On the Lowering of Expectations for the 2012 Season

On the Lowering of Expectations for the 2012 Season

Note: Make sure you stop by tomorrow morning. There will be significant picks contest bonus potential for the Thanksgiving games.

I have been receiving multiple Tweets and emails all basically alluding to the same idea: the 2012 season for the Chicago Bears is not "over" but expectations for that season have been lowered immensely. My only question is a simple one: why?

What did we learn Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers that we did not already know? We know the Bears were not a legitimate playoff threat without Jay Cutler playing quarterback. We know the offensive line will not hold up, unless given significant assistance, against the best pass rushes in the sport. We know Lovie Smith's defenses, even when playing their best, are prone to a disastrous night or two along the way. (2006 Dolphins, anyone?) We know the head coach is a solid leader of men but rarely gets the best of the top tier head coaches in the league. And I believe we have learned over the course of this season's first ten games that Mike Tice is a fun interview and a somewhat awful offensive coordinator.

But suddenly, because the Bears have caught in the standings by the prohibitive preseason Super Bowl favorite, the alien spacecraft has settled above the Lakefront with its death beam pointed directly at Soldier Field. Rahm has declared a state of emergency. Production on the new season of Boss has been delayed. There is a sign on the front door of the Green Mill Lounge reading "How Can You Think of Jazz at a Time Like This?"

Remember, this is the new NFL. There are not great teams on a consistent week-to-week basic in the regular season. Houston needed two scores in overtime to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Super Bowl champion Giants were trounced in Cincinnati the last time they took the field. Did you see Green Bay and Atlanta win Sunday? Did either impress you even remotely? The Patriots run a tight end specific offense and may not have a healthy tight end on the field for a month. I'm not arguing the Bears are a great team. They're not. Not with Tice calling the plays and those five fellas up front blocking. What I am arguing is there are NO great teams anywhere to be found in the NFL these days.

To make Monday night the game by which you judge the season seems foolish. If the defense does not show up, as they did not against Colin Kaepernick and the boys, the Bears don't have a chance to beat a good team without their starting quarterback. This Bears club, perhaps more than any other team in the sport, can not erase large deficits because they can't protect the passer down for down over the long haul of a second half.

The 2012 Bears have a specific identity. They play ferocious defense, turn you over, keep the game close and blow your doors off in the fourth quarter with a quarterback who has dominated late. Will that identity hold through the duration of the regular season and into January? We don't have to guess. Minnesota and Seattle are their prime competitors for the wild card spot in the NFC and they are three of the next four dates on the calendar. Green Bay is the fourth, at Soldier Field, to possibly decide the division title. If the Bears go 3-1 over these next four nobody will remember the Monday night meltdown.

And then we'll see where expectations sit.


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  • I like the thought of a GB loss and a Bear win this weekend. 8-3 and FIRST place sounds about right to me.

  • I am not convinced the Bears can beat the Vikings. We know we cannot pass block and that Tice is not smart enough to run the ball. The embarrassment factor (you know, playing worth a shit because you sucked last game) does not help Lovie Smith teams as shown by the offense absolutely sucking Monday after absolutely sucking against Houston.

    Then there is Peterson, looking like the Peterson of old. Peterson's stats vs. Bears?
    First four games (carries/yds avg, receptions/yds avg, TDs):
    90/554 6.16, 5/34 6.8, 9 TD
    Second four games:
    78/269 3.45, 10/85 8.5, 2 TD

    We better hope for the latter.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Any team in the league can beat any other team in the league on any given Sunday. The Jags almost beat the Texans, the Lions almost beat the Packers. Neither of those games should have been close.

    Peterson is a beast, but no one player can win a game for a team. Even the best QBs need help to win games. Peterson can get 200 yards and 2 TDs and the Vikings could still lose 17-14.

    The Vikings are better than anyone thought they would be before the season. They are worse than some thought they were after the first 4 games. They're solid. We're solid. It'll be a good pair of games.

