Monday, December 31, 2007

Two things learned today

Brian Billick has just become the hottest offensive commodity on the market in the NFL. I'm guessing there's a good chance SF will be interested in him, but if they keep Nolan the Bears should be in better position to get him. Billick made a lot of mistakes this year, but he directed the best offense ever pre-2007 the 1998 Vikings so he's at least better than Turner.
Speaking of Turner, he still sucks. This article proves that he's a complete idiot and has no business being anywhere near the dynamic but unorthodox talent of Devin Hester.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Take a good look, because it's the last time you're going to see theese!

It's sad to think that the Bears won't play a game in 2008 until September. I'm not looking forward to the dead time while other teams are playing and the off-season hasn't begun yet, the three month break before the draft or the six month until training camp. Tomorrow will be fun though!
It's tempting to start displaying my Angelo-predicting prowess right now, but there's no hurry, and if I start now what will I have to do before the off-season begins?
However I am sure that Haugh and much of the Bears media have a lot wrong about this team and this off-season. Turner is going to be fired. He is obviously inept and Lovie and Angelo care a lot more about doing a good job than trying to please the media. Babich will stay because the defensive collapse doesn't seem like his fault and Lovie believes in him. Mike Brown will not be cut, it simply doesn't make any sense to try to improve your team by cutting your best though oft-injured safety. Grossman and Orton will both be in training camp in Bourbanis next year, Griese probably will not.

Monday, December 17, 2007

wishplan 1.5

The first move is obvious, FIRE Ron Turner!! After that things get a little more complicated. I still think my plan for his replacement is pretty sweet. But until the season is over it's hard to speculate about players. Orton has two more games to try and look more competent than Griese, I'm sticking with Orton on this one. Turner's damage carries into the off-season though. It is truly impossible to evaluate the Bears players on offense with him around. Gage and Wade look much better away from him, how are we to know who else will too? This leaves a very interesting conundrum.
Based on this year, the Bears need two new starters on the O-Line and three new depth players. They need a new number one running back and Benson will not be around after next year so a new two back wouldn't hurt. They need one more quarterback actually capable of being good not just not-terrible plus Rex and Kyle. And they need two new starting wide-outs to go with Hester, Davis and Bradley to ensure good special teams.
They need to keep or improve their top 10 D-linemen, 7 Linebackers and get at least one new corner as good as Vasher and Tillman and one new safety as good as Brown and Manning plus one more secondary contributer, probably a safety on all their levels.
This means in the off-season they have to decide if they want to get 10 new offensive players in order to become competent or 3 new defensive stars in order to eliminate the offense from the team entirely. They could carry 28 defensive players on their roster and be assured that no matter how many injuries they suffer they will not give up more than 13 points. The defense and special teams would literally put them in position that the offense could not fuck up.
The first route is normal, but the second would be a hell of a lot more fun!


The Postmen have pretty much the perfect blog post for tonight's game.

In Some Small Way, Parhaps Fate is Smiling Upon Me

I didn't pay attention to football at all sense that kind of ridiculous day in Washington, so I just now noticed that something I'd hoped would happen but didn't really expect to happen did in fact happen. The Cowboys lost and Green Bay won. Which means that, regardless of what happens in todays game, next week against Green Bay is a game in which the Bears will be able to ruin Green Bay's chances of the number one seed in the playoffs. This is especially a big deal because of how big a deal everyone would make about some team having to come and beat Green Bay in Green Bay for the championship. I don't even care that much if they do win the NFC (well, okay, I do, that would suck), as long as it's not played in Lambeau Field so I don't have to sit through the inevitable sports media circle jerk that would happen all over those hallowed grounds.

Oh, yeah. And remember when everyone thought the Lions had finally turned everything around, and they were now an actually good team with an actually good quarterback? What was that, like five weeks ago? When San Diego was screwed because they had the worst coach in the history of the NFL? At least some things about this bizarro football season from hell have kind of righted themselves.

It's finnaly come, we will all bask in the unconsionable beauty that is Neckbeard

I have to respond to all the ridiculous Bears media clamoring about how terrible our team is. Three seasons ago the Bears were a terrible 4-12 football team. Lovie Smith, the man who still coaches the team, turned them into a Superbowl participant and reigning NFC champions. This year they are 5-8 and will probably finish below .500, but they are much improved over the 4-12 team. The obvious point is Hester, but the less obvious point is that they have 6 playmakers injured.
In 2008 if Angelo isn't as stupid as all the doomsayers Mike Brown will be back in the starting lineup. The same Mike Brown who has lost like three games in the past three years. Obviously the Bears need a safety who can push Brown and Manning for a starting spot, but barring injury, which cannot be controlled, the Bears will be back to being a dominant defense. The system isn't failed, it just doesn't work if one of your safeties is terrible and one of the Bears safeties is terrible. Kevin Payne will also be back. I think Angelo has the track record to assume that Payne will be an improvement on the current situation.
Does anyone really think that Briggs is going anywhere? I don't. I think both sides this year will see what neither saw last year, winning is fragile and Briggs is a very important Chicago Bear. Williams and Wilson will both make good trade prospects, but another lesson from this year learned when Chris Harris was traded, is that trading someone who can play now for an unknown is not a luxury you can afford in an injury filled sport. If you can use Williams to help get a proven player for next year do it, otherwise too many good players is never a bad thing. Nathan Vasher aka the Interceptor will be back as will DD (does Dare Devil work as a nickname for him?). Oh, and Tommie Harris, the best DT in the NFL, yeah he's still a Chicago Bear, he's just hurt. The Packers and Vikings are not as good as the Bears were last year and they certainly aren't juggernauts. There's not much in the way of the '08 Bears returning to the Superbowl. They've gotten around terrible offense before and they will run the ball next year I can guarantee that.
If they want to compete with NE and Indy they probably need to do everything right in the offseason, but then again no one thought Indy was much good going into the playoffs last year. The NFL is a crazy league, a little momentum can go a long way and a single player can make a huge difference. I'm not worried about '08 unless it's without Brown and Harris.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

First installment of my offseason wishplan.

In the first installment of my totally insane mission to know way too much about the Bears I've actually scoured several team sites to find a path that I think could be taken to fixing this mess. I have little doubt that this will be nothing but a waste of time, but I feel compelled to do something. To begin with I totally trust Lovie on the defensive side of the ball, hands down. On the offensive side though, there is much to be desired. Following Loive's stated mission of "getting off the plane running the football" I think the '08 offensive search must begin with a running coach.
In looking at O-line coaches of the top running teams I found some interesting prospects, but there is one person who particularly stood out as a perfect candidate for Assistant Head Coach Offense/Offensive Line Coach. While Andy Heck has been Offensive Line coach for Jacksonville they have been in the top half for sacks given up and top ten for rushing yards for the last three years including second in rushing this year. He's a former Chicago Bear could turn around one of the worst units in the league this year.
With that out of the way the Bears need a new Offensive Coordinator who will work closely with the AHCO to develop a new system that will bring the Bears offense to respectability. There are three good candidates that I found.
First is Ken Zampese currently Cincinnati's quarterbacks coach. He's young, comes from a football family and has helped turn Carson Palmer into an elite passer.
Second is Kippy Brown. He has past OC experience with Miami, worked with Jimmy Johnson and is currently receivers coach in Detroit.
Third is Tom Clements. He has past OC experience in Buffalo where he directed a successful attack based on Willis McGehee, and is currently the quarterback coach that has Brett Favre playing some of the best football of his career.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Seriously WTF?!!

The Tribune had three stories about the Bears today, two of them mentioned the quarterback situation and between both of those the most disparaging remark about Brian Griese was "decent." DECENT are you fucking kidding me!? He threw two interceptions on the same fucking play two offensive plays in a row! There is nothing 'decent' about Griese's play. He may be a stand-up, professional guy and a mentor to Orton but he's a fucking horrible NFL quarterback.
David Haugh even has the balls to mention him as a possible offensive MVP candidate because he accounted for 40 percent of the Bears victories. Lets not mention that Grossman accounted for the other 60 percent. Seriously how muck dick has Griese sucked in Chicago to earn the never ending benefit of the doubt, nice guy whose hard done by tag from the Chicago media. He threw 12 INT's in six appearances. That's two a game, not just two a start. I can't think of a more positive descriptor than over-the-hill for this guy.
All else aside, I hope that I never see Griese wearing an orange "C" on the side of his head for the rest of my life!!

The Pure Joy of Winning, and Stuff

Last Thursday represented the blotting out of the final weak ray of hope that the Bears might manage some kind of a playoff run, culminating in another shot at the big one. Not that I really thought that was possible for a while, but at least there was that tiny sliver of hope that it could happen.

But, really, that last bit's death couldn't have come at a better time. By which I mean, next week we play the Vikings, and no matter what happens, beating the Vikings is always important. Especially because we have to avenge that disgusting loss from earlier in the season.

Following that, those evil cheese creatures are coming to Soldier Field, and I can always get myself up in the morning over a chance to watch my team ruining Brett Favre's day.

And to top it all off, we get to witness the return of Kyle Orton! I really wasn't sure if I was going to be able to work up any kind of enthusiasm for these last three weeks. I actually envisioned myself not watching the Bears for the rest of the season after their Washington trip.

But today I'm just happy that there's still three weeks left in the season, which means three more Bears games before the long drought of no football that is the off-season.

I have to say w/r/t Orton, that I really actually am looking forward to seeing what the kid can do. It would be a supremely fulfilling story to see him come out and look like a serious pro quarterback for the last three games of the season. At the very least, it could mean that I'll never have to watch Brian Griese trot out onto the field wearing a Bears uniform, ever again.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Maybe Ron Turner could succeed in High School coaching?

