By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Well, this is just a fine solution for the Bears, isn’t it?
The defense is 11 balls of wadded, porous tissue blowing in the wind. Special teams deserves to have “Yakety Sax” played each time they take the field to do something remedial.
The play-calling is horrible. Most of the veteran players are injured or have packed it in. Every week — sometimes multiple times in a week — the Chicago Bears franchise is finding new ways to become a punchline on a late-night talk show. The press conferences from coaches and management are stool samples.
This is general manager Phil Emery with his silver tongue trying to plug the hemorrhage that is the Aaron Kromer fiasco:
“We always want to deal with problems as they come at the lowest level possible before we involve other people, which it did in this context. There’s no Alexander Haig moves pulled during this situation. For our fans that don’t remember the situation with President Reagan was shot, that Alexander stepped in and said, ‘I’m in control,’ when in fact he wasn’t. So, you know, this was Marc’s decision because that’s the way we were set up.”
Everything about this franchise is a manure fire. So bench Jay Cutler, obviously. That won’t cause a fan and media frenzy than will only exacerbate everything instead of allowing this team to crawl into the woods quietly to die.
Sit the guy you made the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL this year. Put out that fire with your face.
What does this accomplish? It ensures the final two games can’t possibly be won, but coach Marc Trestman isn’t thinking that way. Even if he understands he’s fired after the season, you don’t help your cause for a job elsewhere by upper-decking the toilet of the party you’ve been asked to leave.
Maybe Trestman is clutching at the straw that even as he’s shown the door, if Jimmy Clausen can somehow achieve individual success out there, that Trestman can send the message that this dumpster fire that is the 2014 season can’t be all put on him. But nobody realistically expects that. Clausen is going to be a Jackson Pollock painting out there. If you’re sadistic and need a reason to watch this team roller-blade through Vaseline anymore, you could treat Clausen going against the Detroit Lions defense like a NASCAR race on a wet track.
It could sort of be argued that the team should want to see what, if anything, rookie quarterback David Fales can do out there, but Clausen isn’t any serious part of the team’s future. And is the motley crew of what’s left of the active roster sincerely expected to get jacked up to play with this guy? The benching of Cutler only furthers the laughingstock image this franchise has cultivated for itself gradually for more than a decade and then much more rapidly this season. Everything is immediately worse by this.
It’s also joining in the beating of the dead horse of all that is the reputation of Cutler. For all the surliness and un-smiley-ness and TV selectively showing him not talking to anyone on the sidelines, Cutler gives his all. He often fails, but he’s not mailing anything in. The guy has spent much of his Chicago tenure on his back, has been crushed and gotten back up, has been injured and worked to get back on the field, has had not a damn thing to do with the mess in other facets of the team — but now he’s being made the scapegoat.
The guy that was traded for by the previous general manager in a hostage situation and then forced at gunpoint to sign a contract extension by the current one? He is what he is, and hating him is futile. And now his trade value is not improved but only further questioned by this episode of this soap opera.
A theory like Mike Florio’s — that the Bears are keeping Cutler healthy in order to move him elsewhere — would be endorsed if not for all signs pointing toward the benching being Trestman’s call. The coach informed Cutler of this choice, and as a guy with no future here, Trestman gives zero cares about the market for Cutler. Trestman had made the decision to start Clausen already when he derped his way through a session with the media Wednesday and didn’t let them know about it. And if an important player’s health is being protected, why are Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery playing? This is an angry mad scientist spiting the team that’s jettisoning him.
Which makes Emery look bad enough that he can’t keep his job either. His nice guy head coach is flipping him the bird. The Trestman hiring has become such a monumental failure, went so bad so quickly, that there’s no way Emery can be allowed to choose another head coach, especially when he took Trestman over Bruce Arians, he of the 11-3 third-string-quarterbacked Arizona Cardinals. And especially when the quarterback he gave an insane extension to rather than using the franchise tag on him is now sitting and can’t be justified as a starter for this team by this GM next season with a straight face. Another GM can possibly argue next year that Cutler “is our quarterback” if he isn’t shipped off, but not Emery.
The guillotine then opens up for Bears president Ted Phillips. Input in any and all team personnel decisions needs to be taken away from him. He’s an accountant, and there’s a place somewhere for him, but it can’t be in choosing Emery’s replacement. Chairman George McCaskey needs to finally be firm and bring in someone who isn’t going to lie and say his mustache makes him look badass. Get a cold, calculating football person to run this thing like a Soviet Olympic team.
All heads rolling is about the only thing that makes any sense with the Bears anymore. There are no football people currently that can justify their jobs anymore. If that inadvertently is what benching Jay Cutler for two meaningless games accomplishes — improving the long term while worsening the short term — so be it.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @TimBaffoe.