Even as an honorary Gen Xer at least in my mind, I’m still a bit young for that altered Ferris Bueller quote. However, I will use an blatantly overused movie trope: *Freeze frame. Record scratch. The Bears have lost 5 in a row to very good teams. All of Chicago probably wonders…..”How did we get here?” *Cue VHS rewind….
I feel like I am very objective, and don’t get as emotionally invested as I used to. I need to know why things on the football field work, and why they don’t. It’s a giant pie chart of failure, but it took a while to get here. It’s like you smell cinnamon rolls cooking, but then you get in the kitchen, and realize they are burnt. I feel like that’s 2020 in general, but before we start making effigies and attacking Ted Phillips castle looking for Frankenstein, let’s scale things back.
Gotta play your schedule
First, “Bear” in mind, that the Bears played a sugar soft schedule to open up. Let’s say things we’re flipped, and they had the Titans and Saints off the bat, and we’re like 2-4. (Bears twitter would have lit itself on fire. Actually, I think I can see it from distance.) Then, magically they play the Giants and Lions, get a small win streak. Bears talk would have come around with such sayings as: “Look how well they are doing.” and or “The NFC North is ours!” Morgan Freeman Narrator: “but it would not be ours.”
Anyone can see 5-1 was a mirage, and that’s good people like myself thought that. Opponents matter. Competition matters. I am at the point now when an athlete or a team does something, regardless of the sport, I ask myself immediately, who was it against? Oh, some guy hit two homers? Who was the crappy reliever? Some wing players drops 25 in hoops? Zach Lavine and Ben Gordon’s ghost must have been attempting to “guard” him. The Bears run the ball well to open the year? What trash defenses did they play? You get it…..
Here’s a slice of the failure pie
We can deride Ryan Pace’s failures of fortifying the O line all day, and eventually we will, but I’ll go out on a limb and say the Bears miss Vic Fangio, strictly as a coordinator. He had done it off and on for nearly two decades, and depending on the talent at hand, was pretty successful. Vic was highly regarded by his players, and frustrated the hell out of of other offensive minds. His use of a 6-1 front shut down the Rams on the brisk Sunday night in 2018 (I was there! Cherish the memories!) and was copied by Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl. Plus, cutting your teeth in the NFL thirty years ago as the coach of that New Orleans Saints line backing core, when all FOUR made the Pro Bowl, is still super impressive. (Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson, Pat Swilling, and…the other guy).
Look, turnovers fluctuate highly every year, and it’s apparent the 2018 Bears D lived off of those. Turnovers flip the game board over, and if you think “momentum” is just intangible thing, you got to be involved in the game. Lovie Smith used to espouse, besides the fact that “Rex is our quarterback” (start shuddering from that quote why don’t you Bears fans) that “we have to win the turnover battle”. That’s a two way street. You can’t hand the damn football away.
2004 wasn’t that long ago
I always wonder what life would have been like if Twitter was a thing in 2004. Do you remember the absolute dumpster fires of borderline free agent QB’s they Bears trotted out? I’ll help you. Just like in the lead picture for header, it was Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, and Chad Hutchinson. (The latter ruined my Thanksgiving day in those garish orange jerseys.) Not to mention their OC was Terry Shea, who only coordinated an offense in the NFL for that season, and not never touched one again. Maybe he had bad QB’s, or maybe….he was the Chiefs QB coach from 01-03 right when they had Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, and Trent Green, and he was the new alleged QB whisperer of a top tier offense!?
***Did the Bears just hire two Chiefs QB coaches 15 years apart that helped formidable offenses, but couldn’t do a damn thing away from it!? Who’s coaching the Chiefs QB’s in 2032, so I don’t go to a game until 2035?***
Keep it short and sweet
Everyone has their pitchforks for Nagy and Pace, and frankly rightfully so. Let’s have some perspective on all of this. 2014 wasn’t that long ago folks. It was here when absolute social weirdo Marc Trestman lost that locker room like you wouldn’t believe. It got so bad, he AND Phil Emery, you know the guy with random ass draft picks that left the shelf barren, we’re both sent packing. Point is, there have been brutal Head Coach/GM dynamics off and on this whole millennium. The Angelo/Lovie deal went on for nearly a decade, but even that was littered with just random and scant drafts that the team is constantly trying to band aid over. The issue is now that expectations are a little higher.
Everyone is culpable in this mess, and it got here so much sooner than anyone expected, even myself. There is the ability for the Bears to do things right. It’s not so much making the hot GM and or Coach hire, it’s finding the guys in that role who are humble enough to adapt every year. If the Bears were a young and talented baseball hitter, the league has found the holes in their swing. Now, it’s the Bears’ turn to figure out how the league is pitching to them, but they just hit .224 instead , and got sent down. Again.