I want to start off by giving myself a pat on the back and declare I will refrain from using New York Giants puns for the next two weeks. I considered titling today’s blog “Giant Change” and even “Giant Conclusion” before puking a little in my mouth and going with my present title.
The New York Giants are the NFC representation in the Super Bowl. Take a moment to let it sink in and make you sick. The NFC representation was supposed to be the Cowboys, or Packers, or even the Seahawks, but not the Giants. We have two weeks to consider the Giants chances against the Patriots, but what does this mean for the Bears? It means the Bears are not that far away from another Super Bowl appearance.
The Giants go into the Super Bowl with a shaky quarterback, prone to getting rushed into making bad decisions in the pocket, but offers a huge upside when playing well. The Giants have an effective run game but have to use a variety of running backs in different situations and parts of the game. The Giants have a veteran wide receiver with Super Bowl experience that they are relying on to lead a young, inexperienced receiving corps. They have a quick defense that relies upon take aways and a dominant pass rush to get at the quarterback and cause problems. Any of this sound familiar? It should because it’s the same formula our Bears used last season.
The crushing reality for the Bears and the rest of the NFC is they are not that far removed from returning to dominance next season. As much as every team wants to say their players are the most skilled at their positions, there is a certain element of luck that comes with hard work in the NFL. If you put it all out on the field for the entire game, hopefully your players will be in the right position during a key fumble or interception. The ball was bouncing the Bears way last season, but they appeared to be out of place this season.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot more than luck that had to due with this year’s collapse. It requires all 11 players on the field playing their best in order to capitalize on those mistakes. The Bears had too many weaknesses at running back, offensive tackle, and safety to make the most of their opportunities. Notice I did not include quarterback on that list. Too be quite honest, the quarterback situation has become such a problem for this team it has taken away attention from positions that need more drastic improvement. The Bears could trade for Donovan McNabb, but if there is no running game he’ll be run back out of town just as quickly. I’d rather see the Bears make a priority of signing free agent Michael Turner and establish a strong ground game. Go back to last season, remember when Rex Grossman was throwing all those wonderful deep routes to Bernard Berrian for big scores? Almost all of those were play action passes, utilizing the strong running game of Thomas Jones to take defenses by surprise.
If the Bears bring in a strong running back, the passing game can fix itself. It would be a huge mistake to commit too much energy and money on a position that can’t flourish without a strong supporting cast. How many touchdowns do you think Tom Brady could throw for the Bears? Go back and look at footage of how long the Bears offensive line game Rex to throw the ball and then watch how long the Patriots offensive line will give Brady in the Super Bowl. The Bears need to draft offensive tackle and improve the position immediately. Going after Pittsburgh Guard Alan Faneca would be a good long-term move, but the Bears have a more pressing matter at tackle. The sudden decline of Fred Miller had less to do with physical than mental collapse. His repeated off-sides penalties were devastating to an offense that already had trouble moving the ball.
As far as safety is concerned, the name Adam Archuleta should serve as case closed. It remains to be seen if the Bears believe Ricky Manning Jr. or Danieal Manning can play the position or if they bring in a top draft pick. I’m an advocate of bringing back Mike Brown to see if he can stay healthy and reaping the huge rewards. When Brown can stay healthy he’s one of the most talented players on the field.
If the Bears draft an offensive tackle and safety in the first two rounds and sign Michael Turner I wouldn’t be surprised to see this Bears team back in the playoffs next year. The Giants victory has made it clear that there is no NFC dominant team and any team can take the Halas Trophy any year.
Topics: Adam Archuleta, Alan Faneca, Bernard Berrian, Chicago Bears, Cowboys, Danieal Manning, Donovan McNabb, Fred Miller, Mike Brown, New York Giants, NFC, Patriots, Ricky Manning Jr, Seahawks, Super Bowl, Thomas Jones, Tom Brady