General manager Phil Emery: Bears not quitting on season
No matter how bleak things look, general manager Phil Emery says the Chicago Bears are not ready to give up on this season.
Emery and coach Marc Trestman insist the Bears have the players and coaches in place to turn things around.
''We will not quit on the season,'' Emery said Monday. ''We will not quit on ourselves. We're not going to quit on each other.''
For a team that entered the season with a rebuilt defense and all 11 starters back from a prolific offense, this was not the plan. The Bears are 3-5 at their bye week after back-to-back ugly losses to Miami and New England, and facing all sorts of questions as they try to regroup.
Emery said the answers are ''with the people in this building.'' Trestman gave a similar response when asked if there will be any changes to his staff.
''We have everybody in position right here,'' he said. ''We feel, without question, we built a work ethic, a system of doing things in this building is in place to have the consistency we need to win. We're disappointed because we haven't done that.''
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has come under criticism in two seasons, but the problems extend to every area. An offense that excelled in its first season under Trestman has underachieved even though all 11 starters returned.
Quarterback Jay Cutler continues to commit untimely turnovers.
Trestman's grip on the locker room has come under scrutiny, as has the mindset of the players, and the past two weeks have been particularly ugly.
Receiver Brandon Marshall was overheard yelling in the locker room after the loss to Miami at Soldier Field, and after claiming they pulled together, the Bears got ripped apart by Tom Brady in a 51-23 loss at New England on Sunday in which the score only tells part of the story.
In a game where the Bears were outclassed in every way, Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston decided to celebrate a sack - his first of the season - against backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the closing minutes. He ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season.
''We're disappointed for him and in him,'' said Emery, who added that Houston apologized to the Bears.
It wasn't the first eyebrow-raising incident involving Houston, one of Chicago's major offseason acquisitions. He posted on Twitter after a loss to Carolina that fans who did not give the team their unconditional support can ''eat dirt.''
Meanwhile, the Bears are searching for answers, trying to dig their way out this ditch. Emery said the Bears have received ''two or three interesting'' trade proposals but nothing that would help them win now. And he wasn't holding a fire sale before Tuesday's deadline.
The Bears have dropped four of five, and the schedule doesn't offer much relief.
When they return from their break, they'll be staring at a trip to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. After that, five of the final seven are at Soldier Field, where the Bears are 0-3 so far.
One four-game stretch has them visiting Detroit before hosting Dallas, New Orleans and the Lions. Two of those teams have six wins and the other has Drew Brees, which means that matchup will hardly be a breeze even if the Saints are 3-4 at the moment.
The Bears responded to a season-opening loss at home to Buffalo by surprising the 49ers in San Francisco and winning on the road against the New York Jets. They beat Atlanta on the road after back-to-back losses to Green Bay and Carolina.
''Coming out of Atlanta, we thought we were headed in the right direction,'' Trestman said. ''I think this team is strong internally, I think they've got great heart.''
NOTES: Emery said he had no problem with former Bears LB Brian Urlacher telling a Chicago radio station last week that Cutler is not an elite quarterback. But he also did some research. Emery said the Bears were 26-12 when both players were ''starting the game healthy.'' ''They definitely won together,'' he added. ''When Jay was off the field and Brian started, they were 1-6. When Jay was on the field without Brian, they were 9-12. So the only thing that I can get from all that is they were really good for each other.'' ... Emery said starting G Matt Slauson will miss the rest of the season with a torn right pectoral muscle. The injury will not require surgery. Emery also said LB Darryl Sharpton has a hamstring injury and is likely out for the Green Bay game.