Do The Bears Need Change At The Top?

I knew it wouldn't take long before the calls for heads to roll would be coming in.  And I don't blame Bears fans.  Not one bit.

There are only so many times you can put up with failed screen attempts, dive plays run for players who are barely tall enough to ride a rollercoaster.  Bubble screens on third and long.  Ron Turner's playbook is so vanilla, chocolate wants no part of it in a swirl.  It's bad and embarrassing.  And to think, Bears fans (myself included) thought there would be an improvement with Jay Cutler under center.

And while Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett have stepped their games up, the Bears offense as a whole is still as boring as ever at times.

The only way the Bears are going to get change in the offense is if it says good-bye to Lovie Smith, who prior to this week's debacle, had done a pretty good job calling the defensive plays.  But Smith, who has two years remaining on his current deal, seemed to have had his playbook switched with the old Bob Babich kind.

So, where should the Bears go with this?  You'll see after the jump.

Mike Shanahan should be the Bears' top target.  If there is anyone on the open market who knows offense, it's the former boss of the Broncos.  The Oak Park, Ill., native owned a 138-86 record (.616 winning percentage) in his 14 years with the Broncos.  He won two Super Bowls and posted an 8-5 career postseason record.

You can easily dismiss Shanahan's record by saying the name John Elway, but it would be wrong to do so.  The Broncos ranked in the top five in rushing touchdowns seven times.  His stable of 1,000-yard backs included Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson, Reuben Droughns and Clinton Portis.  From 1995 to 2005, Shanahan's offenses ranked in the top 10 in league scoring in 10 of those 11 seasons.  The Broncos ranked 18th in a year in which the team was led by Brian Griese.

And remember, it was Shanhan's firing that opened the door for Josh McDaniels and the ensuing Jay Cutler hissyfit that sent him to Chicago.  I guess that would make too much sense.

Then there's Jon Gruden, who turned Brad Johnson into a Super Bowl winning quarterback.  Johnson put forth a pedestrian 26-23 record as the Buccaneers starting QB, but he went 10-3 in 2002 en route to a Super Bowl title.  Seriously, to this day Gruden must think to himself, "Damn, how did I win a Super Bowl with Brad Freakin' Johnson as my quarterback?" on a daily basis.

Gruden's passing offenses were among football's top 10 best six times in his 11 year head coaching career.  He coached the likes of Johnson and Rich Gannon.  Think about it.  On a good day, Johnson and Gannon combine to have one-tenth the athletic ability of Jay Cutler.  If presented the opportunity to coach up Cutler, Gruden would probably cream his pants and welcome himself on board for the ride.

Hell, I wouldn't mind a yet-to-be named coordinator ... as long as his name wasn't Ron Turner.  He would have to understand the concepts of "vertical passing game" and "scoring points" in order to get a second interview.  Then, as long as he agrees running Garrett Wolfe up the middle is among the worst ideas for an offensive play call, then he could be signed.

In the end, the biggest cure-all could be an offensive line that doesn't suck.  As much grief as Cutler took for mishandling several snaps, at what point does Olin Kreutz accept some of the heat?  It's not as if Cutler is the first signal caller that wasn't able to handle Kreutz's balls out of the shotgun (no homo) as Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman struggled mightily at times, too.

For one season, why couldn't we have Orlando Pace from four years ago?  That alone would give Cutler enough time to find an open Greg Olsen, right?

It's almost sad that I want to defend this coaching staff just a little bit.  While the Bears did improve at the quarterback position, there weren't enough upgrades elsewhere.  Some of this is because of the Bears' poor draft days.  Another reason is the lack of development when the Bears get something right.

Sunday's loss to Benson's Bengals is a cold slap-in-the-face.  Worst case scenario, the 2009 Bears are what I thought the 2008 Bears were.  Mediocre.


Andy F said...

In addition to that articile... No matter who is the head coach and coordinators, they will not have much room to improve since the Bears don't have a draft pick for the first 3 rounds.

cardrunners said...

I think the Bears fans sank all of their hopes into Jay Cutler and hes been very mediocre so far. I think they have a lot of issues to address and wont be making the playoffs this season, since their only hope is the Wild Card.