These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman... (Thomas Paine)
The see-saw began with 13:14 left in the 4th Quarter. My heart dropped to the floor as Griese threw into the arms of Keith Smith for a Lions TD. I was down and out... and then- Devin Hester returns the ensuing kick off 97 yards. My heart returned into my chest. And then... wellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ you know the rest. We're 1-3, and things look rather dismal.
I guess at this point we have a choice. We can use our left leg and start kicking BG while he is down (Obviously we can't use our right leg because it's sore from kicking Rex all week) - or we can hang in there. I for one am not ready to mail in the rest of the season nor abandon the team. I plan to stick with them through think and thin- and yeah, things are thin. Patience is what is needed.
Today we are dismayed. We can analyze the finer points of the game plan (or rehash the old ones).
But let me leave you with one thought. Even if this season is going to be less than best; tomorrow's dawn brings with it that annual life event that's more significant than one's birthday: It'll be Packer week! Heck, beating the Pack may just be the season.
It feels like the postseason today. It was one of those mornings when the moment my eyes opened, I was up...and thank God that happened at 6:40 am. I was lucky enough last night to see Kelly Pavlik fight his head off and knock out Jermaine Taylor. Now ESPNU is re-running my high school alma mater (St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, NJ) vs. North Bergen from Friday night. The next three hours before doors open at Josie Woods are going to be brutal.
Win today, boys. Just win. Be aggressive on offense. Be aggressive on defense. The guys suiting up might not be what yoou intended three weeks ago, but they're still professional athletes. Get after it and knock these Lions on their asses. Today is the playoffs. Today is your season. Get to 2-2 and march into Lambeau with momemtum.
Win today, boys. Just win. Bear down.
This Bears team I once pronounced the most talented in its conference has been Jauronianlly reduced to a shell of its Super Bowl status. Now they travel to Detroit for a game we once wrote off as a guaranteed W and now wonder if it won't be repeat of Sunday night's home massacre at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
1. I always like the Chicago Bears.
2. The first ten minutes of this game are going to be pivotal. The Bears must dominate the line of scrimmage and score early. If they find themselves in a 7-10 point hole before the end of the first quarter, look out.
3. The Lions offensive line is a disaster and the Bears still have one of the best rotation of defensive ends in the game. Mixing in a few Babich blitzes should enable the Bears to keep Kitna off-balance. The quarterbacks that will give the Bears fits are the ones with mobility. Kitna...not one of those guys.
4. Brian Griese. Even if it doesn't last, I think Griese is going to bring a new energy to the huddle. He's been patiently waiting two years to get his chance under center and it won't be wasted. He'll overthrow a few people early but I look for him to have a terrific last three quarters.
5. The Bears play their first game against a team without an elite tight end. That sigh of relief you're hearing is coming from Mrs. Archuleta.
6. Because the Bears HAVE to win Sunday. They're all in. And if you don't believe your team can beat a weaker team when they MUST HAVE THE GAME, then what's the point of being a fan?
Bear down, Chicago Bears.
Brian Griese is starting at quarterback for the Chicago Bears in Detroit. Same running back. Same wide receivers. Same offensive line. Lovie Smith says the problems on offense were not about Ã¢â‚¬Å“one guyÃ¢â‚¬? but he only made one change. Sexy out. BG in.
But Sunday wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be about the signal caller. Last weekend the Detroit Lions defense gave up college football numbers to a struggling Philadelphia Eagles team ready to trade their quarterback. Some made the argument to let Rex play and get healthy against Detroit. I make the opposite argument: let the new guy get off to a good start. He will on Sunday but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not what Sunday is about.
No, Sunday is about a crippled defense on the fast turf of Ford Field. No Brown. No Tommie. No Briggs, Vasher, Tillman. The injuries are piling up like Larry CraigÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s room excuses. But when I walk into a New York City sports bar to watch a Bears game, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not Mike Brown jerseys I see. When I look around Soldier Field at game time, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see thirty thousand Peanut Tillmans (though IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to).
The number I see is 54 and the player we all know. Sunday is on the defensive captain. If heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the superstar, the future hall-of-famer, the legendÃ¢â‚¬Â¦then he must carry this defense on his back through this latest injury plague. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want a good game in Detroit. I want a great one. A couple sacks, an interception. I want a monster in the middle of the field, shedding blockers and running sideline to sideline like the man who caught Michael Vick from behind.
Sunday a great player must be great or we start trashing the comparisons to Butkus and Singletary. Brian Urlacher has won over the adoration of a fan base that comes not to praise its players, but to bury them. Football teams don't need captains when things are just dandy. They need captains when life's served them a shit salad. Look in the bowl, Brian, the lettuce is brown.
Play great Sunday, #54. And after you're done, I'll come home, take off your shirt and hang it right up where it belongs. Next to #50.
ESPN is reporting that Brian Griese will start Sunday for the Chicago Bears in Detroit. The story is set to be confirmed on the practice field this afternoon.
So what does it mean? It means the Bears have realized that nagging defensive injuries have left the team almost no room for error on the offensive end of the ball. They must limit turnovers and they believe Griese will do that. Do the Chicago Bears believe Brian Griese is the quarterback of the future? Absolutely not. But they certainly believe they can win with BG and they need to start winning Sunday in Detroit.
The Bears have a chance to get on the right offensive path Sunday but - more importantly - they have a chance to get to 2-2 and make next Sunday night's showdown at Lambeau Field a joust for the rights to division supremacy. Brian Griese doesn't need a quarterback rating over 100 or 300 yards passing. He needs a 0 in the most important category: INTs.
Whatever happens, I've got a fire in my stomach that I wouldn't have had with #8 lining up behind center Sunday. Maybe Griese's not the answer. But maybe...maybe...he is. Who wishes it was Sunday?
Lovie Smith was asked today. He answered.
Will Rex Grossman start Sunday? Well, our evaluation process is going on right now. If you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions.
Rex Grossman hasn't been a good starting quarterback in the NFL for almost a year. 2006's Good Rex/Bad Rex has been replaced by 2007's Always Crap Rex and enough is enough. It's time to make a change if only to send the message to Grossman that his current level of play will no longer be tolerated. Brian Griese is not going to be Joe Montana. He's not going to send teenage girls into Modell's to buy their orange #14 jerseys. But he is going to replace the vomit-inducing anxiety I feel when Rex drops back to pass with a glimmer of hope. He's going to instill a new level of excitement into a fan base tired of seeing the same little results from the same little quarterback. If he can do that for us, what can he do for the players around him?
I expect Lovie Smith to make the change Wednesday because I expect Lovie Smith to the right thing. Tell your team their current play will not be tolerated. Tell them no one is safe, not even if the ever-protected golden child. Make the change to Brian Griese. Don't squander the 2007 season on misplaced loyalty.
(To hear my interview on MVN's Outsider radio, click here. I'm right at the start.)
There was a moment last night when it happened - like a bolt of lightning from the Obvious God sent directly through my brain. Down 10-3, the Grossman scrambled for the biggest first down of 2007 then followed it with huge plays to tight ends Des Clark and Greg Olsen. Benson. Touchdown. Cowboys come right back and a score and it's looking like a shootout. Then it happened. James Allen. Fumble. Oh yes, kids. Pay no attention to the name of the back of the jersey. Cedric Benson is James Allen. Nothing more.
Forget what you thought your 2007 was going to look like. Forget about home-field advantage and a coast through December. Forget about hosting the NFC Championship game for the second straight year. The Bears are looking at a week-in-week-out dogfight to make the playoffs and looking up at a surging Green Bay Packers, who they already trail by two games. Right now the Bears shouldn't worry about returning to the Super Bowl. Right now the Bears should worry about the fact that they aren't any good.
The Bears now play the division. At Detroit and a passing game that might tear the Bears apart. At Green Bay and a quarterback we know can tear the Bears apart. Home to Minnesota who looked pretty damn awful yesterday. The Bears need wins and they need them desperately. The Bears need a quarterback and receiving corps who run the same plays at the same time. And the more than anything else, the Chicago Bears need to pull their goddamn heads out of their asses and play some football this Sunday.
For what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth, the defense has played better this year than last. However, the promises from Lovie and Ron Turner regarding a new and exciting offense utilizing myriad weapons has thus far been talk of unicorns and leprechauns. Cedric Benson has not performed up to his billing, the offensive line has been leaking like a sieve, and receivers are dropping the passes Grossman can get there. B-Twice seems to be the only reliable thing on our offenseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦oh wait, three drops.
InjuriesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦with Dusty and Mike Brown out for the year, Briggs goes down, as does Vasher and Ruben Brown during the game. It seems that Rusty Jones canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t prevent everything, and we have been struggle-ing with the injury bug.
Rex Grossman Ã¢â‚¬â€œ heh, well, let the talk begin. I think that Rex failed the audition for his job tonight, and Lovie wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sleep much tonight until he decides the Brian Griese era will begin with 3 straight divisional games. I was a defender of Rex all year, proclaiming Honolulu was in his futureÃ¢â‚¬Â¦IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d even put his name on the ballot right now. So, with my first lead in post, in the wake of a disgusting performance by the entire offense, I am hanging up my keys to the Rex bandwagon and am going to start scouring the collegiate ranks and Eagles blog sites for Mcnabb trade rumors because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure they werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t satisfied with 350+ & 4 TD.
Let's move the debate to Sunday's night game against the Cowboys. I'll get us started.
1. The Bears can not win this game despite Rex Grossman. The Cowboys will find ways to put points on the board and the Bears must capitalize on a weak secondary. If Ron and Lovie coach around Rex, then it's time to make a change at quarterback.
2. Bernard Berrian should be able to run through that secondary. Look for a big day if the quarterback gets him the ball. Greg Olsen's debut? I'm excited.
3. The defense may have the Wade Phillips stamp on it, but this Cowboys front seven doesn't have half the talent of the Chargers front (only 3 sacks). Reaching into the Tank Johnson cookie jar feels like an act of desperation.
4. The Bear defense has three distinct goals for Sunday night: (a) contain Romo in the pocket (b) follow Jason Witten all over the field and (c) make T.O. uncomfortable all evening. They do those three things and the 'Boys will have trouble scoring points.
5. This has all the makings of a field goal game so special teams will be pivotal. Robbie must make kicks and Devin must put the team in good field position.
All in all, I like the Bears to win Sunday night 23-20.
The Bears aren't 0-2 like the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints - both picked by prognosticating geniuses across the Worldwide Leader to walk past the Bears into the Super Bowl. The Bears coaches haven't been caught with a camcorder on the sidelines. The Bears are a plodding, humdrum 1-1 and they've managed to hide their anemic offensive performances from the gaze of the national media behind the curtain of the great and powerful OZ. "Pay no attention to the man behind center!"
The curtain drops Sunday as the Bears play on Football Night In America (or the most self-importantly titled sports program in television history). They also play the NFL's most popular team, the Dallas Cowboys, who've had something of an offensive explosion in their opening two weeks. The Cowboys are a certain threat to the Bears. They feature a running quarterback, a disadvantage to a defense that's shown themselves to be a bit over-aggressive in the early going. They feature one of the league's best tight ends - frightening for a team that has been torched by tight ends in back-to-back weeks. (The Bears have actually allowed 67% of their passing yards to tight ends and running backs.) No one who remembers the Bears overtime victory over San Francisco in 2001 is afraid of TO so we won't worry about him.
All being equal, the Cowboys are going to score SOME points in Soldier Field Sunday night. The Bears must capitalize on a bad Cowboys defense. And don't believe what happened this past Sunday: the Cowboys are disgraceful against the pass. This is, of course, thanks to their freak show emcee #31 Roy Williams - whose big hits are most often the product of never being within ten yards of a completion. (Full disclosure: I hate Roy Williams.) Sunday night - in front of a national audience - the offensive line must block and Rex Grossman must play well. He must hit receivers down the field. He must throw more touchdowns than interceptions. Because if he doesn't, the Bears offense will have no place to hide and our tired fan base will be forced to listen to the most annoying mantra in coaching, "Rex Grossman is our quarterback."
No, Sunday night is on Rex and the offense. A win and solid offensive effort places them where they belong: at the top of the NFC pecking order. A loss and no-show from half the team means they are what a lot of people think they are: a good defense with a question mark taking snaps.
I've never seen anything like Devin Hester. Neither have you. We haven't seen anything like Devin Hester because there's never been anything like Devin Hester. He's the most exciting player to ever wear the the navy and burnt. And as far as I'm concerned he's the best player in the National Football League. Don't agree? Name me another player in the league at his current position in the league who is clearly the greatest to ever play that position. You can't. Hester's the greatest return man in league history. The numbers are staggering. We just have to thank God organizations keep employing coaches like Herm Edwards so folks will keep kicking him the ball.
Hester saved a Bears offense that besiders mustering one nice drive and a relieving (if under-exciting) hundred yard game from Cedric Benson, still can't get out of its own way. The offensive line is about as protective as an expired condom and looks overwhelmed by any blitz package created post-1952. Once the pressure comes, the quarterback makes "mental midget" look like a line for the movie poster, heaving balls into places they have no business going and missing open receivers on the sideline but what looks like miles on television. And because #8 wasn't enough of a turnover machine, the Bears have coverted the Second City into Fumbletown USA - electing Bernard Berrian its third mayor.
Sure the Bears won yesterday but you try and get me excited about it. They won due to football heroics that can't be counted on for a full season. A defense that's held the league's two best rushers to nothing in back-to-back weeks can't hold up staying on the field this long. A special teams unit so good, even the place kicker can drop a punt inside the twenty. When the Chicago Bears needed their offense to mount one, one, ONE fourth quarter drive to put this game away, Muhsin Muhammad let a sure first down fall through his fingers. You can play like this and beat bad teams. The Chiefs are certainly that. The team is better Sunday.
You know I heard a lot about the Bears involving Devin Hester on offense. I didn't know it meant the rest of the offense wouldn't be involved.
This is the positivity covenant. We won the game. I'm not going to get negative and talk about how our offensive line gives Rex no time in the pocket or how we generally just can't dominate a bad Kansas Shitty Cheifs team. I'm not going to go on and on about how our play calling holds us back. No, today I'm going to talk about the positives.
We won the game. "1-1" has a ring to it, but I'll admit that "6-1" or even "2-0" sounds better. We had no additional injuries that should carry problems into next week. We had some in game "ouches" but it seems everyone came back besides Dirk Johnson.
Hester is the best thing since sliced bread. Had it not been for a penalty, he would have had two returns for TDs and that my Bears faithful is positive. We also played almost completely penalty free football which will pay dividends throughout the year and did today in a game that was a lot closer than it should have been. I learned today that Adrian Peterson is a shifty back who will compliment Benson's hard nosed running with his quick, stop and shift directions on a dime ability.
All in all the outcome was what we expected. The Bears won. The final score just had a little tighter margin than I expected. Lets celebrate this first victory of many for this season.
And on a side note, I really dont care that Brett Favre is comfortable in Wrangler jeans or that Fed-Ex ground is fast.
Today, boys, I ask for a win. Nothing else. Just a win.
Bear down, Chicago Bears.
Well it's week two and I already need a rebound week for my picks column after a dismal 7-9 opening week. Because I'm so shitty at this, I'm opening it up to you this week as well. Here's how it works:
1. You pick the score of the Chicago Bears/Kansas City Chiefs game in the comments section.
2. Closest score gets to pick each game next week and split the Friday column with me.
3. Under your score prediction, you must write a paragraph analyzing the game. This will serve as the tiebreaker.
On to the picks.
YOUR 2007 CHICAGO BEARS -12.5 OVER KANSAS CITY
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
1. Because I always like the Chicago Bears.
2. The Bears defense is going to play an inspired game, holding down LJ the way they held down LT. Once this game gets put in the hands of Damon Huard, the Bears will run away with it. I'd like to add that I still don't understand how a professional football franchise with the legacy of KC finds themselves with Damon Huard starting at the most important position. What did Trent Green do that was so wrong?
3. Rex Grossman. 19-24. 248 yard. 3 touchdowns. 0 INT. Nothing wrong with his performance Sunday.
HOUSTON +6.5 OVER CAROLINA.
CINCINNATI -6.5 OVER CLEVELAND.
ATLANTA +10.5 OVER JACKSONVILLE.
NEW YORK GIANTS PK OVER GREEN BAY.
BUFFALO +9.5 OVER PITTSBURGH.
ST. LOUIS -2.5 OVER SAN FRANCISCO.
NEW ORLEANS -3.5 OVER TAMPA BAY.
INDIANAPOLIS -6.5 OVER TENNESSEE.
SEATTLE -2.5 OVER ARIZONA.
MINNESOTA +2.5 OVER DETROIT.
MIAMI +3.5 OVER DALLAS.
OAKLAND +9.5 OVER DENVER.
NEW ENGLAND -3.5 OVER SAN DIEGO.
WASHINGTON +6.5 OVER PHILADELPHIA.
Notice something in the papers and on the websites? The Chicago Bears are pissed off. Not pissed off in that "nobody respect us" kinda way that filled columns from the Miami Herald to the San Diego Union-Tribune in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. The Bears are real pissed off. And who's to thank? Former defensive coordinator and current Public Enemy #1 Ron Rivera. Rivera called Rex a mental midget. The Bears are calling Rivera - in not so many words - a douche bag.
The normally chill Ron Turner:
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s idiotic to make a statement like that. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rex is a very smart football player, an outstanding football player, and prepares the right way. To make a statement like that to anybody makes no sense whatsoever.
The never-chill Olin Kreutz:
I think Ron showed you right there why heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not here anymore. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of a Ã¢â‚¬ËœmeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ guy. He says too much sometimes.
I wrote before the season started that Sunday's home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs is the most important game of the 2007 season. That may have been something of an overstatement but one thing is clear. The Chiefs are walking into a pissed off Soldier Field and facing an offense with something to prove. My bet is they'll prove it. My bet is Rex Grossman is going to be very good Sunday. And I'll bet if the Bears happen to see the Chargers in the mid-winter, i wouldn't want to be Phil Rivers.
The Kansas City Chiefs were the subject of HBO's brilliant documentary series HARD KNOCKS this summer and two things were evident. (1) Herm Edwards is basically the sidekick in an Al Jolson picture and (2) The team sucks. Sucks. I mean sucks. How bad? So bad that they actually signed an ex-Arena Leaguer to the 53 man roster at wide receiver after him being in camp only two weeks. So bad they've brought Kyle Turley back from NFL purgatory to start at right tackle. So bad their NCAA-elite kicker Justin Medlock has already been cut after one week. So bad...well Damon Huard starts at quarterback for them...one purpose now. Oh and the defense...
The Bears are going to win Sunday, no doubt about that. But look for the Bears to put on one of those beatens they were so fond of in early 2006. Deep routes, smothering defense, brilliant special teams...etc. Here's the gameplan:
PLAY-ACTION ON EARLY DOWNS
Some folks asked how we could criticize Ron Turner after week one and the answer is simple. If I know the play is coming, then the professional football strategist knows the play is coming. That's why the early down run game stumbled. The Chiefs believe if they stop the run, they stop the Bears. Show them that isn't so.
STOP LARRY JOHNSON
This is probably the last time LJ won't be at full strength this season and he looked like a shell of himself Sunday against the Texans. Shutting down Johnson means the game goes into the hands of Damon Huard, the least mobile quarterback since Sean Salisbury. Dinner. Is. Served.
GONZO CAN'T GO GONZO
Every team in the league saw what Antonio Gates did Sunday and every team in the league will try to mirror that. Covering elite tight ends with Archuleta and JCB (Jersey City Brandon) should not be an option. Get Ricky Manning Jr. out there more if necessary.
The hardest game on the sixteen game schedule is out of the way. Now the Bears move forward and embark on their campaign for the Super Bowl 42 throne.
Forgive me for saying so but when did Chicago Bears fans get like this? Complaining, crying through the comments section with a WOE IS ME attitude that frankly makes me want to put a brick of cheese of my head.
This is football, everybody, so toughen up. Mike Brown is hurt. Dusty D is hurt. You know what? It happens. It's football. Some of you sound like you want the Bears to pack it up now or mail in the season or make vacation plans for early January. St. Louis lost their starting left tackle. The Giants lost the quarterback. The Cowboys lost their nose tackle. This game hurts and it hurt the Bears Sunday.
