Friday, August 22, 2008

We Suck!

After reading the Bears' analysis of their defensive performance last night, I'm excited that their 'we suck' moment came in the pre-season this year and not in Week 3. The defense is going to be good, they have to be. And now I think more than ever they've finally forgotten about '06 and realize that they have to earn all the respect they will get starting in Week 1 '08. These players don't want to be good, they want to dominate and run the table as the top ranked defense through the entire season. Anything less will feel like a failure to this group, and these players just do not fail.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cure for the (orange and) blues.

G-ddamn it is depressing reading the coverage about my team this year. All of the coverage focuses on the offense and how it looks like it won't be very good this year. The thing is, I don't remember a time when the Bears offense was any good, and I still managed to be excited about the team before. And I'm pretty sure I remember lead-ups to seasons that weren't as insanely pessimistic as this year. But, ask anyone, the Bears have the worst quarterbacks in the league, the worst offensive line ever, and they'll be lucky to win a single game this season. Well, fuck that...

Here's how you get excited about the Bears this year. Yesterday, while I was floating around in a Dramamine haze somewhere above Utah I began to wonder how good the defense can be this year. Ever since Lovie took over the team, with the exception of the first half of last season when most of our defensive starters were injured, the defense and special teams have been the reason to watch the Bears. Even during Smith's first season as coach, with Terry Shea setting the all-time low for offensive ineptitude (and how could anyone even think that this year's offense could approach that year's... Shea didn't even know what players he had out on the field half the time!) the defense was pretty special. It was even better three years ago, and when combined with the explosion of Devin Hester onto the special teams scene, we made it to the Super Bowl. Sure, during the Super Bowl run the offense came up big a few times, but that offense wasn't going to take any other team even into the playoffs. The defense and special teams were so good at times that it almost seemed like a mistake for the other team to even try to run an offense...

Which gets me to this year. I think there's a great chance the defensive and special teams units will be even better this year than they were in '06. Hester is now a special teams veteran who's been in the system for two full years already, and teams are even more afraid of him than they were in '06. On top of that, it appears that we're going to have the healthiest defense going into the beginning of the season that I remember us ever having, and our defensive line is likely to be significantly deeper and stronger than the '06 version. Add Dvoracek, Anthony Adams, Marcus Harrison and Israel Idonije to the four freaks from that year (Ogunleye, Harris, Brown, Anderson) and we've got a potentially terrifying d-line rotation. Add a healthy Mike Brown to that mix and... well, I started thinking: Is it possible for a defense and special teams combo to be so good that opposing teams actually decrease their chances of winning a game the more times they touch the ball? And how would that register, statswise? If a team plays against us this year and goes three-and-out more often than not, and then if it has to deal with trying to punt to our special teams unit, the offense won't even have to move the ball forward before they eventually start out in field goal range. And if you add to that the possibility of touchdowns on punt returns and touchdowns on interception runbacks, well, there could conceivably be stretches of games where the other team would've been better off actually allowing our offense to hold onto the ball by giving up a few first downs now and then and hoping for their own defensive break...

Okay, yeah, that's maybe stretching it, but that's what I'm hoping for this season: more than one game where our opponents actually find themselves lowering their chances of winning the game by trying to run their offense, to the point that they're chances of winning actually decrease the more touches their offense gets. If the Bears can pull that off, I think I'd be even more excited about it than making the playoffs. And I think this is the year we can do it!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I'm not gonna lie: I frickin' love beards.

And now we got one running our team!

Never mind that the Bears are not going to win a single game this season (in spite of a defense and a special teams unit that will both be significantly better than those fielded by the team in '05, when a significantly worse Orton managed to win ten of fifteen) these Bears are going to please me in a different but nearly as satisfying way: aesthetically. In fact, with Grossman riding the bench, I can't think of a single starting member of the Bears whose appearance doesn't please me. But none so much as Captain Neckbeard.

