Bernstein: Beginning Of The End
By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com 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.
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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