With a 5-8 team, combustible personalities, and a general feeling of anger surrounding the team, it isn’t surprising that reports about dissatisfaction are leaking out about the Chicago Bears.
What is perhaps more surprising is that the dissension isn’t being discussed by staffers or front office personnel, but rather by members of the coaching staff.
On Thursday night, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported that offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was the culprit behind last week’s report by Ian Rapoport about the Bears becoming frustrated with the play of quarterback Jay Cutler. Kromer, in a meeting Monday with the players, tearfully admitted to talking to Rapoport about the situation, and he apologized for his actions:
“Four sources told the Tribune that Kromer adamantly denied he said anything about the franchise having buyer’s remorse for Cutler’s blockbuster contract and assured players that portion of Sunday’s report on NFL Network did not come from him. With Cutler in the room, Kromer did admit however to being frustrated with the quarterback’s play management and expressing that to Ian Rapoport as he left Soldier Field on Dec. 4 after the fifth loss in seven games.
“Cutler shook his head during Kromer’s apology, one source said.”
While it isn’t much of a surprise that Cutler has once again drawn the ire of his offensive coordinator (something he’s perfected doing in other instances with Mike Martz and Ron Turner, for example), what’s surprising here is that Kromer would go so wildly against head coach Marc Trestman’s protest that there is no dissention in the locker room. It’s one thing for anonymous sources to hint at such things, but when a coach is the one making the statements, that’s another thing all together.
The accuracy of Kromer’s statements isn’t the issue here. A team and its coaching staff are supposed to be supportive of one another, and when that element of the relationship between coach and player breaks down, the rest of it is sure to come crashing down as well.
The big question here is whether or not Kromer can survive this kind of mistake. Looked at as a potential future head coach, Kromer may have irreversibly poisoned the well with Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ offense by going outside of the “family circle” (his term), and it woudn’t be a shock if he joined Mel Tucker and Joe Decamillis on the firing line when the season comes to an end in three weeks.
This isn’t just about Kromer, either. This is a symbol of the dysfunction that exists within this team, and to borrow a quote from Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul, “when a forest grows too wild, a purging fire is inevitable and natural.” This team, much like the Gotham City depicted in “Batman Begins,” is one that is headed toward a steep decline, and it will take a Batman-esque effort to save it.