Dripping Sarcasm

It's not even the third week of the preseason yet, and I already know the season is over. We are going to be absolutely awful this year. We will probably lose every game. Lovie Smith obviously has no idea how to coach a professional football team. He took over four years ago spouting all this optimistic stuff about beating Green Bay, winning the division, and making it to the Super Bowl, but all he's done since taking over a team with a 76-102 record over the previous eleven years is compile a 38-30 record. The dummie's only one the division twice, and he only went to the Super Bowl once. Nice try. Go play tennis or something, where it actually matters if you win more games than you lose. Obviously, the Bears are not going to be a good team until they get a new head coach.

But first things first: the Bears are going to be awful this year because their starting quarterback is either going to be Grossman or Orton. It doesn't matter how good you make the rest of your team: history has proven that it's just impossible to win games with these guys leading your offense. The team is a rather dishearting 12-6 in games that Orton has started, and an even scarier 19-11 with Grossman starting at QB. And they didn't even win the only Super Bowl game they got to play in after letting him fuck everything up for them for a whole season. This whole quarterback thing is extra frustrating, too, because there are all these great QBs sitting around not playing for anybody. Like... um... Daunte Culpepper, and... just tons of guys. It just sucks. There is no way the Bears even stand a chance of winning a game as long as they have Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman starting for them at quarterback, and as long as Lovie Smith is staring calmly at the field from the sidelines, "coaching".

Sunday, August 17, 2008


For once, I totally agree with David Haugh. The only thing that's been proved up to this point in the preseason is that Grossman isn't going to win the starting QB spot. The offense needs to come together and start really getting ready for the regular season, and they can't do it while waiting for Grossman to finally figure out how to bring his game every time he's out on the field. The decision needs to be made. There's really no point in delaying it.

Oh, and, if anyone needs a reminder of how meaningful pre-season is: right now, as I'm typing this, New England's getting blown out by Tampa Bay, like 27-3 or some shit.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I have seen the future, and it is LOUD!

So now that training camp is officially over, Grossman and Orton have officially used up all of the practice time they get to show why either is better than the other. The verdict? Maybe Ron Turner has an clue?

'I really don't,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said when asked if he has a sense of who's ahead.

This isn't Turner being his typical clueless self, either, I don't think. All reports out of training camp have been that neither QB has really pulled himself ahead of the other, and based on all I've seen, which is just the Kansas City game, there's not really a whole lot, at least from a pure performance perspective, to base the decision on. Reports from camp have fluctuated between both QBs looking extremely sharp and both QBs looking equally sloppy. In the KC game, they veered a little bit toward the sloppy side of the spectrum, but neither looked as bad as they've looked at various times in the past, which is to say they looked good enough to run a game-winning offense with the special teams and defense the Bears have on the field the rest of the game.

So, obviously, the decision of whom to choose as QB is weighing heavily on my mind. There's a chance that the decision could become obvious in the Seattle game. Orton could come out looking crisp and efficient while Grossman bumbles, turning the ball over in several of the many ways he knows how. Or Grossman could come out bombing like the early 2006 Grossman did, while Orton treats us to a series of two-yard passes and bombs to the out-of-bounds. If either of those things happen, though, it likely won't mean much more about each QBs overall abilities. We know the downsides of both QBs, and even though we don't have as clear a picture of Orton's upside, we do know it's nowhere close to Grossman's.

All of which is why I think we have to go with Orton. The thing is, Grossman should have won this competition. He has tools Orton simply doesn't have, and if he was ready to make full use of them and become the big-time NFL starter he looks like he's got buried deep in him somewhere, he would've pulled way ahead of Orton a while ago. But he hasn't. He hasn't shown he knows how to bring his whole game whenever he wants to, and he hasn't yet shown he knows how to leave what we once lovingly called "Bad Rex" behind. Meanwhile, Orton has left his rookie season back in 2005. He's solid. He's not great. It may even be stretching it at this point to call him "good," although he could probably develop into that over the course of a full season as a starter. But he's solid. Give him a decent running game, a powerful defense, and consistently great starting field position, and he'll make enough plays to win games, and he'll limit game-killing mistakes.

