So, the Bears haven’t won against the Packers in forever. On the one hand, it’s disconcerting that the team to the North can continue to find good (generational?) quarterbacks, coaches, and everything else, but the Bears cannot. On the other hand, we’ve been to the same number of Super Bowls since 2000. It just feels worse to be a Bears fan.

The problem, as with the Cubs a decade ago, is that there’s no real incentive to do anything. The stadium sells out, I see jerseys everywhere, and I have a bunch of shirts and swag myself – beyond all reason.

I (and the rest of the fan base) would like to see a winning football team. I’d like to root for my team in another Super Bowl. Hell, I’d like my team to win it all. I remember 1985 but man, that’s a long time ago (and the best part of 2006 was the Prince halftime show).

So, what can be done? First things first – they need a cohesive game plan that uses their players to the best of their abilities and exploits their opponents’ weaknesses (maybe shift off of the Tampa 2 when the opposing offense starts picking it apart, for example). Then, they need to improve the players in the trenches (OL and DL), and THEN they need to add skill players, including QB.

It’s possible that one of the QBs in this year’s draft could be the answer at that position, but ideally that would only be one of the many necessary fixes. I also don’t understand the rush to replace Justin Fields. He’s done everything asked of him and stayed mostly healthy and available with a sub-par supporting cast (maybe the most consistent trait of the Bears organization).

We’ve seen him scramble like a running back, drop dimes to an open (or nearly open) Moore or Kmet, so we know he has those tools. But, just like any other time that I can remember, we’ve also watched him get chased out of the pocket or hurried (or hit) on nearly every play.

My critical eye sees him hesitating a lot, and while he did lower his interceptions, there were a few that occurred at the worst possible times. Also, the hesitation reverts pretty quickly into a run, which results in less pass plays. My biggest concern for JF1 is his decision-making process, and I think that would look 10x better with some line consistency and more plays where he naturally rolls out to find his guys.

I’d love to have a playoff-level receiving corps, as well, where if Moore and Kmet are doubled, there’s a 3rd or even 4th option finding their way open. That comes with practice and consistency, but those things are only possible if the same folks have time to work together. And that only happens if the team wins.

Ultimately, I think Ryan Poles gets this. (Sports talk radio does not.) He’s building a core of great players in different roles. It was more apparent on the defensive side this year, especially after Eberflus took over play calling. Once they got some time together, they started to work as a cohesive unit – less scattered, less missed plays. Then they added Sweat and it changed everything.

I think the offense is a few players away from having a similar burst, and if both units can find their stride at the same time, we could be looking at a playoff-caliber team. And not just for 2024, but for a few years.

The 2022 campaign was no fun, but the team looked improved (despite the losses) and the idea of a rebuild was a palate cleanser. The 2023 season started in a very disappointing way, but there were moments where the Bears looked legit (for entire games on defense, and on a number of plays on offense).

If Poles finds more quality players this offseason, and retains the parts that were clearly working, we might be looking at a win against the Packers, finally. If that would also keep them out of the playoffs, all the better.

Next year.