"They came after us pretty good,'' said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "It took awhile to adjust.''
Oh how sadly true that is. The Bears started the game with Rex and AP in the backfield, after 5 minutes it was time to adjust. As Rex limped to the locker room the Bears offense was taking the field again with Kyle Orton excitedly leading the charge. Well that's what the team one loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs should have been doing. Instead Brian Griese and his 10 interceptions walked onto the field devoid of hunger and spirit. After 2 more INT's it seemed impossible that Orton wouldn't be leading the charge after halftime. But Orton was inactive leaving the Bears nation to watch the season finally wither away like Griese's arm.
How could this mistake be made, is there a reason that Orton was demoted back to third-string inactive? Not according to Turner's press-conference in which he said, "I've got a lot of confidence in Kyle; he had a really good preseason and training camp. I think Kyle's going to be a real good player in this league." So why did Turner think that a player who already proved he's not a good player in this league get another shot ahead of him?
There were still chances, but Griese can't throw a fade to Olsen over a 5'8" DB. On "first-and-goal on the 1, we've got a chance to score there," Turner said. "You tie it up, and it's a different ballgame. You have to finish the drive and put it in the end zone, and we didn't do it." Maybe Orton could throw a fade where Olsen can catch it; unfortunately we won't find out until at least next monday when Orton will surely start, right? "I don't know," Turner said. "We don't make those decisions right after games. We'll talk about it and see where we are." The Bears can talk about it all they want, but rigidity has already knocked them out of the playoff race.
Orton says he will be ready to go if he ever gets the chance. "I don't know if it's going to happen or not, but when it does happen, I feel like I'm ready and confident, and I can play well." I doubt Turner will give him much of a chance to succeed; he's already ruined Hester and Wolfe's years. Despite the fact that Turner claims to "know what Devin can do with the ball, he's one of our playmakers and we have to continue to bring him along, and we definitely have to get him in there." You'd think after 10 months they could be more than trying to bring Hester along. He should weeks ago have been a full-fledged weapon and not just a toy. And really, how hard could it be to figure out that Wolfe is the fastest back in the backfield? Maybe he could have gotten a few more touches when the defense was obviously going to play soft and leave him open space to get into. Turner won't figure this out, but maybe there will be enough film that the new head coach offense/offensive coordinator will know what he has before the draft arrives.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Like Chewing on (non-chewable) Dramamine

Wow, I hate to admit that sports, even the Bears, can have this level of effect on me. But last night's game left a really bad taste in my mouth, and I just really feel bad about the Bears now. Intellectually, I know there's hope for next season, and that the amount of tweaking that needs to be done in order to get back to winning is by no means daunting. But that's not how it feels. Right now, the Bears are one of the worst teams in the league, and it sure feels like we're back in that cellar of pure crapitude that we wallowed in for the nineties and for most of this century.

When Lovie Smith took over the team he said it was his goal to make it to the Super Bowl in three years, and as much as I loved him for saying that, I didn't really buy it for a second. But he did it, and he did it starting with a team that was way worse than the one he has now. I don't know how he did it, but the only thing I feel like I can cling to right now is that I'm pretty sure he can do it again. Historically, what Lovie Smith has proved time and again he's good at is taking bad teams and turning them around, turning them into good, solid, defensive teams. This season is shot, but I do feel like we're in good hands as far as taking this bad team and turning them around.

Next year already

With 2008 starting now here's what I'm hoping for.
Shut down Vasher, Harris, Urlacher, Griese. We know all we can about them and they're hurt or inept. Play Briggs in the middle and get Wilson and/or Williams on the field. The Bears need to look at this as an option with Urlacher's status so uncertain. More experience for McBride, Wilson and Williams will give the Bears more flexibility in the off-season.
There's not much to do with the offense for now. Turner, Griese, Benson, Muhammad, Miller and probably more will not be around next year so looking at Orton is about all that can happen.
The D still looks great for next year. The only big thing is finding a safety that's close enough to Brown's and Manning's level that they won't be constantly exposed if one of them goes down. Other than that spot I don't think they can really get much better player-wise, they just have to hope they can get their spine back next year. Brown and Harris are this defense though, so I'm not worried.
Angelo needs to sort the defensive salary very quickly and go into free-agency with a very aggressive plan. Whoever the new offensive head coach/coordinator is/are get the chance to totally develop their own team and all they have to be able to do is drive 25 yards consistently for the Bears to win a lot!
Not sure in what order but there are many issues to address. They'll need a solid tackle, Tait can play either side, but a younger left tackle would be nice. Young O-line depth to learn from Kruetz, Brown, and Tait and challenge for actual playing time.
A new starting running back like Michael Turner.
A new 1 WR preferably Randy Moss or Chad Johnson but someone good please! Also like 10 WR's in camp openly competing for the rest of the spots.
And above all else figure out how to use Hester! Is there anyone out there who saw Steve Smith, Reggie Bush, and Adrian Peterson the last three years? Hester is as good as all of them and can you imagine sweeps with cutback lanes or crossing routes with only linebackers within 10 yards of Hester. He could easily score a touchdown a game with only a mild amount of competence running the show.
Also will someone please convince Lovie that managing the clock and going for it inside the 10 will actually help his team win.
It's a lot of work but that's what Angelo and co. get paid for. I'd be fucking up for it for 40K and a Chicago flat! I don't think that level of devotion is too much to ask from my team.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Orton! Orton! Orton!

At this point, there really is nothing left to cheer for...


(seriously... I never want to see Brian Griese under center again... it's just depressing... unless he's wearing purple...)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

That Should Not Have Happened

Okay, the Bears should've won that game. There are two huge reasons the Bears did not win that game: Ron Turner is a bad offensive coach, and the Bears offensive line is terrible. Ron Turner has been a bad offensive coach since he came to the Bears, but somehow he managed to hold on to his job through this year. If he doesn't get fired this off season, I'm not even sure if I'll bother watching them next year. Actually, he should never have been hired as an offensive coach. What about his career as a coach made Angelo and/or Smith decide that he should run the show on offense is kind of baffling, but there's no doubt he was an improvement over Terry Shea. Of course, I would have been an improvement over Terry Shea.


Also, when two-fifths of the starters on your offensive line shouldn't ever be anything but backups, there's not too much of a surprise when they let a good NY defensive line treat them like a welcome mat. But they shouldn't have been in this position in the first place. The only moves the Bears have made over the past several years to breathe new life in their offensive line involved Columbo and Rex Tucker, and when both of those players were lost to injury, apparently Angelo decided that he didn't really need to try to come up with a back up plan.

The disgusting thing is that the Bears are still technically in the wild card race in the weird NFC, but they're not going to make it. Rex Grossman, however, has, as far as I'm concerned, proved he should be the starter for this team. He had a really good game, that looked not quite as good as it was because of an overall bad job by the offensive coach. His name is Ron Turner. And I'm not going to expect anything good out of the Chicago Bears until he is replaced.

A Quick One Before I Go to Bed

Things that I'm looking forward to seeing in tomorrow's game:

1) The Bears D-Line going after Manning. I know Rex has been a little fumble-prone since he's come back, but one thing that he hasn't done, and that really he hasn't done all year, are the stupid Tecmo drops where he gets scared of the rushing lineman and runs backwards and runs backwards some more until finally he gets sacked and it's gone from 2nd and 8 to 3rd and 30. Manning, though, still does that. At least, I saw him do it at the end of Vikings game last week, and the Bears D-Line is filled with far better pass rushers than the Vikings got. I'm totally looking forward to watching some Eli flop sweat tomorrow.

2) Adrian Peterson. Our Adrian Peterson. Even though I don't really expect his numbers to be too much of an improvement over what Benson would've ended up posting, probably, AP's got so much more fire than Benson does, and you can tell that for whatever reason the offense just works harder when Peterson's carrying the load. Or at least, they did during the end of the game last week. I mean, the whole line got together and actually pushed AP into the end zone after he'd run into a stack of Broncos. What are the chances they ever would've done something like that for Benson? I really really wanted to Benson to succeed this year, and I still kinda am holding out hope that he's going to turn into something and the team that he'll turn into something for will be the Bears, but for tomorrow I'm all about AP and his intensity. And you know he's been wanting this start for so long, and he's going to come out tomorrow with nothing but thoughts of tearing through NY's defense. It will be, at the very least, inspiring to watch.

3) Whatever craziness is going to happen with the Bears special teams. Overall I don't think the Bears special teams has been as good this year as they've been last year, but they've had Hester behind them the whole year which means that teams have been trying to think of creative ways to avoid kicking Hester the ball while also avoiding giving Chicago the ball at the forty or fifty yard line. Inevitably, this leads to me feeling superior to Chicago's opponents' special teams unit. Hester killed Denver this week, and you know that NY is thinking, "Whatever we do, we cannot get killed by Hester," but they're also NY's coaches which means they're stupid, so, on at least one kick they're going to do something hilarious. Sometimes, watching the Bears special teams play against other teams' special teams is like watching the Globetrotters against the Admirals, and I fully expect some of that dynamic to be in full display tomorrow.

Here's what I hope: that the Bears defense manages to put together it's first complete game of the season tomorrow. They don't even have to be totally dominant all game, but I want them to at least be there for the whole game. I mean, they're about due, right?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I am Insane (and Probably Stupid)

So, I didn't really care about tonight's game at all (I mean, aside from the Vikings and the Patriots and the Giants, the Packers and Cowboys are my two most hated teams, and I just couldn't care less who defeats whom), but then glancing at ESPN I learned that Favre had to leave the game with a shoulder injury, and suddenly I'm thinking: Holy Crap! Without Favre, the Packer's could pretty conceivably lose out the rest of the season (I know, they play Oakland and St. Louis next week and the following, and Aaron Rodgers looked pretty legit in the preseason...) which would leave them with a 10-6 record. The Bears, if they win all their games, will end up with 10-6. And they'll have the tie-breaker with the Pack, cuz they'd have beaten them twice again... which would make the Bears the NFC North division champs! And for at least these few moments, there's no convincing me that this won't happen! This is destiny peering out from hiding and saying, "Oh, whoops, the Bears are the rightful NFC North champions!"

