What a mess. What a mess.
That’s the best way to describe the 2014 Chicago Bears. After suffering a 31-15 loss at home to the lowly New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, the Bears are faced with the blunt reality. QB Jay Cutler is not fit to be the leader of this football team. Head Coach Marc Trestman looks lost, and isn’t even helping the offense perform despite being known as an offensive coach. Finally, the Bears’ defense, which is historically known for being an intense, tough group, is one of the worst in the NFL, and can stop no one.
Yes, Trestman is only in his second season, and inherited a roster of aging veterans such as retired LB Brian Urlacher, and currently injured stars CB Charles Tillman and LB Lance Briggs. Both of those players may have very well played their last game for Chicago, as the team is most likely looking to turn the page. Yet, with all of the turmoil and dysfunction that the Bears have displayed, how could the Bears possibly believe that Trestman is the man to turn this team around? I don’t believe he is, and I’m pretty sure the Bears are realizing this as well. Here’s my take on what the Bears should do to improve:
First, the Bears need to dismiss Trestman and his staff. Some coaches are great coordinators in the NFL, but not good head coaches. Trestman appears to fit that mold. If I’m Chicago, I’d pursue the big-name coaches on the market, such as Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and even San Francisco 49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh. After that, it begins the search through the different coordinators who are awaiting their chance at a head coaching job. Arizona’s Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles and Denver’s Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase fit the profile, and are definitely possibilities to get the job. Former head coaches Jack Del Rio and Jim Schwartz could also get a look, as both of their defensive units have been outstanding this season.
Next, the Bears need to reshape this roster, not only by talent, but by personality as well. There have been too many butting heads throughout the organization during the course of this season. I would cut high-priced veterans, like Tillman and Briggs, and even try to move TE Martellus Bennett, who has had his problems with the team, and is overpaid based on his production. Unfortunately, the biggest contract problem the Bears have is Cutler, who is making the most on the team, but playing like he’s a backup. Until Cutlers’ guaranteed money on his deal runs out, the Bears are stuck with him.
So, what would I do while I was stuck with Cutler? I’d build a team around him that’s not necessarily for him. For example, in this year’s draft, I would aim to select UCLA QB Brett Hundley in the 2nd or 3rd round to be Cutler’s replacement, and let him sit and watch Cutler for the first season. With my other picks and moves in free agency, I would try to improve both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as the defense as a whole. All in all, these moves are for the future of the Bears, and not necessarily for Cutler to succeed with at the moment. That’s why building a championship caliber football team is a process.
Quite frankly, there is no easy fix for these lowly Chicago Bears. With their hands tied by financial commitments and contractual obligations, Chicago is facing a lengthy rebuild that could take years before the Bears are competitive in the NFC North again.