No one can accuse Bears coach Lovie Smith of standing pat as his team has slumped recently.
The demotions of offensive linemen Chilo Rachal and Gabe Carimi this week were just the latest lineup changes for the Bears (7-3).
Two weeks ago Kelvin Hayden replaced D.J. Moore at nickel back. Last week Corey Wootton started ahead of Israel Idonije at defensive left end.
Smith says when it comes to shuffling the lineup, it’s all about, “How you’re playing, period.”
Continuity is considered vital on the O-line, but the Bears’ coach said performance trumps continuity.
“It’s all based on production,” Smith said. “If we feel we have a better option that we haven’t taken a look at, we’ll always go to that, (whether it’s) the first play of the fourth quarter or the last game of the season or the second game of the season. It doesn’t matter.
“You don’t want to do anything that’s uncomfortable, but it’s like we’ve (always) done on our football team.”
Moore has been a productive performer on the defense, picking off 10 passes since the start of the 2010 season, tied with Charles Tillman for the most on the team.
The move to Hayden appeared to be a mistake when he was beaten for a 57-yard completion to Kyle Williams early in the 49ers game.
So why the change?
“Production,” Smith said. “When do we make changes? When we feel like the guy behind him deserves an opportunity, and that’s what’s happened with Kelvin Hayden. He’s done a good job.
“I know Monday night none of us played the way we need to, but Kelvin has warranted more playing time.”
Wootton and Idonije both have 4½ sacks, and both will continue to get extensive playing time in the Bears’ defensive-end rotation, even with rookie Shea McClellin back from a concussion.
But the thinking is that Wootton deserves more playing time than he was getting.
“(It’s) what he’s been doing throughout, from training camp on,” Smith said. “Once we feel like a guy has warranted getting an opportunity to start or to get playing time, we make those moves, and that’s how it’s been.”
Not all bad:
Quarterback Jay Cutler joked during the week that he might be able to help the embattled offensive line by putting on about 100 pounds, while wide receiver Brandon Marshall had praise for two of the guys up front.
“(Center Roberto) Garza played an amazing game,” Marshall said of the 49ers fiasco. “(Guard) Lance (Louis), man, we can win with that type of effort. He was just throwing guys around. I’m proud to say I’m his teammate because those are the type of guys you want to win with.
“If we can all get on that level, the way those guys played, I think we’ll have a better chance.”
Some things change:
Quarterback Jay Cutler’s life has changed since the summer when his son was born, so he was asked if his outlook on playing after suffering a concussion was different.
“I think everyone’s perspective has changed because there is just more awareness, more out there, more information,” Cutler said.
“It’s not going to change the way I play football. It’s not going to change my desire to return to the field by any means.”
Running back Matt Forte would like to get more carries, but he makes it clear he’s not second-guessing the play-calling.
“I just run the plays that are called,” he said. “I’m not complaining about how many carries I get or that we’re not running the ball enough.
“If I get the ball in my hands, I have to make a play with it, so there’s no complaining going on over here.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.