The Bears’ naked discontent
With two weeks left in the season, the Bears can’t contain their discord any longer. The sources are frustrated, and they’re no longer anonymous.
The Chicago Bears are a sad team, but Monday night’s performance was perhaps their sorriest of the season. Jay Cutler threw three interceptions under immense pressure, wide receivers committed TWO false starts, and Chicago’s defense relented as it has all season. The body language of the players on the field said even more than the 31-15 final score. With heads down and shoulders slumped, the Bears scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion with 2:18 left that made the game look better than it was.
The Bears came unglued. Many of the players looked disinterested, and Bears players themselves said as much after the game.
“There are some positions on the team that need to step up with leadership and things like that around the club,” tight end Martellus Bennett said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “But overall, I just feel like we need passion to come from certain places. I don’t think the passion is always there all the time.”
Bennett wouldn’t name names — “they know who they are.”
With the loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Bears fell to 5-9 in what was supposed to be a promising second season under head coach Marc Trestman. The Bears entered the season at No. 9 in SB Nation’s preseason power rankings, for example, under the expectation that the offense would score a lot of points and that the defense would have to improve from a unit that ranked 30th in total defense and points per game last season.
Scoring has dropped by nearly a touchdown per game from last season. Chicago is still 30th in total defense, but now ranks dead last in the NFL giving up 29.2 points per game.
The Bears’ discord stems from more than what happened on the field. According to the Sun-Times, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer’s revelation that he was the anonymous source who criticized Cutler is still having a negative impact on the team. Players are reportedly troubled that Trestman has remained hands-off during the ordeal. The players were the ones who revealed that Kromer had apologized to the team, again anonymously, prompting Brandon Marshall to tweet this bit of insight, from the Sun-Times:
‘‘Most interesting part of this story is the new source(s),” Marshall tweeted. ‘‘SMH [shaking my head].”
Cutler will get a lot of blame for the Bears’ struggles, and his league-leading 18 interceptions and 24 total turnovers deserve criticism next to his $126.7 million contract. But this about more than one easily-dejected, overpaid quarterback. The Bears suck holistically, as Bennett alluded. They may be better off scrapping everything at this point.