I try not to be rash, especially in the immediate aftermath of football games. I invest so much emotionally into these ball games (as I know many of you do) it becomes difficult to remove the impulsive anger/disappointment when stepping back to analyze what took place on the field. So today I present a practical approach, both positive and negative, to looking at where the Bears stand after five weeks of the NFL season.
- The Bears defense is doing what they are designed not to do: allow big plays. The reason is the safety position (we knew this coming into the year) and the disappearing act at the linebacker position (nobody saw this coming).
- The Bears are dropping too many Jay Cutler passes. The reason is they are mediocre wide receivers. We knew this coming into the year.
- The Bears are struggling along the offensive line. The reasons are J'Marcus Webb is green (we knew this) and Gabe Carimi is hurt (we know all about Frank Omiyale).
- Mike Martz and the offensive coaching staff are simply not getting the job done. Not enough throws to Forte. Too many bubble screens to Hester. Too many deep drops into a shaky pocket. Not helping their tackles once they begin to struggle in games. Right now the Bears offense is literally being saved by the quarterback's moxie/ridiculous arm and Matt Forte.
- The truth is the Bears are making too many mistakes. False starts, drops, missed defensive assignments...etc. These are organizational concerns - Jerry, Lovie, Virginia, Rahm, everyone. These are also correctable concerns. But the Bears know these concerns exist heading into each Sunday and they don't seem to make them priorities.
People tell me it is too early in the season to scoreboard watch. I don't agree. Right now if you're a Chicago Bears fan, put the division title out of your mind. The Packers are a far superior football team and will remain so throughout 2011. The Lions are not a far superior football team and the Bears will get another crack at them at Soldier Field down the line. But the Bears are ALREADY three games back of the Lions. So put that at of your mind too, for now.
Go look around the rest of the conference. Dallas? Giants? Falcons? Bucs? Redskins? Eagles? Where is that second wildcard team coming from? The answer is it could be anywhere. Right now the Chicago Bears don't look anything close to a title contender but winning the next couple weeks will send them into their bye 4-3 and put them in a terrific position to be a playoff team. I repeat: this is not a championship caliber team. But to believe this season is anywhere near over because of the 2-3 start is simply wrong.
The Bears have a home game against the Vikings and a London game against the Bucs. If they can win these two and begin correcting their fairly large-scale errors, they can make a run to the postseason. 9-7 is going to get in and getting in is what it's all about. Meaningful games in December are what it's all about. They need to win these two to secure them.
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