Why are the Chicago Bears the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL?
Why are the Chicago Bears are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL?
No respect, no respect I tell ya. Rodney Dangerfield made a career out of these words. As a Chicago Bears fan, I feel his pain. Whether I'm watching broadcasts or listening to local sports radio, people are always finding things wrong with the Bears. While I am not always the most optimistic Bears fan, I do think that it is very hard to find too many faults with a 7-1 football team.
I should just get used to this by now. Even when the Bears went to the NFC Championship Game in 2010 (actually calendar year 2011), people still regularly questioned that team. Despite a solid effort in a 21-14 home loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, the I told ya so mentality was deafening both locally and around the league.
Last season, when the Bears looked like they were reaching elite status before Jay Cutler was injured against the San Diego Chargers, there was still this doubt floating over the Bears. No matter how well they played or who they beat, there was something always wrong with the opponent. It was never the Bears.
OK, so to quote Mike Ditka, the past is for cowards. So let's look at 2012. When the Bears do something well, it is always the fault of the opponent or just plain luck. But when the Bears do something poorly, it is the Bears fault and it proves that they're just not a good football team. So what is it? Is this a 7-1 team or is the league just falling down to let the Bears win? Because it can't be both.
I've decided to dedicate this piece to misconceptions and realities with the Bears. I am sure many of you will have your two-cents to throw in as well. As usual, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew and Hashtag #RML with your thoughts.
The Bears Offensive Line Cannot Block?
Let's start off with the biggest issue in most fans' eyes. Yes, the offensive line has struggled at times. But they've also done some good things. Frankly, I think the issue with this unit as much as anything else is the lack-of-help they receive from the tight ends and running backs. Kellen Davis is worthless and Matt Forte's strength isn't blocking. So it puts added pressure on this group.
But it's also fair to say that the tackles aren't helping much either. J'Marcus Webb will look good at times but then have some just horrific moments. Gabe Carimi still isn't helping the cause either. These two guys have to get better. There isn't going to be a change, so it is on these two to step up and play better football. I think they have the ability, but it would be nice to see it translate into actual on-field success.
The Bears Defense Will Not Continue this Production
The Bears defense isn't complicated. They basically run six or seven plays. By keeping it simple, they really don't have to worry about missing assignments. By doing this, they're able to concentrate on fundamentals and creating turnovers. In addition to the fact the Bears are a turnover creating machine this season, there's not a unit in the NFL that tackles better than the Bears. How often do you see guys out of position? Since the Bears play on Sunday night next week, watch other games? You'll grow to appreciate this defense even more.
On the subject of turnovers. It isn't like this team is getting lucky bounces. They're creating these opportunities. This production is coming from hard work, and not a lucky bounce here or there. There's no reason why the Bears cannot keep up this pace. But teams will certainly be more aware of guys like Charles Tillman slapping at the ball.
Jay Cutler Isn't a Leader or Winner
12-1. That is Jay Cutler's record in his last 13 games. Like it or not, he wins. And his teammates don't seem to have the issues with Cutler the rest of the free world like to believe they do. If you're going to criticize Cutler for his antics, you also have to recognize his team's performance. And it's darn good.
The Bears Haven't Played Anyone
If you look a the combined records of the teams the Bears have played, it is fair to say they haven't had the most difficult schedule in the NFL. But to discount the quality of a NFL win is ridiculous. While there's team in the NFL that aren't as good as others, a win is a win. Are the Bears supposed to ask the league to create a schedule that has the league's best team every week? Maybe the reason why the Bears dominate most of these opponents is because they're a better team? Not because the competition is inferior. Oh wait, that might offend Trent Dilfer.
Devin Hester is Done
We finally saw some explosiveness out of Devin Hester on a return against the Tennessee Titans. I think the blocked punt will open things up for Hester. But there's no doubting his struggles as of late. I'm not ready to write Hester off quite yet, but we need to see more consistency. But then again, I really hope teams start to doubt him a bit and get complacent. That may also be the spark he needs.
Brandon Marshall is a Problem
Brandon Marshall has confronted his demons after being evaluated for Borderline Personality Disorder. Since coming to the Bears, he's been a gentleman and a great teammate. Can his off-the-field issues flair up again? Certainly. But as of now, he's one of the league's best. Luckily for the Bears, he seems to have found a home.
Shea McClellin is a Wasted Draft Pick
We are far away from knowing how good or bad Shea McClellin will be in his career, but he has 2.5 sacks. He also is getting into the backfield consistently and making quarterbacks uncomfortable. Many of us (and yes I am one of them) questioned this draft choice. And as of today, we are being proven wrong.
Lovie Smith Isn't a Good Coach
I am not going to even dignify this with too much of a response. He is a very good coach and is beloved by his players. Is he perfect, no. But he's the best coach the Bears have had in my lifetime. And that includes Ditka.
The Schedule Gets Harder and the Bears Will Come Back Down to Earth
The Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers are two of the league's best teams and play the Bears the next two weeks. Bring 'em on. The Bears are as good as these teams and will show up to play. Will they win, who knows? But to quote the great Rick Flair, To be the best, you have to beat the best. And the Bears will be ready.