Bernstein: Beginning Of The End

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) That’ll about do it.

Blocking isn’t good enough, tackling isn’t good enough, and it’s too bad that both matter so much.

Lovie Smith’s defensive philosophy works, when the front four generates consistent, gap-shooting pressure, and the safeties execute professional discipline in the half-field splits.

And when Brian Urlacher isn’t old and slower. Bend-but-not-break looks an awful lot like bend-and-then-break, and it’s broken by better players. This was all fun, before the arrival of Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson, and any number of talented guys that were drafted by divisional opponents and can expose the house of cards.

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Jerry Angelo has wasted valuable draft picks on bad players, covering his rear end by spending big globs of money on free agents, most of whom were also bad. Julius Peppers is an amazing talent, but he doesn’t matter, really, now.

The Jay Cutler trade made all the sense in the world – it made even those of us jaded by the general malaise of Bearsness joyful as we could be – but it seems shot. His abilities for which they dealt are now needed to keep plays alive after porous protection and short-armed receiving efforts.

What’s the endgame? Where is this heading?

Mike Martz is in the final year of his contract, and his offense can barely get a play called. His pigheaded vision has made a swaggering gunslinger look skittish and fearful. Nobody seems to know what anybody is doing. Cutler’s great feet, natural athleticism and rifle arm are called upon only to keep things barely afloat, when they were acquired to put them over the top.

Frank Omiyale sucks. Never mind that he was targeted as a need signing on the first day of his free-agency, by Angelo and his pro-personnel people, apparently from an opium den.

Nobody else on the line can really block, either. We waste so much time arguing about playcalling and run/pass balance, when the Bears can neither pass-protect nor plow forward. That makes us as dumb as everyone we’re criticizing.

The roster is littered with undrafted college scrubs, overtalked and overpromoted to fill holes. A few more injuries and you’ll see how bad it looks when really awful players have to fill important roles in the most Darwinistic sport there is.

Devin Hester is the best return man of all time. He’s also an incompetent receiver.

Roy Williams followed the advice of Muhsin Muhammad, and came to Chicago to die. Get the urn.

Brandon Merriweather is some kind of football sociopath. There’s something wrong with him, but he was deemed worthy of a contract extension because Craig Steltz can’t play.

Two teams in the NFC North are better, and will be for a while. Any week-to-week hopes of lucky turnovers, advantages in the return game or missed field goals are for fools. That’s not how the game is played by real teams, anymore.

Angelo, Smith and the Bears are on the wrong side of history.

Bad drafts, bad signings, desperate trades and hamstrung, stubborn coaches have the Bears staring at a dark road.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Beginning Of The End
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 columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • val

    Im afraid you are right on all accounts…

  • Funner Bad

    They’ll be fighting each other by the London trip.

  • val

    Now that the Bears have embarrassed themselves to a national TV audience, (again) it is time to unleash them on Europe!!!!!!!!…When the brits get a load of the Bears they’ll stick to Cricket, Rugby, and Futbol….

  • Lovie's Shiny Chin Scar

    Martz is crazy. But, we all knew that when he came here. This is a freaking train wreck. The arrow is pointing down, way down. Blah!

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    So, when will Frank Omalye be a guest on B&B???


    This would all make sense if Philip K. D y c h had written it. His characters sleepwalking through a decaying society. Hidden meanings that build up to bigger questions even after a, supposed, resolution. Promises of a new life in the out worlds. But, no one comes out a winner.
    You were right yesterday, Dan.
    I don’t think the Lions are better than the Bears. Better skill players, but the referees decided to own the entire first half. That should never happen, but the screaming thunder of an away dome is the new reality. Unless, you’re Cam Newton.

    • Cutler's Bruised Brain

      You don’t think the Lions are better than the Bears? Better skill players? It’s true, but that’s not the only place they’re better. Everything starts up front, and the Lions defensive line DOMINATED. They look like they’re going to be really good for a while. Their offensive line might not be that great compared to really good NFL OLs, but they certainly kept the Bears DL at bay.

