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.