I'm calling these the Swashbuckling Chicago Bears. Swagger is getting too much play these days and for me it'll always belong to brilliant 2000 Baltimore Ravens. That defense was offended by first downs. They didn't talk shit...they walked on a football and shit the opposition's helmets. Then they hit you as if they invented the tackle. Other than a playoff win over the New York Jets, where Vinny Testaverde played what might have been his finest game as a Jets, that team never looked mortal.
I'm calling these the Swashbuckling Chicago Bears.
One, because I like pirates. Always have. It's a little disappointing that pirates have become so much a part of culture. Their cool cache has dwindled within the crushing grasp of Ironic America.
Second, because Robin Hood was a swashbuckler. And I'll be honest with you...I like Robin Hood.
Lance Briggs wins his starting job back Saturday night...three days into camp and here's his response: "If I didn't, then I stink."
Cedric Benson gives the quote of camp and right now the front-runner for Best Bears Quote of the season, "If they want to see CB shine, put me in the game and I'll shine."
Da Bears spent last year developing a personality. They're young. They're a little arrogant. They're fast. They're creative. Like pirates. Like Robin Hood.
I'm calling these the Swashbuckling Chicago Bears.
The following column is being written as a result of three separate situations. First, the repeated claim by Philadelphia Eagles fans as to their team's "dominance of the NFC" over a four-year period. Second, the repeated columns on ESPN each and every season that make misguided claims about future offensive performance. Third, I hate everything about the Eagles with the possible exception of Andy Reid's weight.
Let's start with dominance. You want to look at conference dominance, then look no further than the brilliant Buffalo Bills over the early 90s. I know they never won a Super Bowl but in all those cases (sans the missed field goal) they were squaring off with just plain better football teams. They dominated their conference. Let's look at our dominant Eagles of the recent past.
2001. Philadelphia loses to St. Louis in the NFC Championship game 29-24. Okay, no worries. Good job, Philly.
2002. Tampa blows Philly off their own field 27-10. It happens, okay.
2003. Carolina manhandles Philly on their own field 14-3. Dominant, Philly, dominant.
Now before Philly fans start yelling, "Where were the Bears during those three years?" I'll tell you. The ownership and staff sat around playing with Lombardi Trophy, you cunt. Get one and then call Halas Hall. What these numbers clearly show is that Philly was nowhere near a dominant force in the conference over this period! They got their asses kicked in thieir own "ohhhh, it's so hostile in there" building back-to-back years. They didn't lose by late fieldgoals or fluke calls. They got bent over Pat's (or Geno's if you like an EVEN MORE overrated sandwich) and were reemed up the ass with physical football.
2004. They win the championship game, only getting there because of a disastrous once-in-a-lifetime meltdown by the Green Bay Packers defense earlier in the playoffs. They get to the Superbowl where they're only in the game because of a downright heroic (and historic) performance from Terrell Owens.
Then the problems start. Why? Because Andy Reid is a flat-out moron, that's why. This is Terrell Owens. A model citizen for you the year previous. He risks his career to play for you in the Super Bowl and makes you look like twice the coach you actually are. He asks for compensation, to be paid like the best receiver in the game...WHICH HE IS. You fuck with him. He fucks with you.
Now I have to read Len Pasquarelli columns that include mindless phrases like "Reggie Brown is ready to step up." My only hope is that big Lenny means step up a yard or two to prevent the consistently errent Donovan McNabb passes from hitting him in the shins. Let's end the myth right now!
Donovan McNabb will occassionally make a brilliant play, usually with his legs. On a play-by-play basis, he's a subpar NFL quarterback.
No team is going to win games with their four best offensive players outside McNabb being Todd Pinkston, Reggie Brown, L.J. Smith and Brian Westbrook. It's fucking arrogant for Reid to not have at least attempted to upgrade those positions significantly this offseason. BUT WAIT, JEFF! THEY'VE GOT THAT GREAT DEFENSE!
Oh do they? The defense that was in the bottom half of the NFC in points allowed a year ago (over 18) and bottom fourth in yards allowed. But good thing Corey Simon is gone, right? Did a great job against the run last year.
If the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans are content to rest on the laurels of the early aughts, so be it. Congrats, Philly, you were consistently second best in your conference for four years. As Jerry Seinfeld says, "You were the best loser. No one lost better than you." But to continue to force this mediocre level of talent onto the football and think you're going to compete in what is now clearly the best division in football, is just ridiculous.