      Merriweather needs to be cut today. The only thing he adds to the defense is poor tackling, undisciplined play, and ridiculous headhunting (the latter being the only thing the Bears defense didn’t already have in spades anyway.) How he didn’t get a penalty on (I think) the first play from scrimmage and Urlacher got one later is crazy.

      • Chris in Scottsdale


        I don’t have a problem with them picking up players left off better teams- it’s the ones that came from WORSE ones and that nobody wanted that bother me.

      • JAWS

        When will the Bears ever learn to stop grabbing up players that BETTER teams don’t want? I trust Bill Belichick’s player evaluations much more than anyone in the Bear’s organization.

      • ejerabek

        Even if you buy that the Lions are not better than the Bears, they’re arrow is unquestionably pointing UP while ours is definitely pointed DOWN.

        This is the beginning of the end.

        Let’s start by a coups ridding ourselves of the architect of this mess: Jerry A.

  • ejerabek

    Oops! ‘their” instead of “they’re”

  • Bronzo

    I think Dan said it all…not much more to say. But I will

    The whole series of plays where the Bears couldn’t get the play called on 3rd down and called time out then were stopped. then went for it on 4th down and didn’t get it and then used a CHALLENGE!!. Total and utter incompetence…embarrasing

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      You nailed it Bronzo, the incompetence is galling.

      • Bronzo

        Can’t wait to hear another smug, condecending press conference from Lovie telling us all he is going to fix what is wrong.

        Not a chance…

    • frankrizzo51

      Incompetence, arrogance and a condescending attitude toward non-football people made me dislike Smith long ago. The 1st quarter time out catastrophe makes me laugh out loud, wishing I could make fun of him to his face.

  • Jim

    I think the most depressing thing about all of this is that somehow Jerry and Lovie will stick around for at least another year. There is no way that the Bears will eat salary, we all know it. We saw the beginning of the end last night. This team is going to suck for a long time.

  • Satan

    The warts on this team are gruesome, but none continue to be worse than that God-awful line… I never stop watching Bears games, especially MNF, but 1 quarter was all I could tolerate last night. By that point it was already the worst football game I’d ever seen.

    By the time the line is rebuilt, Cutler’ll be a quivering shell of his former self, and that’s assuming he doesn’t suffer a career-threatening injury or string of concussions between now and then. Rather than “Suck for Luck”, I wish this team would “Chill for Kalil”… at least with him and Carimi at tackle, the Bears could start to have something at least resembling an NFL offensive line.

  • Angelo

    You illustrated very well what the Bears are. They are fun bad and that sucks!

  • Harry's Phlegm

    Agree with everything said so far but I’ll add one more thing. ALL defenses are bad this years, it’s the NFL in 2011. Check the stats and scores.

    Their problem is that their offense is so “90’s”. Plays take too long to develop, their receivers are bad and defenses are just too fast now. Try and read Steve Youngs’ comments they are right on.

    Martz is a bad fit. He gone.

  • Buck Up, Chicago!

    And always look on the bright side of life. What about the poor Saskatchewan Roughriders who were humiliated 17-1 by Edmonton yesterday to spoil Canadian Thanksgiving? Or Terry Francona? He’s looking more like Donald Pleasence every day and soon might take the Cub job. And don’t get me started on Lou Canellis.

  • Who's lovie talking to in that headset

    Danny is right on all accounts except for one…If Minnesota beats them next week…and I think they will. All Day will see what little Javid Best did and come to practice today with four words to the offensive coordinator GIVE ME THE BALL. Peterson will run for 200 yards against this Bear Defense. Bears will close out the 2nd quarter without a win in the division.

  • bob

    oooopppppsssss………..ugly, ugly, and more ugly.If anyone really in their right mind thought the Bears had a chance, it was dispelled last night by that performance, or lack of performance…….

