Disappointed Shea Looks Ahead to Brighter Days

Chicago - A fan on Sunday held aloft a sign over the exit tunnel to the Soldier Field locker room. <P> "Bring back Shoop" it said.

Bears offensive coordinator Terry Shea had just suffered through a season even worse than the one former coordinator John Shoop had last year.

After Sunday's 31-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Shea and his players claimed to still have confidence in the offensive scheme -- certainly more than the fan with the Shoop sign -- despite finishing last in total offense and scoring in the league.

"This was a very disappointing year for me personally," Shea "I'm sure the way the players embraced this offense, hoping that it would be a dynamic productive offense.

"I'm sure that it's going to take them some time to absorb (the disappointment) too."

In allowing a club record 66 sacks for a total of 449 yards in losses, the Bears left themselves in far too many negative situations. Third-and-long became common this season. A club-record 124 penalties this year contributed to this as well.

On Sunday, they faced third-and-10 or longer six different times.

"The third-and-long has become our nemesis," Shea said.

Lack of time to pass or taking too much time to pass combined to cause Bears problems in the passing game this year.

Players wanted to take the blame for lack of pass blocking.

"Make a big deal about it," center Olin Kreutz said of the 66 sacks. "It's embarrassing."

Shea made it clear he doesn't blame his wide receivers for the team's scoring problems even though the Bears had only three touchdown passes to wide receivers all season.

"It's not the accountability of the wide receivers any more so than the other seven guys on the field," he said. "No, I would not put the accountability on the receivers."

"The receivers are not necessarily open in the first eight to 10 yards of the route," Shea added. "But the quarterback, it seems his time clock goes off pretty quickly for some reason in our scheme of things right now and we have to take a look at everything we're doing, whether it's the protection issue at times."

Shea said he has had to limit the number of seven-step pass drops and increase the number of five-step drops. He's also had to run more maximum protection blocking schemes with fewer receivers in the patterns. Both of those indicate the problems lie in an offensive line that has struggled all year.

Using too many blockers and not enough receivers has "really squeezed us," Shea said, in terms of having receivers open for quarterback Craig Hutchinson or the other Bears passers who followed injured Rex Grossman after Week 3.

Players don't want to see the offense scrapped or another coordinator come in next year.

"I like this offense," wide receiver Bobby Wade said. "Yeah, when everybody's healthy and everything is right, I love this offense. It's the prototype (offense) for me."

Tight end Desmond Clark puts all the blame on players and not Shea or the coaching staff.

"We believe in the scheme. The scheme is good," he said. "We've just got to see how to execute it the right way. Once we get that done we'll have a year.

"Players believe in this offense. I think it gets frustrating when we're not moving ball and when you're not doing well, doubt creeps in. But overall I think these players are loyal to the coaches just like they are loyal to us."

Wade calls it a question of one player coming back from a season-ending knee injury before the offense works again: Rex Grossman.

"There's definitely going to be a change," he said. "Eight (jersey No. 8) comes back, there ain't no secret about that when eight comes back things will be a lot better. When we get that O-line back, a lot of things are going to change. It can be fixed."

Shea said his personal experience in the offense, as quarterbacks coach for Kansas City, was that drastic personnel change or coaching changes wasn't necessary for success.

"I remember back to my first year with the Chiefs and the quarterback there threw twice as many interceptions as he did touchdowns that first year," Shea said of Trent Green. "And everybody thought 'oh man, we can't run this offense, this is the Rams' (offense) and we're not the Rams.

"Well, not much of the personnel changed from Year 1 to Year 2 and that this offense really took off for that team. So we'll just have to see."

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