What will fix the Chicago Bears? Better yet, how can they beat the Packers? Are those not a couple of interesting questions? The answer can be explained in one word, consistency. The Bears have many problems, however not as many as Cleveland, Miami, the New York Giants or even Seattle.
Yes, Seattle has problems too. Now, stop distracting me with Seattle’s problems!
The Bears aren’t as much of a laughing stock like the Browns or Lions, thankfully. Cleveland and Detroit do have their perfect seasons to reflect upon, but really Detroit is just happy to have the company.
As a Bears fan, I find myself having a pessimistic kind of humor and view of an NFL season. I have this joke I tell way too often over the past decade. It goes something like this:
Random Person: You watch football?
Me: Um, yeah. When I can.
Random Person: Who’s your team?
Me: The Bears.
Random Person: Oh. I don’t meet many Bears fans.
Me: Yea, it’s alright, but usually by week four I can stop caring.
*cue uncomfortable laughter and Random Person never talking to me again*
Following the 2017-2018 football season the Bears had a few issues the franchise was facing:
Head Coach: You can’t out fox a Fox…unless you can, which happened 80% of the time verses division rivals and 57% of the time verses the rest of the NFL. John Fox was 3-15 verses NFC North foes and 11-19 against everyone else.
Wide Receivers: Hindsight is always 20/20, but keeping a wide out healthy in Chicago seems damn near impossible these days. Must be that fresh Lake Michigan air.
Quarterback: The youth movement has begun, but was the cost worth it?
Defense: I hear Brian Urlacher is still alive. Every Bears line backer lives in the shadow of greats, legends and giants. Many will try to carry the flag in to battle, but only few reach the top the pile.
Thankfully problem one has been solved. In retrospect, the hiring of John Fox didn’t seem too bad. He came to Chicago hot on the heels of three “successful” seasons in Denver. That means he won 12-13 games in three out of the four years he was there. So, hopes were high in the Windy City. The shine, however, soon wore off and the ugly truth of poor leadership and bad play calling showed its grizzly face. Fox only beat the Packers once during his 3 years in Chicago.
In comparison, Lovie Smith was 4-2 against Green Bay in his first three years in Chicago and his quarterbacks were Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton, and Rex Grossman. For the time being it seems that the winds are shifting and a new sheriff is in town. Optimism is high and goals are lofty, and for now the faith and trust is in Matt Nagy.
On to problem #2, why can’t any wide receivers survive in Chicago? Remember Muhsin Muhammad? Yeah, no one else does either? Brandon Marshall couldn’t make it, even with his pal Jay Cutler. Alshon Jeffery started with the Bears, but after injuries and Bears management not wanting to pay him, he got out of Chicago lickity-split.
It seems that has worked out for him. High profile, number one wide receivers just don’t seem stay, or work out, in Soldier Field.
Honestly, wide receiver is only half the problem. The other half is how they get the ball moving and where the offense starts. Since 2008, the Bears have had Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler, Tod Collins, Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown, Jason Campbell, Jimmy Clausen, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon and, the newly appointed “Chosen One”, Mitchell Trubisky. So, before Trubisky, there were 10 other guys to start at least one game in a season.
How have some other teams faired at QB in the same time frame? New England has used four, Green Bay used five, Pittsburgh used six, and Cleveland used, a ridiculous, 19. There is a reason quarterback is considered the most important position on the field; it can lead to consistency and success, or mediocrity and bottom dwelling.
Everything in life seem cyclical. It will come back again, right? In the mid-2000’s, lightning struck for the Bears in the form of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman. It was what many called the “Re-birth of the Monsters of the Midway”. It was a throwback to the much-feared Bears defense of the 1980’s.
Now, the defense, though not bad, just can’t cover for this dismal offense the way that mid-2000’s defense did. Last year’s Bears offense ranked : 29th in points, 30th in yards, 32nd in passing yards, and a high 16th in rushing yards. The defense ranked: 9th in points, 10th in yards, 7th in passing, and 11th against the rush.
Know your strengths. Accept your fate, or live believing in the future. All you have to do then is rinse and repeat.