Bearing it All: Bad News, Bears!
At 4-7, this is a team in crisis. Lovie Smith's mantra of "There's still a lot of football left to play" is a losing cliche. There's less left to play than has been played, and what has been played has been disastrous. One by one, Chicago Bears hopes were sidelined with injuries. The men fans look to as the diamonds in the rough, when the rest of the team is missing tackles and fumbling balls, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, were each carted off the field in the second half. With them, went any chances for a Bears win. Cameras panned the sidelines to show them head in hands and wrapped in ice. The physically beaten players revealed the internal leveling they'd suffered.
Two stats stick out from Sunday night's 36-10 loss to division rivals the Minnesota Vikings. 518. This was the most yards a Chicago Bears defense has given up since 1982. And 2. This is the number of positive yards the Bears net in the entire second half. Two. TWO!
In the infamous words of former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green: "The Bears are who we thought they were." Going into this game, what else would one expect from an offense that hasn't been able to complete in the red zone since game three (playing the Browns and the Lions doesn't count in polite company)? The offensive line isn't getting any younger as the season progresses and is no better at protecting Cutler. A defense known for its ability to strip balls did exactly that, reclaiming two fumbled balls from the Vikings' Adrian Peterson. But those efforts lead to nothing but 3 and outs from the offense. It has been the same story for about the last four games.
When a team has a coach who consistently states at press conferences that they are going to "do what we do every week" to prepare, when that preparation has lead to a losing record, could fans expect anything less than a loss? I guess we can thank Smith for preparing fans, too...for disappointment.
Chicagoans may be able to resign themselves to being the second city. We can even embrace it via improvisational comedy. We can accept a Super Bowl loss and a few rebuilding years. But there's one thing that we won't settle for with our football and that's looking chumps, especially on defense. Yes, the players are playing poorly in many cases. But ultimately, who is in charge of finding talent that is going to execute? Who is in charge of making sure he is playing to the strengths of his players if he doesn't have the raw talent? Who is in charge of finding a new plan if the team keeps losing? Who is in charge of leading a team that bolsters civic pride? The Head Coach.
It only took a 3-6 start this season and one of the worst offenses in the league for the Buffalo Bills to can former Bears coach Dick Jauron. The Bills weren't afraid of letting him go and coughing up the $6 million they had to pay for the remainder of his contract to cut the dead weight that was sinking the team mid season. Is a little over $10 million for the next two years a fair price to pay to sever the Bears from their old ball and chain? With Sunday night's loss in mind, Chicago fans would be likely to answer in the affirmative.
It's the Chicago way to throw away money: on parking meters, on metallic beans, on ridiculously high sales tax. McCaskey family, we totally won't hold it against you if Lovie gets to take the money and run. Just find us someone who can salvage this team.