Bears at the Bye: What Now?

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Thank goodness its the bye week because right now I need a break from the Bears. We all do.

This is not how this year was supposed to go. We entered the season, on paper, with what was supposed to be the highest scoring offense in the NFL, with an improved defense, and the highest paid player in the NFL ready to take the reins at quarterback in year two of the first system that finally seemed to work. Every week when I look at the match up, I look at this Bears team, and on paper, can think of every reason why they should win each week. If you look at the first half of this season on paper, the Bears should be – AT WORST – 6-2. This should be the “on paper” leaders of the NFC North. The “on paper” favorites to come out of a conference with no true front runner. But nobody told the Bears and Marc Trestman that this game is not played on paper. Its played on the football field.

The Bears have the best quarterback and wide receivers they’ve ever had – And I mean EVER – on the stat sheet. They have one of the best running backs in the league. They have a tight end having the best season of his career. So where is this going wrong?

Well, a team is defined by their head coach and this head coach needs to be held accountable for his failings. When you have this much talent not producing, its pretty clear where the blame falls. Look at the Patriots, who just had their way with the Bears. They have a beat up defense and offensive line, are without their number one running back, and are playing with no true #1 receiver. What do they have (other than a quarterback that is a true leader, elite player, and makes everyone around him better)? They have a head coach who knows how to get the best out of the team that is given to him. He found every weakness and hole in the Bears in every phase of the game, and he exposed it. We’re starting to see why for years Marc Trestman couldn’t keep a job in the NFL for more than a year or two and we’re certainly seeing why a guy who has been around football for 20 years was never given a professional head coaching job. Because this guy plays the game on paper. He can study tape and analytics and odds. He can game plan with the best of them…on paper – but he cannot get a football team to win. And thats clearly why nobody has ever called on him to coach in the NFL until now. Bruce Arians is coaching the Arizona Cardinals, led by Carson Palmer, to the best record in the NFL. Phil Emery hired the wrong guy.

We’re used to the Bears being the overachieving, hard working, try-hard team that is fun to root for because even when they are over matched, they fight their asses off. Now we have a team with a ton of talent, but also a ton of ego who underachieves and then whines at each other instead of going out there and just playing better. They have the highest paid player in the NFL at quarterback, and he cannot win with arguably the best weapons in the NFL around him. We all have to come to terms with the fact that this is as good as he’s gonna be. His potential will never be reached on a consistent basis.

I spent the first half of the season asking who this team is. And for a while I just thought this was an inconsistent team. But the truth is, this team is just bad. To me, this season is as good as over. Even if they can put together a couple good games in the second half of the season, no way they can catch Green Bay or Detroit in the division. I’m ready to close up shop on the Bears and dive head first into Bulls and Blackhawks season. And do you know why? Because those two teams, for better or for worse, represent everything I love about Chicago sports. Hard-working teams, players with heart and coaches who hold their players accountable and aren’t afraid to hold them to a high standard and make adjustments on the fly as needed. They aren’t concerned with being liked, they are concerned with winning. Those are the teams I want to watch.

Lamarr Houston tearing his ACL celebrating a sack of the backup quarterback at the end of a 30 point route, and Marc Trestman’s reaction to it (feeling sorry for him),  sums up this team and this season perfectly. Its a joke.

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