92 Comments

Simplified Offense Should Lead To Fewer Mistakes

| August 12th, 2015

Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Bears 54-11. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When I was a sophomore in high school, my JV football coach opened practice with telling us his new philosophy was going to be K.I.S.S. — Keep It Simple Stupid. The thought was that the less we had to think on the field, the better we would play. It might have worked if he didn’t then try to install Gary Crowton’s spread offense after the team ran the Wishbone the year before. The Bears aren’t going from the Wishbone to the spread, but they seem intent on simplifying what they’ve done in recent years and the result should be fewer big mistakes.

Mistakes were ultimately what did the Bears offense in last year.

They 2014 debacle featured the fifth most turnovers in the league. They had the second most false starts — a number of which by receivers. They also committed countless other mental errors that don’t show up in the box score. A large part of the problem was that Marc Trestman wanted his brand of football to be a science and he lacked scientists. He never adjusted. 

This isn’t to say the Bears don’t have smart players. They do. But players are at their best when they’re able to play without thinking. It’s easy to blame Jay Cutler for the Bears turnover problems, but a handful of the interceptions he threw came because he and the receiver weren’t on the same page. The Bears had option routes and option routes off of those option routes that couldn’t be determined until after the ball was snapped. It was all too much.

We’ve heard Marty Bennett talk about how he felt like the team was trying to cram as much information as possible in his head the past couple of seasons. Bennett was one of the players who most struggled with these various option routes. Bennett is a good player not because he’s smart, but because he has an incredible combination of size, speed and body control. The same is true for Alshon Jeffery and will be true for Kevin White. They can’t utilize those attributes to the fullest if they’re thinking about every move they make.

The Bears need to ask them to be big, strong and fast playmakers, not rocket scientists. If they do that and the players hold up their end of the bargain, it will give defenses fits. 

The Bears obviously have to have some strategy. But that strategy – as devised by offensive coordinator Adam Gase – will cater to the talents of the individuals on the roster instead of forcing those talents into a pre-designed system.

Mistakes will happen. Every team makes them no matter what kind of offense they run. But if the Bears can just limit the crippling errors of 2014 by allowing the talent to think less, they’re going to be hard to stop.

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  • BearDown100393

    Oh bullshit. Marc Trestman was not demanding some type of high risk high reward complicated Martzian offense. Trestman and Kromer were incompetent, unprepared and more motivated to look good in practice rather than actual football games. Tack on a bad defense prepared/managed/”coached up” by a terrible DC in Mel Tucker, the offense was behind the 8 ball before it even had a chance. And don’t even get me started on the utilization of Gould. Add Marshall’s injury along with nagging health issues of Alshon, it was over before those games even were played. That era just makes me puke. Fox is simply restoring a competent game plan to what should be more than capable football players to execute an actual NFL game plan. This probably isn’t a playoff Bears team (although stranger things can happen in the NFL) but it will be properly coached and game managed.

    • willbest

      The more I think about 2014 Gould, the more I tend to think he was injured longer than was apparent. Otherwise, I am force to conclude the guy is a class A douche who just decided to phone it in.

      • BearDown100393

        Prior to last season, has Gould’s character ever been questioned? Not stating, just asking.

        • AlbertInTucson

          I don’t think he started chipring much until recently.

          • Trac

            Chirping or chipping?

    • still don’t know how tucker doesnt get canned after giving up 50 points in back to back weeks.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Jennings’ “strategy” comment still makes me smile.

        Makes you think that Tucker thought “strategy” was just some college-boy word.

    • SC Dave

      Stop the fucking endless litany of post-2014 “I told you so”s on this blog! Mostly the same people who were all excited by the high-powered Bears offense of 2013 run by the same head coach they now jizz themselves to berate.

      • Joecashflow

        Ok, let’s just talk about what you wanna talk about.

    • Joecashflow

      That road kill of a season is still fresh since we haven’t seen any thing to replace it. Not until Sep,13. Maybe not even then. So, free shots at Trestman and company still are in vogue. One more, Trestman gave Tucker another year. Nice job. And I also dont want to see anymore weight room pec tears, hammy pulls, torn achilles. Sports science baby! I think we finally entered the 21st century there.

  • willbest

    I tend to agree. We brought in a basketball team for receivers. The strategy should have been a combination of back shoulder throws and jump balls to the receiver in single coverage or dump it off to forte. You saw when Jay and the receiver weren’t on the same page after the throw, but you have no idea how many balls Jay didn’t throw because he couldn’t determine what the receivers were doing.