So there it is, that's my pitch for Orton, although I'm not convinced that's why he's going to be our starter. He's going to be our starter because of that weird groupthink phenomena out there that has convinced everyone Grossman is the worst QB who has ever played football. What Grossman needed to show this preseason is that he's finally learned how to not fail. If the coaches decide to go with, and if he then fails, they are going to look to the common thought of football followers like they are unconscionably stupid. They will lose their jobs. If they choose Orton and things don't quite work out, they'll look like they just weren't given enough options. I'd think that was a truly cynical set of steps to a decision if it weren't for the fact that I think Orton makes more sense anyway. But you can't discount the effect of the rabid booing of Bears fans in the decision.

And, ultimately, I'm not sure it really will matter all that much. Ron Turner's offense needs a good running game. In 2006 we had that, and even with Grossman going through some of his pants-shitter games we made it to the Super Bowl. And the big offensive story of this preseason should be our running game. Matt Forte looks like a better version of what we lost when Thomas Jones went to the Jets. And behind him we've got Kevin Jones, who, if Forte didn't look so good already, I'd say has a chance to challenge for the starting job. And he still might anyway. And to top it all off, we've got a bit of a wild-card in Wolfe, who looks like he's figured out how to be something kind of special in the league. Look for the Bears running game, led by Matt Forte, to be the best it's been in a long time. And because of that, frankly, regardless of the whole confusing situation at QB and receiver, I'm not even worried about our offense. It's going to work this year.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I just threw up a little in my mouth.

I honestly didn't think it'd be possible for me to hate the Vikings and the Packers even more than I did, but.... Well, I was wrong.

The latest reports (and this could change by the time I'm done typing this) are that the Packers called the Vikings on Friday to let them know that Favre will be available for a trade. If that ends up happening, current Packers management have no reason to expect they should be able to keep their jobs. This whole stand-off has been stupid from the beginning. Brett Favre, despite being probably the most over-rated QB ever, is still pretty good, and he had one of his best seasons in years last year. Yes, Favre has acted like a petulant solipsistic flip-flopper and pretty much dominated the entire off-season attention of the team for going on like five years now, but that doesn't matter. I know, if you're Ted Thompson, you think it's your job to be, y'know, building a team and working out trades and developing draft picks and all that nice stuff. And, yeah, it is your job. Except that your real job is just making your team as good as it can be, and all of that stuff just represents the tools you have available to do that. So I know Brett Favre has kept you from really exercising your GM muscles--but that just means you don't have to! No matter what Brett Favre said, it simply makes no sense for the Packers not to do whatever they need to do (which, really, is not much) to let him lead their team for another year. Instead, they've done everything in their power to keep him away from the team. It is just, plain, stupid. And I'm going to relish the two Chicago Bears victories that come this when we pound the Packers even more! Punish that stupidity!

Meanwhile, I never really could get myself to actually like Favre, but I did have a kind of begrudging liking for him. But he's apparently just clueless about the existence of other people and the rights of anyone except him to want anything. Frankly, on a personal level, no wonder the Packers organization wants him gone. Reading the transcript of the interview with that Fox News lady made me really happy about the obvious pain the Bears defense has inflicted upon the man for the past few years. Whether he goes to the Vikings or to the Packers this year, I seriously want to see that mofo on his back with Urlacher & Harris & Mike Brown (& Alex Brown & Mark Anderson & Ogunleye) letting him know that's where he belongs.

Also, and this is a bit of a non-sequitor but it just occurred to me and I'm blogging in real-time here: Brett Favre holds two (at least) major records right now. One of them for all-time touchdown passes, the other for all-time interceptions. By playing another year or two, all he's going to do is make it one more or possibly two more years longer for Peyton Manning to break his TD-pass record. Meanwhile, is INT record is going to become untouchable. Nobody's ever going to break that record, especially if he inflates it with more games. So, yeah, that's a bit of a comfort, that in several years, Brett Favre's most untouchable record will be the one everyone acts like he doesn't have.

Oh, and the Vikings are pure evil. I've always known that. But now there's even more evidence. Seriously, the image in my head when I think if the Vikings is of a glossy purple serpent, like the kind that talked Eve into eating the fruit. That's what the Vikings represent in my mind. I hope they all lose their teeth. And I cannot friggin' wait for the Bears to mash them into their astro-turf, with or without Favre.