By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) Even though it says Monday on your calendar, it was the equivalent of a Thursday at Halas Hall, which means the media met with members of the Bears offense. And there was certainly a common theme with offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte.READ MORE: Police Seeking 2 Men Who Carjacked Woman And Family Members During A Delivery in Ford Heights
All agreed that the Bears should’ve made more of an effort to run the ball in a 34-17 loss against the Lions last Thursday.
In total, the Bears ran the ball a franchise-low (let that sink in, considering the team has been in existence since 1920) eight times against Detroit, technically seven as one of them was a kneel-down. The Bears effectively made themselves one-dimensional by choice, which wasn’t the plan, per Kromer.
“The plan was, and it started right — the plan is different for every game, of course — and the plan against that team was to throw the quick screen passes,” Kromer said. “And we saw a lot of success on tape, which we had early, and then move on to the run after we got going into the game. But then the game didn’t present itself the way we hoped at that point, where we got down by two touchdowns and then we had to try to throw it to get back in it, we felt.”
Kromer went on to say that being down 10 points at halftime shouldn’t have prevented the Bears from continuing to run, and it’s something that wouldn’t happen again in the future.
When coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery spoke at the midseason point heading into the bye week, they talked about striking a better balance on offense. Yet, since those words were said, the Bears have chosen to throw the ball on 65 percent of their offensive snaps.
“One of the things we know we have to do is we have to attempt to run the ball more,” Trestman said. “As I told the team, we don’t have to run the ball for seven yards a carry. Running the football has a residual effect on a lot of different things. It helps your movement game, it helps your play-action game.”READ MORE: Armonii M. Russell Arrested, Charged In April Expressway Shooting
Obviously it does, but as the offensive play-caller, Trestman carries the responsibility to make that happen. And it seems like he’s almost trying to talk himself into running the ball.
On the flip side, the players are open to running the ball more. Judging by what was said Monday, it will be an easy sell to his offense to run the ball more moving forward.
“You definitely want to win football games, and I think anyone who has been doing this for a while realizes that you’ve got to have the best of both worlds,” Cutler said. “You’ve got to move the pocket, you’ve got to be able to run the ball, you’ve got to do some play-action, you’ve got to mix it up. There’s no one out there who can drop back 40-50 times consistently and win football games. It’s really hard.”
The Bears have attempted 40 or more passes in three of their last four games.
Common thought is even if you’re unable to sustain chunks of yardage by running the football, you at least accumulate the volume of attempts to keep a defense honest. Forte clearly shares this point of view.
“It’s (establishing the run) of the utmost importance, especially if we’re playing outside, with the weather and stuff,” Forte said. “You can’t just sit back there and throw 50 passes a game and expect to win. Their front four were pinning their ears back. They didn’t have anything to do but pass rush. They’re not respecting the run, and then if you play fake, they’re not going take the play fake because you haven’t been running the ball. It’s a big part of the play-action game, to keep the defense off of keying on exactly what to do, whether it’s pass rush or trying to stop the run.”
As if the Bears’ 5-7 record wasn’t indication enough, things just haven’t found harmony on offense this season, and a lot of it traces back to one source.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Brief Chance For Flurries Or Sprinkles Followed By Warming Trend
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.