Pyle Compares Bears to Postseason Contenders

After watching the games over the weekend, it's become clearer to me why the Chicago Bears are not winning. Protection for the passer is the key ingredient to a successful season. Everything on the offensive side of the ball depends on the success of the offensive line.

Remember Donovan McNabb standing in the pocket with more time than he really needed to find his receiver? Or what about the New England's balanced attack against the Steelers? And even though Pittsburgh didn't come out on top, what they showed on the field was impressive.

When there was heavy pressure on the line, the offenses adjusted smoothly. If the QB was in a hurry, he dumped it off. If he wasn't in a hurry, the ball went deep. Running attacks and the passing game were balanced and utilized as the situation demanded. And most of the plays were successful.

The receivers had good games because they had the opportunity to get open and be there when the ball was thrown. These are situations that you rarely if ever see at Soldier Field because the Bears never seem to protected the quarterback and consequently have an offense that works.

Football is a simple game and everything starts in the trenches.

I've got news for you folks. Nothing is going to change until the quarterback has time to do his job. You could have the best receivers in the league and the Bears would still be in trouble. They wouldn't have a chance to make the plays because there's no time to get them the ball.

Look at Peyton Manning and the season he had for the Colts. Indianapolis didn't make it past the Patriots, but that's almost beside the point. What Manning was able to do on a consistent basis was a thing of beauty.

You could see how comfortable he was in the pocket and in their system. If he felt hurried, he'd speed things up a little. If he had more time, he's look around and find the best receiver. But all along, he had the chance to make good decisions. Chicago's quarterbacks never had that luxury. If Manning or tom Brady were playing in Chicago, their QB ratings would plummet.

What about solutions? Talking about fixing Chicago's vast problems offensively with the addition of a receiver or two is like talking about crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat. Perhaps it can be done, but the big picture is what should be grabbing our attention. Thomas Jones was the best receiver last season. Why? Because whoever was taking the snaps didn't have time to get the ball downfield. A short dump off was all that time allowed. The Bears wideouts rarely saw the ball on a consistent basis.

And now Ron Turner has rejoined the team. Great. We're supposed to get excited that a coach who was fired by a Big Ten team decided to return to the NFL? Turner's record in Champaign was shaky and he hasn't called plays in the NFL in nearly a decade. Things change in that period of time just ask Joe Gibbs.

I don't want to be harsh, but in my mind, Turner was the wrong choice. I'll continue to feel this way until he proves me wrong. Lovie Smith is a defensive specialist. He needs somebody by his side that is qualified to co-coach on the offensive side of the ball. It's so simple, but somehow the Bears and Jerry Angelo always seem to get it wrong.

Now we're left wondering where Chicago will they be at this time next year. They are at the bottom of the league right now and none of their off-season hires have started the turnaround. Is Turner the answer? Although I'm not a fan of the hire, he's only going to be as good as the talent at his disposal. New receivers aren't going to get the job done either until the quarterback has time to find them downfield.

It's just not that hard to figure out. Chicago needs offensive line help in free agency and the draft. Until the Bears make that their priority, don't expect to spend any of your January weekends watching the Bears play football.

Mike Pyle played center for the Bears from 1961-69, including a '63 Pro Bowl selection.

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