Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hey Lovie, I'm Not Booking a Trip to Arizona in February

The Post-Rex era begins in earnest. That is what the people and, most likely, the Bears players wanted. I wanted it too, but that doesn't mean that I feel good about it. In fact, I am upset and a little nauseated. The fact that this move to Griese had to happen is a bad thing for my team. Bad in many ways.

1. We spent a first round draft pick and paid for a franchise quarterback. The pick has busted. We have wasted five years on this guy, declining to develop another young QB and now our franchise is as well off as a Krispy Kream franchise. No value. Rex will be gone before June 1, 2008. Sayonara.

2. The "Rexplacement" will now highlight, to all you non-stop Rex-bashers, the lack of talent on this offense. Let's face it, Lovie and Angelo rolled the same beat up Ford out to camp, didn't give it a tune-up, threw a fresh coat of paint on it (Hester?) and tried to sell it to us as a new, sexy BMW. They stink. The QB is only one of the stinkees. The line cannot block, the receivers cannot get open nor catch and the backs are slow and fumble-prone. I am visualizing the next "wasted first-round draft pick blog entry" AKA "Cedric the Unentertaining." The horror.

3. It took so long to get to this finger-in-the-dike benching that we have practically killed our once stout and proud defense. Six starters are down because that offense could not stay on the field. Griese will move the chains, get some positive field position and protect the ball. Can he get us points? With what we have left on D, those poor slobs are going to get scored upon. We have to score on offense. I am not taking the over.

4. We are not going back to the Super Bowl. We will have to fight for the NFC North. We will not have a home playoff game. I hate writing this stuff, but it's true.

We have not made a halftime adjustment, ever. The one great second half the Bears have played under the current administration was in the NFC title game. The players responded to the Reggie Bush taunt and beat the Saints ass in the fourth quarter. Name me one other game where the Bears outplayed the opponent in the second half. I'm still waiting.

I hate Smith and Turner. They decided that it was O.K. to go with this pile of crap. They cannot evaluate offensive talent. If you cheered for another team, what player on this offense would you love to have? See what I mean? I only say this because I want you to understand...this benching is a season killer. And I want you to be as sick about it as I am.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The True Test

A true athlete or competitor knows when the crucial moment of a game or a season is upon them. It is a moment when one understands that the next play or minute will decide the outcome of the contest. If they don't know or realize the moment, they will lose. On Sunday, the Bears have such a moment. The Dallas game will expose what kind of team that we have. When you watch this game understand that you are watching a season-defining game. It will truly be a revealing night.

This is also a season-defining tailgate for me. The pressure is palpable. I will not be attending many games this season. I also will not be cooking with the kind of motivation that I will have on Sunday. I aim to please my guests with a full yet diverse menu. I promise I will not "Bad Rex" this opportunity to grill.

If you are watching on television, may I suggest a "Rex" drinking game. Every time the announcers mention Grossman and the reference is not in regard to a play that is happening or has just happened, you must drink. In preperation for this game, please purchase a large amount of your favorite alcoholic beverage and prepare to use a sick day on Monday. You think the guy hung a dog or something. He is just a lousy football player.

As predicted, Tank Johnson got a job in the NFL. This should be no suprise because Leonard Little always had a job, and he killed a human being. The only way to be banned from the league is to bet on another player killing more than one human being while that player is using a banned substance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Matriculate the Ball Down the Field, Boys.

The late, great Hank Stram, offensive innovator par excellence, would have projectile vomited at the offensive display put on at Soldier Chase Bank Oscar Mayer Wiener Field this past Sunday. The Bear and Chief offenses suck lemons. With four minutes remaining and in possession of the football, with a chance to ice the game, The Bears O goes on a 25 second drive. The Bears defensive players are taking up a collection to sign one good offensive player. It is a disgrace. I want to poke a stick in my eye. Can't we keep the defense off the field for a couple of minutes in a row? I am getting stomach cramps just thinking about this.

