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SportsMonday: The Meatballs Were Right

This morning the meatballs are right about everything. And when you look back at the last couple years, they have been right about everything all along.

We refer of course to the meatball sports fan, who can always be counted on to proclaim that a struggling team must fire its coach and/or general manager, or cut all prominent players, or at least bring in the backup quarterback for God's sake!

After the Bears' 55-14 loss at Green Bay last night, on top of the 51-23 debacle against New England in their previous game, how could anyone who cares at all about this team respond in any other way? Here's an idea: fire everybody, cut everybody and make all McCaskeys who work for the team take the field next Sunday.

One element of meatball sports fandom that I would particularly like to embrace at this point is the incessant call for more blitzing. It has long been obvious in Chicago in particular that there is no defensive shortcoming that can't be addressed by creating more pressure on an opposing quarterback.

All Chicago meatballs vividly remember what good old Buddy Ryan used to do with his 46 defense after all.

If blitzing one guy wasn't enough for Buddy, he'd blitz two, or three, or more. And you may recall that his defense had a halfway decent season in 1985.

The problem, of course, is that the best quarterbacks usually take advantage of those sorts of schemes. The story goes that when the Bears suffered their one and only loss in '85, their Monday night setback in Miami three quarters of the way through the season, Mike Ditka and Ryan almost came to blows over the fact that Ryan kept calling blitzes. Ryan did so even after quarterback Dan Marino repeatedly threw successful passes into the holes in the secondary created by sending extra pass rushers.

That being said, when Mel Tucker eventually looks back on his short tenure coordinating the Bears "defense," any sort of fan can hope that maybe just maybe he'll think to himself, why didn't I at least try to put a few more hits on Aaron Rodgers?

If a team knows that an opposing quarterback is going to lead his team down the field for points time after time, and the Bears surely knew that going into Sunday, doesn't it make sense to employ extreme measures?

The Bears needed to do whatever they could to pound away at their archrival's star quarterback in the first quarter last night. They needed to blitz two, three, four guys play after play. If it took taking a personal foul penalty or two to pound away at the guy, they needed to take them. If it meant Rodgers completed a bomb or two over isolated cornerbacks, then so be it.

But it never happened and it just makes you sick.

All of this is what the Bears get for forgetting who they are. A sizable swath of the team's following celebrated as team management focused more and more on offense over the past several years. Especially after the Bears traded for Brandon Marshall, it was clear that for the first time in most fans' memories, the team was going to focus most of its energies on collecting skill players and investing in a quarterback with a big arm and trying to outscore its foes.

That process culminated in the hiring of supposed offensive guru Marc Trestman. The meatballs knew all of this was a mistake. They knew that the only thing that truly mattered on the gridiron around here was that Monsters of the Midway played intense, determined defense no matter what the offense did.

And now the team reaps the results. The record this group set for points allowed in the first half against the Patriots, 38, stood for all of two weeks before the Packers posted 42 in the first two quarters last night.

Members of the crew that celebrated the turn toward offense, myself included, must now do penance and I'm thinking 20 Hail Marys ain't gonna cover it. Ritual sacrifice will be required. Maybe a bonfire in which tickets are torched before next Sunday's return to game action? That might just be a start.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

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