9:31 AM CST, December 6, 2012
The more Bears receivers who go down with injuries and struggle to return, the more embarrassing Lovie Smith looks with his Kellen Davis nonsense.
Truth is, even with a full complement of receivers, Smith looks embarrassing with his Davis nonsense.
The Bears coach talks up his big, useless, starting tight end all the time, obviously unconcerned with the massive hole where his credibility used to be.
Smith’s deathless quote is that Davis “can do all the things the good tight ends can do.’’
Except block, remain upright and catch the stinkin’ ball.
Smith’s laughable description of Davis ranks right up there with “Devin Hester is a No. 1 receiver.’’
Then again, that’s what you’d expect from an addled coach who said he erred in going for it on fourth-and-inches against Seattle and immediately said he would do it again. Wait, you’d choose to make a losing mistake again?
Some would argue that Smith makes that kind of mistake everytime Davis is on the field.
Davis has 14 catches and seemingly as many drops. He has 185 yards and two touchdowns, but the catches are the big thing. Or the little thing -- Davis’ total ranks behind 40 tight ends.
Yes, 40. In a 32-team league. That means some teams have two tight ends who are more productive than the Bears’ starter.
The issues of Smith’s ragged player evaluation and Davis’ ragged performance become particularly acute this week in the wake of the injuries to wide receivers.
Hester, the previous example of Smith’s offensive cluelessness, is coming back from a concussion and a demotion. Earl Bennett, who replaced Hester, suffered a concussion himself. Alshon Jeffery is coming back from his latest injury, meaning he’s just a couple plays away from his next one.
So, the Bears are down to, what, Eric Weems and Dane Sanzenbacher? I’m not sure who Weems scares, but I know that Sanzenbacher had one of the highest drop rates in the league last season.
No wonder Jay Cutler throws to Brandon Marshall even if he’s quintuple-covered. And no wonder Marshall is talking about bringing in receivers Joe Anderson and/or Michael Sims-Walker.
I get that. I also get that the Bears’ passing game wouldn’t rank among the worst in the league if the coach knew what he was doing at a position that the rest of the NFL considers vital.
A couple weeks ago, the Bears faced Minnesota with an offensive line in chaos and a quarterback returning from a concussion. The game plan was reduced to quick, short passes and a commitment to the run even when the run was picking up less than three yards a carry.
The plan worked, with a lot of help from Vikings coach Leslie Frazier’s stupidity in putting the ball in Christian Ponder’s hands instead of Adrian Peterson’s inside the Bears’ 10-yard line.
As the Bears head to Minnesota this week, things seem more dire with Brian Urlacher’s injury to a defense that was sputtering even with him. The offense is expected to make up the difference, but that unit, too, has been ugly most of the season.
And now the offense is going into a place where audibles go to die. The Vikings' defense will be faster on the turf, so a quarterback needs a reliable safety valve. That’s usually the tight end, but the Bears have largely forfeited a position that would help Cutler greatly, especially this week.
But here’s the thing: There is a way Davis could help the Bears. Yes, staying in Chicago is a good answer, but it appears he will be making the trip, much to everyone’s chagrin.
So, he must make himself useful, and I have an idea that plays to Davis’ strengths, or at least his natural tendencies on the field:
If you’re going to fall down repeatedly, then use that 6-foot-7, 267-pound body to fall down repeatedly on Jared Allen’s knees.
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC