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A NOT-SO-QUICK THOUGHT
When I was a kid in New Jersey, I couldn’t watch Bears football. Until I was about 12 years old, outside of the occasional national television appearance, my experience of Bears football was:
- ESPN’s Primetime highlights – still the most important sports program of my lifetime.
- Scoreboard ticker at the bottom of Giants and Jets games. I used to run in from other rooms when the little jingle would play announcing a scoreboard update and pray the Bears had done SOMETHING. (They rarely did.)
- Actual league scoreboard at Giants Stadium, where my family had Jets season tickets. I used to have the entirety of section 324 cheering the Bears updates often more loudly than the Jets game in front of them.
This didn’t change until I was 12 and a bar called Jersey Sports Cafe (now closed) opened in East Rutherford. They had a satellite (one of the big ones) bringing in the Chicago feed and now I could sit on a bar stool (illegally) and watch the Bears PLAY FOOTBALL. I didn’t go every week but I went enough.
This is why I cherish the sixteen games we’re guaranteed each season. Because I didn’t have them until I went to college. This is why the night before Bears football begins has always felt like Christmas Eve. I’m wandering down the carpeted staircase in my feety pajamas and there’s a big old box under the tree. What’s in there? What am I going to get to play with for the next few months?
It won’t be the same this season. At least not this Sunday. The 2015 Chicago Bears have to earn back the excitement of people like me. They have to display on the field they are worthy of the passion many have displayed in good times and bad over their lifetimes. They can do that this week, against the Packers, at Soldier Field? How?
Be in the game. With five minutes left, be in it. That’s all I ask. If the Bears achieve that, a week from now I’m in.
PRESSURE UP FRONT
The Packers will miss Jordy Nelson. They just may not miss him this week. If the Bears front seven, and yes all seven will need to be involved, don’t harass Aaron Rodgers he will rip their secondary apart and throw for upwards of 400 yards. Many have reported defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s success against the Packers quarterback but that success came when Fangio was armed with one of the most talented defensive rosters in the league in San Francisco. He doesn’t have that here.
Here’s my stat. Anything less than four sacks and the Bears lose by two touchdowns.
WATCH OUT FOR EDDIE LACY
Bears are starting a young defensive line and two middle linebackers making their first starts at the position. Mike McCarthy is going to test them with the power run game and test them often.
THE GAME POEM
To the middle of the muddle you go, desperate for a slice of that diner pie called “home”
Sing your song, oh Shea!
For opportunity is a dangerous woman in the dark corner of a roadside bar.
THREE BEARS OF INTRIGUE
- If Jermon Bushrod does not provide protection for Jay Cutler’s blindside the quarterback is going to be under duress the entire game. Coordinators can cover one edge of the offensive line but it’s nearly impossible to cover both edges and move the ball with any efficiency. (And nobody knows what we’ll get from Kyle Long on the other side.)
- Fans and media were enamored with Pernell McPhee this summer but all of that will be forgotten should the big money signing no-show against the organization’s most bitter of rivals. McPhee has to be this defense’s engine. They will need the engine at full steam Sunday.
- Antrel Rolle. There is a good chance Rolle has very little left in the tank. If that’s the case it should be exposed no later than Sunday. Rodgers is brilliant at isolating a weakness in the secondary and exploiting it. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Rolle gets picked on at Soldier Field.
IRISH VIDEO OF THE WEEK
(This will not be recurring)
A RITUAL RETURNS
On Sunday I will leave my apartment in Woodside, Queens and venture to the basement bar known as Josie Woods for the fifteenth year. It’s amazing to do anything consistently for fifteen years let alone gather at a bar with the same group of people. Some have gone home to Chicago. Some have chased dreams to Los Angeles. Some have stayed while venturing back and forth to Africa more than Dian Fossey and competitively lifting weights. But the flag will still hang. The Waddle jersey will still be pinned to the wooden shelf. And the light beer will flow. It’s football season. This is what we do.
(This just made me laugh)
How Will the Bears Win with Andrew Dannehy
Administrative Note: As many of you know, Andrew will be writing a Wednesday column throughout the season. He’ll put the finishing touches on the game just played and begin previewing the one to come. This week there is nothing to look back upon so we’re moving his preview into the larger preview.
According to the analysts you might be asking, “Why should the Bears even play the game?” Because sometimes, just sometimes, it isn’t all about talent. In 2007 the Packers went 13-3 with two of their losses coming to the 7-9 Bears, including a 35-7 loss in Week 16. Every once in a while it happens. The Bears aren’t better than the Packers, but they can beat them.
The Packers lost five games last season, in four of those five games they were punched in the mouth. The Bears now have a coach who has proven he can build teams that do just that. It will be a process, but you know damn well Fox has the Bears fuming about Mike McCarthy saying they’re going to kick their ass. Expect a physical and aggressive Bears team and as tough as McCarthy might talk the Packers haven’t had a tough team since 2010.
Regardless of where they line up, as long as the Bears have Kyle Long, Matt Slauson and Will Montgomery, they’re going to have an offensive line with attitude opening holes for Matt Forte and Jacquizz Rodgers. They need to use them to control the clock.
Defensively, if they hit Rodgers, he will be shaken. The best way to do that is by rushing Pernell McPhee over David Bakhtiari (assuming he plays), using a power rusher against a finesse blocker. On the opposite side, they need to attack Bryan Bulaga with speed. If they can do that and generate some push up the middle, they will make Rodgers’ life Hell. It won’t stop them, but it just might be enough to hold them under 30 points and that’s what they need to do.
The Bears will win this game if they run for 200 yards and sack Aaron Rodgers five times.
McCarthy & the Ass Kick
Mike McCarthy: “We will proudly stand as the 95th team in the history of the Packers when we kick Chicago’s ass.” https://t.co/7KyFFkWCHH
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 4, 2015
Chicago Bears 9, Green Bay Packers 8