Pyle Ponders

Where's the first place you look when everything goes wrong? The coaching. The Bears dropped a 24-7 decision to a good Bengals team, but by no means should the outcome have been so one sided.

I've said this before and I know I'll say it again-the top guys at the Bears just aren't doing their jobs. I like Lovie Smith, really I do, but I'm not convinced he has what it takes to be head coach of an NFL franchise. Again, the team didn't seem ready to face their opponent. When Kyle Orton said after the game that he was ‘confused' at times, it made perfect sense to me. Just another example of inadequate preparation.

At its best, professional football is a chess match where one game plan is matched up against another. If you don't have effective schemes, you aren't going to win. On paper, the Bears should have won. They had 255 yards versus the Bengals' 244. The Bears had more first downs. But they also had a lot of three and outs and of course, the five interceptions.

In my mind, the jury's still out on Ron Turner. Last week against Detroit, his players functioned well. This past week, it was a complete disaster. Dropped passes, missed routes, hopeless Hail Mary throws. You don't see anything like that in a team that has confidence in what it's doing.

There's going to be a lot of second-guessing as far as the quarterback situation. I believe it was the right decision to keep Orton in there. That's the only way he'll learn. Orton is the real deal and someday he'll be really good. I love the guy. However, I saw a lot of uncertainty in Orton's passing against the Bengals. It appeared that he wasn't sure where, or even when to throw the ball. That wasn't his fault.

As a whole, the Bears offense looked better on paper than they were in actuality. The Bears had 15 possessions during the game, which is respectable. That should have resulted in some good drives for TDs. Unfortunately they also had six turnovers and five three and outs. There's no way you can win with that going on.

The defense played pretty well. The unit shut down Cincinnati for the most part. The weakness I saw was in special teams. Every aspect of their play was a disaster. And once again, I am questioning the entire Doug Brien-Paul Edinger move. Edinger had a good day in Minnesota. Brian had a lousy outing in Chicago. That should tell you something.

I have to give Jerry Angelo credit for bringing in some fine players from the draft and during the off-season. Whether the coaching staff can make the best use of their skills remains to be seen.

The Bengals are a good team, not a great team. They certainly haven't reached the upper echelons of the NFL. If the Bears played so poorly against them, there is cause for concern. The bye week will provide an opportunity for improvement. Hopefully the coaching staff can take advantage of the time.

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


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