10:08 AM CDT, August 15, 2011
It’s hard to know which is worse: J’Marcus Webb playing left tackle during the Bears’ exhibition opener against Buffalo on Saturday night or J’Marcus Webb talking about it later.
Webb lined up at the most important position on the offensive line, and Shawne Merriman ruined him. Two sacks. A holding penalty that wasn’t called. Pressure that forced a third sack.
Jay Cutler almost got killed again. The offensive line will get killed with questions and criticisms all week again.
Bad enough, but then Webb offered this in defense of his fairly indefensible play:
"Maybe I didn't match his intensity. They came out as if we were in the regular season, and obviously I didn't. I've got to get a little bit better."
Wait. No. That’s a joke, right? First live ammo of the season, first time starting at the most important position on the offensive line, first game at home, and intensity is a problem?
Palm to forehead.
I’m not telling Webb not to be honest. But if this is what he honestly believes, then Mike Tice has bigger problems than technique.
Same goes for Cutler. You, too, Mike Martz.
Did you see how Martz started his farewell tour?
After saying he was hoping his Bears offense could pick up where it left off, the offensive coordinator opened the exhibition season with an end-around to Devin Hester. Hmmm, that looked vaguely familiar.
Perhaps it was a shot at critics like me who carved Martz for calling that play for Earl Bennett, the Bears’ slowest wide receiver, at the end of the NFC Championship Game. This time he called it for perhaps his fastest receiver. Neither worked. Martz blamed the players for failing to execute the call in the title game. Must be the players’ fault again. Those darn players, when will they learn to execute the wrong play?
And when will they learn to execute the right play? I can’t blame Martz for calling his offense of deep and usually dangerous dropbacks. Nobody expected it to work with an offensive line consisting of four players in new positions, but I can’t blame Martz for calling the plays to identify where the problems are.
Answer: all over the place, and that’s without the seven-step drops.
Hundreds of sacks. Nothing but fear for the starting quarterback’s life. Utter lack of a first-string passing game.
So, yeah, the Bears are picking up right where they were a year ago when they couldn’t block the dangerously stubborn Martz’s calls.
Just asking: Does Tice think there should be competition on the OL? Two quarterbacks, three sacks, four plays, and I’m wondering, does Tice think the word “falter’’ applies.
Now we know why Martz was giddy about Cutler’s footwork: because he’ll need it behind a line that can’t block Martz’s stuff.
Caleb Hanie should’ve gotten rid of the ball to avoid a couple of those sacks. If Martz didn’t like Hanie last season, then he couldn’t like him much better after Saturday.
Cutler, too, would do well to get rid of the ball quicker. In fact, he ought to give it right back to center Roberto Garza. Just tell him, “Here, it’s your line, YOU take the ball and stand behind it.’’
Garza was no help picking up a line stunt by Merriman, and Lance Louis appeared to show why he loswt his job last season, which means the best-looking linemen were the left tackle first-rounders who were playing left guard and right tackle, respectively. SMH.
The wideouts also didn’t help the quarterbacks avoid sacks. If they had gotten open quickly, they would’ve gotten the ball. They didn’t, and they didn’t. I’m glad that Martz told us he gave Johnny Knox’s starting spot to Roy Williams because I couldn’t find either.
I can see why Bears coach Lovie Smith said Henry Melton is “going to be great.’’ It’s only one game, yeah, and it doesn’t count, but it counts for me that someone in the middle of the defensive line provided pressure, which is the only way Smith’s Tampa-2 base defense can work.
And if Amobi Okoye can do those things against real teams, the Bears have a chance to deodorize the utter lack of upgrade at cornerback.
But hey, at least Tim Jennings surprisingly was in position to cover well enough on a play that forced offensive pass interference.
Kid safety Major Wright was all over my television, just like last year before he got injured. What jumped out was his open-field tackling. First contact, only contact needed.
Best thing about the Bears’ defense wasn’t so much keeping a bad Buffalo team out of the end zone, but the way it gang-tackled, especially impressive on the Soldier Field kitty litter.
Good thing, too, because the slants and wide-receiver screens are still all-you-can-eat, even for a cruddy Bills offense.
Marion Barber broke three tackles on one play inside the Bills’ 15 on the Bears’ lone TD drive. Looks like he’s going to take somebody’s job: Chester Taylor. Don’t be the guy who says Matt Forte. Barber won’t take Forte’s job unless the Bears have lost their minds. Barber is a physical back, sort of a Jerome Bettis with training wheels, but he has trouble staying healthy. That’s why Barber didn’t suddenly kneecap Forte’s leverage in getting a contract extension.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Greg Olsen asked for a trade last year. Olsen said he didn’t. Did so, Angelo said. Did not, Olsen said. Did so. Did not. Mommy, Greg is bothering me.
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