Pyle Ponders

What I watched on Thanksgiving had to be one of the most inept professional football games ever to have been broadcast on network television. The overall skill level reminded me of those old Michigan - Ohio State contests where the quarterbacks either didn't want to pass down field, or simply couldn't.

Craig Krenzel had 10 attempts and 5 completions for 46 yards. Drew Henson had 12 attempts for 31 yards. They have to be two of the lowest rated quarterbacks around. Do the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys expect fans to pay for tickets to see play like this?

What's the matter? Where do we start? This is real ugly and somebody has to deal with it. We certainly haven't seen much of Jerry Angelo recently. Wasn't he the one who said that whatever happens this season is his responsibility? These are his guys and they just aren't playing well.

Until now, I've felt much could be done if the Bears quarterbacks get intensive coaching. But things have changed. The offensive line is so bad that it would hardly make any difference what kind of coaching the Bears quarterbacks get at this point.

How did the game begin? We saw the usual three and out, three and out for the first few series. Then came the sacks and the interceptions. And no wonder. The o-line was like a swinging door. Any DE the Cowboys chose to put in their line could come right through. Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn looked hurried and scared and for good reason. On most plays, neither had a chance to do anything before going down. The Bears are listed as the second most sacked team in the league. That statistic isn't at all surprising.

Just who is playing well for the Bears on offense right now? It would be a very short list. Of the offensive linemen on the roster but only Olin Kreutz, John Tait and Ruben Brown, are good. Now Brown is out for the year, which will put additional stress on the unit. The rest are marginal players, or are good enough but constantly out with injuries.

Steve Edwards isn't up to the job. Neither is Qasim Mitchell. Desmond Clark is usually competent but I saw defensive ends blow right by him yesterday. Marc Colombo? Had a few good plays then a penalty that negated everything. Then we saw the elusive Terrence Metcalf. He hasn't been in for a long time, and with good reason.

What about the receivers? I certainly didn't see much from them. Nobody is making the big plays. Justin Gage is the invisible man. Bobby Wade has his moments, but nothing spectacular. The only decent down of the game was a nice pass from Quinn to, of all people, David Terrell. That was a nice move. Let's hope the Bears kept that one in their film archive because it was the only effective play of the afternoon.

Things are so bad now that I think the Bears could find some inactive player at home sitting on his couch who could come in and play better than most of the offense. The coaching isn't much better. Why the time out before the field goal attempt? Why did the game begin with two short passes and a one-yard run? We could ask these questions for hours and not find satisfactory answers.

Is Terry Shea the problem? He certainly could be doing better. Or is the skill level of his players so low that there's nobody to use in an effective scheme? Is the team so bad that offensive play calling has to be simplified to give them a chance to execute? And is this simplified offense something that even the lowliest defenses can easily figure out? You'll never get the answer to this from the coaches. Their job is to protect their players. Unless we are out there watching practice every day, we'll probably never know just how bed the men on the field really are.

Where was the Bears defense yesterday? They had some good moments, but for the most part, the play was mediocre. The Cowboys do not have a highly ranked offense yet they were able to put 21 points on the board using two marginal quarterbacks. Julius Jones had a great day and no wonder. Watching the tape after the game, I saw huge gaps in the Bears defense time and time again.

There are still five games left. Nobody wants to suffer through the kind of play we watched yesterday. Angelo has to find someone who can play and the sooner the better. If these players can't get the job done, then go after someone who will.

Lovie Smith doesn't want to go through this and neither do we. We watch the Bears hoping to see imaginative, skilled football but what we end up with are turnovers, interceptions and one man after another going out with injuries. Chicago fans deserve so much more than this.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69.

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