  • Your Denny Green like-observations aside, the difference this time is that most of the prognosticatorswere SF by 3, and those picking the Bears (Rosenbloom aside) were also within a field goal, looking for a defensive battle. Not 26 points. Also, it was generally figured that Webb and Carimi wouldn't be good, but not totally bowled over.

    Hence, statistics aside, if the Bears want to regain credibility, they better administer on the Vikings and Seahawks what the 49ers did to them. However, Lovie is no Harbaugh. Apparently, from what Gruden said, neither is Gruden.

  • I guess my point is: who gives a shit about credibility? What does that even mean? The goal is to win enough games to make the postseason.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    True, but if the question is what Monday's game shows about the Bears' chances of doing that, it is far lower than what they were Sunday.

    Maybe they can barely get in, but there is no indication that the Bears have Aaron Rogers or Eli Manning, even if Cutler can stay healthy.

  • Who saw Carmini's impression of a bowling pin? Anybody??? Bueller???

    Who saw a fat and flabby and stone footed Webb whiff? Anybody??? As Syd Barrett once said, Is there anybody out there?

    Who saw Chico Rahal stare at a loose football like he was at the art museum looking at a turd on the floor? Anyone???

    This is a team that broke out the checkbook for Earl Bennett who now can't get open against linebackers.

    This is a team that paid Kellen Davis in a 2/yr $6M deal for being a big stupid lug. Most big stupid lugs are paid $16 per HOUR to not spot fake licenses and rate hotties trying to get in.

    This is a team that passed on Chandler Jones and Riley Reiff in favor of a redneck best known for chronic headaches due to sweeping up chicken shit his whole life.

    This is a team that Jim Harbaugh saw had a linebacker working on one good leg and planned appropriately.

    This is a team whose backup QB was unable to complete a THREE step drop, much less a five or seven - before getting laid out.

    This is a team who by the second half, sent a text message to the 49ers asking them if they could count to 5-Mississippi before rushing.

    An offensive playbook in the modern NFL is CRIPPLED if you have to consistently hold a back in to block.

    The Bears need to consistently go 6 on 4 to keep the QB upright, allowing all zones to fill and safeties to head into the box.

    This isn't a great team. It's a good one while the DL rotation is fresh. And, as the season grinds and the turf gets soft and sloppy, that gets taken away. Because Cover 2 and Cover 3 REQUIRE that the ends crash the party. And when they don't, it is just a matter of waiting a few extra seconds for the receiver to get open.

    We have no hope with this OL. None. We should have taken Reiff over Redneck, and going to get a USC reject and putting him at the wrong guard spot is just more Spencer retread bullshit.

    Note this, kids: Every single OL for the 49ers is a first or second rounder. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

    We have Carmini, who is shot - and we let Cookie go because Tice didn't know how to coach him, and the Rams will probably not just make him a guard but a serviceable tackle, because he will get some actual instruction.

    No. I'm sorry, it's time to start quoting Packer Trolls. Bears still suck. And they are going to continue to suck until Lovie goes and Emery hires a different HC.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    It was brought up in the Michael Lombardi interview on Mully and Hanley that the Bears were paying an awful large amount of money for players who were not producing. You seem to be going in the same direction.

    The "give Forte his money" approach doesn't seem to have paid off that well this season, either. It was also mentioned that this was the 6th year of trying to make Hester a receiver to justify his salary. Time sure does fly.

    Mentioning Cover 2, it looked better when it was said that it was adapted to Urlacher's talents, but your reference to the "linebacker with one good leg" indicates that the Chicago fans, who never liked it, shouldn't have bought that Kool-Aid.

  • In reply to gpldan:


  • How sad is when we have to lower the bar to be satisfied......sheesh....

    I expect more from our "BEARS".....I lived through the 70's Bears...trust me ask Al or maybe Canada..it wasn't pretty...not at all...

    If we want to go retro for our Bears try the mid 80's..that's were the bar should be set.

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    You are 100% correct Lobo. The '70's were not pretty. I watched almost every Bears game from the 60's until I moved up here around the millenium. The '60's were great because of '63 and then Gale and Dick got drafted. By the '70's they were retired or so beat up as to be unrecognizable. After that it was Bobby Douglass and a host of terrible QB's. Once they drafted Walter and started playing him, they were fun to watch but didn't win much.