    I also suspect what made Pickles (and McCown) more decisive is they didn’t bother trying to figure out what a receiver was doing. If they didn’t understand it immediately, they moved on. And the result was more throws to the secondary receiver.

  • Bobby Douglass

    Not AD’s best work. Seems like filler.

  • AlbertInTucson

    “…but a handful of the interceptions he threw came because he and the receiver weren’t on the same page.”

    Really.

    Doesn’t THAT happen no matter WHAT offense you’re running?

    • EXACTLY. That O seemed to work fine for Gannon and Co years ago. So, Cutler, Alshon and Bennet were stupider?
      The main problem wasn’t the Os sopsophistication (others run the WCO, including Trestman on the Ravens) rather its predictability and TO prone QB becoming even more TO prone due to falling from behind.
      And on that note, i don’t buy Cutler suddenly becoming Rodgers or even Romo and not turning it over because he hasn’t chucked an int in PS yet.
      Just look at gis cacareer stats. He’s good for 5+ fumbles and 12+ INTS whether it’s Shannonhan bootleg, Martz timing, or Trestys dump off.
      Our only hope w Cutty is that we don’t immediately fall behind by 14 points and Gase actually commits to the run ( or Irishs fantasy, the magical Elway 10 yr turnaround)
      Forte is not a fumbler so at least we have that going for us

      • Scharfinator

        I’m always so upset when Forte fumbles and I didn’t know why for the longest time. I figured it out though – he fumbles so little, I am legitimately shocked it happened.

        Interceptions I expect.

        • Past 3 seasons, Forte has 6 total fumbles (rec + runs)
          Past 3 seasons, Alshon has 4 total fumbles (rec + runs)

          That’s excellent considering how much more volume Forte normally gets.

          However, when either fumble it, it seems to be at the worst possible times that essentially end games. Or perhaps that’s just the way I’m mis-remembering them.

          • SC Dave

            Remember them how you will. Just as a point of comparison:

            Walter Payton – 86 fumbles in 4330 runs + receptions = 1 per 50.34
            Matt Forte – 18 fumbles in 2460 runs + receptions = 1 per 136.66

            That is to say, Walter Payton was 2.7 times more likely to fumble the football than Matt Forte.

            Some day, maybe, this blog will respect Matt Forte. I’ll just keep plugging the numbers but not expect anything.

          • Irish Sweetness

            But one is an all-time legend, the other guy is a guy nobody talks about, Dave.

            Matty barely broke 1000 yards rushing last year, that’s like 60 YPG. He was the 15th ranked rusher in the NFL. In the passing game LeVeon Bell had more yardage from 20 less receptions.

            I don’t think Matty can ever get into the ‘great’ category no matter what he does.
            When you catch over a hundred balls in a season as a back – you’re easier to gameplan for, and that’s what happened.

            We won 5 games last season. I’ll take Walter and his fumbles.

          • SC Dave

            We all know you hate Forte, Irish. So no one cares what you think about it.

          • Irish Sweetness

            How could I hate the guy? He’s a decent back. You made a point of comparison with a great running back though. There are many more to be made. Average yards per carry (3.9 last season). Rushing yards gained. Toughness. Tackle-breaking ability. Blocking. Throwing. Durability.

            If Matty gets one up on Walter because of fumbles… he doesn’t really get one up. Ever. See what I mean?

            He’ll get more yards on the ground this year and have less receptions. The way it should be.

          • dmckendree@post.com

            Allow me to but in here, if I may. For the majority of Payton’s career he was literally the only weapon the Bears had. He had the unfortunate distinction of playing for some of the very worst Bears team in history and what little success the team was able to generate in his first 8-9 years should be attributed to him. There was no question who was getting the ball if Payton was on the field. It would be 3rd and 9 and defenses knew Payton-draw play. Payton-toss so he was targeted. Payton also fought for yardage tenaciously which made him more vulnerable to fumbling. Payton was far more effective between the tackles and earned far more yards after contact. I do think Forte is a great running back and if he plays effectively for 3-4 more seasons will be another Bear running back to enter the HOF but you can’t possibly believe you could find even one NFL coach that would rather have Matt Forte in their backfield over Walter Payton.

      • Joecashflow

        Our hope is the D gets us the ball back and Cutler hands it off 40 times. Bingo!

  • J_mo8

    Record predictions? I’m seeing 7-9 best.

