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Columnist
Bears blame goes all the way to top
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 11/17/2009 12:01 AM

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Sometimes we look for the answers too high up and too far away.

And sometimes we simply allow the turning pages of the calendar to obscure our memory.

So while we shower blame over Bears nation, it's worth remembering that this has been and always will be a McCaskey family operation.

At least until Virginia McCaskey is no longer interested in having the team in the family, this is the way it will be.

You want to hammer Lovie Smith, but then you remember he was not the Bears' first choice for the job, and he didn't put this awful roster in place.

You want to let GM Jerry Angelo have it for putting together a bad team, but then you remember he wasn't the first choice for his job, either.

You want to rip team president Ted Phillips for doing such a lousy job of hiring, but then you remember that he's only in his job because the Bears needed a new stadium, and Mayor Daley wouldn't speak to Mike McCaskey anymore.

The McCaskeys got what they wanted from Chicago and the state, the Bears are now valued at well over $1 billion, and they brought in a tidy operating profit a year ago of $41.6 million.

Worked out nicely, didn't it?

Meanwhile, what should you really expect from three guys who were never supposed to have the job in the first place?

Maybe what we should do is admire Phillips for starting at the bottom, outlasting most of his peers, being in the perfect place at the perfect time and capitalizing on it in a huge way.

Now he's the boss, and every time the team wins a few games, he votes everyone on the island a new contract and they all have immunity for another three or four years, fat salaries and all.

He hands out new deals like Snickers bars on Halloween.

Hey, it's good work if you can get it.

So go ahead and scream all you want and blame everyone under the Lake Forest sun, but while you scratch and claw and wonder how you're going to stay afloat, or maybe come up with that season-ticket deposit for next year, know that the Bears are having a generous laugh at your expense.

You agonize over every red-zone appearance that turns your stomach inside out, and by the time it's over you feel like you've been run over by a bus and wonder how you'll get up for work the next day.

But you have to get up and go to work, reliving play after miserable play, while all with whom you're angry are set for life, able to sleep quite well at night.

Second choice, fifth choice, eighth choice, all that matters is they were the final choice for those positions, and if they weren't meant to be there at all, or maybe shouldn't have been, it's not their fault they were handed those jobs.

All roads lead back to the McCaskey mansions, where worries over wins and losses are softened by the bottom line.

Those other guys, the Phillips, Angelo and Smith types, they're just caretakers for a profit-making machine.

Until further notice.

Keeps on ticking

One thing you can't question about Jay Cutler is his toughness.

Any one of 20 hits he has taken this year would have been season-ending for Rex Grossman, and yet Cutler just gets up every time to face another blitz.

But the worst hit he has taken might have come Thursday night late in the second quarter after an interception, which occurred when Devin Hester slipped and fell.

As Cutler realized the Niners had the ball, he took about five steps backward to get himself in a position to pursue the ball carrier. Out of nowhere, San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks blindsided Cutler with a vicious hit.

He flattened the QB with a blast to the right shoulder as Cutler backed into him, whipping the QBs head back in the process.

But Cutler bounced right up, ran hard for about 30 yards and knocked Tarell Brown out of bounds.

That was yet another pasting when you wondered if Cutler was going to stay down.

At this point, for safety reasons, the staff may want to instruct Cutler to simply get out the way on those returns, since there's certain to be more of them.

Shake up the echoes

With Charlie Weis on his way out of South Bend, and maybe even back to New England, many names have been tossed about for a new Notre Dame football coach.

One of the most interesting is Jim Harbaugh, whose name has been circulating on the West Coast for weeks in relation to the Notre Dame job.

Harbaugh hardly seemed like head-coaching material during his playing days in Chicago, but he has done a terrific job at Stanford while irritating USC, and coaching obviously runs firmly in the family.

Assuming the Irish can't bring in one of the A-list candidates such as Nick Saban or Urban Meyer, who still tops their list but insists he's staying at Florida, then Harbaugh might be among the best of the next group.

Just coaching

E-mailer Bob K.: "Some coaches, like Tom Coughlin, are man enough to admit when they're wrong. And then you have Lovie Smith, whose motto to rally the troops is, 'Don't just do something, stand there!' "

Pick your nightmare

Dave Wannstedt or Charlie Weis?

Sunday best

Fox broadcaster Joe Buck: "That's the third false start for the Packers - who I believe are at home this week."

And finally -

Comedian Alex Kaseberg, on Sammy Sosa's skin lightening: "Among the side effects are sensitivity to sunlight, an increase in rashes and an uncontrollable desire to eat bologna and watch NASCAR."

brozner@dailyherald.com