Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm in Wonderland.

"When you're 9-7, you're close," Smith said. "You don't need an overhaul. You just need to add a few pieces to the puzzle."-Lovie Smith

There is this scene in "Saving Private Ryan" that so disturbed me that I promised never to watch the movie again. Toward the climactic ending, Pvt. Mellish, played by Adam Goldberg, was in a tower. He was tackled by a large Nazi, who took a knife and plunged it into Mellish's abdomen. As he killed Mellish, he held him close and softly "shushed" him like one would do to a baby. It makes me ill just recounting this scene. A stabbing is such an up close and personal method of killing. Add to that the Nazi's complete ease in destroying a human life, well, it doesn't get more real than that. Too real.

When I read the above quote, Pvt. Mellish came to mind. This is the only way I can express the onslaught of emotion that hit me. I want to cradle my coach in my arms and end it. How else to deal with this infuriating man? Can he truly be serious? Even the casual fan who knows nothing about pro football knows that Smith is dead wrong in this analysis. I should have been better prepared; I did predict this. Just didn't think he would say it so soon.

The Bears are closer to 3-13 than 13-3. Close? Does he watch film or only the Jumbotron during games? I have watched the Jumbotron at the games and I can tell you, the Bears don't look better on replay. This is a nightmare. I love the Bears with a passion that crosses the line of sensible, adult behavior. I don't know what to do. I need more time. I feel despair. My team has been taken over by aliens.

Somebody has to do something. This town loves the Bears. All we want is to win. Why don't the owners, management and coaches want the same thing? This question is always on my mind. Sure, they talk winning. As they say, talk is cheap. Their actions don't back it up. I hate them all for making me feel this way. They have got to be stopped. Lovie's "puzzle" is like the outdoor maze in The Shining , and I'm Jack. I have got his look on my face right now. Right now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Playoffs Avoided.

They had to win. They couldn't do it. Beaten, in the end, by a more talented team. The moments that summed it up: Losing the best receiver in the NFL in a coverage mistake, and a stop the defense had to have.

The mistake. Daniel Manning has made that mental mistake before. More than once. It was the reason he was not the starting free safety. We had found a use for Manning in the past four weeks. He had been successful, a difference-maker. They must have forgot about his inability to react properly in pass coverage. They had Steltz take all of the practice reps at free safety. Apparently, they still remembered Manning's mistakes right up until 11:00 a.m. when they made Daniel the surprise starter.

In the end, they had it down to seven, and they needed the ball back. Couldn't get the Texans off of the field. Couldn't stop the run-9 carries for 70 yards on the drive. Story of this defense, this season.

There I was, riveted to the TV, hoping against my own angst, that they would win this game. It meant something, if just for this day and this game. Problem is that the Bears did not feel the same way. Maybe some did but not all. People will talk about the lull in the offense after the ten-point lead. That lull is called "ADJUSTMENT." The opposing coaches adjust, and the offense stalls. The key is to re-adjust. The Bears have shown the inability to change for two seasons.

I am interested to see Kyle Orton throw to some professional receivers. I think he is pretty good. The Cover-2 is over. See Tampa Bay's last four games.

This loss does hurt. Not as much pain as the Cowboy fans must be feeling. That makes me feel better. The Jets and the Cowboys spent money like Arab sheiks this past off-season. You can't build a winner with too many free agents. Or a meddling owner. Two things that will never happen in Chicago. I'm pulling for the Falcons. Has Farve retired yet?

It has been a rough year. Up and down. Hoping that this team could put a whole team effort together. I am watching Eagle safety Brian Dawkins talking about what he was playing for this Sunday knowing they have a shot at the playoffs. He said, "We played for each other; we wanted to win this game for the guys in the locker room. We may have had a chance to get in the playoffs, but it really did not matter. We wanted to beat the Cowboys and let whatever happens, happen." That's football. Love it.

Mike Singletary got the head coaching job in San Francisco. Won 4 or his 5 games as coach. A guarantee: Singletary will win in this league. He will win alot. He is a proud man not burdened by pride. Love him.

Until draft day, go Hawks, go Flyin' Illini.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Doesn't Kill You Only Makes You Delude Yourself Into Thinking You Can Win a Playoff Game.

I confess that I was hoping that Mason Crosby was going to make that kick and end this charade of a "playoff" season. I don't feel guilty about it. Lovie Smith must be Irish or have a horseshoe up his ass, because I have not seen such luck. Does he ever say anything into those headphones? It should say "Fisher Price" not "Motorola" on those things.

No playoffs, OK? If you can't compete for a Super Bowl VICTORY, why burden your fanbase with false hope. I mean, 10-6, for this team? It is not right. I know that I am very negative, but I know this program. They will not improve the talent-level in a meaningful way. These ten wins will somehow enable them to coast through the off-season. They are delusional; you know this is true. Two years from a Super Bowl appearence, and they roll out this receiving crew? And I'm the crazy one. Scheme changes and talent are needed here, stat. IV with ringers-let's get em to Rampart. Where is Randolph Mantooth and why didn't he have a movie career? Foreshadowing for David Caruso. What was I talking about?

