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Sunday, December 11th, 2016

LOSS OF BERRIAN A FACTOR

7

It’s not that I haven’t thought about it. Especially when you see him returning a kick for a TD or scoring on a long pass. Bernard Berrian is having a great season and he’s been worth every penny the Vikings have paid him. But I have to slightly disagree with David Haugh’s assessment of Berrian’s worth to the Bears.

The guy the Bears didn’t do enough to keep around last winter won’t go away now, and it will be his image more than any other that haunts the Bears this off-season if they miss the playoffs. But contrary to popular belief, if the Bears miss the playoffs, they didn’t squander away their season in September or October. That happened in February.

Are we really to believe that if Bernard Berrian was still a Bear that the city of Chicago would be enjoying playoff football in a few weeks? I don’t believe that.

The Bears have the same amount of touchdowns (37) and have scored only 11 points less than the Vikings. Offense hasn’t been the big problem. Defensive breakdowns–Haugh notes the Tampa and Atlanta games as prime examples–have been the bane of the Bears in 2008. But if we were going to point out things on the offense, it would be two twists: the knee of Brandon Lloyd and the ankle of Kyle Orton, and a wrenched back: Chris Williams.

Laugh if you like, but Lloyd was outplaying Berrian before he went down with a knee injury in week 4. Orton and Lloyd had clicked, and it looked like Lloyd was going to be the #1 receiver. And Orton hasn’t been the same since he injured his ankle. Before that he had a passer rating of over 91. Now it sits at 80. Would it have been different if he hadn’t been injured? I think it’s safe to answer yes to that question. And while John St. Clair has been serviceable, there’s a reason the Bears spent their first round pick on Williams.

It would be nice if Berrian was still a Bear. It would be even nicer if the Bears had made a legitimate attempt at replacing him, or if they could gather a clue about drafting receivers and assessing the group that they had in the offseason. Mark Bradley was supposedly the #1. He’s on the Chiefs now. Devin Hester has had his moments, but no GM in their right mind would consider him a #1. Lloyd was signed off the scrap heap, seemingly due to his relationship with Ron Turner. They spent a 3rd round pick on Earl Bennett and he has more tackles than catches.

I hate to go all Wanny here, but the Bears are just a few defensive lapses away from being in first place. No one would even be talking about Berrian if the Bears could get their defense off the field. No team in the league has been on the field for more defensive plays. There’s no doubt that receiver is a huge need and the Bears offense needs to score more points. But when we look back at this I doubt many Chicagoans will be lamenting the loss of Berrian, at least as the reason for missing the playoffs. I think it will be more about coaching, defensive breakdowns and a few key players on that defense not playing up to their previous levels.

Now go get me Anquan Boldin.

  • dhaab

    Are you serious??? Loyd was playing as well as Berrian…for two games. LOL!!! That’s like saying Orton was playing as well as Peyton Manning for a few games. Seriously, you go so far out of your way here to paint reasons for why the Bears don’t really need Berrian, that it’s pretty obvious that you realize they actually do, but you simply can’t admit it to yourself.

    I think this shows, yet again, how you have a very hard time admitting you were wrong about anything. I love you, Zoner, but that is definitely your achilles heel.

  • Dean

    Great synopsis..I definitely agree. It was set in stone that the media (both local and national) would be all over the Bears for not keeping Berrian as soon as Peanut Tillman lost his jock on Berrian’s 99 yard touchdown. In essence, that play doesn’t happen if Tillman just keeps pace with Berrian. In either case, that’s what the media does and they’ll try to solidify it if the Vikings take the NFC North. As you pointed out last year, Berrian was very suspect over the middle and had a slew of dropped passes. While it could be said that with Orton at QB things may have been different, but the Bears havn’t been any different plus 20-30 yards down the field than they were with Grossman. Orton has missed, on several occcassions (most that could have been decisive plays), downfield. This includes balls to Hester and I’d like to think that he is much faster than Berrian. I liked that the Bears got Lloyd, but Rashied Davis has haunted them all year with dropped passes. With no real number one receiver, the need for a decent slot receive has been a huge issue all year.

    Looking at games such as Tampa and Atlanta extremely bring the defense into the picture and why they lost the game. Berrian may have made a slight difference, but nothing that would have seriously impacted the offense or changed the outcome this year. Just my 2 cents.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    I don’t have a hard time admitting I’m wrong about anything. The main arguments were: would the Bears be in the playoffs if they had retained Bernard Berrian? The answer to that is no, in my opinion. And I added “It would be nice if Berrian was still a Bear.”

    There’s no doubt the offense needs one (2?) receivers. But I don’t think Bernard Berrian would have made a huge difference this year.

    I think if you asked the Bears–Izzy Idonije said himself on the radio yesterday—that those 2 games stand out as the reasons they will likely be home for the playoffs.

  • PB

    I’d say they had more than a few defensive lapses in that Green Bay beating they took. Dude, you’re sounding like Dan “we’re 15-20 plays from being .500″ Orlovsky. FIRE MORONELLI MANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  • dhaab

    Yeah, because you admitted when you were dead wrong about Pujol’s elbow injury this past offseason and said that Prince Fielder is the better 1st baseman and that he would have a better year. LOL

    The first step is admitting you have the problem. :)

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner
  • dhaab

    I guess that’s your way of saying you were wrong without actually saying it. :)

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