Yes, this is what being a fan does to you. I am hoping that Favre is done so the Pack will crap out and the Bears will be able to eke out a division title even though they've sucked it up for the first two-thirds of the season. And I'd love it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

If the Bears make the playoffs I'm totally getting a windy city flyer tattoo

I'm still gonna stay off the playoff wagon so I can actually enjoy the games and not worry about the implications of every Rex Grossman turnover and Adam Archuleta missed tackle, but if if if if the Bears beat NY WAS MIN and NO they are in the playoffs! That's four ifs and it's one game at a time and all that, but their playoff hopes are squarely in Devin Hester's hands and I'm totally ok with that.

Speaking of Hester, he is now 3 returns away from being the all-time leader. I'm betting he does it this year and then has 10 seasons to build his lead over Brian Mitchell. Not sure if he ever had Hall Of Fame hopes, but Hester has pretty much blown them out of the water I think.

In thinking about the Bears drafts, picking Manning Hester Payne etc. the Bears are one of the most athletic teams in the NFL. Maybe Lovie isn't a great X and O coach, but if he can get plays out of athleticism. He's all about big plays, embracing Momentum. Which I think will always be risky, but if they ever stay healthy this team is crazy. This off-season they need to shed all the nonathletic players and embrace Lovie's philosophy. I also think Rex deserves another year in Chicago if he wants it. Cut Greise and let Rex Orton and someone else compete, this is a big-play team and Rex throws a beautiful deep ball.

Devin Hester: MVP?

I know it's not going to happen because you have to play for one of the best teams in the league to get voted MVP, and the Bears are obviously not that this year. Also you pretty much have to be a quarterback or running back to get voted MVP. But right now I'm wondering how many games the Bears would've won this year without Devin Hester? How many points would they have scored so far? And what would it take for Devin Hester to get voted MVP of the league?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Devin Hester! You are Ri-dic-u-lous!

Some quick links:

Devin Hester runs back a punt for the shortest 75-yards you will ever see. Jeff Joniak's sidekick giggles.

Only like ten minutes later... What is he Jeff? Oh, you know what he is.

Many thanks to Todd Sauerbrun and his manly muscles for a mondo-entertaining day of football!

Oh, and by the way, here's one of the most beautiful pure catches you'll ever see, made by, of all people, Bernard Berrian. On fourth & goal! What do you figure the odds are he would've made this catch for Griese?

Congratulations Ron Turner!

Okay, I don't want to say anything negative about this win yet, because I'm still a little too ecstatic about it, but before I forget, I needed to pass this along.

Congratulations to Ron Turner! You are officially as smart as Dan Dierdorf!

That's right: after Hester's second return for a touchdown, Dierdorf said something along the lines of, "Wow! No wonder the Bears want to use him as a wide receiver! You've just got to get him the ball! You can just give him a quick little wide receiver screen, or run him a reverse, or something like that, and he's gone! You don't even have to do your job and come up with plays that maximize his abilities or give him opportunities because he's so good!" So, you see, Ron Turner, Dan Dierdorf is right alongside you, coming up with ideas to get Devin Hester the ball on offense! Like, you know, having him stand there out wide waiting for the quarterback to throw the ball after he's already told everyone in the stadium that he's going to throw it wide out to Devin Hester! Or having Devin Hester run a reverse so obvious that Fox's game director actually has time to cue the proper cameras to keep Hester in frame for the whole play! Now that's offensive genius if I've ever heard it! And it only took him a half a game of watching Hester return kicks! Truly, you are an offensive mastermind, Ron Turner!

Something Positive about the O-Line

So, if I'd been keeping up with posts here at Bears Geek, I'd have certainly been complaining about how shitty the offensive line has been so far this year. But since everything else about the team has been just as shitty, I haven't done a lot of complaining about the old fogeys that pretend to protect our pretend quarterbacks. But here's something good about our line: Peterson's touchdown was a thing of pure smash-mouth football beauty. (from the Tribune's internet portal).

History will show it as a 4-yard touchdown run for Adrian Peterson with just over five minutes left in regulation. That will be far from the whole story.

Indeed, if Peterson gets credit for 4 rushing yards, maybe Olin Kreutz, Terrence Metcalf and John Tait should as well.

Peterson was stopped just short of the goal line on the carry over the Bears' left side behind John Tait and Terrence Metcalf.

But Peterson kept trying to move the pile of defenders, so Olin Kreutz joined him in the push-fest, and the others quickly got the idea.

"Most of the time you'll hear a whistle from the officials, but they were letting it go," Tait said. "I looked back and saw Olin pushing by himself, so I figured I better get in there and push too."

So was it Peterson pushing the linemen into the end zone or them pushing him?

"Oh, no, it was all them," Peterson said, laughing. "I was pushing myself and started to stop, and all of a sudden I felt them, so I knew it wasn't all me. I just squeezed the ball and fell in."

Peterson insists his feet never left the ground. That's his story and he's sticking to it.

"Sometimes you get wide-open touchdown runs," he said, "and sometimes you have to fight to get in the end zone."

Devin Hester is... Devin Hester is...

Devin Hester is the only person in the whole world ever who has earned the right to say this:

"Sometimes the first (TD return) is a fluke," Hester said. "The second time you get a chance to show what you're really about."



Okay, so it was an overtime win and overtime wins are always pretty amazing, but...


They won!!!!!!





I want to bear Devin Hester's children.

Yes, It has Truly Come to This

Right now the Vikings are almost blowing out the Giants... And I'm excited about it! Because that means that I was right and Giants really are pretty shitty, or at least nowhere near as good as the East Coast sports press wanted to believe they were (big surprise...). There's no way it can mean that the Vikings are actually a good team. So I'm not even worried about that.

But here's the thing: The Lions have lost two in a row now and are 6 and 5, and with little reason to believe that they'll not keep on losing. And if the Giants lose today (and we win today), then we can beat them next week, and after that the Giants have a pretty tough schedule which will probably just contribute even more to them crapping out for the rest of the season (and then Coughlin might get fired... which would mean that they might actually be able to become a real time in the next few years, which would bother me a lot...)

So, other stuff could all happen, too, but what I'm basically trying to say is that, yes, it's true, I've managed to talk myself into believing that the Bears are really not out of it! They're so close! And all they have to do is win most of their remaining games (well, probably, all of them, but, you know...) So! This is it! This is where the season starts! At home against a very beatable Denver team! The sins of the past two-thirds of the season forgotten! This is where the Bears start their desperate claw back into playoff contention! This is when they start pulling out every game, grabbing victory from the bloody jaws of defeat, week after week! This is where their defense slowly begins to regain their strength, until, after snatching a narrow victory over the Packers at Lambeau field for the NFC championship, their second consecutive NFC championship and their third consecutive win over the Packers, making them the only team to have beaten the Packers all season, they'll be on their way to Arizona, just like they predicted they would be at the beginning of the season, where they'll be 30 points underdogs to the Patriots! And they'll show the type of grit and determination and charm and likeability and un-slobbiness that the Patriots only wish they could put together! And they'll win the Super Bowl in the last seconds of the game! It's happening! And it all starts here (well, in Chicago I mean)! Today! In an hour! Bear Down, motherfucker, Bear Down!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mike Brown '08 defensive player of the year

Well, that loss sucked. But it was fun to watch the Bears play well for a change. They looked pretty good, but this year's team is simply not a very good NFL team. For starters, they don't have much at Strong Safety and they have a rookie at corner. Rookie corners get burned in the NFL by quarterbacks like Hasselbeck. More importantly Tommie Harris and Brian Urlacher are not the players they need to be right now to make up for those losses. I think if either one of them was fully healthy the Bears win that game.
On the other side, Fred Miller is done in this league. He's had a great career, but he cannot play tackle on the road anymore. Ron Turner is also done. He has exactly zero creativity and it has killed the Bears this whole year.