    • Trac

      I’m waiting until week 3 or 4 J. By then we’ll know if we have a fighting chance. That really is all I’m hoping for this year. To be still in the race come week 14.

      • Big Mike

        Amen to being alive in December.

      • J_mo8

        Couldn’t agree more. Our 1st four games will be a true test. #BearDown

      • Irish Sweetness

        Week one brother. Week one. A season-straightener.

        From the Book of Smack:

        “F@#k them in week one, and the rest shall follow.”

    • willbest

      I can envision anything from 6-10 to 9-7 with 8-8 being most probable. 3-3 in the division. Tampa, Oakland, Washington, and San Fran get you to 7. 1 more win out of the remaining 6 games isn’t too much to ask for.

      • Big Mike

        I’m all over the place. From 6-10 to 10-6. The team has talent. Needs to gel. Defense needs to give up less the 20 a game. Offense needs to control the clock and take the occasional shot. I can see it working.

        • SC Dave

          Right with you Mike. Who the hell knows with this team?

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      16-0 BITCHES

    • Joecashflow

      My guess won’t be any better in week 3 or 4! I’m also 7-9.

  • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

    Your admission, Andrew, to running the wishbone in high school dates you, sir. I’m guessing that means you played high school ball in the late eighties to early nineties. But then, I’m not sure the spread had been invented yet. I’m guessing going from the wishbone to the spread puts you at 36 years old. How’d I do?

    • Waffle

      in Chicago highschool coaches on the southside still run the wishbone and the wingback offenses like it’s the 80’s and 90’s….
      Remember football jerseys in the 80’s? Awesome. Bosworth style?

      • Big Mike

        Coach 8th graders we run wishbone, doublewing and a spread (mostly to keep them interested in practice). HS Team which has been a state finalist 3x in the last 4 years with 1 state championship, runs double wing.

        • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

          I figured the wishbone was all but extinct by now (outside of Nebraska). Who knew?

          • Big Mike

            I may be a bit of an anomaly running the wishbone, but what I find is it is an amazing contrast to the spreads, trips, even the double wing that teams see a lot of. Teams get in a 2 high safety look, you can create great mismatches.

  • NewBearInTown

    So the Marty Bennett thing wasn’t half bad. Not on par with great stuff from Dreamworks (though I haven’t seen any of their recent stuff), but also better than a lot of half hour shorts you’ll see on TV. The characters were cute, there were some clever jokes (some I could have done without), but overall it was a pretty impressive effort for something the guy does as a hobby. I wouldn’t pay money for it though.
    The cap chart is clever. I like more traditional graphs better, and I don’t like the position group chart all being the same size, but meh. Wouldn’t have paid money for that either.

  • Waffle

    First game tomorrow boys. I already told the wife i’m working late so I can watch it with the boys. I’d watch gradeschool football if I had to.
    I’m looking for Al Louis Jean, Hurst, Lattimore….the fringe guys, the step up. I want hungry and angry running backs and darkhorse practice squad WR’s that are gritty.
    These guys made it to the NFL which is a lot to say so i’m going to show them respect and watch the hell out of it. They may not be hall of famers but they are the top in the world at what they do…..it’s just a shame that most of them will not make it as regulars. Superhumans playing a game that only the most superhuman of them can withstand.
    Season of Destiny.

    • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

      Nitty Gritty?

    • willbest

      Why would you need to lie to your wife? You can’t drink if you do.

      • Trac

        All he has to do is work 5 mins late will. It’s always better to ask for forgiveness than for permission when it comes to the wifey poo. He he.

      • Waffle

        I can’t call it lying….let’s call it “strategic misinformation or omission of a lighter shade of pale”.

  • Trac

    We shall see Andrew, we shall see.

  • Trac

    Better play calling rather than simplified play calling is preferable. That’s the pink elephant in the room most of the commentors here are giving you grief for.

    I’ll say it again, it’s good to have a coaching staff that is seasoned and instills confidence on their football team.

    Lack of confidence on the offensive side did us in last year because the players did not believe in the coaching staff. I think it’s really that simple.

    • Big Mike

      You can only call what’s in the book. Trestman sucked.

      • SC Dave

        No one said that in 2013.

        • Big Mike

          I didn’t like his hair. I never felt connected that he was in charge of the Chicago Bears. Going 8-8 was no great accomplishment. Call the offensive output a fluke that tricked most Bear fans. I don’t know what it was. I was sold. But I can say one thing. Going into 2014 my expectations for the team were very high just like most everyone, but not once was Trestman one of the reasons I would cite online, in conversation for the Bears being a strong team. Maybe it was a foreshadowing. But it was always about the talent on offense and the knowledge that the Defense could not possibly, ever be as bad as it was in 2013.

