DA BLOG: From High Hopes to Low Expectations
I’m going to be honest. When I started the semester at IU and joined WIUX, I had never written my own blog before—but knew I wanted to start one. I chose to create “DA BLOG” because I had high hopes for the 2014 Chicago Bears. I thought to myself, What else could be easier than writing about Chicago’s resurgence, climbing its way back to the top of the NFL? Obviously, things didn’t turn out how I anticipated, but can you blame me for having such high hopes in September?
Flashback to the beginning of the season… Brandon Marshall claimed Jay Cutler would be this year’s MVP… Although it sounds ludicrous now, at the time it was admirable. Cutler recently signed the largest contract in Bears history; in 2013 the offense was the second-highest scoring unit in the NFL and everyone expected continued growth in this second year under Marc Trestman.
Although the defense struggled in 2013, there were “decisive” moves made by GM Phil Emery in the offseason to bolster that group. He brought in a handful of new defensive coaches as well as a number of new players: Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen, Ryan Mundy and Willie Young, to name a few. All of these additions were supposed to at the very least make the Bears’ defense average. And that was fine, because with the high-powered offense the Bears’ were supposed to have, they didn’t need a “great” defense. Everything was looking great; the 2014 season was filled with promise … but what happens when things don’t go according to plan?
Enter present day … Halas Hall is a complete disaster with every fabric of this team unraveling to threads. Last year’s “Happy-Jay” is starting to seem more like a show that Cutler put on in order to get his big pay day, because this year he has without a doubt regressed back to “Grumpy-QB”. I’ll admit that I have been one of the supporters of Jay since his arrival in Chicago, but enough is enough. Chicago Bears fans, you deserve more than Cutler. Maybe it starts with No. 6, as Cutler has half of No. 12 Tom Brady’s heart and desire and a third of No. 18 Peyton Manning’s wit and gumption. The point is: Bears fans deserve more than a fraction of a quarterback.
You know what makes me laugh? “Perseverance: Life Lessons on Leadership and Teamwork”, the title of a book by Head Coach Marc Trestman. Why? Because his team is lacking the perseverance, leadership and teamwork it takes to be successful in the NFL. Trestman has as much control over his staff and players as a pilot trying to control a plane spiraling out of control. His leadership style is questionable at best, and he fails to motivate his football team as week in and week out his players are apathetic and lacking any spirit in their play.
Trestman’s staff is starting to act out as well. After the loss to Dallas, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer told NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport that the Bears are having “serious buyer’s remorse” about the seven-year, $126 million the team offered Jay Cutler. But wait, there’s more. After initially denying the report, Kromer apologized to both Cutler and the offense in a meeting this week. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune said “Kromer made an emotional and tearful apology.” Two players told Biggs that this is the most “(messed) up” situation they have seen in an NFL organization. Is this the Chicago Bears or the cast of “Days of Our Lives”?
Where do we go from here? Here’s how I see it. If Phil Emery wants to keep his job, he needs to admit two mistakes. The first, hiring Marc Trestman. (Shame on you for passing on Bruce Arians). The second, signing Cutler to that colossal contract (Think about all of the talent that $126 million could have bought). Although this would put the organization two steps back, I believe it is necessary to take the next step forward. It is one thing to admit the mistakes, but how do you correct them?
Fire Marc Trestman and his staff. Some people believe he should get one more year to prove this year was an anomaly. I couldn’t disagree more. With everything that has transpired, there is absolutely no way this season is a fluke. Everything from Brandon Marshall calling for a fist-fight against a Detroit Lions fan on Twitter, Aaron Kromer reaching out to the media to criticize his own quarterback, or simply the inept play of Trestman’s offense has created a losing culture within the organization that can only be corrected with a fresh start. There are some promising candidates out there for the job. One coach in particular I would like to see brought in is Adam Gase. Gase is the current offensive coordinator for Denver who has had success with Peyton Manning and a great mentor in Jon Fox.
Trade Jay Cutler. I am sure there is a team out there that would trade for Cutler. To be honest, I don’t care if the Bears only get a fifth round draft pick in return. Getting rid of Cutler and his huge cap hit provides more room to grow for this team moving forward. Looking around the league, there aren’t many quarterbacks who are available that I would want under center in Chicago. So, I propose the Bears make one of the boldest moves in franchise history. In the 2015 NFL Draft, which will be held in Chicago, the Bears need to do whatever necessary to draft Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. This is feasible because the team with the top spot in the draft will either be Jacksonville or Oakland, who have their young quarterbacks already with Derek Carr and Blake Bortles, respectively. If Phil Emery wanted to, I’m sure he could find a way to draft Mariota.
Having a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback might look like two huge steps backwards for the Chicago Bears, but their current state of affairs dictates that major changes are needed in order to return to winning football. As I said earlier, Chicago Bears fans deserve better. But hold on tight, because it’s going to be a long, bumpy journey on the road to restoring pride in the Windy City.
Follow Will on Twitter @DeWittYourself