Off the field, I liked Lovie's press conference this week. I'm very encouraged by his outlook. It seems like he's learned a lot this year and I anticipate a solid offseason. The Bears were too complacent last year, they let success override evaluation and they're paying for it now. I assume Lovie will look very hard at every spot on the roster this year and will come up with his own plan. He seemed more of an observer before, sitting in playing Angelo's cards. Angelo will get his draft, but I think Lovie's really going to put his stamp on the coaching staff and roster this year.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mariotti is such a douche, and everyone who follows him

I just watched Lovie's press-conference following the QB decision and I have to say that I'm worried about him. He looks really ragged. It scared me. Lovie is lovable and optimistic and a good football coach, but right now he looks like he's very, very tired. I hope the Bears win every game. But I also want Lovie around a long time. I'm more pissed than ever at the fucking horrible Chicago media. Give him, give them all a break. Sure we expect more but come on your criticisms are too personal and too much. I'd soo much rather see the reporters fired than the team. I hope Lovie and the Bears pull it off and I hope Lovie feels better. I really do.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Windy City Flyer

Today was the most exciting day of the Bears season so far for me. The Green Bay win was amazing, and I thoroughly believed it marked a turn-around, but I was annoyed at the Bears being in that situation and was looking ahead at the standings. Now I'm just abuzz about Lovie declaration of every decision being made for only the next week. He didn't say "Rex Grossman is our quarterback." He said Rex will start Sunday. This marks the first time that I can remember that he's ever acted as anything but a pragmatist. It's wonderful!
This new attitude I believe will spread to all aspects of the team. Hester and Olsen should continue their elevation, Archuleta is on a short leash if he forgets how to play safety again, and AP will see more and more time if he outperforms Benson. Finally I feel like Lovie's looking at the same situation I am and it makes me smile.
Speaking of smiling, I love Rex's response to the question about his contract status, "I think I already missed the boat on the big one." Rex just might turn out okay.
And I can't leave out how impressed I was with Daniel Manning in Oakland. He was perfect and looks for all the world like the natural talent he's supposed to be. The Bears secondary looks like they might be in shape to accept Brown back and not have it ruin their season if he goes down again. They'll never be as amazing without him, but as long as their still quality I'll be happy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bears in Oakland

Just a couple of quick notes from the game yesterday. It was nice to watch the game in person, first of all. The more games I see live the more games I want to see live. Sure, you don't have the commentators to help you understand what's happening on the field, but they're so rarely helpful, and their loss is more than made up for by the fact that you can see the entire field: the way the defenses are set up, the routes all the receivers are running, etc. For instance, on Grossman's deep pass to Berrian, you could see that Berrian was open as soon as Grossman released the ball, and watching the whole thing was just beautiful; it's completely different from on television where you see Grossman launch the ball and then you have to cross your fingers in fear for the few seconds it takes for the ball to travel far enough for the receiver to be in the frame. I really wish television coverage would have some sort of wide shot set up so when QB's threw the ball deep they could immediately pull out to a larger frame of that included the receivers and the quarterback.

I also noticed that at least twice during the first half, when Hester was in a lot more (for some reason Hester wasn't on the field nearly as often once Grossman came in... why?!), Hester was completely open going deep across the middle. He'd beat is his corner and the safeties had pulled up for some reason. Griese never saw, or else he didn't think he had the arm strength to pull off the throw, or something. Or else Hester's still supposed to be nothing but a decoy. Whatever it is, he could be utilized so much better than he is. I even heard random Oakland fans talking about it in line to get snacks. 'Hester was open on several plays, but they just don't throw it to him! They're offense is almost as stupid as our offense!'

Look, Grossman played himself out of a job at the beginning of the season. He was abysmal. But yesterday, it was obvious that he was the best quarterback who played in the game. Sure, Griese had a higher completion percentage, but how many of those completions were three-yard checkdown's on third-and-long? While Griese was on the field, the Bears didn't even threaten to approach the end zone. As soon as Grossman came on, the offense suddenly became a little bit threatening. Sure, it took them most of the half to finally get something to work, but I'd much rather see third-and-long fail because of a 15-yard incomplete pass that looked like it was probably QB receiver communication problems (not necessarily surprising, considering Grossman hadn't played since the third week) than a string of third-and-long plays that couldn't even convert in theory. Grossman's inconsistency is scary, and if he gets to start and reverts to his early-season INT machine self, I don't see how they can afford not to give Orton an extended look. But for now the choice is Griese or Grossman, and it's pretty obvious that Grossman's the only one capable of making some second half scrappy pull for the playoffs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quite a Midterm

I've been thinking about Lovie Smith a little bit lately. Not a whole lot, honestly, because the Bears are less on my mind at this point in their season than they've been probably at any point in the past three or four years. They've kind of exhausted me and I'm not really willing to put a whole lot of emotional energy into them until I think their might be some kind of decent reward there for me.

I have grown to like Lovie Smith quite a lot over the past couple of years, and I've developed a certain amount of faith in him. This faith has led me to feel that simply the fact of Lovie Smith being there coach means there's at least a reasonable chance the Bears could turn things around this season. But it occurred to me while I was showering today that the situation Smith faces with his team right now is significantly different than any situation he's been in as a coach in pro football. He's always been coaching teams on the ascension. He became the defensive coordinator and St. Louis, installed his system, watched it flourish, and then got a head coaching job in Chicago where he proceeded to install his system, and watch it flower into success. Even in his worst year as head coach, his rookie year, you could see the system gradually take hold over the season as the defense got better. In other words, up until this year, Smith's teams have always been on the right track.

They certainly are not this year, and now Smith faces his first real test: a test that not a lot of NFL coaches survive these days. What to do when your team suddenly derails? Smith has always seemed like a little more of a long-term than a short-term guy, and I don't really have a problem with that. It seems like a better way to be, generally. But the Bears are only one year removed from a tremendous season, with not a whole lot of significant personnel changes. They're a team that obviously has the potential to be much better than what they are. In order for that to happen, though, it's become equally obvious that Smith needs to make some short-term decisions about the team. Can he do it? I don't know. Like I said, I have a lot of faith in the guy, but when I think about it there's not a whole lot that he's ever done to indicate he's really capable of making the kind of immediately beneficial changes that need to happen. I'm pretty confident that by the end of the season, the team will have started to show a little progress and there will something to look forward to moving into next season, but even that will be a disappointment compared to what everyone knows this team should be doing this season.

So how 'bout it, Lovie? You gonna throw down?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

this is just annoying

Grossman47 of 89 52% 500 yards in 3 games 1TD 6 INT
Griese 124 of 203 61% 1411 yards in 5 games 9TD 10 INT
There's some obvious improvement there, but 2 INT a game for each QB, that's not on Turner. Allow me to pre-quote Lovie Smith, "Kyle Orton is our quarterback."
Week 1: 3 turnovers, 2 takeaways L
Week 2: 3 turnovers, 2 takeaways W
Week 3: 4 turnovers, 1 takeaway L
Week 4: 3 turnovers, 2 takeaways L
Week 5: 1 turnover, 5 takeaways W
Week 6: 4 turnovers, 0 takeaways L
Week 7: 0 turnovers, 0 takeaways W
Week 8: 4 turnovers, 1 takeaway L
The good news is that the Bears won both their games when they didn't lose the turnover battle and one where they lost it. It seems like they should be able to win a few more games this season. The bad news is that they barely beat GB at +4, and they've turned the ball over 3 or more times in 6 of 8 games. I don't think we can really expect that to just change. Unless...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm staying off the Greise love-train

I just realized that I'm in a true minority group of Bears fans who actually think that Rex was a blessing to Chicago. He took us to the damn Super Bowl! Everyone is looking at Griese with the view that anything he does that isn't horrible is better than anything Rex ever did. I don't understand this, but at least I recognize it now. I keep watching games and looking for things that make Griese better than Rex. I've found one, the last drive last week. Otherwise I think Rex is better than Griese and will continue to think it until Griese puts 35 on the board a few times.
Griese's numbers look good and the rest of the world will remain impressed, but I'm holding out for spectacular plays. Until then, Free Orton or give me Rex!

David Haugh's Still a Worthless Idiot

Haugh and Turner should really hang out more!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

now is the time just before death in which the critical choice is made

Though it's true that this team is clearly not who we thought they were, I still am not ready to revert to pre2006 fan-mode yet. I watch the Bears for fun true, but also they are a full-fledged obsession that I'm not ready to call foolish yet. This same team was in the Super Bowl last year!
While I admit there's no chance of a repeat I'm still calling for immediate change. Bring in Kyle Orton, if he is as bad as Rexiese the Bears will be out of the playoff race in 5 weeks, four games, and the Bears can turn back to Rex and see if he can do enough to earn a one year contract to battle for the job with Orton and some new guys under a new offensive coordinator with a shiny new scheme. Make Devin Hester the focal point of the offense for god's sake! He needs to be on the field half of the snaps and at least 15 total touches a game. Keep using the TE's. Run two TE's like 80 percent of the snaps. This allows for better blocking and play action. For those people who have been watching the Bears this year, Play-action is when the QB fakes a hand-off and then throws a pass.
With these changes I guarantee playoffs this season or at least a brighter next season.
A new coordinator is absolutely essential and my candidates in order are Scott Liniehan if he does enough to get fired in St. Lous, Cincinnati's offensive coordinator, he has a good history, but he's been in cinci a long time and may not want to leave, and Gary Zampieze, cinci's quarterback coach he has been successful everywhere he's been, he knows how to develop quarterbacks and he's young and energetic, perfect for Lovie's system.
However a new coach wont matter without better O-line play. The Bears have been simply atrocious this year. A new scheme and better play from the skill players would go a long way to changing this, but even more important is getting the best Left tackle available. Tait can move back to the right where he'll be an immense improvement over Miller. Honestly, I don't know anything about guards, but however they do it they need better play from them as well.
This should leave enough money to resign Briggs and Harris. I still think this defense is stacked when Brown comes back and I have no worries that they will be great again sooner rather than later.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Don't Call it a Funeral

I've poured all the negativity into this team that I'm going to. While I'm still pretty sure they're not actually as bad of a team as they've looked for the first six weeks of this season, it's also painfully clear the Chicago Bears are not the team they were last year, and certainly they're not the team I thought they were going to be coming into this season. The Bears this year are a team that's really going to struggle to make it over five hundred. They are a long-shot to make the playoffs. And though some of their problems seem painfully obvious--I'm looking at you, Ron Turner, The Sultan of Suck, the Worst Offensive Coordinator in the League--some of their problems are a little less clear to me--since when is Adrian Peterson the younger better than our entire defense?

So at this point all there is for me to do is to recalibrate my expectations. I tried to do that a couple of weeks ago, but then I got caught up in all the dangerous "they're back" thoughts the victory over the Packers conjured. I think, even had Longwell missed the field goal and the Bears gone on to win this game in overtime, I'd be doing this recalibration right now anyway.

I'm going to watch the Bears and cheer for them and be happy with whatever wins they manage to claw out the rest of the season. But I'm not going to expect anything from them any more.

