better served by playing safety in the cover-2…. well… that’s just the icing on the cake.

      • Pga Tour

        Congrats on finding the one typo I made in a long post. I’m sure your high school English teacher would be proud of you. :Yes, Tillman’s skill set is better fit for playing safety… cover 2 or not. The Bears only play cover 2 about half the time but his lack of coverage skills can be seen in any defense. His tackling and ball stripping abilities would make him a pretty good safety. I’m not the first person to suggest that… many others have who know a lot more about football than you or I do.

    • bobstone

      I was confused when you used the term “arrogant blowhard.” Did you mean Hub or Bernstein, since it applies to both of them.

      • Pga Tour

        Good point… could be either but at least Bernstein tries to support his arguments with fact and not just his opinion as a self-proclaimed “expert.”

      • big time sucker

        spoon, don’t rip on people’s spelling

        it’s a blog not an english test

        gee they could have moved tillman to safety and traded for asante samuel and actually upgraded both positions



    It’s the fundamental building block of football. If you can’t block the play, you do not have offense. And, yep, they should have been conditioning a replacement for Kreutz for the last three seasons.

    I’ll go further. Mr. “Bring me Todd Collins” has one more mistake left. One more Giants game from last year, and they can pull the rug out from under him. Some people like to see the plate spinner. Some enjoy the finished product.
    I’d say, most are jarred and/ or highly annoyed at the smashed plates and the frantic wasted effort all set to the “Russian Sabre Dance” just to, finally, see all the plates spinning for, what, 8 seconds?

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    CONGRATS to 10 Foot Midget, look forward to reading his Score blog,

    • Denver Deadite

      Apparently those of us who aren’t listening in live missed something?

      • Denver Deadite

        So, listening in on Friday’s stuff, it’s the first time I’ve heard this particular Search mentioned at all. Granted, I don’t listen to every hour’s podcast, but still.

        Now I see that there was a sidebar link for it. Go figure.

    • AT3374

      Congratz 10FM

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      Congrats indeed! May his new life as a woman be everything (s)he hoped it would be, and may (s)he recover quickly from the surgery.

      Wait… what’s that about a blog?

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