By Bryan Dietzler
The Bears are going into their bye week coming off of a loss to the previously winless Detroit Lions and they are reeling a bit. After having success against the Raiders and the Chiefs the previous two weeks, albeit they won in the final seconds of each game, the Bears fell flat against the Lions and failed to win what should have been a winnable game.
Chicago has some work to do and has a lot of room for improvement in several areas.
The following is a look at some things that the Bears can do, on offense, to help improve and get better to help themselves win games. There is a quick look at a few key players on offense that the Bears could have them help improve their position on offense.
There is also a look at what the Bears can do overall to improve their offensive capabilities and what the future might hold for that side of the ball.
The Bears need to get Matt Forte more involved in the offense. They didn’t run him as much as they should have against the Lions this past Sunday and weren’t able to control the ball or the clock as a result. Forte is the Bear’s best weapon on offense and they need to get him more involved whether it’s running the ball or catching it.
Chicago has had solid success with Forte when he’s being used a great deal in the offense and when he is productive so getting him more involved in the offense is a must. The Bears should be able to realize this and use Forte much more in the future to help them improve on offense and win games.
Chicago got a big shot in the arm on Sunday when wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was able to play in the game after missing several weeks with a hamstring injury. We saw the effect that Jeffery’s presence had on the Bear’s passing game against the Lions and a healthy Jeffery brings a lot to the offense.
Now if he can just stay healthy and quarterback Jay Cutler can get him the ball the Bear’s offense will be that much more potent in the coming games and they should have a better shot of winning.
Cutler has had a pretty decent season except for an interception or a fumble here and there. He rallied the team two straight weeks in a row for a win and almost rallied the team for another come from behind win against the Lions. Cutler, when healthy, is starting to flourish in this offense and with a healthy Jeffery back, as well as Eddie Royal making a comeback after suffering an injury that kept him out for a little while, Cutler now has the weapons at his disposal to make an effort to win games through the air. As long as those weapons stay healthy and Cutler is on target, they will have success throwing the ball.
The Bears have struggled greatly in the red zone this year and those problems were evident in their game against the Lions. The Bears have been settling for field goals in most instances (good thing they have a very accurate and reliable field goal kicker) but need to be scoring touchdowns.
Whether it’s the execution in offense or the play calling something isn’t going right when the Bears hit the red zone. This is something that the coaching staff should concentrate on during the bye week in getting these problems fixed so that they can score touchdowns in the red zone and win more games.
Penalties have been holding the Bears offense back and they have come at critical moments in games. Offensive holding and false start penalties, along with offensive pass interference penalties have come at the worst possible time for Chicago especially when they are mounting scoring drives or in the red zone.
The team needs to clean these things up. This comes with lots of practice and keeping a level head when you are in the middle of a play. The Bears have some smart players and those players just need to clean their technique and play better.
The Bears have a very smart offensive coordinator in Adam Gase and, when healthy, this offense has some good players. Guys like Forte, Jeffery and Cutler help make this offense hum and if all the parts are in place and healthy and the offensive line is performing well then this unit can put up points and win games.
Their struggles in the red zone need to be overcome so that they score more points and the penalties that they get at critical times need to be eliminated. If they can work on these things and clean some of this stuff up they will have success in their remaining games this season.