I got nothing.
How many times can I write the same thing about Justin Fields?
How many times can I write the same thing about Matt Eberflus?
Sometimes a season just needs to end and that is definitively the case for the 2023 Chicago Bears. This season needs to end, and the organization needs to make their decisions at quarterback and coach. Nothing will change this coming Sunday. Nothing will change the Sunday after.
I hope the Bears beat the Falcons because winning is more fun than losing and they already are guaranteed a top two pick in the draft. That is the entirety of what’s at stake at Soldier Field, a potentially fun afternoon.
Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest is one of the most remarkable films I have ever seen.
First, a plot summary, in the briefest sense. The film is a domestic drama, but the domicile in question is the home of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, situated directly outside the high walls of the concentration and extermination camp in question. Throughout the film, we engage the Höss family as if they were any other German family, i.e. the stress of visiting in-laws, the drama of a work transfer, etc. We watch in detail as Rudolf, the family’s patriarch, locks the doors and turns out the lights each evening. We see birthday cakes and visits to the local creek for recreation.
We never see the atrocities of the camp. But throughout the film, we hear constant reminders of what is happening inside those walls. Gun shots. Screams. The most horrifying cinematic soundscape I can remember.
There will be time, years, to discuss this film further. Glazer might be the modern Kubrick; he’s made three other films (Sexy Beast, Birth, Under the Skin) and each is brilliant. But for now, I want to use this space to encourage you to find Zone of Interest and sit with it. It is a film that questions the very nature of how we construct narratives of history, and how those narratives are consumed. Glazer has said the film is “not a history lesson, it’s a warning.” That warning haunts me.
This is the film of the year.
Matt Eberflus continues his final stand this Sunday as he takes on an Atlanta Falcons team that finds itself in a similar position to your Chicago Bears — neither team controls their playoff destiny despite playing in lackluster divisions, both offenses added weapons in the offseason and have subsequently underperformed, but the play of each team’s defense has kept each team alive despite the turmoil on the other side of the ball.
Neither team can make the playoffs with a win this weekend… but both teams will likely be eliminated from contention with a loss. Thus, for both Matt Eberflus & Arthur Smith, this New Years’ Day matchup is do-or-die. That sets the stage for a riveting football game.
Nick and I dove deep into this matchup (and the current state of the Bears) within the latest episode of Bear With Us, including discussion topics like…
It’s one of our best episodes yet — check it out and let me know what you think!
The Bears are at a very interesting point in their organizational development. The wins and losses simply don’t matter. And the quarterback has displayed he’s capable of being one of the most dynamic, exciting players in the sport. So, where exactly are we supposed to focus our attention? Here are a few thoughts.
I never direct the comments section, but I do have a request. Below, I want you to comment on how you think we should approach these games for the remainder of the season. Start each with APPROACH so I can easily locate the on-message comments.
Three Things I Think Will Happen:
Chicago Bears 34, Atlanta Falcons 30
Let’s bowl, let’s bowl, let’s rock and roll…
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?
(3) Chase Claypool. Kadarius Toney was acquired by the Chiefs around the same time the Bears acquired Claypool and the former is already a prominent contributor in Kansas City’s offense. Come up with a dozen plays for him and run them.
(2) Velus Jones Jr. It must be “tough love” coaching because benching Jones on Sundays makes no sense otherwise. Jones has speed and this offense desperately needs it. Who cares if he is struggling with his route tree? Who cares if he misses a few blocking assignments? Put the ball in his hands a few times each Sunday and see what he can do with it.
(1) Alex Leatherwood. It is time to see everyone in the offensive line room. This is a pivotal eight weeks of evaluation, and the Bears can’t waste a day of it.
Foles: “When we were in the huddle, I had explained to Anthony that if I do happen to kill it, I’m going to throw it to the L. So get to the L and it’ll be a pretty stiff ball, so I knew just in case I didn’t have time to get it off cleanly, he would be there.”
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) September 27, 2020
Read this Tweet. Now, read it again. This quote from Nick Foles illustrates why many, including myself, argued he should have been the starter from day one. He is a smart, competent quarterback. The sham quarterback “competition” could have cost the Bears wins. Thankfully, it didn’t. Foles is now the quarterback. And the Bears are undefeated.
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And they have started the season 2-0 without playing anything resembling a complete game. Maybe we’re seeing what they are offensively, a group incapable of consistency due to the failings of the quarterback. But defensively, they’ve been far more bend-don’t-break than one would expect. Once the pass rush hits stride, that should stop. That begins Sunday.
Two road games, two blowout losses for the 2017 Bears. Green Bay won the first quarter 14-0 after a great opening drive, followed by a 3-yard touchdown after Mike Glennon turned it over on Chicago’s first offensive snap. Things stayed quiet until the end of the first quarter, when a 47 minute lightning delay led to what felt like the start of another game.
Of course, the Bears still had Mike Glennon in at quarterback, so nothing changed. He turned the ball over 3 more times and shut down the entire offense with his incompetence before racking up just enough garbage time stats to make his performance somewhat defensible if you squint (stop me if you’ve heard that before).