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As we enter 2013 there’s a feeling in the air that this long-time suffering Bears fan hasn’t felt since about nine weeks ago — real hope.
With head coach Lovie Smith’s firing after another second-half season collapse, there’s a possibility that one day down the road the Monsters of the Midway might just be able to find a way to try out one of these new-fangled NFL offenses — the kind that racks up points quicker than Lindsay Lohan’s driving record.
Jay Cutler was supposed to be the answer to Lovie’s lack of offense. He wasn’t.
The man can throw a football to be sure.
But he’s spent more time on his back the past few years than an upside-down turtle thanks to an offensive line with the structural integrity of a marshmallow bridge.
To add insult to his numerous injuries, Cutler often was trying to identify potential blitzes with limited, if any, time at the line thanks to Smith’s staff seeming use of fast food drive-through headsets to call in the plays. (Tell Martz I want fries with that.)
And when Cutler finally succumbed to his growing collection of concussions midway through the season, Jason Campbell — the man brought in to stifle any chances of a Caleb Haine-level catastrophe — and the Bears offense were once again in real hot water. Brandon Marshall was supposed to be the answer to Smith’s smoldering heap of an offense.
Sure, Cutler and Marshall have more chemistry than an overworked high school science teacher. At times this year it was pure alchemy as the Bears seemingly turned their lead balloon of an offense into gold.
Turns out it was pyrite. The Bears finished 29th in the league in passing yards.
Two men an offense does not make. So even with Cutler ‘healthy,’ the Bears’ attack would go missing more often than Liam Neeson’s relatives.
After last year’s collapse (which historians have recently revealed was what was actually foretold by the Mayan calendar) former general manager Jerry Angelo was shown the door.
Now it’s Smith’s turn to seek employment after new G.M. Phil Emery decided enough was enough with the ‘defense first, dodge questions about the offense later,’ approach of Lovie’s regime.
The question now is whether a new coaching staff can maintain the level of defensive excellence Smith’s squads have been known for while implementing a high-octane offense not wholly reliant on Jay Cutler’s ability to dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge.
It’s a tall order, to be sure, and there will need to be a lot of help from Emery in terms of the draft and free agency on both sides of the ball to fix an offense that registered 28th with 306 yards per game.
But for now, as we wait to learn Smith’s successor, there’s hope that the next man they pay millions of dollars to coach might be able to create a 21st-century offense for the Bears.
Chris Yucus is a NewsTribune Sports Writer. He can be reached at 220-6995 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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