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Dude, the Bears play a game that matters in a little more than two weeks!
Season-opening Thursday night football (Sept. 5)! Hosting the Packers! And . . . let's dial it down a bit. Three exclamation points is the charm after all.
Still, it is time to start the hype. This will be the Bears' biggest game since the 2006 Super Bowl in Miami.
We were reminded of that delightful game over the weekend with a delightful oral history in the Tribune about Devin Hester's glorious return of the opening kickoff. Hester is still the only player to achieve that feat.
What was so cool is that by the start of that championship showdown, Bears fans knew they could not afford to tune into games even a few seconds late. Hester had already established himself as a phenomenon - in his rookie year - and those who had been paying attention at all knew his returns were not to be missed.
And it wasn't just that Hester received a mediocre kick, started one way and then made the gloriously decisive cut to his right that sent him through about half the coverage team in less than a second. It was that the Colts were so incompetent that they let it happen.
If they weren't prepared enough to make sure Hester didn't beat them on a return, who knew what other screw-ups awaited. Unfortunately, the Bears ended up making significantly more of those negative plays than their foes. Result: Peyton Manning led the Colts to their one and only Super Bowl victory.
Back in the offseason earlier this year, one of the holes in the Bears roster was returning kicks. So they went out and signed Cordarelle Patterson, who is a stellar kickoff return man if not the dual threat Hester was (kickoff and punt returns).
Indeed it appears the Bears are all set at just about every starting position in all three phases except kicker. And even there, the team made a decisive move over the weekend when it released Elliott Fry, leaving Eddy Pineiro the last leg on the roster - for now.
And sure, general manager Ryan Pace made it clear the previous week that he wasn't all that confident in Pineiro when he made a sizable offer to the Ravens for backup kicker Kaare Vedvik, only to be outbid by the Vikings.
But as it stands right now, the Bears know who all the major players will be when the season kicks off on the fifth. That is especially the case because coach Matt Nagy has fully implemented his "avoid injuries no matter what" plan and did not play a starter for a single play in the Bears' exhibition loss to the Giants last Thursday.
It is a little strange that virtually every other starting quarterback, including multiple Super Bowl winners Tom Brady and Eli Manning, will take some snaps or have already taken some snaps in preseason games this year. And reigning MVP Pat Mahomes - you remember him, the guy the Bears could have drafted in the first round in 2017 and kept all their draft picks instead of trading up for Mitch Trubisky - will also see some game action.
But Trubisky has apparently been so good in practice that he will sit out. Wait, Trubisky did hand the ball off three times in the pre-season opener, I do have to point that out. Why he did that we're still trying to figure out.
Anyway, game time in two weeks and two days-ish people! Woo hoo!
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Jan 15, 2021
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Posted on Jan 11, 2021