David Fales was the star of the day. The rookie quarterback was cheered and cheered, while the media surrounded him at his locker Saturday after he was promoted to the active roster to prevent other teams from signing him.
All the hooting and hollering was a feel-good moment for a locker room seemingly void of them these days. Even then, some players had to be informed as to why Fales became the center of attention.
According to several sources, there’s a feeling of helplessness that looms over the team. It’s one that’s only been made worse by the Aaron Kromer fiasco as the internal finger-pointing has ramped up and players sense a need to look over their shoulders.
As one Halas Hall source said about a veteran Bears leader, “He’s exasperated. He just wants this to end.”
Before the Bears hosted the New Orleans Saints on “Monday Night Football,” coach Marc Trestman offered his latest defense. He said during his weekly WBBM-780 interview that Kromer’s apology over being the source behind an NFL Network report that was critical of quarterback Jay Cutler has united the team.
“I just go by the demeanor of our football team during the week,” Trestman said Monday morning. “A lot of things that appeared to be outside the building, these distractions can certainly bring a team together. Our team was able to capture that and turn this into a very positive work week for us.”
But sources said that players remain troubled by Kromer’s admission and the lack of response from Trestman. A win Monday night during primetime wasn’t going to change that.
Sources said it includes defensive players who were upset at how they learned of Kromer’s apology and how other players later became the sources behind the Chicago Tribune’s report about Kromer’s heartfelt apology to the offense and Cutler.
It falls in line with sentiments that injured receiver Brandon Marshall shared on Twitter following the report.
“Most interesting part of this story is the new source(s),” Marshall wrote. “SMH (shaking my head).”
Players have been impressed with how Cutler has handled being the subject of anonymous criticism by a coordinator he has worked closely with every week this season.
“He took the high road,” one source said.
But the Bears’ issues run deeper than that. Some of them speak to a lack of faith in the coaching overall.
Sources said some players have issues with Trestman’s game management, especially in short-yardage and two-minute drill situations.
There’s no debating that the Bears’ offense, despite it’s perceived talent level and the money spent on it, has been a disappointment in Year 2 under Trestman. The Bears entered Week 15 against the Saints tied for 18th in the league in scoring (21.6 points) and 26th in rushing (88.7).
But the questioning doesn’t end there.
Sources said players seem puzzled over the decision to shift the linebackers around, notably Jon Bostic from the weak side to the middle, against the Saints. It was something that was overshadowed by the Kromer saga during the practice week.
Bostic, the 50th overall pick, has been described by general manager Phil Emery as a future weak-side linebacker several times. Bostic also is coming off 19- and 16-tackle games, according to coach reviews, while playing on the weak-side.
Either way, all of it adds to the sense of dysfunction that permeates Halas Hall and has earned national attention.
And there still are two weeks left.