  • AT3374

    In a game full of comedy of errors , we have the Lovie Smith ” Nyquil ” commerical during his ill advised challenge on the 4th and 1 play . Classic Lovie . And if Jahvid Best could do that , Adrian Peterson must be licking his chops to run against this old, slow DEF .

  • BWhite

    That game SUCKED!!!! Fire ’em all….Angelo, Lovie, Martz, Tice, Marinelli…the whole lot of them. This organization is broken. Making it to the NFC title game just gave an undeserving front office and coaching staff more time than any of them deserve. They have embarrassed the organization, the players that could and should be superstars and the entire fan base. In my fantasy world, Phillips would come into work this morning and fire all of them and cut Omiyale, Davis, Merriweather and any other idiot committing Pop Warner penalties and looking like a keystone cop while trying to play the game.

    The Martz Hiring has implemented a broken system that has decimated any potential of this offense. That potential has been further reduced by the asinine personnel moves that are the brain child of these various staffers. Continuing the failed experiment of Hester as a Wide Receiver, Trading Greg Olsen, and overall satisfaction with this receiver core can be attributed to Lovie, Martz,and Angelo respectively.

    The Lovie doctrine on defense has largely wasted the careers of 2 of the best linebackers of this era. Not that stats can’t be “piled up” by the Sam and Mike Linebackers, but Briggs/Urlacker//Peppers could anchor a more aggressive and effective squad in a (pick your favorite scheme/coordinator) system. What could the likes of Dom Capers accomplish with the fading but nevertheless superstar talent found on this defensive squad?

    The inert state of both the offensive and defensive lines has made any real hope of this Bears team pulling another “rabbit out of the hat” to be wildcard team nearly impossible. Their 2010 run to the NFC title game was fun but probably regrettable for the long term competitiveness of the Team.

    We should invite Ted Phillips to a little sit down picnic to reasonably and amiably discuss the future of this Bears team and what could possibly be done to redeem what will be the fading gasp of the careers of our defensive stars. Anywhere inside the Detroit 35yd line should provide a safe place to meet without much of a threat of interruption from the Angelo/Lovie/Martz mob trying to save their jobs.

    • BWhite

      Briggs is actually the Will Linebacker…my point stands. The Bears are who we thought they were all along.

    • Bob Timm

      Heck, fire Ted too… Anyone with football knowledge and aren’t complete goofs can tell you last yea and the SB run they had were complete flukes. Grant it, during the SB run their D was one of the top D’s in all of the NFL. Grant it, Cutler is way better and light years ahead of the then Orton/Grossman years combined, but the O-line was falling apart as they were making their SB run. Phillips and Angelo did nothing to help the failing O-line or even the D-line or the Secondary or even the WR position. Yes, we have Peppers, Urlacher and Briggs all of whom have what, 2 or 3 years left before they need to be carted off into the abyss. We have Cutler and Forte and even Carimi are the best we have on Offense. So really, the best we have are the QB’s of the O and D, their sidekicks and 1 guy on the O and D Line. If George McCaskey is really in charge, Phillips all the way down to the water boy needs to be fired, outside of the 6 players mentioned – release everyone else or trade them in the offseason (ok, maybe we could make a case for Peanut, Gould and Hester), and somehow, someway find people via the draft and FA to fill the voids that are now present with the players we have now. Keep Hester out of the Offense since he’s really offensive with his play. I’m not positive about this, but this looks a lot like Mike McCaskey running the show again, once was bad enough…

      • BWhite

        We respond to that Super Bowl Defense by firing coordinator Ron Rivera in favor of the Bob Babich catastrophe which ruined our defense for 3 years and it has never recovered from the Lovie doctrine!!! Perhaps this snake indeed needs to be cut off above the neck. Your point is well taken Bob.