And at least we've got Devin Hester. Here's hoping that this weeks beautiful 80-odd yard TD pass was just the beginning for him and our offense. All questions of winning aside, the Bears owe it to their fans--who, after all, ultimately watch them to be entertained--to give Hester the ball with as much regularity as possible. But there's one massive obstacle standing in our way: the gigantic stone mule that calls itself Ron Turner.

There is No Joy in Mudville Today

It's hard for me to hate really good running backs, even one's who run for five billion yards against the Bears, so I can't really hate Adrian Peterson. But I am not looking forward to facing him twice a year for the next eight to ten years.

But, Ron Turner? Why is it that you wait until it's a desperation move to actually involve Hester in the offense? He ran that route fucking beautifully. There was a time, before Adrian Peterson had completely exploded all over everything, that this was our game to win, and if the offense had decided to mix up what they were doing with run game with what they decided to do at the end of the game, we could have controlled the game. So you still suck Ron Turner. Even though it's not your fault about the Adrian Peterson thing.
The Bears were just severely outcoached by the worst coaching staff in the NFL. Adrian Peterson is the ONLY good player on the Vikings. If he doesn't score there is simply no way to lose to them.
If the offense isn't the worst in the NFL, the Bears win that game.
Brian Griese, thanks but go home, you simply don't have it anymore. Two interceptions, should have been three, and one directly cost the Bears the three points they lost by!
Lovie WAKE UP! This season is over they way things are. Without drastic change the Bears will lose at least 10 games.
Make Devin Hester Greg Olsen Berrian the features of the offense. Forget everything else until you figure out how to make them look good.
Start Blitzing again!!
That was all-around the worst performance ive seen since Arizona. Maybe since Henry Burris' one start.

A Quick One [Before I Go To Bed]

Man, I fucking hope the Bears beat the Vikings tomorrow. Even more than I care about beating the Packers, which I care about a lot, I want the Vikings beat. It'll be weird watching the game in a bar that isn't full of Vikings fans, or in a region that isn't dripping with love for the Vikings, as has been the case all my life. But, still. No matter what is happening with the rest of either teams' season, watching the Bears beat the Vikings is sublime, and watching the Vikings beat the Bears is disgusting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

FO, FO why have you forsaken me!

Football Outsiders offer a much enhanced statistical understanding of football than other media outlets, but there are two major failings in their coverage. The first is that, despite their tendency to act like they are above bias, there is still human bias in their findings. This is unavoidable, but should be acknowledged.
The second and much bigger problem, the Dave Toub problem, is that they think of special teams as the time in between offense and defense. An interlude to the important aspects of football. Happily, we at bearsgeek will do our best to dispel this notion. (we should think of a cool name for this and try to launch some sort of platform for the understanding of special teams as a meaningful part of football)
I'm going to use excerpts from this weeks Any Given Sunday to expound my claims.
Those two fumbles, both forced by Charles Tillman, kept the Bears in the game and saved them from a fourth loss in five contests. This is another annoying tendency of FO, they don't like to acknowledge that takeaways can be part of a team's strategy. Since Lovie came to Chicago I simply expect takeaways in big situations, it's about time the rest of the football world caught up. Here they give Peanut credit, but they still treat it as luck rather than skill!
In no small part, the Bears defense deserves credit for this play. The defensive line began to dominate. Lance Briggs was everywhere, and Brian Urlacher made a crucial interception. At the same time, the Packers were clearly burdened by a lack of sustainable running attack.
Whether or not that game has playoff implications likely depends on whether or not the Bears really have recaptured their 2006 form on defense.
The D-line has been better than '06. Briggs' is absolutely proving that he's worth Urlacher money and the secondary held strong in the second half despite being comprised of Archuleta(injured) Tillman(injured) Manning(second string FS starting at corner) and McGowan(fifth safety). The Defense has given up 3 points or less in one of the halves of every game this year. The Bears have won both games in which they turned the ball over less than 4 times. The playoff implications are quite simply down to the offense taking care of the ball.
The problem is that while the (Packers) starting corners are good, the rest of the defense is not up to the task. The Packers will see more and more receivers on the field against them, and they do not have the personnel to contain them.
If this is true, god I hope it's true, a certain Mike Martz will scheme at least one win over GB and the North title race will swing very much in Chicago's favor after they beat Minnesota this week.
These nitpickings aside, the 2007 Packers are a much more complete team than the 2007 Bears, and nothing in Green Bay on Sunday goes to disprove the notion. The Packers had 154 more yards of total offense, but the turnovers killed them.
The Packers dodged Devin Hester but did so at an extreme cost. Kicker Mason Crosby had four meaningful kickoffs, and he always kept his kickoffs short. As a result, the Bears started on at least the 30-yard line each kick and three times started outside the 35-yard line. Only once did Chicago score with the advantageous field position, but the other three times they were able to flip field position and pin the Packers inside their own 25-yard line. Meanwhile, the Packers only reached the 30-yard line on one of their six kickoff returns. Due to penalties, they twice started inside their own 20-yard line.

154 more yards of total offense is absolutely meaningless if you start your possessions on average over 20 yards farter back than the other team. Also the Bears had three more takeaways than GB, which skews that stat so far beyond useful that it may as well have come from Joe Thiesman's mouth.
Even the most ardent Bears fan would admit that this game was somehow “stolen.”
I would argue that the Bears are a significantly more complete team than Green Bay and that they won their second game this year behind a competent offensive performance, superior special teams and half of an amazing defensive effort. Imagine what would happen if the defense showed up for the whole game!

Ned Macey's opinion may be that the Packers are better than the Bears. Great, he should say "I think" before he writes that and then he should point to some evidence that backs up his point. Unfortunately he reverts to the old statistical stallwort "Total Yards" to make his point. This stat is meaningless, everyone at FO knows that, why is someone writing for them who hasn't figured it out yet? The DVOA numbers support his theory. The Bears offense is horrible, but as long as they don't turn the ball over it isn't really very important. The defense looks ordinary, but that looks to be more down to the fluke of Sunday's first half and the wearing down caused by offensive turnovers. Very importantly the Bears special teams boost of 2.2 DVOA points (7.3 over 5.1) fails to accurately account for the difference of 4 blocked kicks and well over 150 total yards of gained field position for each game. Also, it makes sense to expect the Bears to continue Lovie Smith's trend of forcing takeaways and to commit fewer turnovers. The Bears "weren't a very good football team" in the first quarter of the season, just like in '05 "(they) suck(ed)!" But I see much more evidence that points towards that changing than I see that points to it staying the same.

The Next Step, Waiting in the Wings

What a weird week. For the second day in a row, I am in nearly total agreement with David Haugh's column. Of course, considering that it's about Briggs saying he would love to get a long term contract to the Bears, it would be hard, at this point, for that column not to be pretty awesome. I'll just tip my hat a little bit to Haugh for staying out of the way of the story. Because it's a super-joyful one.

Briggs has been abso-fucking-lutely amazing so far this year. He has played well enough that I wouldn't even give a guy a funny look if he said Briggs looks like he might actually be a better linebacker than Urlacher. Coming into the season, it was pretty obvious that Jamar Williams was being groomed to be Briggs's replacement starting next season, and I knew that it would take some pretty incredible play on Briggs's part for that not to seem like probably the best idea for the future. But Briggs has pulled it off already. I'm thoroughly convinced the Bears should do everything they can to sign Briggs to a long-term deal--even if that means giving him more money than Urlacher. Who knows: Briggs might actually deserve more money than Urlacher, but regardless, I can't imagine that move resulting in damage to locker-room chemistry, which, aside from salary-cap issues, would be the biggest reason against it.

The other major point of Haugh's article is kind of interesting: now that Grossman has pretty thoroughly played himself out of his coronation as the quarterback of the Bears' future, there's not any reason to worry about signing Briggs because the Bears would need the money to wrap Grossman up long-term. I guess, if there's a silver-lining to the incessant media and fan ridicule of Grossman finally infiltrating his brain and turning him into an absolute disapointment, that might be it. But Haugh goes on to entertain the possibility that Griese might be able to be the Bears starter for the next few years, and I have to say that we'd really have to see a lot of improvement from Griese before that would be in any way a comfortable proposition for the future. Especially knowing the Bears history with such sentiments: every time that I can remember that the Bears had something of a question mark at quarterback while there were all sorts of possible free agent quarterback answers getting signed everywhere else in the league the Bears have said something along the lines of, "We've already got a guy. We don't need to go out and get a guy." And it's always backfired. I'm not sure exactly who will be out there for free agents at quarterback this next offseason, but there is one intriguing prospect that I want to mention because it just dawned on me the other day: Oakland only has Culpepper signed for one season, and they have Jamarcus Russell who they're obviously going to go with as soon as possible--maybe even later this year, regardless of how well Culpepper plays. As obscene as it once would've seemed to me, I actually think Daunte ending up at quarterback for my Bears would be pretty exciting. As much as I never really thought he was as incredible as all the behorned Vikings fans around me did, I'm also positive he's not as bad as he seemed at Miami last season, where he wasn't fully recovered from his knee thing and where the coaching was ridiculously bad. He would easily be the best Bears quarterback ever, and I think he's got quite a few seasons left in him. The chances of that happening are obviously pretty close to zero, but I just figured I'd throw it out there. (Further adding to the obscenity level of this fantasy: Randy Moss was only signed for one season at New England... the Bears were already planning on spending some hefty dough on offense after this season; they just thought it'd be on guys already wearing Bears blue. Culpepper and Moss playing on the opposite of the ball as the Bears defense? It kind of makes me feel like barfing rainbows...)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sun is in the sky oh why oh why would I want to be anywhere else?

