Truth is, Bears haven’t faced real adversity yet

Truth is, Bears haven’t faced real adversity yet
Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune

I’ll start by saying I understand that, when a team is winning, its fan base hardly likes anyone — especially some whack job like me — being critical of that success. But, while by at least one definition I am being critical, I’m not trying to tear you from your enjoyment of the Chicago Bears’ success.

Delight in it, and take this with a grain of salt …

Through three entertaining and undefeated weeks, the Chicago Bears are slowly but surely earning a reputation as a tough, resilient team — a come-from-behind team, capable of staring adversity in the face and kicking its ass.

Jay Cutler is garnering praise for his demeanor and poise as a leader on offense instead of criticism for his questionable attitude and suspect body language.

The postgame quotes alone from Bears’ players have thus far been a veritable love fest, with such gems as, “We had a word today in chapel and it was about selflessness, and Earl [Bennett] epitomizes that.” – Brandon Marshall

Or how about Martellus Bennett’s nice use of imagery here: “I like to be a butterfly because sometimes you have to spread your wings and — have you ever tried to catch a butterfly with your hands? You can’t do it. They’ve got butterfly nets just for catching butterflies.”

“I just think we really love each other in the huddle.” — Brandon Marshall again — “There is a lot of communication and there are a lot of guys in this locker room that [are] really passionate about the game. Not only are we passionate, but I think we wear it on our sleeve, and it’s fun to play like that.”

“We all talk about fighting off our demons before the [game].” — back to Marty Bennett — “So when we come out there, we’re like, ‘Don’t bring no demons out here’ which means, you can’t bring us down. We’re counting on you so fight your demons off.”

Or how about Jay Cutler calling his head coach “Tresty” or the way Marc Trestman has continually orated the idea of “gratefulness” and “loving football” within his locker room? These are not even half of the niceties I could share with you, but they are enough to get the point across.

What I want to make clear, however, is that I’m not mocking any of this. I happen to think it’s great and more than a little refreshing. I happen to think that Martellus Bennett seems like one heck of an addition to this team, and not merely for his physical abilities, but as an astounding teammate.

The fact of that matter is that whatever aura is surrounding Halas Hall, right now at least, is a winning one. The Bears are off to a 3-0 start, and their identity thus far has been earned. But are the ebbs and flows of a football game really equivalent to facing down and overcoming adversity? Not in my estimation.

When looked at as a whole, there really are very few blowouts during an NFL regular season. In Week-1 this year, twelve of the 16 games played were decided by seven points or fewer, which is tied for the most of any single weekend in NFL history. Teams are hanging around with other teams and relative parity exists.

The Bears are no different. They’ve played in close games, and their success in those games is very likely an indication of talented team that is heading the right direction. So what’s my point? It’s simply this: Real adversity will come when this team loses a game to an opponent the matchup said they should have beaten.

Real adversity will come when they drop two in a row, or lose in front of their home crowd. Real adversity will come when the injury bug — a bug that has already claimed Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton — begins to take its toll.

When those things happen, we will get a better look at just how far Jay Cutler has come, and we will get a sense for how this team will respond moving forward. Until then, it’s kinda easy to be happy-go-lucky.

No, I certainly am not saying I expect a collapse the first time this team loses a game; I’m just not ready to use the term resilient as defined. No team begins a season expecting to win every contest, and so a loss ought to be no more earth-shattering to the Chicago Bears than it is to any other good team in this league.

But is it at all possible that if they begin themselves to believe in some kind of come-from-behind, irrepressible team personality that a loss could indeed hurt more. Sure, I think it could.

But I also think that head coach Marc Trestman understands more about this very thing as it relates to a football team than certainly I do. And I would even venture to say that he’s doing everything he can to fortify against the apprehensive lull of that first loss when it comes.

In his press conference Monday afternoon, Trestman was asked about his expectations and outlook based specifically on the team’s undefeated 3-0 record, and he responded by saying you just can’t look forward or behind. “I look at every game as Game 1 of the season. It’s the only game there ever is and ever will be.”

And if that mantra indeed resonates among his team, the Chicago Bears will be just fine when, not if, real adversity comes.

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