Of Mice and Monsters

Over lunch, on days between Bears games, I like to torture myself by reading every little bit of Bears commentary that is currently available in the Sun Times and Tribune.  Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t really have to have any particular special insight to be a sports writer aside from the ability to watch a sports game, state the obvious  and then draw wild conclusions  about the future that often will come to nothing and still not affect your credibility.

I don’t know what its like in other cities, but I feel like our sportswriters oscillate rapidly between wild, manic optimism  and deep, bone crushing depression.  At the beginning of this year, no one gave the Bears better than a 7-9 chance after our 4 miserable preseason games.  Go forward two games and a victory over the Cowboys had writers making comparisons to the 2006 team that went to the Superbowl.  Later, a victory over the Packers inspires an article highlighting Martz as the savior of the Bears:


A shameful depantsing later by the Giants and everyone’s lost and hurt again.  Another nasty loss to the Seahawks and Martz is a crazy loose cannon who needs to be reigned in by Lovie:


But aside from the sportswriters, through the podium of Facebook I hear about a million opinions about this team a game (some that I agree with and some that I disagree with) and figured I’d share a few of my own about the Bears and Bears fans:

  • Stop whining about Jay Cutler.  I’ll admit, I’ve expressed disappointment with him forcing plays, overthrowing receivers, blah blah blah, but Chicago has had such a drought of good quarterbacks that we’re gonna do no one any good by clamoring for his head on a stick after some bad performances.  Otherwise all we’re gonna have to look forward to are faceless waves of backup QBs who’s only job is to give Chicagoans something to complain about when the Bears lose.  Lots of QBs have bad games.  If he was our main weak link and there were better alternatives available I’d understand.
  • The offensive line should be the first answer to any question regarding what the Bears need to fix IMMEDIATELY.  I realize that this line has been shuffled around every game since they were ripped apart by the Giants but I still have zero confidence in them.  They can’t help the run, they certainly can’t protect Cutler.  The only thing they seem to be able to do well is get injured and disappoint me.  Hey Webb!  Last game I saw you looking around like a lost child at a supermarket while 300 lbs of disaster came hurtling towards our recently concussed quarterback.  Get it together, because I’m sick and tired of hearing from Bears management that we have a lovely, swell group of guys when a 5th grader could tell me that this has been our weakest link over the past few seasons.  If I were Angelo, I would be bartering my left testicle for an opportunity to provide a little legitimacy to our line and prevent our franchise QB from becoming a smear on Soldier Field.
  • Last season made me realize how much we missed Urlacher.  I know myself and a bunch of other people thought for a while that he’s getting past his prime and maybe we’d be better off moving him and letting some younger talent develop.  After watching our defense last year, I realize I was horribly wrong and wish to offer a retraction.
  • Julius Peppers, I love you.  Take me away from all this.  This guy is a freak of nature and infinitely fun to watch.  He breaks through multiple linemen to get sacks, he gets tons of holding calls called on the opposing team because there’s almost no other way to stop him, blocks kicks, breaks up plays and already has an interception.  Sir, you are worth every penny.  If we had more defensive linemen like you, our Cover 2 would be far more effective.
  • Is it time for Lovie to go?  I’m torn on this one.  I get really frustrated with the guy too.  I wish he could get as angry and disappointed as I feel after watching some Bears games.  I feel I could easily come up with the dialogue for a talking Lovie Smith doll: “Well you know, uh, we did some good things and some bad things out there.  We just gotta go back and look at the tapes and improve, there’s plenty more football to play, you can’t turn the ball over that many times, blah blah blah”  I also wish he would address glaring problems early, rather than letting his faith in his players cloud his judgement.  Still, bear in mind shaking up our entire coaching staff right now very well may not be the thing we need in order to get our core group of guys performing well for the next couple of years.  If we bring in new management we might want to get ready for a pretty disappointing year or years following our handing over the keys before we get the whole team on board and in sync with the new coaching staff.  By that time we very well could find ourselves in rebuilding mode since some of our current talent may be too old or traded by then.

It’s still important to have a little perspective this year.  No one thought we’d be at the top of our division after 6 games, and we are.  No one saw us going to the playoffs this year with mostly the same group of guys as last year and we still might.  There’s still a lot of football left to play, and probably some more disappointing losses as well but our record is still 4-2 and could be either 5-2 or 4-3 after today’s game against the Redskins.  In either eventuality, we’ve still got plenty of opportunities to keep adding to our wins and develop our players.  If we can make it to the playoffs this year, then maybe we can target our weaknesses in the off-season and come back next year even stronger.  Bear down.