  • Denver Deadite

    It just goes to show how lucky the Bears were to reach the NFC Championship Game last year, and how we all knew that this was just a house of cards waiting for the wind to come along.

    Remember what happened the last time Lovie saw success? The Bears reached the Super Bowl… then promptly missed the playoffs 3 straight years.

    I fully expect an encore performance of that starting this year.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    As bad as the O-Line is, it’s hard to blame the players- they’re just not good enough to be playing at this level. Angelo’s “procurement” techniques are simply awful.

    What was more harrowing to me was the fact that the Bears have this highly-paid kicker and refuse to use him. Isn’t that why you pay well above scale for a position like that- because of what he represents in terms of ability and reliance you can have upon him?

    1) While in field goal range, running up the middle on 4th and a long 1. Seems like a great idea except you don’t have an O-line and you’re running into one of the top-10 players in the league head-on.

    2) The pick at the end of the first half still left over 30 seconds on the clock, right? Is there a reason you don’t take a shot? Even with the time outs already pitifully wasted, at least TRY to get some more points on the board.

    3) While it was likely in the face of futility, when Sanzenbacher dropped the pass on the last drive, the clock was stopped in FG range with 18 seconds left. Why not try the FG then, then go for the onside kick after that? You’re already grasping at desperation by that point already.

    Oh, and it’s got to be frustrating for Cutler. He played out of his mind last night just to keep it a ballgame. Sad when it was clear that some-ANY steady contributions could have given them a chance.

    • Bronzo

      As I said earlier Chris…Complete and utter incompetence. If you or i or anybody else for that matter would perform their job that badly…we would be fired.

  • Spoon

    Go…… Blackhawks? Ugh, feels dirty…

    • Bronzo

      Unfortunately there is no where else to turn …pro sports wise that is.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Bronzo- I hope you’re wrong. As a season-ticket holder for Arizona State (and student), we need that strength of schedule boost for our at-large BCS bowl hopes :)

      • Bronzo

        We are going to find out just what kind of football team the Illini are in the next coupke of weeks Chris. They will be 6-4 soon enough..

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Illini Football Fever. Catch it! Return the favor for Smallpox!

  • false-start-fank

    “I think the most depressing thing about all of this is that somehow Jerry and Lovie will stick around for at least another year.”..well done jim. of course they will because the undying love will forever continue . they know that. No matter what youll cough up your time, money, and emotional investment every year. Cause “its a bears town” as the media keeps. telling you it is regardless what a joke of an organ I zation it is.

  • Paul in Yorkshire

    At least the shortcomings were all laid bare last night. It was akin to being stripped naked and tied to a light pole in the most public of settings.
    It’s probably a good job that the Bears played in the dead of night over here otherwise there may be plenty of people dressed as plastic seats at Wembley

    • Spoon

      ” It was akin to being stripped naked and tied to a light pole in the most public of settings.”

      Hey! Some people pay good money for that!

      • Paul in Yorkshire

        Yes and hardened masochists pay good money to watch the Bears on a never ending loop.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    I don’t want to cut anyone for the sake of cutting anyone. Will getting rid of Meriweather or Roy Williams really send a message?

    …Well, except Frank Omiyale. Get him gone posthaste.

    Meriweather can’t possibly have forgotten how to play football in a single offseason. You want to see how much he has left? Bench him for an entire game. I mean entirely. Tell him today, and that how much he plays in the remainder of the year is entirely up to him. He’s on a team-friendly one year deal right? If he comes back willing to do things the right way, then great! If not, then oh well.

    • Bronzo

      Letting Kruetz go doesn’t look so smart now does it? He couldn’t possibly be worse than ANYBODY on the Bears O-line now could he?

  • Marco Torres

    At least they get another chance to show the nation what they got on Prime Time next week. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

  • Regime Change

    The Bears have NOTHING last night without Cutler and Forte. Ownership needs to wake the F up and fire the coaching staff and Jerry, and get someone who knows how to build a GOOD football team.

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