I can admit when I was wrong – the Bears are terrible. Ranked 32 out of 32 teams in more than one power ranking, the case against them is compelling, new regime or not.
1. Even though they fought pretty valiantly in the first game, they didn’t/couldn’t take advantage of more than one opportunity to put the game away. Regardless, they looked like a professional football team.
2. The very next game, on the very first play, all that momentum or good feeling is dashed on the rocks. The remaining 58 minutes of football were a downhill slide to despair. My despair is now tempered after the full-on, level 10 shiticane that was the 2014/2015 Bears season, but I had some hope that I wouldn’t have to watch 16 dumpster fires this year. Hope. I think I know how Cubs fans used to feel.
3. Further damnation. In a nutshell, one of the best safeties in the league held out two games, and his superbowl-caliber team is 0-2. He has decided to come back, having proven his point, to reinvigorate the “Legion of Boom” at home against… the Chicago Bears. Cripes.
4. Cutler goes down, leaving Jimmy Clausen (continuing the long-standing tradition of Chicago QBs who are terrible) and David Fales (who looked good in the preseason against scrubs but is unproven in legitimate NFL action) to run the brand new offense. I’m not sure how Clausen still has a job, and David Fales – the name likely speaks for itself.
5. Tony Romo goes down in Dallas and in the same week, despite having a former #1 pick as backup QB, the team brings in Matt Cassell (fairly proven game-managing journeyman QB) and have yet another young QB stepping in from the practice squad while Cassell is brought up to speed. Meanwhile, the Bears have, well, see item #4 above.
All of this leads me to the conclusion that there is no urgency to win, and no expectation of a playoff berth in the organization. There’s also no assurance that they’re tanking the season with a plan in place, which is a dangerous assumption by folks who look to the Blackhawks and Cubs for hope. Where Stan Bowman and Theo Epstein were happy to talk about their plan to bring their respective teams to championship-level from the ground up, Ryan Pace has made no such assurance.
So, if the Bears actually go 2-14 on the season, they’d get a good pick, but even that doesn’t lift my level of hope. Kyle Fuller vs. Clinton-Dix, for example. In the past, we had talent but the coaching fell flat. Then, the talent got old, and the coaching got worse. Now, we have a proven coaching staff but the talent is either new or off the street. The only quality players who I’d call “home grown” are Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery (who is injured a lot), and Kyle Long. Pace and Fox have some work to do to bolster that list, and they need to do it quickly.