There's only one bad note from Sunday's heroic victory over Green Bay, Darwin Walker will be out this Sunday. This is bad in the sense that the Bears are without Walker, but good in that he was the only player hurt Sunday, a season best, and good that they're playing a worthless QB, so it's a perfect opportunity to get Adams time against a solid running attack and Idonije and Garay more full-speed reps.
I hope all the Bear's players are feeling as good about this week as I am right now. A win this week makes them favorite to win the division for the third year running. The offense looks at least as good as the old Shoopfense, with potential to climb even higher. And the Defense is possibly on the mend. All in all, today's freezing, windy day was a little more sunny than last week's 80 and blue skied Tuesday.
David Haugh is now leading the "take it easy on Rex" club. What!? Since when did Haugh ever stick up for a player without a minor speech impediment? Even when he's doing something right he's a jackass. Also, he doesn't miss another chance to take an unwarranted shot at Benson. Talk about piling-on! Benson just ran 25 carries into an unblocked wall and still managed a TD. Maybe a little appreciation would be nice.
Hough's a step above ESPN though, maybe they should hire him, that'd be great! Today's page is last year's week 6 or whatever page, Good Romo or Bad Rex? Except why is it admirable to turn the ball over six times for Dallas and deserving of benching in Chicago. Rex never had a chance, and I still think he's one of the best 12 QB's in the NFL. This break will be good for him, but I don't know if he'll ever be good in Chicago again. Secretly, I hope he gets one more chance and he plays like he can, cause the Bears were awesome in September last year.
Also, Green Bay is number 5 in the power rankings! Seriously, 5!? I hate ESPN.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I Liked That

Okay, so the Bears didn't exactly dominate the Packers right out of the gate last night, but Green Bay wasn't able to do anything during the second half, and Urlacher's interception followed by Olsen's TD, followed later by Desmond Clark's TD at the end, were probably some of the must purely joyful cathartic moments I've gotten out of watching the Bears in quite a while (excluding plays involving Devin Hester).

I don't really have much else. I've just been feeling good all day about last night's game. Now we've got the Vikings coming up, and I feel like we've got a pretty great chance of winning that game. For a year that's started off so depressingly, you can't do much better than consecutive wins over the Packers and the Vikings.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dear Mark Anderson,

Brett Favre is old and slow. You are young and fast. Tonight would be a good night to show the entire football-watching world that if they don't know your name yet they're stupid. Destroy Brett Favre.

Bears Geek

Dear Tommie Harris,

You've had some pretty great games so far in your career. You should try to make tonight your best game so far. Favre will be waiting back there like a ripe apple. Pluck him.

Bears Geek

Dear Darwin Walker,

You're pretty good, but you share the line with a couple of insane guys (see above). Let's see you show everyone that your not just an afterthought on this line. You know who's picture would look great on your website with the red word "SACKED!" stamped over his face? Brett Favre.

Bears Geek

Dear Adewale Ogunleye,

We're paying you a hell of a lot of money, and you've been solid in you time here, but you've never been the player you were hyped to be. If you have the best game of your career tonight, all of that will be forgotten. This game is that important. Brett Favre is a cupcake. Smoosh him so all the cream filling comes out.

Bears Geek

Dear Alex Brown,

Yeah, you were pissed that you got benched, but have you seen the guy that replaced you? Well, you're going to get a number of chances to be on the field tonight. Do you have any idea what an amazing game you'd have to have to make the Bears coaches even entertain the slightest possibility of thinking that maybe you should still be the starter? Have that type of game. Make Brett Favre regret that he didn't pull a Barry Bonds and skip the next game celebrating after breaking his big record.

Bears Geek

Dear Brian Urlacher,

I saw what you did in the second half against Arizona last year. You should just do that for the whole game tonight.

Bears Geek

Dear Lance Briggs,

I don't know if you're playing tonight or not, but my guess is that you will. This game is that important. All the soreness in your hamstring tomorrow will only be worth it if you use tonight to start the conversation in Bearsland that maybe, just maybe, you actually do deserve more money than Brian Urlacher. Tonight would be a perfect night to have the type of a game.

Bears Geek

Dear Hunter Hillenmeyer,

Does it ever make you just a little annoyed that because of the ridiculous talent-level of the guys playing around you, everyone pretty much forgets you're there? Make sure no one forgets you're out there tonight.

Bears Geek.

Dear Adam Archuleta,

You certainly have not been the bust they thought you were in Washington, but you haven't really been the guy Lovie Smith said he was bringing in. I know you can be that guy, and tonight would be a perfect night to prove it. The last time you were on national television, the most notable thing involving you was that time you got blocked into oblivion by that Dallas receiver. You should be involved in at least five plays like that tonight, except you should be the giver in all of them.

Bears Geek

Dear Danieal Manning,

More than any individual player, I blame you for the Super Bowl loss last year. An incredible game tonight would go a long way toward helping me forget about that. Do it.

Bears Geek

Dear Charles Tillman,

So, I read somewhere that you might have been exaggerating the severity of your ankle injury and that you'll be out on the field tonight. If so, that's kinda weird, but whatever. Make sure the name of the receiver you're covering isn't even mentioned during the broadcast, unless it's along the lines of "so-and-so should have fought harder for that ball, because Tillman just took it away from him". That's all I ask.

Bears Geek

Dear Bears rookie CBs,

I don't really know which of you will be playing tonight. Make sure I still don't know after the game, unless you have at least one interception.

Bears Geek

Dear Devin Hester,

Every chance you get, which I'm not expecting to be very many tonight, think, "end zone." Make sure teams know they're better off taking the penalty for kicking it out of bounds than even risking you touching the ball. There probably won't be a punt that lands in bounds tonight, but if there is, make sure they know just how incredibly stupid of a decision it was they just made. And, yeah, I know that screen thing Ron Turner drew up for you is just about the stupidest play anyone's ever invented, but if anyone in history could make that play work, it is you. Do it.

Bears Geek

Dear Ron Turner,

Goddamn you're terrible. Most games you are the worst offensive coordinator in the NFL. Pull out all the stops tonight, and make it look like you're only not especially good. I don't think I'm asking too much, here. And, Jesus Christ, get the ball to Greg Olsen a few times, alright? I mean, that's just so flippin' obvious that I can't believe we're five games into the season and I have to put that into a stupid little fake letter to you, and that even when I type I'm pretty sure it's not actually going to happen. You can't possibly be as stupid as I think you are, can you?

Bears Geek

Dear Olin Kreutz,

You're a mean mofo. Make whichever GB guys you're blocking wish he were Fred Miller, and that you decided to break his jaw instead of blocking him.

Bears Geek

Dear rest of Bears offensive line,

Olin Kreutz will break your jaws if you don't have the best game of this still young season. I know you're getting old, but you're not that much older than you were last year. Mind over matter, fellows. Running lanes!

Bears Geek

Dear Cedric Benson,

Wtf, dude? You're better than this and you know it. You're not a moves guy. You're a fast, hard, and straight kinda guy. Make Green Bay's defenders sorry they tried to tackle you.

Bears Geek

Dear Garret Wolfe,

Looks like Adrian Peterson probably won't be playing tonight, which means you'll probably get more chances than usual. Make it clear just how stupid Ron Turner has been for not using you so far.

Bears Geek

Dear Bears QB,

Yeah, I'm not even going to mention your name. Sometimes quarterbacks make it through entire games without throwing an interception. It's not unheard of. That's all I'm asking. And, say, a 50% completion percentage. I'm being modest here, guy. Stop thinking about yourself. Think about how much the Bears need this win over the Packers, and how they don't need a hero quarterback for that. All they need is a quarterback who doesn't become the villain of the piece. For God's sake...

Bears Geek

Dear Rest of Bears Offense,

I know you're kind of held back by the guy who's calling plays for you. Make that not matter. Know where those first down sticks are, and make it there. Don't even think beyond that.

Bears Geek

PS: This is the first game of the season where, if you win, it will be a big deal. That's pretty messed up. You've been in every game into the fourth quarter. Play the extra half-hour tonight to make sure the game is yours. The season is still pretty young, but if you lose tonight, you're not even going to make it to the playoffs. Play like that's what's on the line.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Never Let Me Down Again

Don't get me wrong. I still hate you, Ron Turner. Also, I think you're terrible at your job. Those two facts are kind of interrelated.

But, I'm still a Bears geek. And the Bears are still playing Favre this week. And apparently I'm just never going to learn when it comes to that particular matchup. Because I'm pretty sure, sitting here right now, after letting the fantasies run through my head all day, that the Bears are going to beat the Packers this week. They freaking have to.

The thing is, it really will not be that difficult of a thing to beat this Packers team. I know the Packers defense is really good and fired up. But the Bears offense really doesn't have to do all that much to ensure a victory against this team. All that needs to happen is for Ron Turner to, one last time, pretend that he is mildly competent at his job. I know he can do it; I've seen it happen a few times before.

All the Bears have to do on offense is not turn the ball over. I don't even care if they gain any yards. It would be a bonus to see a few first downs, but, really, all they'd be doing is giving the defense some extra breathing time. They'll start out in field goal position on at least three or four drives tomorrow, which is all they should need to win this game. But, really, Bears offense vs. Packers defense is not what this game is all about.

