| March 6th, 2010

Somehow they did it. 
An organization that embarrassed itself for a majority of the 2009 season (and for every minute since that season ended) managed to inspire me for 2010.  An ownership group that has suffered the dreaded “cheap” label for two generations set fire to their own frugality right underneath The Bean in Millenium Park.  A general manager that looked bewildered when proclaiming the roster “pretty well set” now appears to have a bit more cunning and cleverness than I’ve given him credit for.

The signings of Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna may appear to be the last gasps of a desperate leadership group that knows it has one year to prove they’re capable of leading a franchise.  Sure.  I get that.  But it also shows that our leadership is willing to abandon their trademark stubbornness and leave everything on the table in 2010.  As fans, we’ve gone from an era of complaining about inactivity to consecutive off-seasons of bold, franchise-altering moves.  As a fan and a writer this is far more interesting.   

And today I’m writing to encourage optimism.  For those of you who are incapable of optimism, how about restrained pessimism?  If you haven’t watched the press conferences, I recommend you give them a shot.  I did.

Julius Peppers believes, even if incorrectly, that he’s stepped on the main stage.  The North Carolina born and raised phenom seemed in awe of Chicago – its history and heritage.  He looked wide-eyed when talking about Soldier Field and playing with “Lach”.  Any thoughts that Peppers would appear me-first or above-the-team exited my mind immediately.  Peppers doesn’t have Tommie Harris’ ocean-sized chip on his shoulders.  And that’s refreshing.

Chester Taylor looked angry.  Angry that after a 1,200 yard season in Minnesota he was replaced as the starting running back.  He also looked like he is going to spend the next six months wrestling the starting running back job away from Matt Forte.  He had a lot of Thomas Jones in him. 

Brandon Manumaleuna is gigantic.  (He’s a blocking tight end.  What do you want from me?)

Bourbonnais just got exciting again.  September just got exciting.  Somehow they did it.  And I don’t have any problem admitting this: I’m really, really glad.