If you are not the lead dog (or Bear), the view never changes.
Those words were uttered to me several years ago from my boss, who incidentally was an ex-NFL player. I don’t know where the phrase originated from but it seems to resonate with me. So, as I ponder the potential of this new Bears offense, there is one sign coming out of the early season work outs that really gets me pumped up!
Speed is the thing I am speaking of. In the NFL, you are either applying the pressure or you are under pressure. Other than the sometimes stellar, though inconsistent, pass rush the Bears apply there are very few moments when I felt like the Bears were applying unrelenting, unstoppable pressure. I certainly have not been witness to an offensive assault that puts opposing defenses on their heels, guessing what the next play, possession or quarter might hold. It has been as if this Bear had no teeth, had no claws…offensively speaking anyways.
Lovie Smith was content to manage the game and coach his team from a purely defensive perspective. There is no doubt that his methodology won games. Take aways and special teams combined with a solid running game would not lose many games. I have always felt that many, if not most, games are lost rather than won. I am ready to readjust my thinking as I have never been witness to a Bears team that consistently took the game to opposing defenses on a consistent basis.
Enter Marc Trestman to the mix. Perhaps it is time for all of the methodical running game, followed by predictable play calling and mediocre results to suddenly end. The awakening is at hand Bear fans…like waking up from a bad, recurring dream. Yes Bear fans it is time to rejoice, the nightmare is almost over!
How do I know it? It is actually easy to see in the pace of practice. In sports, I learned long ago that you tend to play like you practice. My personal experience only served to reinforce the notion. What have I heard since OTA’s started? Well, the pace of practice seems to have dramatically sped up. This alone is a revelation in Beardom. Poor clock management and an offensive coordinator relaying plays to another offensive coach only to relay the play to Cutler is a recipe for ineptitude. Heck, it took me over 24 seconds to type that mess!
There is no reason not to believe that the Bears offense will be faster during the regular season as well. I am so ready to see the Bears apply the pressure…To catch the opposing defense in the middle of a substitution for a cheap 5 yards…To hear Cutler barking Attack! Attack! Attack! To see the team snap the ball when the defense is milling around as Cutler gets 5 or 6 yards on a sneak. This is the stuff real, big-time offenses do. Tom Brady, Payton Manning and Drew Brees highlights abound with such feats. There have been no Bear highlights of such happenings though I hold hope that this will be a thing of the past.
Of all the hype surround Emery and Trestman, the speed of practice is the news that most warms my heart. There is no doubt in my mind that we Bear fans are about to witness an old Bear learn new tricks. A Bear that is shaking off decades of hibernation to join the modern age of offense. I am flush with excitement and the anticipation is truly intoxicating….at least for now. Like the day before Christmas, we can all wonder and fantasize about passing records falling as Cutler finally reaches his potential.
Every year, it seems the Bears organization does enough to get me excited about the upcoming season. This year is no different except that the changes are in leadership and is offensive in nature. This alone is very different from what we have seen in a long time. If speed kills, then the Bears should be Lion killers this year. The Vikings should be very afraid and yes, even the Packers, might lose their throne.
So Bear fans…is this the year of the Bear?