I know the Bears defense is depleted. In fact, it's desperately depleted. But even so: look at that defensive line that's going to be out there playing this weekend. Ogunleye, Walker, Harris, and Anderson. And you can be sure they're going to be playing out of their effing minds this week. Plus, Alex Brown will be rotating in off the bench every few plays. Plus, they'll have Urlacher behind them, who sounds like he's getting ready to have an insane game, and Archuleta will be back to bring pressure with safety blitzes whenever Urlacher drops back into coverage. With that unit, what the Bears need to do, and what I fully expect to see happen on Saturday, is bring the pressure. Every. Fucking. Play. Who cares if Green Bay picks up the blitz a few times? Favre won't be able to get off good throws on most plays with those guys coming at him. I think the Bears should go for the single game record for sacks. That's what I want to see. Actually, now that I've got myself all worked up about this, I'd almost be happy with that even without a win. Of course, I think that would lead to the Bears having a really good shot at winning, but if the Bears make Packer nation watch their precious bestubbled golden calf have to hobble himself back onto his feet after virtually every play, it will be a very satisfying game. What the Bears need to do, almost even more than they need to win this week, is make the Packers and the rest of the league afraid of them again.

For too long this Bears defense has let the focus rest on the offense and it's improvement--or lack thereof. This is not a team that worries about their offense. This is a team that expects to win with defense and special teams alone, and gives the offense a little pat on the butt whenever they manage not to look completely hopeless. If the Bears remember that this weekend, they will win. Bear down!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I Preach My Pessimism Right Out Loud to Anyone Who'll Listen

Just a few weeks ago I was envisioning the possibility that this coming Sunday the Bears could be playing against the Packers for first place in the NFC North. In fact, just before the Lions scored 34 points in one quarter, there was brief moment in the Pack/Vikings game where it looked entirely possible that Green Bay would give the game away to the Vikings, and the Bears would beat the Lions, in which case this weekend would be for the tie on top of the NFC North, with the Bears owning the tie-break. We all know how that went.

Now, though, I actually don't think the Bears have much of a chance at all of beating Green Bay. I was scared about their defense coming into this season, but I figured that by week 5, Chicago'd have been starting to figure out their offense and they might have enough to put up some points on the Pack. I'd actually be a little astonished, at this point, if the Bears even scored on offense this week. The Packers defense is going to annihilate the Bears offensive line, which means they'll cream the shit out of Griese, which means Ron Turner will just keep calling the same fucking bullshit plays because he won't think he can try anything new until something good and vanilla works for a solid quarter and a half first. The Packers will probably kick to Devin Hester, who'll provide about the only bright spots yardage wise for the Bears (they'll kick to Hester because they'll know it doesn't matter), and the Bears defensive line will probably get a few good and nasty sacks in of the Favre in the first and second quarters, but by the end of the game they'll be so tired from having played the entire game that the Packers running backs will be able to jog for first down after first down. And Favre won't ever have much trouble with the Bears secondary. That is just what is going to happen.

All of which does mean that if the Bears manage to pull out a victory over the Packers this weekend, I'll be nearly as excited about it as I would have been about a Super Bowl victory, which means that a Bears victory this weekend might actually make me happier than I've been about any Bears game except for their NFC Championship win last January.

I'm just not going to hold out my breath.

I hate you, Ron Turner. You ruined my favorite team because you're a moron, and I hate you. (Please please please please please make me eat my words! Hints: Use Greg Olsen! Use Garrett Wolfe! Use Devin Hester! Make a point of trying plays you haven't run yet this year! Use Greg Olsen for God's sake! Make it so the quarterback doesn't have to be the most important member of the offense! (I know you can do it... remember when Kyle Orton was your quarterback? And you had far fewer offensive weapons around him!) Take some fucking risks! You literally have nothing to lose, as you're offense so far has firmly established itself as the worst in the league (check out this weeks DVOA's over at Footballoutsiders... it's not even close...) Show a decent sense of urgency, at least...)

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm Not Here; This Isn't Happening

Apparently, my interest in the NFL in general wanes along with the Bears' stature in it. I knew this already, but I'm intrigued by the fact that it also has some sort of Doppler Effect going on with it: when the Bears are on the ascendency, as I've felt they were ever since hiring Lovie Smith, in interest in the NFL grows at a much quicker pace, like a sound that's artificially higher as a noisy object approaches. But the Bears announcement of suckitude against the Cowboys, followed by their mind-boggling collapse against Detroit this week feels exactly like that point when an ambulance passes you and it's pitch shifts suddenly downward.

The Patriots just beat Cincinnati, making them 4-0, and the Packers won this week, also making them 4-0, and that's about all I know that's happening anywhere. I think Oakland might have beat Miami or something? I hardly care. On some level, I'm balancing actually being happy for Randy Moss that he's proved to everyone so far that he's still probably the best receiver in the NFL with my utter despair at the fact that all it took for him to do it was to go to my second-most-hated team. But I care about it the same amount I care that there's a new sitcom on abc or cbs or somewhere starring a Geico advertisement.

Which all just makes me hate Ron Turner that much more. If the Bears were 4-0, like they would be with a halfway competent offense, the NFL would seem like a much more colorful place to me. That's right Ron Turner: You are robbing me of the enjoyment of football fandom. Please, please, please, please, please figure out what the hell you're doing, or else move your ass to Brazil, where they wouldn't even know how to meaningfully translate the phrase "football shape" into Portuguese.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I think the only true solution to the Bears problem is a new offensive coordinator. They've built a very fast athletic team, but Ron Turner runs a slow vanilla offense at best. He is not the right fit for this roster. However, there's just no way he can be replaced until the offseason, so what can the Bears do? First off they have to change their expectations. I don't think the Bears are a Super Bowl quality team without Mike Brown. Their hopes ended when he was horse-collared by Lorenzo Neal. They are still a playoff caliber team if they can get a running game going and stop fumbling. Personally I think they should get Ricky Williams who becomes eligible tomorrow. The offensive line can't block, so their only hope for any offensive production is misdirection and quick-hitting passes to their speedy receivers, backs not named Cedric and Greg Olsen. Then they can run an occasional traditional run to Benson or over the middle pass to Moose or Clark.
The quarterback situation should be monitored. Griese should have a shorter hook than Grossman. I'd say if he reaches six turnovers before the end of the Home game with Minnesota he's done on that play and he immediately moves to third string behind Orton then Grossman. The way things are the Bears still have a legitimate shot at reaching 4-4. If they fail to achieve this mark I think they should become Orton's team.
I'm going to go sit in the hot tub right now. I hope I don't think much about football until I tune in to torture myself next Sunday night. On the bright side Arsenal are on top of the premership and they have two games this week. At least one of my sporting loves is fun to watch right now!

Ron Turner: Evil Mastermind?

Where is Greg Olsen? Where is Garrett Wolfe? What's wrong with Benson? What's wrong with the offensive line? Why haven't we figured out how to get the ball to Devin Hester? How is it that Brian Griese can come in and essentially replicate Rex Grossman's performance over the past three games? The troubles with the offense are so complete that there's not really any other person to point to except for Ron Turner.

There is only one explanation for his coaching this year, and it is that Ron Turner is on the take from some other team, (possibly Green Bay?) to sabotage the Bears. Either that or the ghost of Brett Favre's father has managed to pick up some new supernatural powers in the years since that famous Monday Night Football game and he used them to make Ron Turner completely retarded (and to convince Brad Childress that Tarvaris Jackson should be a starting quarterback), all so Green Bay would have a clear shot at the playoffs this season.

Actually, no. Ron Turner isn't an evil mastermind. He's just a total idiot. He is the worst offensive coordinator in the league, and he shouldn't have a job. I said he should've been fired after last season along with Rivera, and I've never been less happy to be right about something. Ron Turner is terrible. I hope he does the right thing and steps down to pursue a career as an independent landscaping contractor, or something similarly far away from football, though it would be infinitely more satisfying to hear Lovie Smith call Turner out as unfit for coaching. None of that will happen, though. Ron Turner will just continue to waste a ridiculously good special teams and defense by being hopelessly inept as an offensive coordinator, and he will be paid to do it. Jerk.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I want Holmes' job! or to at least be on a texting level with him

I found this great Fred Miller quote in a Thursday Sun Times article, "He's going to be able to do some things that Rex can't as far as just having experience out there, It will take a little bit off the offensive line in letting him see those looks and getting us out of bad situations.'' It seems reasonable to me that the biggest loss without TJ is his ability to cover Rex's lack of blitz recognition. I agree with Miller, having Griese behind center will provide the offense with a big boost by simply making sure that they have a play called that has a chance from the start. Rex seems really bad at this, and Turner seems more stubborn than improvisational. From my very limited information, it almost seems like spending so much time with Turner may have held Grossman back. A perfect example is that through three games Hester and Wolfe have yet to touch a ball, the Bears have tried three quick screens to Hester, all batted down or disrupted at the line, and one screen to Wolfe which was horribly intercepted. Wouldn't the best way to get them the ball be on running plays or when they're one of several options? Defenses are obviously going to key on them when they're bit-part players, running plays isolated for them is just a stupid idea. In Turner's perfect world the plays would work because they'd be executed perfectly, unfortunately defenses that know what's coming can stop even perfectly executed plays, and we all know the Bears offense is far from perfect right now.
I trust Griese to understand this, and I really believe that he's going to put on a show against Detroit's shitty D. I just hope the Bears 2nd string D is good enough to give the Special Teams and Offense a chance to win the game. Goddamn it sounds weird saying that!

He Said He Loved the Unknown

So we are officially in Day Two of the Brian Griese era, and, for the second post in a row, the main reason I'm writing this is that I want to direct you to Laurence Holmes's Daily Bears Blog. The last two posts have included the types of humanizing insights you don't normally get from sports writers--at least none that I've been able to find that cover the Bears.

But it is also a weird feeling, now, that I have no idea what to expect out of Brian Griese at quarterback. I honestly don't know if I've ever seen him play a game as the starter of a team. He seems, from the little bit I heard about the press conference he had on Wednesday, like a pretty smart and funny guy. That impression is backed up by the most recent couple of Laurence Holmes's blog posts. As much as Grossman seemed entirely likeable, he never seemed especially smart. I'm willing to believe smart bodes well, at this point.

