Bears DE Jared Allen is one of the more recognizable defensive players in the NFL due to his flamboyant personality combined with his reputation as a sack machine.
With 130 sacks in his career, Allen only needs two more to reach the Top 10 all-time in the NFL. Coming into his first season with the Bears, Allen had recorded double-digit sacks in seven straight seasons.
Most fans are quite familiar with Allen’s “sack dance,” the mullet that he used to have, his tradition of saying that he attended the Culinary Academy on Sunday Night Football (he went to Idaho State), and his “cowboy” image.
Jared Allen on Leadership
It’s no secret that Jared Allen’s arrival to Chicago has not had the impact that the Bears were hoping for. He only has 1.5 sacks so far and saw reduced action in Sunday’s loss to Miami at the expense of impressive reserve Willie Young.
In addition to that, it appears that Jared Allen doesn’t know how to answer a question about whether the Bears have leaders. When asked about it, Allen danced around the question more than Mark Madsen at an LA Lakers victory parade:
“I don’t want this to sound bad. But when you’re talking about a leader, what does that look like to people? I think we have great leaders here. I mean leaders don’t necessarily have to stand up at the podium and make some big speech. As a matter of fact, if someone gets up every week and has to have a ‘Coach is out. Let’s have [a big meeting].’ That’s lame. Honestly. What’s that going to do? That’s rah-rah,” Allen said, via the Chicago Tribune.
“Leadership comes from the guys who show up every week, go out and work during practice. They’re in their playbook, they know what they’re doing and they go out on Sunday and give it everything they got.”
What he said isn’t untrue. Many of the great leaders in the NFL (i.e. Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady) don’t appear to be “rah-rah” guys on the surface. Maybe they are behind closed doors, but that is pretty doubtful. However, they lead by example more than anything and promote a sense of calmness when under duress. They are the type of guys you trust to make the right play when it matters most. These are the type of guys that you just know will lead their team down the field when trailing with two minutes left.
The Bears Don’t Have This
It’s pretty clear that the reason Allen danced around answering the question, as it pertains to the Bears, is because the Bears lack leadership where it matters most.
Most fans would agree, they don’t need to consult their “NFL Leaders Power Rankings” to know that Jay Cutler is not the best leader. He may be super chill, Smokin’ Jay, but he fails to present the coolness and calmness on the field that you expect from the quarterback position.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears have failed to replace the leadership that Brian Urlacher provided and it shows more than ever.
On the sidelines, questions are beginning to arise regarding Marc Trestman and whether or not he’s fit to lead a NFL team. The offensive wizard has come off as naïve in his statements regarding the Bears locker room situation and has been criticized for making the team “soft.” While Lovie Smith does have a tendency to stand on the sidelines like a deer in headlights and is pretty clueless when it comes to offense, one thing you could never say about his Bears teams was that they were “soft.”
The Bears need someone to emerge and it appears Brandon Marshall is attempting to do this. Marshall may be a realistic option to be a leader off the field, but it is hard to be an offensive leader when four other players on offense have touched the ball more than you this season.
The bottom line is that the Bears need Cutler to step up as a leader; however, we all know that this is unlikely to ever happen unless somehow this locker room situation has provided him with a spark to be one. Bears fans shouldn’t get their hopes up.
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