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HANLEY: How Bad Is The Bears Offense & Who’s To Blame?

Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo

Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By Jonathan Daniel)

Brian-Hanley Brian Hanley
I was born in 1960 on the westside of Chicago at the venerable St....
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Always enjoy our conversation each Monday (8:30 a.m.) with Troy Aikman.

Troy is not only informative but also opinionated, a football exacta which pays off weekly.

Today Troy said the Bears offense has been bad for the past 11 years. Just how bad?

Brad Biggs, our Bears Insider, quatified it with his “10 Thoughts on the Bears Loss to the Packers,” which can be found now on chicagotribune.com and in the newspaper tomorrow. It’s a must-read each week, win or lose.

Here’s Biggs take on the offense and its struggles under a decade of general manager Jerry Angelo.

Warning: The numbers are ugly!

While Mike Martz’s stubborn play-calling again was No. 1, here’s Biggs “thought” No. 2: The deep struggles for the offense are no surprise. They can’t be unless you haven’t been paying attention. It’s part of the culture at Halas Hall, really. Football people will tell you that yardage — on its own — isn’t a great measure as a statistical tool. Consider the last five teams that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in offense (total yards): San Diego, New Orleans, New Orleans, New England, New Orleans. No one will dispute the
offensive firepower of those clubs then or now.

So, I did a little research over the last 10 seasons of the Jerry Angelo era (four offensive coordinators) to see where the Bearsstacked up. The No. 1 team from 2010 (San Diego) was assigned 1 point and the 32nd team from 2010 (Carolina) was assigned 32 points and so on. Every team in each of the past 10 seasons was assigned a point value dependent upon where it ranked in total yardage that season. The Bears finished 30th last season, their worst finish since ranking 32nd during the Terry Shea Experiment of 2004.

Then, I added up the point totals for each club. The team with the least number of points (Indianapolis 55) tops the list with the best offense.
What did I find out? Since 2001, the Bears are tied with the Cleveland Browns for the worst offense in the NFL in terms of yardage based on assigning a point value for the finish of all clubs every season. They each totaled 265 points. Buffalo was next worst with 247.

It’s no surprise Indianapolis came out on top. The Peyton Manning-led Colts finished second in two years and were third three times. No one will dispute the excellence of the Colts’ offense during that period using yardage or whatever other statistic you’d prefer.

This isn’t stunning information, although I would have figured the Bears to be ahead of the Bills over the last decade. Buffalo has been 25th or worst in eight consecutive seasons but the Bills placed 11th in 2002 and 13th in 2001. But it reinforces the fact the Bears haven’t been able to excel on offense during the Angelo era. Rarely has it been as ugly as we’ve seen over the last two weeks, but the normal range is from inconsistent to dysfunctional.

Top Five

1. Indianapolis 55

2. Green Bay 77

3. New Orleans 88

4. New England 99

5. Philadelphia 103

Bottom Five

28. Carolina 226

29. Detroit 241

30. Buffalo 247

31. BEARS 265

31. Cleveland 265

The Bears’ finish under Angelo:

2010: 30th

2009: 23rd

2008: 26th

2007: 27th

2006: 15th

2005: 29th

2004: 32nd

2003: 28th

2002: 29th

2001: 26th

Makes one wonder how much longer newly-appointed team chairman George McCaskey will allow Angelo to keep the Bears buried among the
worst NFL offenses.

Hope you will join Mully and me when we talk with Biggs about this and all things Bears between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday.

*By the way, enjoy chicagotribune.com for free while you can. If this news item is a sign of things to come for Tribune company, it may
be just a matter of time until you have to pony up to read online: The Sun in Baltimore will be the first Tribune Co. newspaper to set up a pay wall, with the debut set for Oct. 10.

After an introductory period, the price will be $2.49 a week or $49.99 for 26 weeks for nonprint subscribers, while print subscribers will get access for 75 cents a week or $29.99 a year. In announcing the move, Publisher Tim Ryan said the paper’s website posts annual traffic growth of 39% on average, “demonstrating our ability to keep readers coming back
regularly to stay informed.”

As always, thanks for listening.

–Hanley