It would be nice to see Len Pasquarelli write that. Or John Clayton. Or Christ Mortensen. Or Peter King. But they won't and you know why? Because all these guys like Andy Reid. All these guys like Donovan McNabb. And none of them like Terrell Owens. Let me ask you, something Peter King. If you suddenly became the most read columnist on the internet and Sports Illustrated told you they wouldn't pay you as much as Bill Simmons at ESPN, who has half the readers...would you look elsewhere, knowing the readers would follow and money would come? That's what T.O. had. Leverage. It's funny how columnists refer to this sport only as a business when it's beneficial to the organization but never when it comes to the player.
Didn't anybody find it starange that the only people who spoke out against T.O were his shitty quarterback and a retired guy who had a naked fight with him? If he was such a cancer, why didn't the defense say anything? Oh, that's right...because they were talented. They wanted to win. And they knew what we all know...
The Eagles offense sucks.
I mean...it did. I hear Reggie Brown's ready to step up.
The Minnesota Vikings signed former Bears wide receiver Dez White. This is awesome. Why? Because that would make the third subpar receiver they have signed from the Bears. The Vikings still have Marcus Robinson, and they had Dwayne Bates for a year or so. Who's next? Bobby Wade? I mean come on, this is why you can not take the Vikings seriously. Dez White is Mr. Stonehands. I would almost feel bad for them if I could stop laughing.
That's my highlight of the first day of camp, kids. With this team's history, everyone should raise a glass of your favorite adult beverage this evening and kiss the nearest football.
A couple notes from today's first day of camp:
Both the Suntimes and Tribune reported Mark Bradley was healthy and ready and apparently he's running well today. I think Bradley is a more aggressive receiver and better overall football player than Bernie Berrian and I think he'll be starting in the second slot. You'll still see Bernie catch some big passes this year.
Thomas Jones strained his hamstring (COUGH bullshit COUGH) and didn't participate today. He's got the face of a pouting child on it seems. He's starting to wear on me a bit...
Around the league:
Browns center Lecharles Bentley, a huge free agent signing this offseason, looks like he's out for the fucking year after ripping his leg to shit this morning. Sucks for the Browns, an organization you like to see do well from a football purist stand point. If this team can't effectively run the ball, they'll be a five win club. They've got camp to solve the problem.
Ashley Lelie is done in Denver. Jerry Porter wants out of Oakland. Eddie Kennison wants a new contract in Kansas City. Thank God there aren't any wide receivers in San Diego to complain, though their GM A.J. Smith said he's tired of Donnie Edwards' "bullshit." Hey, we'll take Donnie Edwards bullshit. Hunter, meet Donnie. Hunter, sit down.
Looks like the first round draft pick signing is at a minimum this year outside of Reggie Bush at the second pick. They're reportedly not close there. Vince Young is also said to be nowhere near agreeing with Tennessee.
First guy I love in fantasy football this year: Jason Witten, Dallas TE. Got a nice new contract and they've got a ton of talent out wide now with T.O. Bledsoe loved his tight end in New England (Ben Coates) and did a nice job with those white guys he had in Buffalo. I think Witten might catch 60 balls and it looking at 6-8 touchdowns.
First off, let me thank ChicagoBears.com for posting their two-part interview with Jerry Angelo. Because now whenever someone asks me, "What was the most pointless, information-less thing you've ever read?"...I have a fucking answer. Jesus Christ, Jerry! Could you make a fucking point? Or go out on a fucking limb? Or maybe just say something outrageous like you did a year or so back when you were nuts!
Here are the only two snippets of the TWO PART INTERVIEW worth mentioning: (and seriously, CB.com, who the fuck are you kidding? This should just have been in Larry's box at the bottom)
About Lance Briggs' possible extension during camp or during the season:
"I can't answer that right now. The landscape changes as time goes on. We've always said that we certainly want him on our football team. That's not been in question. It's just a matter of how it's going to work itself out."
Can't he just say....yes. Work itself out? You're the general manager, Jer. YOU work it out. Cut the coy bullshit and call Drew and get it done.
About who has the leg up on the second receiver position:
"Mark Bradley started out really well last year and Bernard Berrian ended pretty well, so we'll start with those two. There should be some real good competition. If the guys stay healthy, we feel real good about the candidates."
Groundbreaking. There are also rumors swirling around that the Broncos are dangling Ashley Lelie out there to the Bears. Eh, whatever. I'll take him but I'm not giving anything good up. Maybe a 4th rounder. Maybe. Feel free to comment if you think Lelie is the key to the Bears offense climbing out of the cellar.
LET US KNOW WHO YOU ARE
IF you're an avid reader of dabearsblog.com or just checking us out by chance, let us know who you are and where you're coming from. The hope is to make this not only a comprehensive Bears fan site but also a good source for fans outside of Chicago to find each other and get wasted and watch Charles Tillman fall down in big spots.
