Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just Look Away. It Only Hurts for a Second.

People always come up to me and ask "How can you get excited and root for these Bears when they play like this." OK, no one really comes up to me, ever, and asks me about the Bears. I think I scare people a little. The answer is "I don't stay excited." I am easily able to lose interest in a pathetic Bear team. I can look at the talent, the coaching and be objective in my fandom. I am grounded in reality when it comes to the Bears. I will watch every game despite their record. But my love of football does not rest solely on the Bears. I love sports and competition. That is what inspires me and that has been true since I was a little fan.

When I was a kid, if I wasn't playing sports, I was watching sports or reading about sports. I was always playing ball outside with my friends. I could always find a game or get one going. I watched every sport I could find on the 6 channels we used to get back in the 70's and 80's. When ESPN was born, I was there. I have read every decent sports book ever written. That was fanaticism. My roommate in college and I just talked about this same thing, how sports-obsessed we were. He is one of my best friends. That is the foundation of our relationship. It is always our shared experiences at games. That is where it all gets done. We talk about our lives, dreams, goals, setbacks and accomplishments while either at a game or watching the game or calling to talk about the game. It is what my father and I always shared until the end. It was one of my great accomplishments in life to take my dad to great games and get great seats. I promised myself I would do that. I also told him how much it meant for me to do that with him. The few people that I consider my best friends are sports fanatics. It is not a long list of people, but it is a long list of games.

As I have gotten older, my sports obsession has waned. I have narrowed the field tremendously. Football season and college basketball until March Madness and then I go on hiatus. I have dropped the baseball and the Australian Rules football. My attachment to a particular player is all but gone. It is the pure competition that keeps me interested, that and a chance to see a game with my friends. I could be in the endzone at Montini, the visiting fans section in Gainesville, up and in the corner for the Illini comeback to go to the Final Four (remember that one), high up on Rocky Top or at the Bears NFC championship game with my new sports buddy, and I can feel like a kid for just a few hours. A family of four and a law practice means I can't act like a kid, but I can pretend.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stop. Hey. What's That Sound? It's Cedric Benson Falling Down.

I have heard enough talk about this pathetic Bear rushing attack to last a lifetime. It is a very simple issue. The guy that they hand the ball won't run hard through the line of scrimmage. I will be the first one to tell you that the Bears O-line is overrated. But they are not "worst in the league" bad. Cedric Benson is that bad. Just watch him stop at the line of scrimmage or tip-toe to the blocking. It is sickening. He also has this delusion that he can go sideways like Barry Sanders. Uh, no, you cannot. On top of it all, he hasn't broken a tackle all year. It infuriates me that Lovie Smith will not admit that they can't get it done with Benson. It makes me realize how much rebuilding is necessary. I am disheartened.

Another problem is this Tommy Harris. He is very undisciplined and, this really hurts to say, selfish. It starts with that jumping the snap count stuff that he pulled early this year. The Bear coaches got that nonsense under control. But now he is not doing his job. He is over penetrating, looking for stats and sacks, and that makes the D vulnerable to the run. I have been watching this for weeks, and hoped it was a desperate effort to make something good happen. Now, I see it as selfish. He is a two gap control tackle. He sack numbers should not be high. They are not needed in this scheme. Also, Mark Anderson should only be playing on passing downs. He over penetrates on every play. I think Alex Brown is getting the shaft. He is a more consistent run defender. He is a good teammate; he does his job. It kills me that Alfonso Boone is having a great year in Kansas City. This is another example of the incompetence of our player evaluation. I believe that Lovie is now more involved with the personnel decisions. This is the result. Let's let Jerry Angelo run that show. I would not be surprised to hear this leak out.

Can we permanently acknowledge that we suck on offense and blow this thing up? I did enjoy seeing the return of the deep ball to Berrian. The Raider game was a stinker. Unwatchable. Seattle is solid and efficient. Hopefully, a loss will stop any and I mean ANY talk of playoffs. If this Bear team makes the playoffs, the NFL should disband for one year, reduce the number of teams, and start over in 2009 with a better product. This parity bullshit is making for bad football. There are 4 teams playing good football on a consistent basis. The rest are crap. The beat down that the Patriots are putting on the league exposes the crap. It really is getting too complicated. More play, less think. Who wants these idiots thinking anyway?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bears Not Needed to Induce Labor

No need to fall back on the child-birth last resort, watching the 2007 Bears to kick start Kathleen's contractions. With the past bye week, the baby was allowed to remain in utero for another few days. It's Friday, November 9, 2007, and it looks like the baby is coming today. Hopefully, we will be watching the Bears/Raiders game at home, suffering as a family.

Ruben Brown, offensive guard emeritus, has been placed on the DL and is lost for the season. Good riddance. He lowers the team's average age a whole year just by his removal from the roster.

Pro Football Weekly (I am a subscriber) rips Lovie Smith in this week's issue. The most compelling point made is that Lovie sucks at player evaluation. I agree. He has to get out of the player personnel business and focus solely on coaching. Standing pat on offense this past off-season was a major blunder. You saw this coming. He needs to show a little less loyalty to unproductive players. A sense of urgency is needed in that locker room. That and a fear of losing your job. See the work product of Jimmy Johnson and Bill Belichick. When money is involved, fear can be extremely motivating.

If the Bears can get Michael Turner (RB-San Diego) in free agency after this season, it will be a good off-season. We need him, bad. They need to make a strong push for him. I also see Donovan McNabb popping up as a potential future Bear. I am O.K. with that as long as the price is not out of control. There was also mention of J.P. Losman. Noooooo! Run for the hills. I have three words for that guy. Rex Grossman Lite.

If the Bears are serious about getting better, we should see Kyle Orton very soon. Remember, Orton has started in the League and has won some games. After a few years on the sideline, I am curios to see what he has got. No harm in trying. Really, where are we going with this season.

I watched the replay of the Adrian Peterson record-shattering rushing game vs. San Diego. Mind you, AP is the goods. Strength and speed to burn, runs hard, plays behind his pads and has the vision all great backs have. Also, San Diego's run defense is no pushover. But folks, that team blocked superbly. The line, receivers and tight end put on a clinic. They should print copies of that tape and sell it to coaches because that was zone blocking done to perfection. Stay with those blocks, Old Bears.

Off to the Hospital. New Bears fan coming. Some father I am, subjecting my daughter to a lifetime of futile fandom. Well, why should she get to be happy?