Pyle Ponders

Sorry, Bears fans, but I just don't get it. It's nearly three weeks before the start of the season, yet the team finds itself in exactly the same uncomfortable position of wondering what to do without Rex Grossman. The powers that be are scrambling to fill in the blanks.

What bothers me is the overall plan, or lack thereof, implemented by Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith and Ron Turner.

What were they thinking while leaving Rex Grossman in there so long against the Rams? It was a meaningless game. Sure, Grossman needed some reps but that might not have been the right time or place for that. You haven't heard of any other teams losing their first string quarterback, have you? That's because their No. 1 players weren't exposed to the extent that Rex had been. Clearly there's something wrong with the overall approach going on at Halas Hall.

What bothered me most about Rex going down was the fact that it just didn't need to happen. This wasn't even a game well into the regular season. When Ray Nitschke and I used to play each other in the annual Shriners game in Milwaukee, we faked it a lot of the time. I'd look as if I were going for his knees, and Ray would fall to the ground. That way we were certain that nobody was going to be seriously injured.

Grossman was playing as if it were the playoffs when he should have been told to get out of the way. Somebody should have clued him in that just going through the motions at that point of the year is OK. The risk isn't worth it during the preseason.

But it was more than the loss of Rex that bothered me. I got a horrible sense of Déjà vu watching the offense against the Colts. Once more they proved to be woefully inadequate. The starting offensive line had been solid in the first two preseason games, but turned porous with Chad Hutchinson at the helm. The second stringers showed minimal signs of life when Kyle Orton took over.

The first rule is to protect the quarterback. The pressure and ultimately the sacks the Colts were able to get shows that the offense was not able to fulfill that basic requirement. Hutchinson and Orton seemed rushed. And the worst part was that the line was going against an Indy front four that had been weakened by injury. Yes, the first string offense put a touchdown on the board, but that had more to do with the defense setting them up with good field position. I didn't see the coordinated effort that should be expected from that side of the ball.

One player who should be singled out as the most valuable off-season addition is Muhsin Muhammad. He played well and seemed to provide a spark when the Bears needed it. The rookie WR Mark Bradley seemed to be settling in well to the pro level and should get stronger as the season progresses. Adrian Peterson had good production as well in place of Thomas Jones, who was rested while Cedric Benson continues to holdout.

The Bears defense gave all who follow the Bears more reason to be optimistic. They were in sync all evening and looked pretty strong. I liked the fact that they put pressure on Peyton Manning pretty much every time Indianapolis had the ball. If everybody can stay healthy they could prove to be one of the more intimidating defenses in the league.

But all in all, and I hate to say it, I'm bored. I don't think I can stand to go through another season watching a dismal offense. Maybe Hutchinson can pull things together. More likely he won't. Orton has a bright future, but this year is probably too soon. Jeff Blake could be a stopgap, but the long-term prospects are not encouraging.

Jerry, Lovie, Ron do something. You've had plenty of time to get this team headed in the right direction. I've been a lifelong Bears fan but I'm so tired of the same worn excuses. I'd guess that quite a few other Bear fans feel exactly the same way.

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

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