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SportsMonday: Audition Time For The Bears

The Bears will not be participating in the playoffs. I know it is fun to bust out the "So you're telling me there is a chance" line and remember Jim Carey (his character that is) in Dumb and Dumber making his romantic pitch to Lauren Holly (also not actually her).

But it will not happen.

It was widely reported that the Bears' chance of going to the playoffs analytically improved from 3% to 5% after they knocked off the Cowboys in delightful fashion last Thursday. In other words, the Bears skyrocketed to a one-in-20 chance. And in still other words, the win was nice but the postgame situation still could only be described as bleak.

Then the Vikings and the Rams both recorded victories on Sunday to pile on a little more bleakness. With three games left in the season, the Bears (7-6) are fourth in the NFC wild card standings behind Seattle (10-3), Minnesota (9-4) and Los Angeles (8-5).

Even if by some miracle the Bears win three - with the highly unlikely trifecta of beating the Packers at home this coming Sunday, beating the Chiefs in Chicago the week after, and finally taking a victorious trip to Minnesota - the Vikings will have had have to lose one of their next two games and the Rams two of their final three games for the Bears to make the playoffs.

All of that is not, gonna, happen.

So let's see more of the young/inexperienced guys in this last little bit of a disappointing season. Cornelius Lucas has shown significant potential at right tackle and the team has pass-blocked better with him on the line. Even if starter Bobbie Massie recovers enough to re-enter the lineup in the last few games, Lucas should get more opportunities.

We'll also want to see more of the two Kevins, Tolliver and Pierre-Louis. Tolliver gave up some big plays late against the Cowboys but the Bears were protecting a lead and playing conservatively, i.e., trading yardage against for time off the clock.

Earlier Toliver, an undrafted cornerback out of LSU the year before last who has great size for the position (6-2, 198), showed impressive stickiness as he covered several Cowboy receivers. And while Pierre-Louis (28) has bounced around the league for a while, he will almost certainly be a cheaper alternative to veteran Danny Trevathan, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Oh and then there is that young quarterback to consider. Actually the only thing I want to say in that regard is, "It was about time, knucklehead!" as in it was about time Trubisky revived his running game. He looked good on some called runs and read options and he also looked good scrambling against Dallas.

I have previously expressed my opinion that someone told Trubisky to stop running coming into this season. Coach Matt Nagy says it wasn't him so the leading candidates are his agents - Bruce and Ryan Tollner.

And you can understand their concern. The man seemed to be on track for a minimum nine-figure second contract (over $100 million) in a few years if he had another successful season at the helm in 2019. The only thing that could derail that was a serious injury, and that was more likely to happen on a run.

But Trubisky isn't a good enough passer to never run. His touchdown in particular reminded us, "Hey, it isn't just that he needs to run to keep defenses honest; he needs to do it because he is good at it." And as Troy Aikman pointed out during last Thursday's broadcast, better, more consistent running will force other teams to deploy a spy to make sure he isn't killing them with quarterback draws. When they do that, it removes a defender from the pass defense.

So keep up the running, Mitch. And keep up the good work, reserves who should be getting a quality audition during the next three weeks.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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