I don’t know what I have done wrong in my life, but time and time again when I make friends that are fans of the Green Bay Packers. For the longest time I would tell myself and my friends that the Bears were on the same level as the Packers, and when we would lose to them I would pull out every excuse in the book instead of admit the obvious reason – we were just not as good. This season the Bears have started out 1-6, while the Packers are sitting at 4-2 and have a shot at making the playoffs once again. Again, all I hear from friends and fans alike is, “There is something wrong with our team.”
I will be doing a 3 part series on why the Packers have a better present and future than my Chicago Bears. I hope these articles take you Packers fans back to the 2014 season when, after a 1-2 start, Aaron Rodgers had perhaps his most famous press conference. Except this time, I want to add to what he said. R-E-L-A-X…..The Bears still suck.
In part one, I’ll focus on the coaching staff and compare it to that of the Packers. Now I’ll admit that in this regard the Packers don’t have as much of an edge. Mike McCarthy is the one person I dislike as much as Aaron Rodgers. He seems to be a very arrogant, but that could be a part of why he has had so much success in this league. Going into his 11th season in Green Bay, McCarthy has won 65% of the games he’s coached. In that time he has only missed the playoffs 2 times, and it seems likely he will lead his team to the post season again in 2016. Since coming into the league, he has been known as a great offensive mind with the ability to develop quarterbacks. He has done just that in Green Bay, with Brett Favre in 1999, and again with Aaron Rodgers since 2008.
A big topic of debate in Green Bay is if the Packers’ successes and failures are on either McCarthy or Rodgers. These guys have been a dynamic duo in all the years they have been together. Can one ever be without the other? You need a great Coach/Quarterback duo to be good in this league to sustain success; Brady and Belichick are a prime example of that.
Since McCarthy arrived, the Packers have averaged 26.7 ppg, third best in the league in that span. The Packers have committed 201 turnovers during his time, good for second fewest in the league. He even coached the first team ever to have a 4,000 yard passer, two 2,000 yard receivers, and a 1,200 yard rusher in back-to-back seasons.
An argument can be made that this has more to do with Rodgers than McCarthy, but this much success over the course of 7 years is incredible, no matter the circumstances. The one knock on McCarthy’s Packers has been their defense. In 2009 the Packers made a switch from their former defensive coordinator, Bob Sanders, to Dom Capers who brought in the 3-4 defense (in lieu of the previous 4-3 defense). This change started out with a bang. The Packers were a force to be reckoned with in 2009 and 2010. In those seasons the Packers brought home a top 5 defense with a killer pass rush that resulted in a league-leading number of takeaways.
The Packers have been in the top 10 in the NFL for sacks in five of the last six seasons. However, the last few years have seen a more inconsistent defense. It seems that when they are not getting takeaways, they are not getting the job done. Part of this is a product of the NFL becoming more strict on the rules when it comes to the defense. Some of it is on the talent level. One thing is for sure though. No matter what kind of talent the coaching staff at Green Bay have had to work with, they always get the best out of them.
The Bears, on the other hand, have been on a roller coaster ride of coaching woes since Lovie Smith.
With Smith, the Bears had an identity. We would always come out with a top 10 defense in just about every stat category there was. Since Lovie, the Bears have been searching for who they are as a team.
The Bears brought in Marc Trestman because they wanted to develop an offensive identity. He was also known as “the quarterback whisperer” whom everyone thought would bode well for Jay Cutler. Unfortunately, Trestman showed that he could not control an NFL locker room and was fired just two years later.
Then the Bears looked to John Fox. A hire which Bears fans, myself included, both loved and hated. We loved his history of taking teams to the Super Bowl. He was able to make both the Panthers and Broncos elite teams in just two seasons apiece as coach. What fans didn’t like was that he didn’t seem to be a good fit for the direction of the team. Now with the Bears in a complete rebuild, we cannot be sure that Fox has many seasons left in him. A lack of motivation is beginning to show.
The Bears are in need of a hire that fits the young up-and-coming talent we have with this team. They have found a promising hire in Vic Fangio. Vic has been a great defensive coach in this league for nearly 30 years. He has brought over his tough and aggressive 3-4 defense to the Bears. If he does not get a head coaching job in the next few years, he will continue to build this young Bears defense into a force to be reckoned with.
Of course, one of the biggest things the Bears need to do to help out their coaching staff is rid themselves of Jay Cutler. The Bears have been juggling offensive coordinators during Jay’s tenure here in Chicago. They have had so many personnel additions that are brought in because they “fit well” with Jay, but every time the “fit” comes up short. Chicago fans are starting to realize that Jay may be the problem. Jay Cutler rant aside, I give a slight nod to the Packers when it comes to coaching. They have had a vision, that vision has been working, and they are sticking with it. The same cannot be said for the Bears.
In part 2, I will be looking at and comparing the front office and ownership for both teams. In the meantime, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.