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    The 70's, it was a good year if we got close to a winning record..We always had that one player that kept our interest. The Bears could suck but we had Wally Chambers to watch. We had Abe Gibron, our lovable loser. Then we got Walter, and no matter how bad our record was, we were able to watch perhaps the greatest player ever.

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    Thanks for not lumping me in with the other old guys! hehehe

  • In reply to #76 Mongo Murph:

    I would have dragged you into the conversation for backup!

  • In reply to #76 Mongo Murph:

    It's all Mongo...I will now though...lol

  • Nice Green Mill reference Jeff. I miss that place. The last 5 years of NFL history has taught us that if you just get into the dance, you can get hot and anything can happen. Look at all the postseason wildcard success. I ain't lowering any expectations right now. Seen too many unexpected turn arounds in recent history.

  • In reply to Crown:

    Green Mill is off Lawrence in the heart of the Vietnamese neighborhoods in Chicago. Tank Noodle, down the street, is a Chicago gem for noodle bowls.

  • Yep, it's time to shit or git. We gave the Packers first place by dropping 2 in a row, And Detroit didn't help by pissing away a game in 5 minutes. So it's gonna be up to this team to pull it together and pull their head out of their asses and start winning. Can they do it? I still think there's a good chance. Losing Alshon Jefferies damn sure didn't help..But.......

  • In reply to MaddBearfan:

    For the second time. This year's Carimi.

  • To be honest, when was the last time a "great" team won the Superbowl?

    I don't consider the last three or four Superbowl teams "great". They were all good because obviously bad teams do not win Superbowls. But besides the 08' team, has anyone seen a great team win the Superbowl?

    Before the Monday night meltdown, I thought the Bears could be one of those teams and they still could be. However, "great" teams don't come across that much and mostly good teams win Superbowls. Regardless of Monday night, the Bears are still a good team.

  • DAAMMMNNN... I somehow missed this during the game. Heard about it but I thought nothing of it till I saw it.


  • You missed that Erik? Damn Gore made Briggs look sooooo bad. I had to rewind it at home because I couldnt believe my eyes.

  • The 08 Giants? Great? I don't buy it...

    Great story, I'll give you that.

    They beat the great team that year. Doesn't make them Goliath.

  • Carimi has to be the biggest dissapointment of the year. I really thought he would be solid on the right side. Alshon Bradley is a close second.

  • Disappointments -

    1. Hester as returner.
    2. Jason Campbell as a backup.
    3. Kellen Davis as a football player.
    4. Mike Tice as a human.
    5. Hester as a receiver.
    6. Bennett as a target.
    7. Michael Bush as a 1,000 yd rusher.
    8. Chicken Dinner as a 1st round pick.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    9. Gnome code

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    I'm willing to give Campbell a chance in case the line actually feels like blocking. Pretty harsh on Tice. I think he's a great guy, just not an OC/OL coach.

  • If you mean Alshon Jeffrey--and I'm guessing you do, because reports are he's gonna get a knee scoped--please knock off propagating the bullshit myth of guys being injury-prone.

    Jeffrey broke his hand. There's no history of "delicate hand bones" in his record. Now he's getting his knee scoped. Two completely unrelated injuries--the only connection between them is that they happened to the same guy in the same year.

  • It depends on what type of injuries. "Soft tissue injuries" are the ones which tend to follow players and in those case "injury prone" can be applied.

    Exhibit A. Felix Jones, or as more popularly known by, "Fragile Felix".

    Other injuries can be freak injuries, like broken bones, or MCL/ACL ones.

    Sometimes I suspect that certain players just open themselves up to injuries more. In football, it's important to know when to slide, throw it away, when to go out of bounds, when to dive, to tackle with your head up, to watch out for cut blocks, etc. It's very nuanced, but "sturdy" players are not only tough, but savvy. Just look at how Peyton gets sacked compared to Vick.