I have been a Mike Brown fan for as long as he's been a player. I feel terrible for a gifted athlete and a superior leader. But Mike Brown's injury won't end this team's season. Someone actually wrote that you should pencil us in for a 9-7 season. I assume he's very young. There was an entire decade where we would have sacrificed our young for 9-7 seasons.
The Bears are going to win a lot of football games this seasons, starting Sunday at Soldier Field. Stop crying about things the team has no control over. Injuries happen and they happened to us this weekend. Now they'll respond. and we'll see what they really are.
I'm posting out of obligation today, not dedication. They didn't lose a regular season game a year ago until I arrived to see Joey Harrington embarass them on the 5th of November. That game was Rex Grossman and a shaky seconday's fault. This game wasn't. I'm putting it past me and looking ahead to Kansas City.
But first...my thoughts on the whole affair:
1. No matter what you hear or read, don't listen. If the Bears keep hold of the football and an unfortunate punt doesn't hit Brandon McGowan (Jersey City in da house!), the Bears win this game.
2. I can't get too upset about losing Mike Brown for the season. I expected it. And if you didn't, why not?
3. The Bears officially lost the game at 14-3 San Diego. Second and two at the Chargers 36 and they ran the ball three times right up the middle. This had not worked a single time the entire game yet the offensive braintrust seemed to believe this would work on the pivotal drive of the game. Silly but excusable for the first week.
4. I liked a lot of what Rex did Sunday but especially the chemistry between he and Bernard Berrian.
5. If Dusty D is gone for a period of time, it looks like Darin Walker is ready to be a starting tackle.
6. The Bears defense was brilliant in so many ways Sunday but here's an amazing stat. The Chargers dominated time of possession by 14 minutes and had only 60 more yards of offense.
7. The Bears are in last place right now. And I know it's week one, but I hate it. And I hope the fifty-three men in navy blue in burnt orange hate it half as much as I do. I hope they take it out on the Chiefs next weekend.
Yes, this is The Midway live from the glass enclosed nerve center of Da Bears Blog main computer bank- I have been privileged to get the keys from Jeff and start us off for the 07 season.
+ +++ +++ +
Nothing new here. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the same story weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve all forecasted. The Defense is strong- hell, more than strong. The Special Teams are solid (okay, one stupid play on a punt return). And if you go by what Midway preaches; that ought to be enough to post a Dubya. Not so this week. Way to many turn overs and the 80-ton gorilla is still in the room - we need to get our Offense to play at least a zero sum game and put up some points.
So tonight, I am sitting at my favorite pub. This brew tastes a tad sourÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and I know the somewhere the likes of Peterson & Grossman will be sitting at similar bar with the same sour taste and the same mental battle. We need Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
to put some gas in the O, to some how shake this off, and to post a damn Dubya.
Bear Down, Chicago Bears...
Make every play, clear the way....ah, nevermind.
Click here. And do it before 4 o'clock. Believe me, you won't regret it.
Tonight we celebrate 1-0.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m jazzed. Sunday morning IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll wake up at the crack of dawn and walk in my mesh Champion shorts and sandals over to McDonalds for the most delicious iced coffee on the market. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll jump on the R train at 4th Avenue and 9th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn around 11 AM in my navy blue 54 with my Florida Gators 8 draped over my right shoulder. My brotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coming Sunday. My best friends. My Bears fans. My bar. Josie Woods Pub. Its football season, kids. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hope itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a long one.
Here are the picks for the weekend, as the season starts tonight. It is pretty pointless to break down week one because no one knows what these teams are going to be. Instead IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll break down the Bears/Chargers and leave some notes next to the games IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be watching at one oÃ¢â‚¬â„¢clock.
YOUR 2007 CHICAGO BEARS +5.5 OVER SAN DIEGO
Why do I like the Chicago Bears?
1. Because I always like the Chicago Bears.
2. I think the Bears will keep the Chargers under twenty points and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll take the Bears against any team in football under those circumstances.
3. I think the Bears will struggle most in pass protection and that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bode well for the quarterback. Every time he throws the ball away, clap your hands together. It is a good thing.