Enough of the "light is going on for Devin Hester" as a receiver comments. He let a TD pass right through the old paws, again. Plus, Orton can't hit him on those Superfly routes. What is the point? When pressed hard by the experienced and talented Packer corners, Hester could not get off the line, get into his routes and get open. He is a number 3; a taller Antwaan Randle-El. No more.

The only man out there this year is Lance Briggs. He has been very good all season. And at cost.

You know you have a bad organization when not only can't you evaluate your own talent, you can't even evaluate the playing surface. This is the Fucking NFL. Play should not be affected by slipping on a crappy field. How can this go on? Put in the field-turf and let the best players in the world settle it the right way. I am so pissed about this field. It is the height of "bush" league.

All right, I will get positive. Daniel Manning has been a difference-maker in the last 3 games. He has found a niche. You have to cherrypick the good stuff, but it is there. Alex Brown, Matt Forte, solid performers. Finally, the geniuses up in the booth, they that Lovie is not talking to, finally decide that getting the ball to Greg Olsen is a priority. Kinda the reason you dopes drafted him. It won them a ball game.

Not sold on Orton as the answer. I have seen enough to keep him and keep playing him. Not enough consistency to lift the manhole cover off the offensive player checkbook.

Craig Steltz is a rookie, and I like him. But if that missed tackle doesn't cause him to jerk awake at night in a cold sweat like Nick Nolte in "North Dallas Forty" then I don't want him. That's "falling on your face in Chicago" Right, Phil? National TV no less.

Kornheiser was good last night. At the end of the half, as the Bears were pissing down their legs, he asked "why aren't they booing louder. Jaws, am I right?" He was right. However, Tony needs to understand some things. A. People were as frozen as Lovie's 1,000 yard stare at the Jumbotron. B. So were the beers. C. They were waiting for the half to end, as Jaworski told him. And as they left the field, they got it. He also said that the Bear fans have been getting psyched for the defense for the past 50 years. This is also true. We are so used to incompetent offense, we don't bother vocalizing; falls on deaf ears. Remember the first 6 games of 2005? The Grossman month? We were scoring so much, people were disrobing in the stands. It was anarchy. Bear fans couldn't survive a whole season of good offense. We have sausage stuck in our aortas, the "Chicago heart" beats tenuously.

Oh, Robbie Gould. MVP. The kicker. The horror.

Please Bears, just die already, in Houston. Don't empower the evil silent genius.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Looking Forward to Many Bears Accidently Shooting Themselves in the Thigh

It is tough to sit in front of this computer to write about the Bears. For the first time all season, I shut off the game with time on the clock. Two huge road games in the division, the latter, if won, would have given the Bears the full length lead for a division crown. The results...two gutless performances. With a chance to prove to this fan that the Bear players and coaches were up to being a formidable playoff opponent, they came up lame. They shoot horses, why not Bears.

There is no intensity or toughness in this group. The decision-making is suspect from the top on down. In the end, they are an 8-8 team, inconsistent, like I had mentioned earlier in the year. I get caught up, ride the ups too long and allow the dips to depress me too much. I didn't trust my own instincts. It's my fault. Mine and Lovie's.

If you love pro football, watch the Giants. They are doing everything right, including their handling of the Plaxico situation. Bottom line, they proved that they can have a successful passing game without him. Good times.

Looks like Charlie Weis is back for another year. I would suggest some humble pie but the punchline is too easy. As bad as ND's talent base was when Weis's third year began, he should get a chance to coach his recruits. The problem is that I don't think he can do it. Sucks to start over. And Lou Holtz can shut the fuck up. I think Lou is a genius and knows how to build a winner. But when he took the job, he got assurances that his recruits would get accepted. And they did. He won a national championship and came a phantom holding call away from a second title with a partial (Prop 48) qualifier at QB, Tony Rice. Rice ran Holtz's veer better than any QB he ever coached. In the end, Lou won too much, and the priests pulled the rug out from under him. Dr. Lou got the hell out. So, it ain't easier to win now for Charlie than it was for Holtz. He is lying out of his ass. He is a genius at that as well.

My Bears playoff ticket invoice went right into the shredder. The sad part, they could still win the division. I won't be there to see it. I have learned my lesson. I refuse to watch Kevin Payne again. If he knocks another teammate off a tackle with his ridiculous tackling technique (think of a scud missile wearing a navy blue #44 jersey-inaccurate and sometimes a dud), I may swallow my own tongue. Oh, and one more suggestion, it might not serve you well to call three inside running plays into the two best run-stuffing D-tackles in the league. Not good times. But I'm not still bitter.

Oh yeah, Peanut, when they ask you what happened on your junior varsity attempt at covering Bernard Berrian, your answer should be, "I screwed up." Your answer that "I was going through my progressions, well, I just don't know what happened" was really compelling. It looked like a Bassmaster fisherman hooked you with a double-squiggly spinner bait and pulled your head forward toward the WRONG RECEIVER. After Berrian went the distance, Lovie asked Tillman "Charles, why did Bernard Berrian go 99 YARDS for a touchdown?" Tillman replied, "Coach, that was all he needed."

Tillman didn't really say that. Actually, it was Ohio Stae assistant coach, Lou Holtz to Woody Hayes after USC Trojan O.J. Simpson went 95 yards for a touchdown. True Story. One of the few you will get out of Lou.