    I learned this the hard way. In high school I made my first catch, and I was so pumped, first guy bounced off me, then came a second who held me up, then came his buddy from the other side. I was still up like a scrum, and I'm not sure how many ended up on me, but then, BAM, I felt a helmet right on my lower back, and down went Frazier.

    I had a big ass purple bruise for like two weeks as a friendly reminder of how to get yards without getting murdered.

  • Where are all the anti-Cutler trolls?

  • Anyone see that Chilo left for personal reasons? I liked his mean attitude - something the rest of our teddy bear linemen seem to lack.

    I wonder if he was allowed to "retire" or else get cut.

  • In reply to Scharfinator:


    some people on this blog were calling for james brown in the pre-season. wish is granted.

  • In reply to evantonio:

    Brown was called-up, anyway.

    Not long before Rachal bugged-out, Tice said:

    We’re looking at everything. We have to find a better way,” Tice said. “It’s not like at this point in the season you could take (an undrafted rookie like) James Brown, who I’m very high on, and say ‘O.K. you’re the guy now.’ That’s desperation.

    Are we desperate yet, Mike?

  • In reply to Crunch Buttsteak:

    We let cookie go, for Rachal. Cookie playing guard last year was heads above Rachal's play this year. He will follow the way of other ex Bears, Marc Columbo, Daniel Manning, Brandon Lloyd. just to name a few that went elsewhere and were coached into good productive starters.

  • In reply to #76 Mongo Murph:

    It's unbelievable that Cookie didn't start at LG. As much as we all loathed him at LT, we all agreed he played well at LG.

    But Oline is the hardest position to judge for the fans, so who knows.

    I'm not even sure Williams is on a team, much less starting, so perhaps he's done.

    Huge fall from being a top 20 pick.

  • He's on the Rams now. All the sports people said he was dojng good at guard last year. Even Dan Hampton gave the guy props and he doesnt hand out the compliments easily. So it wasnt just us that thought he was playing pretty good at the guard position. At the times he is the backup at left and right guard, but I wont be surprised if he excels under Jeff Fisher's regime.

  • In reply to #76 Mongo Murph:

    sweep to the right side with cookie pulling across the line. forte's highest YPR last year was around the right side. i'm saying it's because of cookie.

  • In reply to evantonio:


  • In reply to #76 Mongo Murph:

    I submit that Columbo was never more than "adequate" for for Dallas
    and he continued to have a LOT of trouble there staying healthy enough to contribute.

    I HATE the way they jerked manning around for Saftey to corner to nickel back to safety to out the door.

    I put Olson on that list, though. Despite his shortcomings as blocker he was a solid target down the middle, chased out of town by a whacked out OC who didn't believe in tight ends or audibles.

  • In reply to Scharfinator:

    49ers mind fuck. When a loss is more than just a loss.

  • In reply to Shady:

    No kidding. They said he left because he was demoted. You'd think he'd be used to that by now. It's not like he was all-world. What a head case!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    O Jebus, we're back to soft Spencer. Great.

    Scott should start at RT, and Brown should be given a shot at LG.

    If they want to play Spencer, then let him replace Garza.

  • In reply to Shady:

    When both of your offensive tackles look like they were playing with a bad case of Vertigo.

  • Tice, you ass hat! You're telling your Oline to man the fuck up, but you can't make make boys men.

    Wasn't this the same Tice who said "we're good" in the offseason? Tice is frequently viewed in the league as a great Oline coach, and I'm sure Tice was a HUGE part of the Bears decision to NOT go after olinemen in the offseason. Probably told Emery, "I can work with these guys." Emery just got here. Reviewed the tape - most likely deferred to Tice this season. Apparently, he got bad Intel.

    Well, guess what, you CAN'T. He effectively stated he made a mistake, but we only have like 6 games left, and as JA used to say, "There's no tackle vineyard."

    Next year Emery will have to be bold. He can no longer trust the judgement of his coaching staff, if they'll even still be around.

    We're going to have to forget about the Manti T'eo dream, and move up Julio Jones style and draft a top 5 LT. Then get the best G in FA, and replace Garza.

