IRVING, Texas – Blame Wade Phillips for Bears tight end Greg Olsen getting wide open for a 39-yard touchdown. That’s what the coach wants.
“That’s my fault,” Phillips said. “We haven’t worked on it enough obviously. We’ve done that blitz since OTAs, but we didn’t pick up the right guy.”
Phillips is accepting the blame for a blown assignment made by a team captain. Linebacker Keith Brooking constantly preaches accountability, so it shouldn’t be a problem to pin the blame on him.
It was Brooking’s mistake, although nobody at Valley Ranch has said that on the record. Phillips acknowledged that one of the linebackers was supposed to be covering Olsen, but he left it at that. Bradie James said during his ESPN 103.3 radio show that there was confusion after he made a late check.
It comes down to Brooking, who prepares as well as anybody on the team, not executing his assignment on a key play. He’s a 13-year veteran who made a mental mistake.
Why is that Phillips’ fault?
“Because I’m the teacher,” Phillips said. “I’m the guy who teaches them what to do and how to do it. When we run those things, we expect everybody to be covered. If for some reason, the guy doesn’t get covered, it goes back to me.”
At what point is the accountability on the player?
“Accountability is for everyone, yes,” Phillips said. “But if I’m not accountable, I don’t think the players are going to be, so it’s up to me first, and especially on defense. When I’m the coordinator on defense, it goes right back to me that we ran a blitz and nobody covered a guy. Now that’s unacceptable.”
Phillips accepts fault so readily that you wonder whether he really pushes the players to be accountable. Maybe it happens behind closed doors, but he fuels the protection that he’s soft by protecting them publicly.
That shouldn’t be necessary with a mentally tough team leader like Brooking.