It’s good to be back everyone. I haven’t been able to post for a while but I’m back and boy do I have a lot to ground to cover. I don’t even know where to start so let’s just dive in and have some fun.
Happy Turkey Day
Happy Thanksgiving to all my loyal readers! Your reward is getting to sit through the epic match-up of the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans. What a complete scheduling disaster. I thought you were supposed to fall asleep on the couch after eating the turkey, not before. But don’t worry, after enjoying your wonderful feast, you get to return to the television to enjoy the nail-biting drama of the Seattle Seahawks against the Dallas Cowboys. I hear the Seahawks are 12 point underdogs, which ironically is the same number of people that subscribe to the NFL network and get to see the only decent game of the day. The Arizona Cardinals taking on the Philadelphia Eagles is a good match up, especially given the recent drama in Philly after the McNabb benching. It would make for great national television, but it will go into obscurity on the NFL network instead.
Let’s Simmer Down
The Bears beat the St. Louis Rams last weekend to stay tied in first place in the division. I realize the Bears got spanked the week before by the Packers, but can we all just simmer down? They beat the Rams, who are I think are tied with the Raiders for the most lost franchise in football. Despite their record I think the Chiefs are on the upside but that’s for another day. Of course the Bears were going to beat the Rams, yet after the victory many Bears fans are suddenly talking playoffs again. I blame it on the ups and downs of Chicago baseball carrying over into football.
The BIG Game
There is no way to understate the importance of this weekend’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Both are tied for first place in the division and will duke it out on prime time Sunday night. Based on the rest of the NFC, there won’t be any Wild Card teams coming out of the NFC North this year. Getting to the playoffs will likely mean winning the division or go home. The Bears already beat the Vikings once this year, so the sweep would help lock up the title. Last time the game turned into a shoot out, this game don’t be surprised if the game turns into a defense battle. A loss would not count the Bears out, but it will mean the showdown on December 22nd between the Packers and Bears at Soldier Field will be big.
What has happened to Bears football? The offense has become explosive and the defense has turned timid. Kyle Orton and Matt Forte look like a bonafide offense, even without a top receiver to keep defenses busy. The Bears have managed to utilize a dominant back that can play all fazes of offense and use a receiver by committee approach. Having a clear number 1 receiving threat is helpful, but the Bears have found having a corps of good receivers is giving offenses more trouble than anything else. It may be frustrating for fantasy owners, but for real football it has proven effective. Meanwhile the defense has broken down and become a shell of its former self. They still play well against the run and can shut down running backs, but the secondary as imploded and given up big days to extremely average receivers. For years the defense was able to shoulder the pressure of winning games for the offense, no we will have to see if the offense can do the same.
Beaming With Pride
I would like to take a moment to say how proud I am of Matt Forte. I talked all preseason about how great I thought this kid would be and he has delivered. He carries himself with humility after a great game and takes it in stride when he has a mediocre game. Young players have a tendency to get down on themselves and he has managed to stay even tempered through the ups and downs. He is handling to pressure of being the number one running AND receiving option on the offense with great poise. I have to pinch myself and remember he is only a rookie. He is already over 900 yards rushing and could break records by the end of his rookie season that haven’t been touched since guys named Payton and Sayers were wearing Bears jerseys. After all these years we finally have a running back.
Draft Talk Already?
Is it too soon to talk about how badly the Bears need a talented free safety? Early draft predictions show a few good prospects in the first round and the Bears secondary looks pitiful. Rookie Craig Steltz wasn’t a bad gamble, but he turned out to be another strong safety to compliment Mike Brown. It’s a good move to ensure depth at the position but it means there still isn’t a clear solution for free safety. The Bears need a smart, speedy player out of college that can terrorize receivers down field and break up passes. The rest of the defense isn’t suffering that bad, but the inability to prevent big pass plays is making the rest of the defense play tentatively and second guess themselves. They almost seem to get frustrated and give up on themselves when they start to give up big pass plays. A good safety out of the draft that can stop big plays could be enough to return this defense to dominance.
Even though I just said the Bears defense could drastically improve with a talented free safety, that doesn’t take the front four off the hook. The Bears couldn’t sack a potato and at the end of the season there will have to be questions answered why they can’t get any pressure. Tommie Harris is running out of excuses for not looking like the kid the Bears drafted and made a Pro Bowl appearance. I want a legitimate answer why Mark Anderson went from rookie sensation to bust. This was supposed to be a highly talented group of kids that were going to terrorize the quarterback all season. We’ve reached the breaking point. It’s time to start giving other players a shot to play and see if they can deliver. Start Anthony Adams and Matt Toeaina at tackle and see what they can do. The Bears were thin at defensive tackle last year and signed Matt Toeaina in mid-season. He responded by coming up with some very nice tackles on Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Maybe he could put up a repeat performance against the Vikings.