          Wrong on all counts, except not putting much faith in Trestman.

          • Joecashflow

            The only thing offensive last year was that hair. I’m pretty sure he slept in a Bears hat. Wife’s order.

        • Big Mike

          Oh and you are right….

  • Big Mike

    So in other words, coaching? By definition a coaching staff’s job is to set the tone for the culture of the team and get the most out of their players. Trestman sucked. Bears will be a very competitive team this season. The end.

  • dline has a solid take on what he is looking for out of the Bears and Dolphins – http://live4sportnetwork.com/forumlist/viewtopic.php?pid=325663#p325663

  • haha…and who predicted an old school coach would claim IK Tyson?

    Rex Ryan put him on the Bills.

    • BerwynBomber

      And Ryan gets to toss him the red meat of facing the Jets twice a year.

  • The official depth-chart was released.

    http://chicagofootball.com/2015/08/12/quick-analysis-of-chicago-bears-first-preseason-unofficial-depth-chart/angsay7/?page=1

    Few thoughts.

    1. As solid as Mid-flied Mariani is, I can’t possibly envision him sticking for purely PR duties. He’s good, but no Hester, and we need every roster spot possible. Royal might PR, while Langford KRs. Ideally, Langford could do both (Fuller apparently can PR too). I guess it’s just a matter of risk-reward with starters.

    2. Carey seems all but gone.

    3. I think the big boys Fab and Terry are getting red shirted

    4. It’s a bit surprising that Vereen is listed as a starter with Amos behind him. Mundy is behind Rolle.
    Isn’t Mundy BETTER than Rolle?

    5. Interesting that Bennett is listed as TE, while Rosario/Miller as FB/TE. So, we’re going to ride with one “true” TE?

    I get the feeling that Sutton might be the odd man out, but I think a trade is entirely possible with him or some other leftover young prospect. Overall, I think Fox might, like Lovie, values vets more than potential and may indeed go with Jenkins, Acho, Foster, Ball over less proven commodities.

    • BerwynBomber

      Did Langford return in college? I don’t recall him doing so. Btw, Perry and Royal are listed as the back-up return men. (Actually the Jizz might be better suited for the job than Langford, if an emergency return man is needed.)

      Vereen surprised me too. For some reason I was under the impression that Rolle and Mundy played different safety positions and would be our two starters.

      • I’m pretty sure Lanford returned kick-offs, but I don’t think he returned punts (never get why one can’t do both, but I suppose it takes diff skills).

        Perry also returned, but with Jizz seemingly firmly entrenched, I doubt he even makes the roster (Forte, Langford, Jizz should be ultimate line-up)

        Yeah, I thought Mundy would start at SS, and Rolle at FS, with Amos and Vereen backing them up respectively. Guess not.

        I don’t remember Vereen being physical even for a FS. They must have a plan. Another article alluded to Vereen’s coverage skills, esp vs TEs, which we sucked at last year.

        Naturally the trade-off is him being an enforcer.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Methinks by the end of PS – Rolle and Mundy will be starting, unless Amos is a freak show.

    • willbest

      I hope Willie Young is that low because he is still hurt. And didn’t we hand Foster real money? How is he not even the #2 guy at ILB

      • BerwynBomber

        Foster is #2. Behind Shea at the moment. Bostic behind Jones.

        • willbest

          No I mean Shea is the d playcaller. So foster would be the other ILB on the field.

      • Supposedly, Young is in a REAL camp battle vs…Bass kicker!
        No kidding.
        Sutton is battling Washington at DE, methinks.

        If both Young and Sutton lose (for a myriad of reasons, including them being drafted for a Cover-2), then hopefully we can trade them for a mid-round pick.

        Like I said, it just depends if the new regime prefers vets vs “upside”.

        Personally, I’d keep Bass, Young, Washington and Sutton over guys like say Jarvis Jenkins, but coaches want to win now.

    • Irish Sweetness

      They’re paying Rolle 6M or so?

      Uni had 90 catches last year, so they’ll ride him

      McPhee – Shea – Jones – Allen? Interesting,but one just senses there’s nothing Keuchly-esque in there.

  • J_mo8

    No disrespect to Marty B, but Greg Olsen will forever be “the one that got away”.. thanks Martz.

