Sunday, September 16, 2007

Just Like the Old Days

Well, I think it's safe to say that the Bears defense is as good as it has ever been, and just as fun to watch. And Devin Hester (along with the rest of the special teams) is just amazing. Both of those aspects of this team are, at least as far as I've seen, the best in the league.

So what's up with the offense? Maybe the better question would be: what was up with the offense for the first half of last season? The last two games, the Bears offense has looked much more like the offense of the 2005 season than last year, except that Grossman's quarterbacking it instead of Orton. It has the exact same inconsistency as that offense. There are the occasional plays made by Berrian and any of the other assortment of backup receivers who every now and then show that they've got the athletic potential to be pretty exciting. But most of the time the offense just stutters into solid field goal range and the hiccups off the field. I really would like to know what's going on with it.

We're two games into the season and Grossman has yet to throw a TD pass to a receiver who doesn't have to be announced as eligible before the play begins. Turner promised to open up the offense this week, but the only time they went deep that I remember was that bomb Grossman through toward the end of the first half, where it looked like Berrian kind of fucked up the route again and it nearly got intercepted. Benson did have a decent game, but it wasn't anything really better than decent. All throughout training camp and the preseason there were all those reports about how exciting the Bears offense looked--one of them even coming from perpetual Bear-hater John Clayton. I just have to wonder what all of that was about?

Is Turner just biding his time until Olsen is back? Was Olsen really that critical to the brand new Bears offense? I still do have faith that the Bears will figure something out and their offense will have figured out something they can count on to come through if they're playing against a rough defense, which is, I think, really all they need to win in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. But they've got a ways to go.

But, like I said, the defense and the special teams are, as they've been for the past couple of seasons, so good that it hardly matters. I would be seriously scared if I were an opposing team with Chicago coming up on their schedule. Most of the defenders are faster than most of your offensive players. And they're hungry.

By the way, the most underreported story of the Bears season, so far, is Bob Babich. It really seems like the defense has stepped it up in aggressiveness this year, compared to the past two years. I mean, both Urlacher and Briggs had sacks. It's nice to see the defense is just going after the other team, every play, for the whole game. And there was also one of the coolest things that I haven't mentioned yet from last week against the Chargers. It came some time during the first half, I think second quarter, when the Bears forced an incomplete pass to chase the Chargers off the field again, and as the ball bounced out of bounds there was this crazy Bears coach jumping out on the field, hopping up and down and screaming, celebrating almost as much as Mike Brown does, and I thought, "Ha! Who the hell's that?" It turned out to be Babich. As much as I love Lovie's stoic squint (and I do love it), it's pretty fun to see one of the Bears coaches throwing celebratory tantrums up and down the sidelines.

And here's my final random thought of the evening: Green Bay plays San Diego next week. I doubt they'll win, which will put them at 2-1. Then they play MN the following week, over whom I'd almost guarantee a victory, 3-1. Next Sunday night the Bears play Dallas, and regardless of how awesome people think Dallas's offense is, I'm sure it's not going to look very good against the Bears defense. Bears 2-1. Followed by a breezy little trip to Ford Field, for a date with the Lions, who are going to be losing for the second week in a row after dropping next week's to Philly. Bears 3-1. Lions 2-2. Packers 3-1. Minnesota 2-2 (yeah, they'll beat KC next week). Which means that when the Bears play the Packers in week 5, on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field, they'll be playing for first place in the NFC North. And I think that's a pretty sweet thing to look forward to.

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