But this morning, the season started.
For those of you who ready the above sentence and are waiting for me to break some story about a trade or a waiver signing or an organizational announcement, I apologize.
No, the true Bears fan (or any true sports fan generally) knows when the season starts. That morning, not unlike the one that began this very day, where your first thought is your team. Your first instinct is to log on to ChicagoBears.com. You can't not click Larry Mayer's endlessly pointless questions box at the bottom of the page. You go to THE sites: fanball.com, ESPN's football page, NFL.com, Suntimes, ChicagoSports...(no, I haven't started reading the Daily Southtown or Daily Herald yet...but that's coming.)
Every year this happens. I forget who the New York Yankees are. I forget there was a World Cup and that Tiger's about to win his 11th Grand Slam. I start to smell the rich Josie Woods bar and keep-em-coming pints of Bud Light (the Rheingolds have been retired). The "do ya thinks" begin. Do ya think the Bears will go 11-5 again? Do ya think the T.O. can make up for Bledsoe's utter ineptitude in a big spot? Do ya think the Dolphins need to add a hitch trailer to their bandwagon? Do ya think Carson Palmer will make it back for the start of the season?
There is no other sport, kids. And there is no other teams. Da Bears season began today for this writer and with the amount of free time I have daily now, you can expect DaBearsblog.com to be as constantly updated as any other team site on the internet. For every Bears fan knows right now as I know...
1984 is over. The defense is dominant.
Welcome back to 1985. The punky QB may have a different first name but he's got the same attitude. We may not have William Perry but most people don't know that Ogunleye is the Ugandan word for "to keep cool." The road to the Super Bowl is serving polish sausage.
Here's nine things to look for within the Chicago Bears organizations:
1. THE QUARTERBACKS
Can Grossman stay healthy? Will Griese pick up the offense as quickly as he's rumored to have? Who will outplay the other in the preseason games? You know Jerry and the staff will continue to rest their loyalty squarely on the shoulders of Rex the Wonder Bear but you also have to believe that a consistently tremendous performance will do for Brian Griese exactly what it's done for him in his last two homes: win him the starting job.
1a. HOW MUCH TIME DOES GROSSMAN PLAY?
Nothing to add here. Just wondering how cautious they'll be with him.
2. THE SECOND RECEIVER
I'm not as interested in this as others. Bernard Berrian showed a terrific rapport with Grossman late and Mark Bradley will be solid once he's healthy. Who starts opposite Moose? I don't much care.
3. THE LANCE BRIGGS CONTRACT
I know it's an off-field issue but with Jerry signing every draft pick before camp and uninterested in extending Lovie Smith (having taken this job with an illogically extended Coach of the Year), Briggs' contract moves to the forefront of his mind. Lance is going to have a terrific year and the better the year, the more difficult he'll be to sign. With Hunter and Brian locked up for five more years, it'd be nice to see this corps learn and develop together as they continue to be the best unit in the game.
4. WHO THE FUCK IS RETURNING KICKS?
The drafting of 361 kick returners seems to say that Bernie B is not going to be back there this season and I believe Bobby Wade just signed in the returns department...at Macy's. I think you'll be looking at a rookie in the back, whether that be Hester or Manning - should be fun to watch in the preseason.
5. HOW MANY CORNERBACKS IS TOO MANY CORNERBACKS?
Assuming that D. Manning won't play much at corner as a rookie, how will the Bears use Vasher, Tillman, R. Manning and Wesley at corner? Remember, Dante Wesley signed here because he was tired of not playing in Carolina. Either way, the Bears find themselves pretty deep at one of the most important positions on the field.
It's a worry for every franchise but it'd be nice to see the Bears exit camp without any major injuries. Last year it was Rex. The year before it was Brian's hamstring, which didn't improve the entire season. These guys need to stay on the field.
7. RUNNING BACK BATTLE
You'd probably thought this would be higher but I'm starting to think this is going to be a non-issue in camp. Play them both. Run them both. Let them battle. And then when the season starts... Play them both. Run them both. Let them battle. Run two-back sets. Put TJ in the flat. Utilize the notion that we have two starting NFL running backs on this roster and a hell of a backup in Adrian Peterson.
8. THE THIRD DEFENSIVE END
Word out of minicamps is that Mark Anderson has been impressive and Mel Kiper thought he was one of the finest second day picks in the entire draft. I hope so as the Bears are desperate to have a third player really contribute at end. Might it also be Idonije? If Alex and Adewale can continue to improve on last season, this could become the most dominant defensive line in the game.
9. BEAR DOWN