I FEAR ANOTHER LACKLUSTER GAME COMING UP

 

 

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There’s nothing so cold about winter then when the Bears are screwing up and there’s no chance for the playoffs in sight.

I’m proud to say I never cried over a Bears loss, though. Angry, yes. Frustrated, yes. Disappointed, great God almighty yes. But moved to the point of tears, never. Call it a hardscrabble upbringing but there were just better things to cry about.

Now as the 3-5 Bears head into their ninth game you have to wonder if the season isn’t a total loss and if it isn’t a better idea to see what young players might benefit from some playing time.

I remember playing on a basketball team that when I finally got my chance to start I missed my first 6 shots and never played in another game again.

Some chances are fleeting, others last a lifetime.

Makes you wonder how long the Bears plan to stay with Mitchell Trubisky until they say enough is enough.

History isn’t kind to young quarterbacks in the NFL. Many of them are no good. For whatever reason there’s just too many who don’t pan out.

Everybody has a quarterback they thought was going to do great who didn’t make it.

Names like Vince Young, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Leaf, Johnny Manziel,  Jamarcus Russell, Blaine Gabbert litter the mind.

You can add Trubisky’s name to the list, I’m afraid. 

If I had to guess why here would be my three big reasons as to why.

ACCURACY

He just isn’t very accurate. Too many of his balls are uncatchable and they are even from a really short distance. All the great ones can hit the eye of a crow flying, The Biscuit can’t. The closest he comes is when he’s on the move.

THROWING IN THE POCKET

One of the things I keep hoping to see more of is Trubisky on the run. He’s just not very comfortable in the pocket, nor is he getting the kind of Aaron Rodgers time you need to pick a defense apart. But role out and maybe run the ball more that seems like something they still could do.

YARDS AFTER THE CATCH

Last year Tarik Cohen was a factor. A monster really except for the playoff game when he didn’t get any chances. You need guys who stretch the defense. Speed. Speed kills.

 

I fear another lackluster game coming up but we win this one against the Lions 21-17.

 

onlyifyoudream tidbits…………rumor has it that Matthew Stafford is out with broken bones in his back which makes me think of those really bad Bear teams in the 70’s who could blow a team out at home from time to time to satisfy the rabid Bear fan base…………Longtime Bear analyst Hub Arkush makes another great point about the Bears. A lot of times in the NFL you see a team go from disappointment to disaster. This year’s team is a disappointment, but they are not disaster, yet. Let’s see what they can do this week.

 

YOUR 2019 FAUSTIAN BEARS

 

 

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To borrow one of Lovie Smith’s little analogies, the Bears are in the second quarter of their season with still plenty of ball left to play. 

Good to see Lovie get a win over my Wisconsin Badgers. The way the fighting Illini were celebrating that victory you’d think they were the team destined for greatness and not the Badgers.

So are these Bears destined for anything so raucous? Why does it feel like they’re down by 21 points already in this football season of a game? 

Are they actually in the middle of a crossroads? 

Robert Johnson’s crossroads. 

Robert Johnson who sold his soul to the devil to become a legendary blues guitar player. 

Are you going to sell out with everything you got to make the playoffs and mount a Super Bowl challenge or start planning ahead for next year’s team knowing you’re not good enough?

Of course the Bears don’t need to sell their soul to make the playoffs and possibly win the Super Bowl. But they do need better than average quarterback play, great talent that plays like great talent and a little bit of luck. 

They also need to run the football, when David Montgomery is averaging 3 yards a carry and Tarik Cohen hasn’t even been a factor what’s going on?

ONE THING TO ASK THE DEVIL FOR MIGHT BE A BETTER QUARTERBACK

Mitch Trubisky is playing like the worst quarterback in the league. I hate to say this. I thought he was going to turn the corner and be great but that obviously hasn’t happened and I think the league is figuring out why.

