Expert analysis

The Bears gave a gutsy effort. There were a lot of good things happening out there on the field yesterday. It was the type of game that either team could have won. Unfortunately, the Bears didn't come out on top, but they played hard and they seemed to be noticeable better in many areas. I'm sure that the loss was discouraging for the players. They put in a tremendous effort and just fell short at the end.

What did I see that was good? The defense is getting better each game. That says a lot for Greg Blache. He is working with quite a few rookies and he is getting good production. That series of three sacks was wonderful. That's one of the best group of plays that the defense had all season. They went from being ranked 20th in the league to 13th. That's the product of a lot of hard work from the team and good coaching by Blache and his assistants.

The offense? The situation there is incredibly frustrating to me, and it has to be much worse for the players. Coach Dick Jauron has made it very clear that he is going to stick with John Shoop and his ridiculous play calling. Hey guys, it isn't working. Do something to make things better.

It bothers me more than I can say to watch Jauron stick with the status quo when the status quo isn't getting this team anywhere. At quarterback, why not try Rex Grossman? Maybe not next weekend against Denver, but surely when the team is back here playing Arizona. What's the risk? You aren't in the playoff picture. Give the kid a chance to do something. As I see it, Jauron simply seems to be afraid of change. That's a cop out.

What do Jauron and Shoop think when they look in the mirror? Do they really feel hat this is the best way to run an offense in the NFL? Playing conservatively isn't the safe way to go, it's just giving up. The players who are working their hearts out deserve much better than that.

I read recently that Shoop has decided to pattern his philosophy after former Bulls coach Phil Jackson. Something about the Zen of being in the ‘now'. Well, I've got news for Shoop: the ‘now' for the Bears isn't any good. Why on earth would he want to stick with that? Instead, it's time to start thinking out of the box. Throw a deep pass for the first play of the game. Give the other team's defense something to think about instead of boring them to death.

I have the utmost respect for Chris Chandler. He is the consummate professional who is doing the very best that he can, given the current situation. He is a 38-year-old quarterback who is playing behind a relatively weak offensive line. Can he be happy about the way things are going? I sincerely doubt that. But he never complains, and he goes out and gives everything he has week after week. The best players are the ones who leave it all on the field. Chris is a prime example of that.

I see Chris as the ultimate warrior. He never gives up. His recent low ratings have been due to the situation he is in and not to his skill level. We got a glimpse of the kind of things that Chris can accomplish with that three play series that ended in a score. Spectacular. It opened the field and gave our offense a chance to do something.

It seems to me that 99% of the time, Shoop's total frame of reference is within 10 yards of where the ball is snapped. A play that goes beyond that is completely foreign to him. Thomas runs up the middle again and again. That's fine now and then, but there has to be more to the offense than that same play run repeatedly. Does he think that the defense of the other team isn't catching on?

There seems to be a lot of media attention focused this morning on the on-side kick that the Rams got yesterday. It was just too hard to tell exactly what happened there. It certainly wasn't a situation that should have called for a review by the officials. That cost a time out, one that was desperately needed the way things turned out later in the game. Not a smart move.

I also read over the weekend that Shoop said that the players are loyal to him. That might be the case, as players generally tend to stand by their coaches. But wouldn't you think that his players would be much more loyal to somebody who could help them win? As a former player, I tend to view that profession of loyalty with a more cynical eye. It can be an excuse for mediocrity, and I think it can come from a complete lack of confidence. Being loyal can be the safe way to feel about things. This is a situation that cries out for risks.

Speaking of risks, one more thing about yesterday's game. In a situation like that when you are down by 2 and in the last minute, go for the field goal. Sure Paul Edinger might not have made it, but it would have been a bold move and a step in the right direction. Don't use offensive play calling confusion as your excuse, go out and give it a try. That's how you build player confidence.

The bottom-line? Reassess everything. Play Grossman now. You aren't doing him or the team any good leaving him hanging there on the sidelines. It is clear that Jauron is listening to Shoop in this situation and Shoop doesn't want the rookie in. It's like Shoop and Jauron are hiding under a blanket. If they don't come out, nothing is going to happen. Who knows, John? Grossman could win a game for you.

Go deep early in the game. The Bears haven't had a touchdown in the first quarter so far this season. Now might be a good time to start trying to get one.

Go for the bold play, the unexpected play. It might just work. A team that is afraid to take chances isn't going to have a winning record. Look at the Rams. With 35 seconds left in the second quarter they went 80 yards. That's the way to play this game.


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