Bears general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman met the media to answer questions on the day after the Bears’ 51-23 loss to the New England Patriots and expressed a firm belief the season could be saved.
Trestman explained things will get better after the bye, “Because it shows up that we can get it done. These are things that are correctable.
“Our ability to create some turnovers will help us. Our ability to match up better will help us. I’ve seen this happen over time after a bye week, where teams find themselves.
“And I feel confident that we’re going to find our way through this and get back in a position where we are playing more consistently, to where we are playing the kind of game we played against Atlanta, that we played against San Francisco.”
It is, however, exactly that kind of answer that creates more questions than confidence.
The Falcons are one of the worst teams in the league, and the Bears were awful against the 49ers for three quarters and aren’t in that game if San Francisco doesn’t commit 16 penalties and four bad turnovers.
Emery analyzed Jared Allen’s play to date.
“When I watch him on tape, I don’t see that he lacks quickness or speed. He’s made several rundown plays from the backside. Jared got the quarterback (Brady) on the ground three times after his release. Obviously those aren’t sacks. In terms of the common relationship with his age, I don’t see that he lost speed and quickness.”
I don’t know what Jared Allen has left and I’m not disputing what Emery is seeing on tape.
But what good are pressures or hits when Brady was 30 of 35 and four of his five incompletions were drops. So he was this close to perfect with 354 yards, five touchdowns and no sacks.
Where is the upside so far from the addition of Allen?
Emery said this about why Jay Cutler still struggles with certain fundamentals.
“In the past, he was better than everybody around him, and when you’re better than everybody around you, you’re pressed to make plays. Coming out of Vanderbilt, some of his things from a technical standpoint were concerning, in terms of coming off the back foot, protecting the football. Jay, like a lot of players in that position, has a little bit of a gun-slinger personality in terms of, ‘I want to be the guy making the plays.’ He trusts his arm. Those are habits. Habits are hard to improve.”
Really? Then why did he just guarantee Cutler $54 million over this and the next two seasons?
Trestman said of Cutler “his leadership’s been at a premium.”
Since leadership has been such a hot topic lately, I asked Trestman if he could explain what he meant by that and he responded, “Every day it starts with him and how he comes into this building.
“His work ethic is exemplary. How he practices is exemplary. We have tremendous practices here. We have very good competition here. That starts not only with Jay but with a lot of guys in our locker room that have played a lot of football.
“It starts with Jay in that manner because he does set the tone as most quarterbacks do in terms of how a team works and his work ethic is second to none in the building.”
Those practices and competition have yielded a 3-5 football team. I didn’t ask about his work ethic. Does that explain leadership to you?
Let me be clear.
Jay Cutler is not what’s wrong with the Bears, he is just a piece of a much bigger puzzle.
Emery and Trestman are guys it would be easy to pull for and many of you would really like to see them succeed.
But after listening to them Monday, I’m afraid I came away with a lot more questions than I did answers, or hope.
• Chicago Football editor Hub Arkush can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.