Payton Presser: Injuries have hit the Bears hard
Note: This Presser was written shortly before news broke of Jerrell Freeman’s suspension for a performance-enhancing substances violation.
Well guys, different week, but the same result for the Bears. After their worst game of the season last week in Tampa Bay, the Bears were on the road again trying to get things back on track. The frustrating thing about yesterday’s game was the Bears had the chance to win this game but couldn’t find a way to pull it off. One thing that jumped out to me was the Bears looked more prepared for their game versus the Giants, but they weren’t able to keep their first half momentum after halftime. I’ve told you this over and over in my pressers that throughout this process of rebuilding the ball club we were going to have tough times watching this team. The one thing that you can hang your hat on from yesterday is they didn’t give up and they fought ’till the end. That’s always a good sign and all you can ask for from a team that is trying to find their way out of the basement. Let’s jump into some of my takeaways from yesterday’s 22-16 loss to the Giants.
6 More Games with Number 6.
My opinion hasn’t changed since last week. The Bears won’t make any progress until Jay Cutler is gone. Yesterday’s loss isn’t all Cutler’s fault. But when you needed him the most he resorted back to what we are used to seeing. As I said last week once the game went final, it’s a story I’ve seen before. With the Bears trailing 22-16 in the 4th quarter, Cutler couldn’t get his feet set and threw a costly interception. Cutler completed 17 of 30 passes for 252 yards with a touchdown alongside the INT. I’ve come to grips who Cutler is as a QB, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The elite QBs move their team down the field and put points on the board. Cutler has done it in his career, but it’s just not as consistent as I would like. After I wrote that I thought I was asking too much. But in fact I’m not because that expectation comes with the position. So the only thing I keep coming back to is this organization needs a QB that can deliver.
No Offensive Adjustments in the Second Half?
Watching how this team came out in the first half, you could tell that they were better prepared than they were last week in Tampa Bay. The offense came out with two strong scoring touchdown drives and then Connor Barth added a 40-yard field goal. The issue I have with this ball club is they can’t find a way to put together two halves of football. I’ve really backed off the last few weeks on placing blame. But this week the coaching staff needs to own up. All the praise I gave them for the first half, they didn’t make the necessary adjustments in the second half. The running game was working so well in the first half. Jordan Howard had 15 touches in the first half and in the second he had 2. I really have a problem with the lack of adjustments Dowell Loggains is making in the second half of games. There I said it. This has been a reoccurring theme this season and a big reason why this offense is still searching for an identity in week 11.
The Defense is Making Progress
I know for a fact that I don’t give the Bears defense enough praise. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has done a nice job working with what he has been given. I also have to give credit to GM Ryan Pace for bringing in the free agents and guys he has drafted. The difference between the offense and defense is the defense is forming an identity. Just starting with the front 7, you see playmakers. The secondary is young, but just think about the key reps they are getting this season. It was good to see a guy from “The U,” safety Deon Bush, get the start Sunday. The Bears don’t seem happy with the play of Jones-Quartey and Prosinski. Bush was credited with 7 tackles. It’s a guy like him that gives me hope and keeps me interested in watching week in and week out. Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan are so much fun to watch. Trevathan was credited with 9 tackles and Freeman had 8. With names like Akiem Hicks and Pernell McPhee, the Bears have a true foundation they can build on. I just wish the defense could have avoided some of the injuries because there is something there and could be even more fun to watch in the next 6 games.
Leonard Floyd (neck)
In the 4th quarter, Floyd’s head collided with Akiem Hicks. Floyd fell to the ground and would stay there for several minutes. He would be carted off the field and taken to the hospital for further evaluations to his neck. John Fox sounded encouraged about the rookie’s health in his post-game presser.
Josh Sitton (ankle)
In the 3rd quarter, Jordan Howard stepped on Sitton’s ankle. He would hobble of the field on his own power but would eventually leave for the locker room on a cart.
Zach Miller (foot)
Miller suffered a broken right foot and will miss the remainder of the season.
The reality is this season will turn out to be the what-ifs. What if Kevin White could have stayed healthy? What if the O-line could have stayed healthy? There are a bunch more, but thinking about them all just makes me upset as a Bears fan, especially when you look at the NFC North and how bad it is right now. We can’t change the past, so we should keep looking to the future and hope for the best. Hope that with another year of scouting, Ryan Pace can select more playmakers that will continue to shift the direction of this organization. The fact is there is no one is untouchable moving forward. If you want to win that has to be the case. Pace might have to make some decisions that will be difficult, but that’s his role. After this season the Bears need to look at everything from players to coaches and figure out what will be best for the future. My dad used to tell me, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” I have endured many bad seasons as a Bears fan. I just want to see the arrow start trending upward. The Bears didn’t get the win yesterday, but they did fight ’till the end. That shows me that there are guys in the locker room that won’t let this team quit. Add more guys like that and we will see this team trending for all the wins we will collect and not the losses. #BearDown