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Saturday, September 18

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Bears Fri Oct 14 2011

Bears Need Better Players

Thumbnail image for bears.gifIs it safe yet? Has the cloud of national embarrassment dissipated over Chicago after the Bears' putrid showing in Detroit on Monday Night Football?

I've been in hiding for four days, but I've recovered enough from that deceptively narrow 24-13 loss to poke my head out as we approach Sunday night's -- oh no, not another national TV game! -- visit from Minnesota.

We heard Detroit's pass rushers were fast, and they were hellaciously so. We knew this was terrible news for Chicago's wildly mediocre offensive tackles, J'Marcus Webb and Frank Omiyale.

Jay Cutler spent another game running for his life, providing yet more evidence that "toughness" and "heart" are the least of his problems. I mean, he played four years for some terrible Vanderbilt teams, and this season has been a constant onslaught. As Joe Cowley put it, Cutler in Detroit was "basically standing with a lightning rod in a thunderstorm on every pass play."

I'm not impressed by Frank Omiyale, but it's not his fault he's a thoroughly average NFL lineman. The fault, dear readers, lies with a Bears front office that can barely find 22 good starters, let alone construct the kind of team-wide roster depth that every team needs to survive the rigors (read: bodily destruction) of a full season.

Great job finding Forte and Urlacher and Hester and Briggs and Peppers and Tillman and Cutler and Garza and Idonije ... but that's not even a dozen guys. They can't even find 22 above-average starters, much less third tackles and other solid rotation players so the whole thing doesn't blow up when starters like Gabe Carimi get hurt.

On a good day -- and there have been and will be good days, probably even this weekend against the hapless Vikings and the Artist Formerly Known as Donovan McNabb -- the Bears' stars make enough big plays to win the game. But that formula is highly unreliable. There will be plenty of weeks, especially against championship contenders (Packers, Saints ... gulp, Lions?), that demand consistent excellence on a down-by-down basis. And there, for another year, the Bears come up short.

P.S. One of these weeks, I'll get around to Brandon Meriweather, but for now, suffice it to say no player in the league plays dumber and more recklessly. He's not only a danger to himself and others on the field, he makes as many bad decisions as any safety you'll see. This is why Bill Belichick had had enough, and why Pro Bowl selections mean nearly nothing.

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