AL HAMNIK: Bears have no time to think about past failures

2012-11-24T17:00:00Z 2012-11-27T13:37:07Z AL HAMNIK: Bears have no time to think about past failuresAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 24, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

Pointing fingers is OK for traffic cops and Walmart greeters.

But it's the last thing the Bears need with consecutive losses heading into today's game with the Vikings.

They must pass their latest National Football Conference test, not the blame, while fans continue loathing the offensive line for stinking it up.

Brandon Marshall wants to be a settling influence in a divided locker room where it's "us against them" as to who is doing their job and who isn't.

"We have to encourage them to be the best teammate you can be," Marshall said of the O-line. "But at the same time, we have an urgency with six games left in the season.

"We're still in a great position. We have some guys who are willing to fight. I think we'll get it done."

For that to happen, quarterback Jay Cutler, sacked 28 times, and his line needs to man up and execute.

"When guys aren't winning a battle on each snap, that gets you nervous. You need that consistency," warned offensive coordinator Mike Tice. "We have to have answers -- now."

The O-line can't seem to shed the painted bull's-eye on its backside, win or lose.

At midweek, guard/tackle James Brown was moved up from the practice squad and Chilo Rachal sent down. Gabe Carimi was demoted. Chris Spencer and Jonathan Scott were added to the mix.

"It should've been hard to watch tape of yourself (in the 49ers' rout) because that's your resume," Tice said. "Right now, my resume isn't very good.

"I'm the one calling the plays and I have to find a way to do a better job for the players, my peers, and the fans."

Tice said it doesn't matter who calls the plays, the Bears have got to hold their ground and block better, like starving men protecting their last loaf of bread.

"You look at where we're at as an offense, ranked 30th, and that's on all of us," Marshall added. "Sitting at 30 out of 32 (teams) leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

"For the most part, I look at myself first because I'm not a perfect guy. I make a lot of mistakes."

Marshall says he's still "trying to figure out" how to communicate with teammates without sounding like he's overly-critical of their performances.

"It's tough because I have so much love for this game and I'm so passionate," he said. "I think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we have, that I have, and I feel this is the only place I can get it done.

"So it's tough trying to communicate without having those emotions get in the way."

Thankfully, Tice doesn't coach with a bouquet in one hand and box of chocolates in the other. His candid nature and brutal honesty are refreshing to see.

He has certain unwritten "commandments" his linemen must follow or incur his wrath.

They include: thou shalt never allow a sack on three-step drops; thou shalt grit your teeth and win the fight on bull rushes up the middle; thou shalt provide chip help on Vikings' defensive end Jared Allen and J'Marcus Webb shall use his hands considerably more while blocking.

You'd think all this would be ingrained 10 games in.

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

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