    Jeffries should be a viable #2, then we just need a real slot WR. Welker and Amendola might be allowed to walk next year, and they'd sure look good in navy blue.

  • In case you guys missed it, here's Tice's Quote.

    "When you're at six games to go," Tice said, "what you have to do is say, 'That's it, from now on I can't say, OK, we're making strides, let's do this.' There has to be a very determined effort on us and our staff to make sure that we do have, always, chip help answers, slide answers, two guys on one guys answers. Because I've found unfortunately that you can't take for granted that we're going to have [a consistent] level of play."

    "At a certain point," Tice said, "a player, a man, needs to grit his teeth, buck up and win a fight."


  • I have no issue with Tice saying that. He's right. He sucks as an OC (and probably as an OL coach) but he's honest.

    I agree with your previous post. ID the left tackle we want and move up to get him. draft the best guard/center after that. Sign the best tackle and the best guard in FA. Separate the wheat from the chaff. I honestly thought our OL would be better this year because Tice would help out the OL and have fewer 7-step drops. Maybe he has but the play calling is so obvious it nullifies the extra help. What a fucking mess!

    If I ever meet MB in person I will apologize for being such a dope!



  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    I'd have a better chance of finding Jimmy Hoffa's body than I would winning any of your bonus picks....

  • Jeff,

    Can next year's t shirt say, on the back:

    Grit teeth
    Buck up
    Win a fight

    Because that would be awesome.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Totally agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Haha that would be great.

  • Heckuva job, Tice. Don't let the door hit your stupid ass on the way out.

  • In reply to Crunch Buttsteak:

    "The Bears rank 30th in offense..For the season, the Bears also own the 32nd ranked passing offense and remain dead last in the league on first down."

  • "But other than THAT, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"

  • Whenever I start to wail and gnash my teeth over this team, I look for perspective. John Mullin at CSN Comcast helps sometimes. An exerpt from a recent piece:

    "A division-leading team giving up six sacks in a 20+-point blowout loss after cleaning up on doormats. That would be the San Francisco 49ers, stomping the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills in succession by a combined 79-3 score, then being drubbed 26-3 (giving up the 26 without answering) by the New York Giants. At home"

    Here's the rest of it:


  • In reply to tobijohn:

    This is the issue Tobi. Every team gets their teeth knocked in from time to time. The 9ers to the Giants. The Texans to the Pack. The Chiefs somehow beat the Saints.

    But the good teams recover and go on to beat elite teams later in the season.

    The Bears just keep losing to elite teams. For the Bears, such losses aren't aberrations; they're a trend. We lost to the Packers. We lost to the Texans. We lost to the 9ers. We might lose to the Packers again at Solier Field. 0-4, 1-4 against SB contenders SHOULD get fans pissed off.

    That's my perspective.

  • *0-4-/1-3, (Sneak preview of our playoffs unless something dramatic changes)

    sorry, my math has been off as of late

  • Got my Bears vs Packers ticket today!

    Holy shit this is going to be awesome. If both teams win their next three games then it will be a battle for Division supremacy and possibly a first round bye. Maybe even the playoffs.

    Shitty game against SF is done. The bears control their own destiny. The next 4 opponents (Minn, Sea, Minn, GB) are all teams that are in the hunt for the playoffs. The Niners have the Saints, Rams, Pats, Hawks, Phins, and Cards left on their schedule. 3 of those are tough divisional games. They could easily lose a couple more. We still have shot at a first round bye, a divisional title, or at least a wildcard spot.

    Any of you that have cashed in their bears chips after one shitty game....are dead to me.

  • I haven't thrown in the towel yet, along with Jeff, Viva, Waffle, and some others. It's all about getting hot at the right time and making it to the dance.

    Jeff tweeted earlier the Giants beat one winning team last year in the regular season. They had a pretty bad o-line. They had no running game to speak of until the playoffs last year. And they won the SB.

    There's still a lot of football to be played. We're not even 2/3 of the way through the season yet. ( 2/3 of the season mark will happen this week at about the 10 min. mark of the 2nd half). I'm not close to giving up on this team yet.

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