By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) Given his team’s poor performance on the field and the locker room fireworks that ensued, Bears coach Marc Trestman’s Monday’s postmortem a day after a 27-14 loss to the Dolphins took many twists and turns.
On the injury front, we learned that cornerback Kyle Fuller’s hand injury appears to be a non-surgical issue, and he will be day-to-day with his accompanying hip pointer injury. From a performance standpoint, we learned that the Bourbonnais buzz word of “competition” carries over to the field and that Michael Ola is in fact in the right tackle competition to potentially replace struggling starter Jordan Mills, while Khaseem Greene being replaced by Christian Jones wasn’t due to injury.
Here are some other storylines from the game on which the coach expanded upon.
Miscommunication on the Dolphins’ fourth-and-1 play
No, this play wasn’t nearly as fatal as the Chris Conte miscommunication that gave the Packers the 2013 NFC North division title, but it’s another in a series of missed signals that are happening on the Bears’ home turf.
Up 14-7 at the 1:54 mark of the third quarter, the Dolphins faced a fourth-and-1 at the Bears’ 39-yard line. The Dolphins came out in a shotgun formation, which triggered an alert to the Bears defense. Once again, the problem is everyone on the defense didn’t get the signal, Trestman said.
“We had called a defense to stop the sneak with a check to if they were in a gun to get out of it, and we didn’t collectively get the check which accounted for the long run,” Trestman said.
The result was a 30-yard gain for Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill on a keeper on the read-option.
Are the signals not clear enough? Is this a matter of the veteran linebackers not being in the game? Whatever the reason, this has become a pattern.
“It’s the responsibility of the group to make that, to see what’s going on and to make that call,” Trestman said. “We didn’t get it done. We’ve got to do a better job, and that starts with us. We have to do a better job of getting that done.”
Trestman strives for “continuity” football, but he’s getting anything but that on the field on both sides of the ball.
Decision to not stop the clock after the Allen/Ratliff split-sack
The Dolphins were driving late in the second quarter, but on third down, Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff and defensive end Jared Allen sacked Tannehill for an eight-yard loss with 54 seconds left in the half. The Bears had all three of their timeouts left, but rather than stopping the clock to give the offense one more chance before the half, Trestman was content with heading into the locker room down 14-0.
“That’s a good question,” Trestman said. “We were going to do that. We normally do it, so we can stack them. They went first down, then they went second-and-8 and that’s not a real good time to use a timeout. So we’re looking at the first down, we’re going to try to stack them and then we started calling them. But at the end we didn’t want to call them because with 50 seconds left, we felt we were going to get the ball back anyway so we decided not to use them, to use the clock and take the ball at the start of the (second) half.”
For a team built to win games with its offense and a kicker who’s one of the most accurate in NFL history, conventional thought is it would be aggressive and want as many offensive possessions as possible. But that wasn’t the case Sunday.
Misinterpreted the alignment
On the Bears’ first offensive possession, much of the focus was put on the third-and-1 play — which Trestman pointed out was much closer to third-and-2 — in which Chicago dialed up a vertical route instead of running a play to get a fresh set of downs. Trestman confirmed there was a check for quarterback Jay Cutler to go vertical if he got a bump-and-run look from the Dolphins, which he did.
But it was the play before that was more puzzling.
Alshon Jeffery was targeted on a bubble screen, but instead of following his blockers to pick up the first down, Jeffery voluntarily went to the ground before getting hit. Not only was that decision curious, the play call was wrong.
“I think Alshon, we didn’t execute,” Trestman said. “Not everybody did the right thing on that play. Alshon went inside instead of outside, and he did everything he could to do it. He thought he was going to take a hit so he went down. He wasn’t used to being inside like that. So he went down. Normally you’d see him stretch and cut it. We didn’t get a wrap on the release. We misinterpreted the initial alignment. And that’s what happened on that play.”
Why is it that six months into the preparation for this season, the team is continually not on the same page? That’s on the coaching staff.
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.