Expert Opinion

First of all, I'd like to say congratulations to the Bears on their win. They had a rough start, but they stayed with it and ended up on top. It was an impressive effort.

I saw definite improvements both on offense and on defense. Marty Booker had some spectacular catches. I particularly enjoyed his leaping effort over that Oakland cornerback. Anthony Thomas showed some of the flair that he had during his rookie season. His runs were strong and productive that said, however, the majority of the first half was pretty poor.

The early Oakland score seemed to take the energy out of the Chicago players. Also, it brought the crowd into the game, but in a negative way.

The defense seemed ineffective as the Raiders ran up the score. They seemed to have trouble holding Oakland and taking back the ball. Time of possession for the Bears was just 10:51 at the half.

73 yards rushing and 71 passing yards, the total from the first and second quarters, just isn't going to get the job done. Of the 71 passing yards, 48 were on one play to Marty Booker. The offense couldn't sustain a drive. Interceptions, dropped passes and penalties killed them.

To their credit, however, the team came back in the second half. I'm not sure exactly what adjustments were made in the locker room, but something happened to shift momentum. They played hard, they scored and they didn't give up. The Bears had possession for 12:45 in the third and 7:50 in the fourth, a good effort when compared to Oakland's 2:15 and 7:10.

A game total of 344 net yards was quite respectable and showed clear improvement over earlier games this year. Red zone efficiency improved to 40%.

That last drive was brilliant. It was clear that the team had come together and was going to do whatever was necessary to win. Kordell Stewart kept his head and executed well. His moves were gutsy. He showed good character and excellent skills. I do feel that his line needs to do more to stop the blitz. Kordell works best when he's not so rushed.

Even with this win, I'm still quite troubled by the overall look of the Bears offense. The blame for this falls directly on John Shoop.

My main concern focuses on one important question: just who is calling the offensive plays? Frankly, I don't think that it could be Shoop. He's not a big guy. How can he know what is going on during the games? He can't see over the linemen who are standing in front of him on the sidelines.

I'm assuming that somebody from t he coaching staff has to be up in the press box area relaying information. But who is this mystery man? And why isn't Shoop himself up there in the box where he can see the flow of the game? That's what many other NFL teams do.

When I was with the Bears, before the days of helmet headphones, a member of the offensive line would relay plays. As you can imagine, this could lead to a lot of misinterpretation.

We were 1-13 in 1969 because of this problem. The two veteran quarterbacks were hurt. Jim Dooley put rookie Bobby Douglass in. The problem was that the two tackles bringing in the plays were not seasoned players. One was a rookie and the other was a second year man.

Douglass would get confused and call "a man in motion on 2." You need at least a count of 4 or 5 to get a man in motion. When I saw what was happening I'd wave my arms wildly trying to get everybody back in the huddle. It was incredibly difficult to establish good plays.

In 2003, those problems are things of the past. The quarterback can have instant information coming right into his ear. But with the Bears, we still see confusion. An example: why, during the last drive when a measurement was being taken were the players standing around on the field? Couldn't somebody tell them to huddle? The clock was winding down and it wasn't the time to be relaxing. I blame Shoop for this.

Does Shoop have the experience to lead the offense? I don't think so. He is simply not a seasoned NFL coach. Does he have a plan? Where's the progression of plays? What's the overall scheme? He needs to keep the cornerbacks off of wide receivers. Don't let a middle linebacker take out the tight end. Open up the field. Let Stewart, Thomas and Booker use their strengths.

A solid late effort resulted in a win last Sunday. But don't get too satisfied with what you saw out there on the field. Until somebody is running the offense in a competent manner, our players aren't going to have a fighting chance.


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