Other than that, though, not really much would surprise me with Griese. He could come out and suck terribly for the rest of the season, and just be another in a long string of unremarkably boring Bears quarterbacks. Or, he could come out confident and swinging, and turn the Bears offense into the force they seemed to expect it could become at the beginning of the season. The only thing I feel relatively certain of is that he won't turn the ball over at the rate Grossman has been doing. And that, at least, is a plus.

But what I'm more seriously interested in knowing is how long it will take before the Chicago crowd starts chanting "Orton" after every miniscule mistake Griese makes. Is it possible we even make it to week 12 before that happens?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Once More, with Feeling

The Sun-Times reported it first, and other places have followed suit. It sounds like the Bears will announce tomorrow that Griese will be the starter next Sunday. If that's true, it basically means that Grossman's done.

The most recent post on Laurence Holmes's daily Bears blog (link over there on the left) does a terrific job of bringing up some of the aspects of this decision that effect Grossman's life, not just his job. It's an aspect of football that is woefully undercovered in the mainstream sports press, and even, for the most part, in sports blogs. For guys who are playing in NFL, it's not just about being sports stars: it's also about their actual careers and their actual lives. I thought of that earlier when the Bears suddenly traded Chris Harris. All of a sudden, Harris had to pick up and move to a completely different state, with nothing building up to that moment. Although being a professional athlete is the childhood fantasy of so many people, a fantasy that I myself entertained, there is a lot about being a professional athlete that would be pretty terrible.

And now Rex Grossman's hopes for a NFL career are suddenly far less sure. Although the pure Bears fan part of me agrees that the Grossman experiment has to be concluded, I've always liked the bit of the actual Rex Grossman that I've had access to as a fan, and I feel genuine sympathy for the situation he has likely quite suddenly found himself in. With all sincerity, I'd like to wish him good luck.

Anyway, read Laurence Holmes's post.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Drop Another Dime in the Wishing Well

I am not a superstitious person. But, wow, the bald reality of the Super Bowl Losers' curse is almost enough to make me start avoiding sidewalk cracks for more than just fun. Check out this article about all the injuries the Bears have coming out of the Dallas game.

So, let's see, defensive starters lost for the season: Mike Brown and Dusty Dvoracek.

Defensive starters who will likely miss several games: Tommie Harris, Nathan Vasher.

Defensive starters who are banged up, and may not start the Detroit game: Lance Briggs, Adam Archuleta, Darwin Walker.

That's over half of the defense! I really felt good about our depth going into this season, but it's always stunning how quickly depth can turn into "Holy crap! Who's going to play our games?!"

Not to mention the two offensive line starters who are banged up. I'd be surprised to see them not start, but at this point, who knows?

And we're only three freakin' games into the season! By the time we play Minnesota, we might be a team of backups.

Good Night, Sweet King

If you came home from work expecting there to be a huge headline on reading "REX IS DONE," then you just don't know how Lovie Smith operates. That didn't stop me from expecting that very thing, though. However, here is what Smith did have to say about the quarterback situation, if you haven't seen it by now, which of course you have, but here it is anyway:

"Will Rex Grossman start Sunday? Well, our evaluation process is going on right now," Smith said. "And if you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions."

Based on my own subtle knowledge of Lovie Smith's way with the press, I have to say it sounds like Rex is done. And if Rex still is the starting quarterback next week, it means that the coaches sat down and took a good long look at the quarterback's they have and decided that Griese is terrible. In which case, why not cut him?

Actually, I think the only hesitation on Lovie's part probably is the decision between Griese and Orton.

I'd just like to say, however, contrary to what most people probably think, which is that Lovie is being indecisive here, I think Lovie's carefully guarded statement is more an indication of his decisive nature. By which I mean that Lovie knows, and has known for a while, that once he benches Rex Grossman, that's it. Grossman is done. He will never start another game for the Chicago Bears unless both Griese and Orton get injured. I think Lovie stuck with Grossman for as long as he did both out of the belief that Grossman has appeared to have a tremendous amount of potential and because he wanted any decision to be made about Grossman to be final. If he'd benched Grossman any time last season, there would have been that glimmer of possibility that his badness was just a fluke, and that he could possibly be brought back and turned into the quarterback he sometimes promised to become. So, instead, he kept him as the starter, and he gave him every opportunity to show he could improve: a new quarterback coach, a full off-season as the firm starter, the benefit of an entire preseason without the possibility of losing his job, etc. With all of that, if Grossman didn't show any improvement, well, there couldn't really be any lingering doubt about whether he deserved another chance. If, as I fully expect, the Bears have a new starting quarterback on Wednesday, it will be a permanent move. And Grossman's tenure with the Bears will be completely over.

Which makes me sad. I didn't expect it to be like this. I wasn't expecting great things from Rex this year, but I was expecting improvement, maybe a little more consistency. Instead, we're only three games into the season, and suddenly it feels like the Bears will have to fight tooth and nail to make the playoffs. Call it the benefit of lowered expectations, but, at this point, of the Bears manage to pull off enough wins to earn a playoff spot, I'll be thrilled. I still believe they have the potential to be a great team, and this season is still young enough that it could have a happy ending, but they're going to have to fight way harder to earn it than any of them thought they would. There are no longer any gimme games on their schedule--not even against the Lions this week.

And it still hurts quite a lot.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


That was basically like getting kicked in the nuts. Really hard.

Before this game, I thought the Bears were not only the best team in the NFC, but one of the top few teams in the NFL. Now, I have seen evidence with my own eyes that they're not. The Bears are a team that still has the potential to become one of the best teams in the league. But, at this point, potential is all it is. And it's all because of the offense.

I don't care how many yards the defense gave up in the second half, the fact it, is if the Bears had an offense that was capable of, every time they got the ball, holding onto it for, say, five minutes, they would rarely lose a game. They certainly would not have lost this game. The Bears defense is fast and scary, and they made the Cowboys offense look exactly like I thought they would make them look for the entire first half. The Bears defense is young, and it's loaded with players with incredible talent, many of whom still have their peak years to look forward to.

But the Bears offense, right now, is terrible. They not only didn't look better than they have the past two weeks, but I'm not sure but they might have actually looked worse. And what should have been done about that is that Turner should've gotten fired at the end of last season. Obviously, that can't happen now, so the question is what to do from here. Going forward, as they like say in the business world.

Maybe it's the emotional sucker punch of this game still sinking in, but it's hard to imagine how the first thing to do is not to bench Rex Grossman. No one could possibly argue that he hasn't been given every chance in the world. And though I still do think he has some really exciting talent, so far this year, all he's done is kill this team. I still give Lovie all the props in the world for sticking to Grossman up to this point, but now is, I think, the breaking point. Grossman must never be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears again. It was nice while it lasted, and I really mean that, but... I can think of almost no reasons why Rex Grossman should still be our starting quarterback.

Actually, only one reason: who takes his place? I think it should be Orton. I can't explain why I'm not sold on Griese, but I am just not at all. I think in his rookie season Orton showed he was better at staying out of the way of the defense that Grossman ever has been. And now Orton's got the benefit of a real year of studying from the bench in the NFL.

But, probably, it will be Griese. It's the safer bet.

The most depressing thing of it all is that, if the Bears want to have any realistic hope of winning their division, which seemed like an extremely safe bet couple of weeks ago, they have to get really hot. They are 1-2. Green Bay is 3-0, and playing a terrible Minnesota team next week. There is basically no shot that the Bears can regain the NFC North crown when they take on Favre. And that's really sad.

All in all, this was probably the most depressing football game I've watched since the Bears were clobbered by Philadelphia in the 2001 playoffs.

Why Chicago Must Win Tonight

We all know that Chicago has to win to night for their own good. Being 2-1 is not just the opposite of being 1-2, it is also likely the difference between it being possible for the Bears to take the lead in the NFC North again when they play Green Bay in week 5 and that being a pretty long shot. And probably it will have a big effect on confidence and other things like that, which is way more important that most stat geeks will be willing to admit, as well as way less important than your average NFL head coach will try to convince you of. Especially Herm Edwards.

But I'm more interested in the reasons that Chicago must win tonight for the benefit of the world. First of all, there's this poll at Cold Hard Football Facts, which finds that right now, 49% of their voters think Dallas is going to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Of course, we know that is not going to happen, because it's going to be Chicago. If the Bears win tonight, especially if they do so convincingly, it would go a long way toward changing the minds of many of those poor folks who are living in the haze of the Dallas hype. It might make some of them start to question the information they get from the media, and wonder just why it is that they've been misled to believe that Dallas is truly awesome. Maybe they'll realize that it's largely because the media thinks its good for America if everyone thinks Dallas is a really good team, because Dallas is America's team. Then they'll wonder, "What else has the media misled me about because they believe it is good for America?" They'll start to think that maybe the media has been doing this sort of thing all along. Maybe that's why that thought it seemed like such a good idea to support Bush in the last election, when it obviously has turned out not to be such a good idea. Maybe they'll think that this is exactly the type of thing the media was doing in the run-up to the Iraq war, when most international analysts believed invading Iraq was a terrible idea, but the American media helped its President convince his people that it was a really swell idea. Maybe they'll then embark on a new life of enlightened questioning of received ideas, they'll realize the two party system is what's bringing this country's political world down, that Dane Cook isn't funny, that global warming is a genuine thing that requires immediate collective action like driving less and when they have to using fuel-efficient cars, that Bud Light is actually just piss in a bottle and there are actual beers out there that are palatable. That is the type of world that Chicago could help bring about if they beat Dallas tonight. So, with even greater than normal enthusiasm, right now in my head I'm chanting, "Bear Dooooooooown, Chicago Bears!"