He’s just not a good pocket passer and he’s not very accurate. He doesn’t really lead his receivers too well and hit them in stride. Probably the toughest thing to see is how uncomfortable he is just standing there. Part of this is Matt Nagy’s fault. 

How many times do we see the Bears get to the line of scrimmage and just stand there for 20 seconds, letting the defense catch their breath, and failing to get his quarterback into any kind of marching rhythm. 

How many times do we see him rolling out? Escaping the pocket? Creating on the fly?

It looks to me he wants Trubisky to be a kind of player he isn’t and so he hasn’t adapted to what his strengths are yet like moving without the ball and running.

ANOTHER FAUSTIAN DEAL TO MAKE MIGHT BE GETTING THE RUNNING GAME GOING

All we heard in training camp was how good David Montgomery is, how tough he is to tackle, and what a season he was going to have. He in fact might be and do all those things but something needs to change. 

I think he’s got talent. The number of guys he’s made miss has already exceeded what Jordan Howard could do last year. He can be a better back than Howard but so far he hasn’t shown it.

He looks like he’s tentatively hitting the holes and has no real long rushes from scrimmage. 

Plus the offensive line really doesn’t look like it’s been blocking as well this year and really pushing guys around.

And where is little scatback Tarik Cohen. Where are his attempts and targets? 

And where is Matt Nagy’s commitment to the run? All this adds up to 3.4 yards an attempt and one of the worst rushing offenses in the league.

DO YOU NEED TO SELL YOUR SOUL WITH SUCH AN IMPRESSIVE DEFENSE ALREADY?

It might be the most impressive thing about this year’s Bears is what the defense has done considering the offense has done squat. Even after losing Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols and Roquan Smith for a game they look tough. 

They haven’t been thoroughly dominating teams like last year and scoring touchdowns but they still have got some great players. Hopefully losing Hicks won’t be too big a loss and other guys will step up.

My guess is Robert Johnson before selling his soul must’ve had some amount of talent or something like a massive heart or else he wouldn’t of gotten to meet the devil in the first place, or ever wanted to be so great. 

I’m not suggesting the Bears sell something so vital to win a measly Super Bowl, but they might have already. 

DID THEY ALREADY SELL THEIR SOUL?

Khalil Mack can flat out play football as good as Robert Johnson can play guitar, but missing high draft picks for a young coach and rebuilding team is quite a high price to pay. Can he, Mack, by himself make the defense great? I think he already has. Can he continue to make those around him better? Looks like he’s doing that too. If the Mack and the defense has anything to say about it this team would already be famous.

ONLYIFYOUDREAM tidbits………..if all one did as a Bear fan was listen to and read Hub Arkush one would need little else to know how good the Bears are doing. A master craftsman at his work and I can only tip my cap and nod my head. In one of his columns last week he was talking about acquiring Colin Kaepernick as a no brainer to help make your team better and of course he’s dead on. Kaepernick is not the devil but the way the league has treated him you’d think he was. It would be a ballsy move to be sure, but greatness doesn’t sit and wait.

 

 

 

JANUARY RELEVANT!!!

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The Bears are in the playoffs and a lot of things are going through my mind. In no particular order——

How different the playoff games feel. The way the crowd can’t seem to contain itself with so much on the line.

Matt Nagy asked the fans to be particularly noisy.

A lot of writers like to play the game of who would you rather play, figuring that the weaker opponents, or opponents the team matches up well against will make it easier to get to and win the Super Bowl.

I disagree. A great team will beat other great teams no matter what the record. If they have to go on the road to do it, so be it. A great team rises to the occasion and plays their best game against another great team. A great team wants to play another great team. 

A great team will have a bunch of ultra competitive guys, too. Guys that scream and kick and scratch on each play. That play with an edge, even borderline nasty. They block well and tackle well. They believe so much in themselves no matter what. They want to help other guys on the team, too. They want to lead the team. They want a group of guys to lead the team. Everybody buys into it. Everybody believes it.

