Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer tried to steer the ship back into calmer waters, where football was the topic and not his apology to quarterback Jay Cutler after he revealed he was the source behind an NFL Network report.
But, as one Halas Hall source said, “the ship is falling apart.”
Kromer’s decision to speak to a reporter after the Bears’ 41-28 loss to the Cowboys on “Thursday Night Football” last week, which turned into a critical report of Cutler on Sunday, stands as the latest example of the Bears’ widespread dysfunction.
Coach Marc Trestman declined to say Friday whether he considered dismissing Kromer.
“Everybody on our staff is important,” Trestman said. “I’ve communicated my disappointment with him.”
Trestman said Kromer informed him a day after the Cowboys game that he spoke to NFL Network, which reported that Cutler’s bad checks on run plays have “absolutely killed” the Bears. On Monday, Kromer apologized to the offense and specifically to Cutler.
Kromer admitted to being the source behind the report but not to the one suggesting the team was feeling “buyer’s remorse” about Cutler’s massive contract.
“We were all a little bit surprised,” Cutler said. “Not so much that it happened, but that he stepped in front of us and apologized. He was owning up to it.”
Kromer’s decision to come clean is curious because it rarely, if ever, happens. It raises the notion that the Bears somehow became aware of his transgression before Kromer informed Trestman. Kromer, though, wouldn’t divulge the specifics leading up to his apology.
“I feel that we’re going to handle this internally,” Kromer said.
Trestman said general manager Phil Emery hasn’t been involved in the situation.
“All of this has been handled by me,” Trestman said. “When it deals with coaches, I have to make those decisions.”
Trestman said he addressed the team.
“We had statements that were inappropriate to be made outside of our building,” Trestman said of his message.
Kromer didn’t consider resigning, but according to a source, he could be subject to a fine for speaking to the media during a non-sanctioned time.
“Everything we’re doing is processing things internally,” Trestman said when asked about fining Kromer. “I understand the question. I certainly think you can understand the answer. This is a situation that I was clearly disappointed in and handled it internally.”
There have been private discussions between Cutler and Kromer since Monday. Kromer characterized them as “very productive” meetings. He also said he believes Cutler remains receptive to his coaching.
“I wasn’t angry at him,” Cutler said. “The way that he talked to us and approached the issue, it kind of cleared the air a little bit with everybody.
“He was sincere. I think we’ve all seen people just stand up to apologize to apologize and when people actually mean it. He meant it. It was sincere. It’s hard to explain when someone’s sincere and when they’re not sincere. You just have a feeling watching it, the words he used, the emotion he expressed. It was a sincere apology.”
Cutler knew the exact play against the Cowboys that Kromer vented about to NFL Network.
“He talked about one of our first runs to the left in a slot blitz,” Cutler said. “I’ve got to do better on that play.
“In general, we check a lot of things. There are certain instances where I can be better, and there are certain instances where we’re doing exactly what we’re told to do.”
All of this leaves Trestman’s coaching staff in a precarious position. Kromer has joined defensive coordinator Mel Tucker on shaky ground, and that could make Trestman’s status even shakier.
Why would any player trust Kromer again?
“We’ll handle that internally, and we’ll go from there,” Kromer said.