If you love the Bears, then don't watch the Patriots. It will make you want to walk into oncoming traffic. They are Super-powered. The football in the AFC is really good. The Bears have to do something epic to even attempt to be competitive with the AFC's best. They have the D and the special teams. They also have, in my opinion, a full-fledged quarterback controversy. Better QB play gives us a chance at a Super Bowl. Otherwise, we are conceding that all we can get is a runner-up trophy, again.

I sold my tickets for $70 over face value. The girl that bought them got her money's worth. Devin Hester needs his own theater at Caesar's Palace. The man can put butts in the seats. He is awesome. I have seen him return three kicks for TDs in person. There is no more exhilarating player in the league. 10 seconds of pure adrenaline. Even if he doesn't break one, you hold your breath. He is the best returner that I have ever seen. Watch those potty breaks, you don't want to miss him.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"A $5 Milkshake? That's Just Milk and Ice Cream, Right? Do You Put a Shot of Rum in There?"

One of my great culinary quests is to find the best chocolate milkshake in the world. I know this is not a complicated search considering the limited ingredients. Charlie Trotter, I am not. However, a chocolate milkshake is my favorite dessert. Thus, the quest. After 30 years of questing, I do have a favorite. I will share my findings with you, my two readers.

First off, I will give a favorable review to a "well-priced" shake. My best bang-for-the-buck chocolate shake goes to Dairy Queen. A small runs about $2.50 and has good chocolate flavor and loses nothing with the soft serve ice cream. Always a solid "cheap eat."

By far, the best chocolate shake belongs to Oberweis. It is expensive, $6 a pop. When ordering this monstrosity, I have a flashback to Pulp Fiction when Vincent Vega is initially incredulous about the price of a milkshake at Jack Rabbit Slim's. (See caption). When I taste the Oberweis shake, Vince and I have the same reaction. "That's a pretty f-ing good milkshake. I don't know if it's worth $6 but it's pretty f-ing good." And it is. And it is HUGE. So, you get your money's worth in volume. In the end, no shake can touch it.

I will add that Potbelly has a good milkshake. They also give you two small butter cookies on the straw. This is the kind of personal touch that moves me. After all, who doesn't need a butter cookie now and then. It makes me feel young. Also, McDonald's has tweaked their shakes in a good way. It is cheap, and if you are in a hurry to consume some calories, you can't beat the drive thru.

Now to the purpose of this blog, the Bears. I am not going to the opener. I am boycotting until they win or until they play a night game against Dallas. I fully expect that the Bears offense will score, and the CHIEF will be vanquished. It doesn't change the fact that:
1. The Coaches call a weeny game against good teams on the road.
2. Lovie Smith lies to us on a daily basis.
3. I have relinquished my seat on the "Rex Grossman Experience" roller-coaster ride.

I came to point number 3 in my usual high-traffic, alone-time on the commute. I listened to "Deepak" Smith drone on about the positives of last Sunday's "puss-out" and realized that Lovie had point number 2ed me on Grossman. He doesn't believe that Grossman can win them a big game. He never did. He really doesn't know if Rex can win them a big game. I then realized that I had just eaten from the tree of knowledge. I realized that I was naked, not literally (arrestable offense), but in my blind allegiance to the man. I am weak like that. Despite the sinking feeling, it is better this way. I can enjoy more college football and the beauty of perfect weather on a fall weekend. Perspective folks, is priceless.

Monday, September 10, 2007

If You Want to Run with the Big Dogs...You Have to Piss on the Big Trees

Bears 3-Chargers 14

With a night to sleep on it and some a.m. reflection, I will convey my disappointment. When you get an opportunity to play a game against an elite team, you must bring all the ammo in the arsenal. You play to win and in order to do that you must be bold in your planning and dynamic in your execution. I saw that on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, I saw caution and unimaginative play-calling.

The turnovers were costly, and lost them the game. But do you really feel that the Bears played to win on offense? If the turnovers had not happened, did you get the sense that the Bears would go for the kill? I did not. I never get the feeling in a really big matchup that the Bears staff has the confidence to let it all hang out and play to win on offense. The tentative play-calling is a problem. You don't slay the dragon with a dull, small blade. It is a philosophy that does not win championships. You can beat the Lions, Vikings and Packers with this unimaginative style, but it fails against the elite, the Chargers, the Patriots and the Colts.

