AL HAMNIK: Bears' defense has become 'Meet The Munsters'

2013-11-25T17:45:00Z 2013-12-04T00:04:05Z AL HAMNIK: Bears' defense has become 'Meet The Munsters'Al Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 25, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

It's so easy to kick professional sports teams when they're down, and their athletes, too.

The owners and their superstars are obscenely rich, so mediocre performances aren't acceptable.

With regards to the Bears, losers in five of their last eight games, it's open season on the defensive side of the football.

They should all wear signs reading: "KICK ME! — I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING."

Somewhere out there, Dick Butkus, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Doug Buffone are all punching holes in a wall. Their "Monsters of the Midway" legacy is now a "Meet The Munsters" TV rerun.

The Bears need barbed wire and a wall to stop the run, and here's more good news: they will play Minnesota and the always-dangerous Adrian Peterson next Sunday.

That sick feeling in the bottom of your stomach is understandable, given the 258 yards rushing, 8.9 average per carry and a career day by undrafted rookie running backs Tavon Austin and Benny Cunningham in Sunday's smackdown by St. Louis.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker's job security took a hit on that one.

The Rams also had nine rushes of 10 yards or more in the game and scored 21 first-quarter points on just 15 plays. That's hardly breaking a sweat.

The general consensus at Halas Hall is that the patched-up defense can't be rebuilt at this late stage of the season, so the Bears will have to simply outscore opponents and hope for the best.

Chicago is fourth in the NFL in scoring at 27.5 ppg, but is allowing 28.0 — the fourth highest point average.

Coach Marc Trestman has other reasons for pulling out his hair.

Take stupid penalties — 23 for 195 yards in just the last two games —  including a holding call Sunday that erased Devin Hester's 62-yard punt return touchdown in the fourth when it was still a close game.

They were left red-faced in the red zone on a fourth-and-1 when Michael Bush was thrown for a 4-yard loss early in the third quarter.

Yet, you glance at the final stat sheet and figure the Bears were never challenged.

They ran 24 more plays than St. Louis, had 10 more first downs, totaled 424 net yards, held a 196-yard advantage in passing and a 13-minute advantage in time of possession.

And they still got whipped by a sub .500 team.

The Bears' postgame quotes are becoming as difficult to take as their play on defense.

Coach Trestman, please, no more we win as a team, we lose as a team, and the effort is always there. Get mad. Point a finger or two. Threaten changes. I know it's not your style, but you sound more like someone's dad than an NFL coach.

And to the defense, stop talking about looking at game film and needing to improve. You're awful. Talk about playing angry, and smarter, and taking advantage of the slumping Lions and Packers.

"We're not concerned with what anybody else is doing," Julius Peppers told reporters Sunday after managing one tackle. "It's frustrating but, at the same time, we have to continue to try to get it fixed.

"If you have 10 guys doing it right, but one guy not doing it right, then that's an explosive play. We have to make sure everybody is on the same page, doing everything right all the time."

They've been saying that all season.

I doubt they believe it now.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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