Here we are, 1-6 – soon to be embarrassed on national TV (yet again) and we will be sitting at 1-7 to start the year. So let’s talk about the Chicago Bears.
There is so much to unpack here and so much history. I will begin with the boss, George McCaskey.
There are a lot of jokes that go around making fun of the McCaskey family and how they run things. But the fact of the matter is that they have not been stingy with the cash at all. Over and over they have spent untold millions of dollars on this team, trying to make it better. I question keeping Ted Phillips around, however. In what possible world can Ted be considered “successful”? But what is successful to the McCaskeys? Making money? They certainly do that. If it is simply a question of making money, well, more power to them. Nobody has to go to the games (keep an eye on the stands as the weather gets cold and things get more and more bleak). But my gut tells me that they really do want to win. So why is Ted around?
When Ted and George hired Ryan Pace, I felt really good about it. Fresh face, renewed energy, a new way to look at things. An interesting departure from stodgy Phil Emery. But what a mess. It doesn’t appear that Pace has any clear direction. Granted, our whole team seems to get injured every week (and who’s fault is that, anyways?) but we have seen hundreds of guys in Bear uniforms in just a year and a half since the Pace/Fox era started. Our drafts these first two years haven’t been stellar (jury still out on some players, I will give Pace that). But what is the plan? Is there one? The Bears have to be looking long term at this point and form some sort of plan and stick to it. Too many moving pieces.
John Fox. He seems completely clueless. Maybe it is just me. This was Pace’s big hire and he doesn’t really seem to be “with it” in pressers, or on the sidelines or…anything. I am pretty unimpressed so far.
Cutler. He’s gone after this year so everyone can stop blaming everything on him (see how well Hoyer and Barkley did in Cutler’s absence just like Pickles last year). So what are we going to do for a qb? Early draft pick? Could work, might not. Brady was a 6th rounder. The first rounder in Philly, against all of my predictions, seems to be doing well. The number one pick from last year’s draft hasn’t played a down yet. You just never know.
Our offensive line is adequate, but that doesn’t get you into the playoffs and adequate gets your qb killed. Over and over. Even Seattle is having a tough time keeping Wilson upright and Green Bay is also finding out what living with an adequate line is like. Rodgers is definitely not himself this year.
The receivers outside of Jeffrey are unremarkable and in need of an upgrade. Kevin White is a complete and total bust.
Our defense actually seems to be coming along. I know it takes time to learn a new system, but many players have played the 3-4 on other teams so it isn’t like it is as big of a deal as a new offensive coordinator. Our front seven (especially once we get McPhee back) is more stout than I have seen in a while, but our corners and safeties bite. Many injuries on that front as well.
Speaking of injuries, what the heck? Why are we so cursed? Our starting center blew his knee up on FAMILY NIGHT. That is insane. I don’t know if this is bad luck, or poor training, but it just seems like we are always the walking wounded. I have no real explanation for this as I assume that most of the trainers (maybe I am assuming too much) have some sort of NFL experience and know how to train guys up for the long season.
So where does all of this armchair quarterbacking leave us? I really don’t know. Will upper management give Pace and Fox another year? I think that is the real question. I don’t know how much pressure there is on these guys but the owners have to feel tired of seeing their franchise being a laughingstock for so long. If the pressure is too great, there will be sacrificial lambs first (coordinators) then probably Fox, then Pace will go. It is in all of their best interests to show at least a little flash of brilliance (ha) at the end of this year to give Ted and George some sort of confidence in what we have here.
In the end, I am sort of clueless. I know that all of these folks are working as hard as they can, but nothing seems to be clicking. Again.