Last year: 10-6, third place in NFC North
Acquisitions: Martellus Bennett, Eben Britton, Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, D.J. Williams, Kyle Long
Departures: Brian Urlacher, Gabe Carimi, Israel Idonije, Jason Campbell
Vegas 2013 win total over/under: 8 1/2 wins
Marc Trestman facial profile: 2 years max then gone, Cutlet will eat him alive unless Trestman wins him over with his periodic table. #Nerd
— Shan Shariff (@NewSchoolSS) January 17, 2013
Five things Marc Trestman will be called by talk radio hosts and old columnists:
– Pencil-neck dweeb
Fan forecast, by reader Ryan Foster:
So, once again the city of Chicago emerges from its hockey-induced victory hangover, stumbles momentarily over its comatose baseball franchises, and reaches for the rejuvenating breakfast burrito that is the start of Bears season. Will its greasy, victory-filled nutrients rejuvenate us with a return to glory? Or will it collapse into a soggy mess, leaving us to retch helplessly as Jay Cutler continues to experiment with new and exciting injuries, eventually destroying our playoff hopes yet again? This is modern Bears fandom – trying your best to enjoy the good times, all the while waiting impatiently for the moment you can give up the pretense that the season is going anywhere and go back to focusing on Derrick Rose’s knee.
The main story heading into this season is that, for the first time since the glaciers receded from the Midwest, Brian Urlacher is no longer playing in a Bears uniform. However, nine-tenths of the attending fans *will* be wearing said player’s uniform, the only exceptions being a handful of bros in Cutler jerseys icing one another other and a few embarrassed fans in five year-old Devin Hester shirts hoping no one will notice. Thankfully, Urlacher won’t be playing in any uniform, because I don’t think anyone could stomach watching him string out his career as a backup for the Texans. Now we can remember him as we should: hovering triumphantly over the motionless corpse of Brett Favre’s dignity.
The defense, despite shedding another player every four hours or so, will likely still be highly effective because that’s the only way the Bears are able to maintain the franchise’s image among its fans. The 1985 team has continued to dominate public perception of what a Chicago Bears team should be. This is why, while traditionally defensive-minded teams like the Steelers and Ravens have won titles by cultivating balanced offenses and drafting reliable quarterbacks, the Bears continue to focus on SMASHY GRITTIRON DEFENSE-FIRST-SECOND-AND-THIRD football good for obscene D/ST performances in fantasy leagues and for third-place finishes in the modern NFL. However, while it is certainly questionable how the defensive corps will adapt to major changes, watching Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs line up against the likes of the Browns (twice counting preseason!) should be sufficient to satisfy our collective bloodlust for another season.
Also significant is that at last we have a new coach to rescue us from the Long Nightmare of the Lovie Smith Era, who was in turn salvation from the Dick Jauron era, which somehow lasted only five seasons when it seemed more like 12. Man, did we hate Dick Jauron. Did you know he won Coach of the Year once? I sure as hell didn’t! Anyway, goodnight, Sweet Lovie Lee, I shall think of thee every time a coach calls timeout three minutes into the first quarter to decide whether he should throw a challenge flag to pick up an extra two yards on a third-and-eight.
In way of replacement, we have some guy no one’s heard of except for Canadian football fans, who are not to be trusted, what with their 55-yard lines and three-minute warnings. I think I’ve already accidentally called him Tom Thibodeau twice and will probably just continue to do so. He does bring with him a couple of Grey Cups, which I assume the new coach will drop in a trash can like a wrestler bringing his old championship belt when he jumps to a new company.
The Bears have also hired Aaron Kromer as their new offensive coordinator, which is like the NFL’s version of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Hey, if he was good enough to be third-string coach for the Saints, he’s certainly good enough to manage an offensive playbook that’s just “run Matt Forte up the middle” and “hope Brandon Marshall is open” written in crayon. At least we’ve been promised that Hester is headed back to special teams full-time, meaning we won’t have to endure yet another season of the team painfully trying to pound that round peg into a wideout-shaped hole.
As terrible as the offense is, this is not Cutler’s fault. Jay Cutler is delivering exactly what Jay Cutler was hired to do – create the illusion of offensive viability while continuing to lean on the defense for scoring opportunities. That way, when Cutler inevitably goes down with a case of Nightmarishly Outmatched Offensive Line, management can give the WHADDREYAGONNADO shrug as yet another season ends with Caleb Hanie not understanding how to clock the football or Marion Barber forgetting to fall down inbounds.
While we Chicagoans tend to be an optimistic bunch sports-wise, recent history makes it difficult to trust this team past Week 10 or so. The most we can do is enjoy the winning while it lasts and try to numb ourselves for the inevitable experience of watching Luke (or Josh, whatever) McCown throw five picks against the Rams in November while Cutler plays Nintendogs in a walking cast on the sidelines. And hey, every so often the Bears pull out a 13-win season despite having Jim Miller or something at QB, which this year could set up a potential Super Bowl opportunity in BEARSSSS WEDDER on the North Jersey tundra. Who the hell knows with this team? BEAR DOOOOOOOWN!