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Columnist
Turner doesn't like what he's seeing ... now and to come
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 11/3/2009 12:04 AM

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At first, it seemed like disgust.

Then, maybe disappointment.

But upon further review, I wonder if what Ron Turner was really expressing after Sunday's dismal victory over the Browns was actually fear.

Now, keep in mind that coaches rarely tell the media - the public - the truth about anything.

But Turner talked openly of how poorly he thought the offense executed Sunday in the Bears' ugly, 30-6 win over what is almost certainly the worst team in football.

Seriously, the Browns' 6-3 win over Buffalo (Oct. 11) has to have the Bills nauseous, because no one in Chicago can figure out how the Browns won a game this year.

As for Turner, well, he'll probably get in trouble for being honest Sunday because that is definitely not the Bears' style.

Turner, however, saw his future flash before his eyes, as he witnessed his franchise quarterback assaulted over and over and over again by the worst defense on the planet.

Maybe the offensive coordinator was wondering what will happen to his QB when the Bears play a real team.

Since the Week 2 Pittsburgh contest, when the Bears looked like a genuine football team, they have gotten progressively worse, culminating in that sickening loss a week ago in Cincinnati.

Sunday's performance was nearly as bad, but fortunately for the Bears it came against a rotten Cleveland club.

That's why Turner was in such a terrible mood after Sunday's game, leading to a few shocking moments.

Asked if he ever felt this frustrated after a game in which his team had won by so many points, Turner waited several seconds, bit his lip, and finally said, "I guess that answers it."

Then, he made an admission that will send chills through Bears fans.

Turner said that maybe the offense was too complicated.

"If we're doing too much, we'll cut back," Turner said. "Obviously, we're making too many mistakes."

Too much. This from one of the dullest offenses since Pompey ran Rome from the wishbone.

Yeah, Turner is shaken by the notion that his offensive line couldn't protect Jay Cutler from the likes of Cleveland.

And he's absolutely right to be concerned.

Seven games into a season, his offensive unit is growing more confused and less secure by the day, and this system ain't thought of as rocket science among NFL offensive coordinators.

Turner's playing it safe for many reasons, and we saw about 10 of them Sunday, all hard hits on his QB.

He can't take chances down the field because his quarterback won't be standing that long.

And he has been criticized for it all year, often unfairly, but now all can see what Turner must have known all along.

Never mind the fact that his receiving group is still not littered with all-pros, and the line hasn't created any space for Matt Forte, who also, by the way, looks a step slower than last year as he tries to hit the hole.

Maybe Forte is just so surprised when there is a hole that he's not ready for it.

In any case, something shook Turner on Sunday, more than just the Bears' inability to score in one set with four plays from inside the 2-yard line.

"That was frustrating, but not a whole lot more than a lot of other things that went on," Turner said. "We've just got to play better. That includes coaches, not just players."

Something out there scares him, reminiscent of a scene from "Butch Cassidy," when the outlaws realize there's only one way it's going to end.

Turner knows what's out there, he knows what's coming, and it's not pleasant to consider the outcome, unless the line play changes dramatically.

Perhaps now they have no choice but to max protect on every play, slow the game down to a crawl, and hope they can win 10-7. That's the Kyle Orton offense, and maybe they had more reason to run it than just Orton.

But what other option is there?

It's hard to believe that by dinner time Sunday, the Bears will be finished with half an NFL season, and yet they still don't have an identity on offense.

Are they a running team? Passing? Blocking? Nothing?

No wonder the coaches are worried.