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Does anyone have an encouraging word about the Bears?
Heading into the start of training camp this week in Bourbonnais you won't hear it from me, at least not until I unload all sorts of discouraging ones.
Let's just dive right in: How have the Bears not better addressed deficiencies at safety?
The plan is apparently Adrian Amos, the second-year man who did not make one big play last year and, well, who the hell knows?
There is one other small problem on that side of the ball: Tell us the truth, Bears. Linebacker Pernell McPhee is still hurt, isn't he? And that is a major, major problem.
The Bears signed plenty of free agents in the offseason (linebackers and depth on the offensive line in particular) and grabbed a few extra draft picks. But their roster still looks like this?
And don't get me started about the offense. Actually, we might as well go ahead.
Hey John Fox, we know that you have earned a certain amount of "my way or the highway" leeway after two successful coaching stops in the NFL prior to coming to the Bears. But do you really think it was the right call to dump Martellus Bennet because you didn't like him and in so doing leave the tight end group so bereft? Zach Miller is your main guy? The same Zach Miller who has suffered injury after injury after injury after injury in his career?
You knew your running back group wasn't good enough. That was why you tried to sign Denver's C.J. Anderson as a free agent. But when you didn't get him, you just decided to go all in on Jeremy Langford?
And I am actually considerably more optimistic about Ka'Deem Carey's potential at the position than many Bears fans. So I would be inclined to be a little more optimistic here. But that Anderson thing sticks in my craw, big time.
And of course, the quarterback is still Jay Cutler. The lead item when position-by-position previews of the 2016 Bears have worked their way around to quarterback in the past few weeks has been that the Bears finally have an established backup. The established backup threw four picks in the first half of a playoff game in January but at least he was in a playoff game. Brian Hoyer is established!
The problem is, the backup doesn't matter (oh, and did we mention he's not any good anyway?). The starter matters. And for all the talk about Cutler's maturation last season, the bottom line was, he again failed again to lead the Bears to any victories of consequence.
And let's also be clear about the fact that Fox and Co. still don't want him even trying to win games with his arm. They want to win games with stout defense and a strong running game. Anyone who has paid attention to the Bears the last few years knows Cutler isn't the guy to lead them back to the playoffs after five years away.
One other thing about the offense: the Bears added a bunch of linemen, but are they really certain Charles Leno can handle left tackle? He was barely average last season.
And it sure would be great if someone, anyone, could explain to me the release of Matt Slauson.
When I was watching the Bears last season, I saw a hard-nosed offensive line that finished in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing yards/game.
And I saw that rushing offense especially excel when Slauson, who even in the land of giants that is the NFL is still a beast who can dominate foes, slid over to center.
And they just released him? I'm guessing this had to do with Slauson's personality, or maybe the Bears saw a problem in his personal life. Because it didn't make a damn bit of sense based on what he did on the field.
Woo boy, I've made it to near the end of this column and I'm still complaining. I suppose I'm encouraged that Vic Fangio is still the defensive coordinator. But I'm not encouraged about the offense at all. On special teams, Robbie Gould seemed to begin to decline last year and punter Pat O'Donnell is the picture of mediocrity. No one stands out as a particularly good returner or blocker/tackler on the roster.
The best news is, the Olympics will distract us for a big ol' chunk of the next month. And the Cubs should be entertaining into the early fall. But when baseball ends . . .
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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