And then of course great players have to play great. Not only the great players, but also fair and good players. Some might even become famous with how they distinguish themselves in the big games.

When I hear athletes who win, they say things like nobody gave it to them, they had to take it. They earned it.

When picking whose going to win a tournament a lot of handicappers will pick a team that is on fire. That has a lot of momentum and winning a lot of games as they go into the playoffs.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Some recent Super Bowl winners that got hot as the season drove on—-The 2013 Seahawks were 9-2 in their last 11, the 2014 Patriots were 5-2 in their last 7, the 2016 Patriots were 7-1 in their last 8, the 2017 Eagles were 5-2 in their last 7.

This year’s Eagles are 5-1 in their last 6 and this year’s Bears are 9-1 in their last 10. Something’s gotta give.

If the Bears are fortunate enough to beat the Eagles they’ll go on to L.A. to play the Rams. I think they’re better than the Rams. I will also be rooting for whoever the winner of Cowboys/Seahawks is as they would then travel to New Orleans to play the Saints. It’s hard not to look ahead.

Three times the Bears have faced the Eagles in the postseason. In the 1979 playoffs they lost 27-17 on the road, in the 1988 fog bowl playoff they won 20-12 at home, and in 2001 they lost 33-19 at home. 

The three quarterbacks that started those respective games and their QB ratings? Mike Phipps, with a QB rating of 30.1, Mike Tomczak, with a rating of 56.7 and Jim McMahon who also played in that game had a rating of 75.7 and Jim Miller who started had a rating of 31.7 until he got hurt and then Shane Matthews had a rating of 17.9.

No matter how good the defense is, and those teams in the 80’s had some really great defenses, you need clean QB play. Is Trubisky poised for a clean game against the Eagles?

Everything also seems to get magnified. If a team is up by 3 points it feels like 7, 7 feels like 13, 13 feels like 20. One turnover in your own zone feels like the whole game has changed. Even the home team QB is asking for quiet because the fans are so insanely pumped up they can’t contain their own jubilation. 

The ’85 team I remember how the fans kind of took over. One long big loud scream to bring the snowflakes. 

Another part of all of this is confidence. A confident player isn’t so nervous that the jitters affect his game. He’s emotional, he’s got the right attitude, but he plays within himself. He’s totally respecting his opponent, but he’s so sure he’s going to prevail. Sometimes you don’t need facts or evidence or a compelling argument. All you need is a hunch. A feeling can be greater than anything.

Can Trubisky play like that? Will he not be asked to do too much? Can the Bears stay in the lead as they have in most of the games they’ve won? Can they not play coming from behind? 

How is Eddie Jackson’s foot feeling? How strong are the meds? Can he block out the pain? Is 60% of Eddie Jackson better than the next man up, Deon Bush?

I was listening to longtime Bear reporter Hub Arkush on the WSCR, the score earlier today and he said Khalil Mack is having a year as good as Lawrence Taylor ever had. Pretty rare air, he said. 

Can Khalil Mack simply take the game over?

I was listening to Dan Bernstein on The Score and he said that Bear fans don’t know how to feel about how good a QB is because they don’t know what one is. They can’t recognize it. Great point.

I thought Nick Foles deserved to start this year and I think he’s great. Anybody that beats Tom Brady in the Super Bowl deserves to be a QB 1. 

It’s all got me thinking about mountains and man. Man was meant to rise. He visualizes himself ascending. Women too, of course. We were born to test ourselves. The great ones are never satisfied with being just good. 

The mountain is the symbol for all that. It has different sizes for geological reasons, to be sure but also has different sizes for motivational ones. 

Somewhere on a desk, maybe there’s a list. Mount Fuji—-12.3 feet. Matterhorn—-16.9. Kilimanjaro—-19.3. Denali—-20.3. Mount Everest—-29. 

Somewhere in this Chicago organization, on a desk or in a locker or locker room the Eagles are a mountain to be challenged and will prove just how high these 2018 Bears will be allowed to climb.