    • Trac

      That’s what happens when you mortgage 3 years for a QB.

      • willbest

        Mortgage your future or no, J’Webb Nation is not an LT solution any competent GM dreams up.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Nor is Jordan Mills.

        • Trac

          We gave up waay too much for fools gold my friend. Didn’t like the price when we traded for him then, hate it now. Curios how we find ourselves in rebuild mode 5 plus years after acquiring our franchise QB. Hmmm…

    • We should’ve never gave him away, but let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a reason many referred to him as Girly Thor.

      Come to think of it, he’s sorta like the TE version of Cutty. Highly drafted. All the tools. Good, but could be dominate, but never was.

      No wonder they were best buds.

      • SC Dave

        Go look at the two late, cheap shots he took from the Steelers and bounced right back up from to play. Girly ain’t it.

      • Irish Sweetness

        His YAC was a joke(like 0.7 I think), a stern stare from a CB would put him on his back, and he put up numbers every 1 out of 3 games. One game on, 2 games off.

  • 505Bears

    Ok, side question again. I was looking to buy some tickets to the Denver game, never been to Soldier, but they have sections where you can’t drink?! What are these sections so I know not to buy tickets there.

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      sections 148 and 155

    • willbest

      Curious if it makes those sections family friendly as is the intent.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Me too. Bueller?

        Wait ….. no one on this blog who has been to Soldier Field has actually been in those sections, right?

        • Trac

          I may be the first when I go to the Broncos game. Lol

    • Trac

      Let me know, I’m flying into Chicago to take my nephew to that game. I haven’t bought tickets in decades. It would be fun to meet up and say hi at the game.

  • Sactowns#1
    • willbest

      Yes he is just trolling.

  • Irish Sweetness

    The key word is in the title : SHOULD.

    Any offense can work if it’s executed. The wishbone works if you can throw play-action off it. But has there been an excuse for Cutler’s apparent failures at adjustments? One coach even took his ability to call changes away from him. Kind of.

    If they’re serious about running the ball more, then yes, he should – in his tenth year – be able to make it work. There cannot be any more excuses. Even if guys like Hester and Knox were hanging him out to dry on their choice of routes, that doesn’t explain him overthrowing receivers by 5 yards. No gameplan is going to fix his accuracy, and I can’t believe there have been ‘reasons’ for his inability to change tack on a play. All the evidence shows he can’t carry a team on his back, and he doesn’t protect the ball well.

    A new ‘simple’ offense is going to fix that? I’m glad he’s been doing well in camp, and I’ll be pulling for him to make it like I did for Tomczak. But I’ll be colored pink if he can put up A-Rod/Big Ben differentials, and start carrying this team.

    I hope does, but this is just camp, and he’s still a very spotty leopard in a cowboy hat at this point.

    • SC Dave

      Tomczak had a true jackass at coach to deal with. Cutler doesn’t. OTOH, Tomczak was a little younger at the time.

      • Trac

        Tomczak was a wuss. Had a buddy that played against him in high school, big cry baby.

        • DaMurph

          What School was your friend from? Tzak played at TF North in Cal City

          • Trac

            Can’t remember. Met the guy when I was in the Marines. The guy said Tomczak complained to the refs after almost every play. Also cried after a big hit on one play.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Like Brady and Manning? Mwah!

        • SC Dave

          Ditka was a fucking jackass. Dent has him pegged perfectly.

          No QB did worth a shit with Ditka except McMahon. And that is only because Jim told him to fuck off repeatedly and changed plays when he wanted to.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Just shows doesn’t it? Tomczak nearly retired from football because of Ditka’s harshness. Mac would change the play and then tell him to fuck off if he didn’t like it. Classic.

    • Joecashflow

      Big hat, no cattle, they say in Texas.

  • Waffle

    Twas the night before pre-season game 1 and all through the facility not a creature was stirring especially not zach Miller who was secured in bubble wrap and should be until opening day…….

    • Irish Sweetness

      Bet you he scores.

      • Waffle

        we should shelve him until the reg season and just unleash him on 2nd and 3rd downs in a spread double TE formation. Obviously passing but what is a D coordinator going to do?

    • Big Mike

      Poor kid. Damn. I cannot imagine working my whole life to get into position for my dream job, being in position, doing a great job to win the job and have it taken away by circumstances I don’t control, two years in a row. Think about that. Having Zach Miller come out of the pre-season on a 53 man roster is in the top 5 things I’d like to see happen this pre-season.

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