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The Bears are who we thought they were - a pretty lousy team that managed to eke out a few wins and fool the easily fooled around here that they were new, improved, and possibly even a playoff contender. Ha!
Remember when the pundits said defensive savior Vic Fangio and head coach John Fox would never allow the kind of blowout that occurred last season under defensive scapegoat Mel Tucker and head coach Marc Trestman? Remember when the pundits insisted reiterated that notion even after the Bears lost their first three games by a combined total of 105-46? The Bears were blown out on Sunday 38-17.
"[A]s members of the defense explained away their uncharacteristically shaky effort, pointing to communication breakdowns, missed assignments and poor tackling, one third-quarter play seemed to encapsulate the whole miserable day," Dan Wiederer writes for the Tribune.
"Stefon Diggs' 33-yard touchdown catch came on the simplest of routes, with the easiest of throws. Still, the Bears couldn't stop it. On third-and-6, Diggs ran an underneath crossing route 2 yards shy of the first-down marker. But when cornerback Tracy Porter set Diggs free, expecting Alan Ball to pick him up in coverage, the switch never came.
"Instead, Diggs caught the ball at the 29, turned upfield, cut past safety Chris Prosinski and dragged Ball the final 8 yards across the goal line.
"Just like that, the Bears were in a 24-7 hole and baffled again."
This is not to blame Fangio. It is to scream once again: Beware grand pronouncements. Particularly in sports and politics.
By the way, last year's woeful Bears went up to Minnesota in late December too, and at least kept that loss respectable: 13-9. Tucker's defense gave up 311 yards to that Vikings squad. Fangio's defense gave up 350 yards yesterday.
Tucker, by the way, is now the defensive backs coach for Alabama, and will reportedly be in the running for a head coaching job in the college ranks next season.
This isn't to defend Tucker, but he was treated like a neophyte here when, in fact, he was in his third NFL defensive coordinator's position.
Does any kind of media coverage lack perspective as much as sports coverage?
Over on the offensive side of the ball, boy genius Adam Gase is suddenly under attack from the local fanboy sports corps for an uncreative offense that throws too many screens.
We've gone from lucky to have him to good riddance in light speed.
And then there's John Fox. He's been a lying prick since day one, but remember when reporters didn't care because his team was so well-coached? If only someone could coach him - in clock management. Also, the Bears - again - looked like anything but a well-coached team on Sunday, with another six penalties and a bushelful of miscommunication and bewilderment.
This is not to say John Fox isn't a good coach. It's to say he's just John Fox. No grand pronouncements necessary.
Remember when this year's team had shown great progress from last year even though both have now only won five games? Does anyone still feel that way?
The offensive line is still a mess, the receiving corps is so thin it couldn't survive the injury of an untested rookie, and Jay Cutler is a hero because he's a slightly better game manager than gunslinger.
The defense is in disarray at every level, but particularly at linebacker and the defensive backfield.
The special teams are plain awful, and Joe DeCamillis isn't around to blame anymore.
You can really only conclude at this point that general manager Ryan Pace didn't do much to improve the roster this season, because the talent is at least as bad as it was last season.
It's too early to judge the 2015 draft class, but the early returns are so-so. White has been out for the year; Eddie Goldman is okay; Hroniss Grasu is outclassed; Jeremy Langford can't catch; Adrian Amos has impressed then regressed Kyle Fuller-style; Tayo Fabuluje has been on and off the active roster.
Pace signed 15 undrafted free agents; linebacker John Timu seemed to have a decent game on Sunday, but I don't expect Bryce Callahan and Cam Meredith to be on the team a year from now.
This is not to blame Pace - though the hiring of Fox seemed like the safest move, not the best move. It's to once again decry grand pronouncements.
Oh, except this one: The Bears suck.
Pernell McPhee? He was a back-up in Baltimore, and he can't stay healthy. And he's your team leader! Take it away, Pernell:
"I just think other teams want it more than we want it," McPhee said. "And that's the end of the story. When you want something, you go take it. And right now, everybody's not really trying to take it.
"The last two teams that we lost to wanted it more than we did. They came in and took the games over, and we didn't do it. They wanted it more than we wanted it."
At least he didn't say the Bears need to be coached harder! But isn't that what he just said? This wasn't supposed to happen to a John Fox team.
Just keep changing the year in that quote.
The Vikings were missing their top three players on defense.
And yet, the Bears still have a winning record on the road: 4-3. They are 1-6 at home. That is wack.
I'm bringing back wack.
Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when he's in Hawaii. Then it's me. Comments welcome.
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