4. Benson wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t accumulate big yardage. But in short yardage situations, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll plow behind Olin and get big first downs.
I love all the primetime games this weekÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
INDIANAPOLIS -5.5 OVER NEW ORLEANS (tonight)
DALLAS -5.5 OVER NEW YORK GIANTS
CINCINNATI -2.5 OVER BALTIMORE
ARIZONA +2.5 OVER SAN FRANCISCO
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m watching these games in the torture known as 1-4 on SundayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
ST. LOUIS -1 OVER CAROLINA
BUFFALO +3.5 OVER DENVER
NEW YORK JETS +6.5 OVER NEW ENGLAND
But otherwise, what a shitty weekÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
PITTSBURGH -4.5 OVER CLEVELAND
PHILADELPHIA -2.5 OVER GREEN BAY
HOUSTON -3 OVER KANSAS CITY
JACKSONVILLE -6.5 OVER TENNESSEE
ATLANTA +2.5 OVER MINNESOTA
WASHINGTON -2.5 OVER MIAMI
OAKLAND -1.5 OVER DETROIT
TAMPA BAY +5.5 OVER SEATTLE
I'll be back before the end of the weekend and we'll have a post-game columnist all set-up before not too long.
When they start using the BCS to decide the Super Bowl champion, I'll start paying attention to Power Rankings for the National Football League. With that said, IT IS TIME TO ACTUALLY PLAY SOME GODDAMN FOOTBALL. Here's how we beat the Chargers in three not-so easy steps.
STEP ONE: THROW EARLY AND OFTEN
I'm going to spit in the balls of conventional wisdom and recommend the Bears put this game IN the hands of Rex Grossman. The worst thing that can happen to #8 is being forced into third and longs early in the ballgame, especially with the aggressive SD linebackers. Open in shotgun, spread the Chargers out and put those backers on their heels. The hole in this defense is on the third level so the Bears can win one-on-one matchups on the outside. Then attack with Cedric, Cedric, Cedric.
STEP TWO: CONTAIN THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE
With Mike Brown and AA on the backline, the Bears should be proficient at keeping LT from big gains. The genius of him as a player is his ability to gain 3 yards, 2 yards, 1 yard and then break one for 80. Allowing Tomlinson the moderate gains is tolerable but the defense must force the Chargers to pick up the sizable yardage with Phil Rivers and the pretty crappy receiving corps.
STEP THREE: BRAD TO THE BONE
On the road. Good football team. Great, ball-control running game. Brad Maynard must have a great game. Allowing this team short fields could spell disastrous for the Bears. Maynard must pin them inside the twenty all day.
I wish I could say I possessed whatever satellite package one would have needed to experience live the Appalachian State v. Michigan game this afternoon. I settled for an ESPN.com Gamecast and constant updates from lisping Lou Holtz and the meticulous Mark May. Needless to say, it was the most exciting second half of a ballgame IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever followed without actually seeing any of it. Holtz made the best point. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Appalachian State are champions. They expect to win.Ã¢â‚¬? The I-AA repeat national champions outplayed the Ã¢â‚¬Å“#5Ã¢â‚¬? team in this land, reminding me and hopefully the rest of you what is so great about sports, especially at the college level. The goofballs on Smurf Turf can beat the legends from Norman and at any moment on the athletic field the most amazing things can happen. All I wanted was a video camera in the hallway of some dorm on the App State campus. This site is about the fans and today there were thousands of them having a day theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll tell their grandkids about.
The Bears made cuts today and no real surprises, including red-shirting Dan Bazuin. I was worried about seeing Greg Olsen on the PUP but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll assume the lack of comment on his situation means heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be suited up for San Diego. But does it matter? After all, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a starter.
With that said, I head to the Jersey shore to end my summer with some cold Coors Lights and Ball Parks right off the grill. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be back on the site Tuesday as we finally prepare for Week One and the San Diego Chargers. Enjoy your holiday and the last weekend of 2007 without Chicago Bears football.
Final thing. Midway, PO'd and JB...send me an email to email@example.com. We've got to get you guys set up next week and make a schedule for the season.