Hey Chicago Bears fans, you can get off the ledge now, it’s okay. I know the Bears got pummeled by the defending champion Seahawks on Friday night, but that doesn’t mean they should hang up their cleats and walk away. There is still hope, although that hope comes with some serious caveats.
When the schedule was made public, I told friends of mine that I see the Bears as 8-8 or possibly 9-7 this year. Maybe even 10-6 if all goes perfect. For that, I received quite a bit of amused disbelief – “Watcha talking about? Dem Bears gonna be 11-5, 12-4 my frien’.”
But the ironic twist is, after Friday night’s loss, it seems that many fans have done a complete 180 degree turn, now saying the Bears won’t make the playoffs and calling for the heads of Mel Tucker and Joe DeCamillis.
I’ll get to those coaches in a minute. However, my first reaction is to advise Bears fans not to overreact based on one game. Yes, it was the vaunted, all-important third game of the preseason (I believe it’s been declared a holiday in some cities), and the Bears looked miserable.
But — and this is a bigger ‘but’ than J-Lo — the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL until somebody steals it away from them. And the Bears were playing in a hostile environment where few teams find success.
Having said that, there is real cause for concern, of course. The Bears number one defense looked like a sieve, and while the offense moved the ball at times, they couldn’t score until the last few minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, special teams continues to look very unspecial (it’s OK, I’m a writer so I can coin my own words if need be), which brings us back to Mr. DeCamillis. Look, I understand that every coach needs talent to work with, but I have my doubts about whether this guy is good at fixing what’s broken.
I realize it’s unfair to compare him to Dave Toub, but I’m going to do just that. As I indicated in my preview to the Seahawks game, the Cowboys ST improved significantly once DeCamillis left Dallas. And, the Chiefs ST also improved greatly once Toub joined the team. Coincidence? Possibly, but I don’t think so.
Coaching does matter.
Still, it’s only preseason, so adjustments can be made. As for Mr. Tucker, his defenses haven’t had success in Jacksonville or Chicago. But this year he’s been allowed to bring in his playbook, so you can’t really judge him off of last season, especially with that ragtag D-line he had to work with, along with some assistant coaches who were not ready for prime time.
The defense simply has got to be better than last year. For one, they were historically bad last season, plus Phil Emery went out and brought in reinforcements. The safety and linebacker positions still look troublesome, but the defensive line will be better.
So, if I’m preaching patience and hope, why did I pick the Bears to “only” go 8-8 or 9-7? The fact of the matter is that the schedule is tough.
Following the opener vs. the Bills, they play four of five on the road. And the only home game during this stretch? The Packers. Then, after completing this four-of-five, they come home to face Miami and play consecutive road games vs. New England and Green Bay, this time in Lambeau Field.
Where the Bears need to fatten up is the stretch of home games toward the latter half of the schedule. They play five-of-seven at home to end the season, though the concern is that they could be reeling by that time.
So while, yes, it’s a brutal schedule and the team looked sleepy in Seattle, you can’t judge a team based on one game. Panic? It’s not in the Bears vocabulary and it should not be in yours.
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Filed under: Post Game Report