It is the same feeling I got with the New England game last year. They want to hang around until the end, and maybe they will pull it out. That's weak. Do they really think Rex can pull out a close one at the end? Yesterday, they certainly did not give him the chance to win the game. Many people think that Rex is not that kind of quarterback. The people who really count are the Bears and their coaches. If they think Rex is the guy, then call that kind of game. If not, put in Griese and grind out the wins. Certainly, don't pay Rex for "managing" the game. That is not why you draft a QB in the first round. Either believe in him or let him go.

The defense was awesome. They were on the field way too long in the 2nd half. Note to Ron Turner, when the Chargers Hall of Fame running back, LaDanian Tomlinson was shut down, they let him throw a pass, near the goal line, for a touchdown. That is dynamic. Ron, you get paid to make the adjustments, so adjust. If it's broken, fix it. Or be gone.

Did you all think that the Bears were going to run all over SD? C'mon, they also have an elite defense. There are signs of a problem, though. The offensive line is not that good. I don't understand how the "expert media" gets this so wrong. Olin Kreutz is a player. The rest of those guys are old and more worrisome, slow. That is why the Bears have trouble with the 3-4 defense. Those defenses are fast. The line's heavy feet is why the pass protection is so bad against the good defenses. Couple that slowness with Benson's running style and you see the problem. Cedric shows no vision as a runner; he is all one hole and downhill. I hate to say it, but Thomas Jones made that line look better. He gave the line the comfort of not being perfect. Without that vision, the Cedric running game becomes one dimensional. That being said, AP ran well, quick to the hole and elusive with over 4 yards a carry. Its the fumbles.

The Chargers eliminated the special team threat. If the Chargers are not going to allow Hester to return punts, why didn't the Bears let him return the kickoffs? The defense did not score. They have got to score on offense. At least, they have got to try.

The Bears can make the playoffs in their weak division. That is not what we are looking for. We need to be a great team. This first test for greatness was a failure.

Monday, September 3, 2007

It's Getting Better All the Time.

I noticed that recently departed, Dtackle Ian Scott, was released by his new team. Just another example of the Bears GM and coaches constantly evaluating their own talent. That is an important part of the salary cap NFL success process. Not only must you evaluate the college players and NFL players on other teams, you must continue to truthfully evaluate your own talent. Bill Belichick is the master at this skill. The Bears did not value Scott at the price he would demand with the injury he was recovering from, so they let him go. Then, they went out and bolstered their depth at the position. The Bears are working within the current system with great success. It makes me feel warm all over.

I am ready for the real game on Sunday. I am bringing the lunch pail along with the Monsters. 11 wins and a home playoff game is the goal. More importantly, they must be a tougher team than last year. Mentally tougher. In order to beat the best on a regular basis, the Bears have to be better than last year right now. Then by Week 17, they must be even better. Not just one guy, all of the guys. Stay healthy, boys.

I'm not pulling any punches this year. Our window is closing with these players. Now is the time. Keep that chip on the shoulder. Arizona in January sounds great. Anything less is unacceptable. I will rip 'em.

On Labor Day, I must grill with charcoal. I have a turkey breast on the big Weber right now. Baked potatoes and corn to follow. Good year for the sweet corn. Reminds me of a tailgate tale. One opener vs. the Lions, I rode with my crew; I had not yet taken the cooking reigns in my own hands. Kevin had brought a good size grill, a larger Smokey Joe, and had put a bag of pre-lit charcoal in the belly of the grill. The bag took up all of the space in the grill. I pulled the bag out to dump in some coals. Kevin's pal, Billy, said, "No, just light the whole bag inside the grill." I protested but to no avail. He lit the bag, and soon, a geyser of flame erupted from the small grill. You couldn't get within 10 feet of that thing. It was like cooking on the sun. That day made me. I took over the tailgating from there on. I also got my first lesson on heat control. Along with some flame-induced eyebrow removal.