Cutler needs some help in Chicago
Something seems amiss in offensive coordinator Ron Turner’s game plan right now for the Chicago Bears, and it starts with Matt Forte—because this Bears team can’t run the football with any production. Twenty-three yards on 15 carries? Hardly impressive numbers for a feature back in this league.
And because of that, the entire game plan is being shifted into the lap of quarterback Jay Cutler.
Sitting at 3-2, this team is at somewhat of a crossroads because of its inability to find any sort of playmaker besides Cutler. Sure, rookie WR Johnny Knox may have been the steal of the draft, and Greg Olsen is still Cutler’s No.1 target. But when opposing defenses can stop the Bears ground game, then it becomes Cutler’s responsibility to make plays.
And turnovers happen.
Think about it, Cutler is being asked to generate points, and when this team gets down to the red zone—where the field shrinks—it once again comes down to Cutler’s ability to get the ball in the end zone.
And that’s why, from my perspective, all of the action we saw last night at the Georgia Dome in Chicago’s 21-14 loss—specifically the fumble by Forte at the goal line (his second of the series) that was recovered by the Falcons—was so telling of how poorly this team is running the football right now. A toss sweep—by the Bears?
Yes, instead of running the ball downhill with an off tackle power play, the Bears tried to get the ball to Forte on the outside. Maybe it was viewed as a way to catch the Falcons off guard by stretching the edge of the defense, but in my opinion, it was the only way Chicago felt they could get in the end zone with the running game. I understand the theory, as Forte can get downhill once he sees a hole develop, but I don’t understand the thought pattern for a Chicago team this is supposed to get off the bus running the football.
What has happened? Watching this team thus far in the 2009 season, they have the talent on defense, as evidenced by their play last night. They have the talent in special teams with Knox and Devin Hester in the return game, and I am completely sold on Cutler. He has all of the tools and brings that high-risk factor to Chicago that will produce points.
But the running game will still be the reason that this team gets back into a race with Minnesota or the sole reason that they vanish for that same race.
Remember, Jay Cutler wasn’t brought into Chicago for this to become a pass-happy club. He was brought in to run Turner’s offense, the same offense that was successful in the past because of Forte’s ability to run the ball and set up the passing game.
However, right now, this team is solely basing their offensive hopes on Cutler, and the more they do that, the more he will have to take those extended risks—because he isn’t getting any help.
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