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I'm Carl and this is a sports-themed column primarily focused on the Chicago Bears, one of nearly a dozen franchises that participate in the National Football League.
If you've read this column before, welcome back! And more importantly, what is wrong with you?
Why would you subject yourself to this nonsense a second time?
If you're new to the BAOKAR, it's very nice to meet you and thank you for reading.
I'd like to provide a couple of quick tips to help maximize the "fun" within our upcoming shared literary experience.
I should mention out of the gate that I'm an insane person. My best friend, the ghost of [former Cubs manager] Lee Elia likes to say "I have a rich internal life."
[Editor's Note: Hi, I'm Steve, Editor-in-Chief of The Beachwood Reporter. Any writing within square brackets belongs to me and indicates I've had to correct/remove something wildly inaccurate, or unforgivably racist. I don't know why Carl has such a problem with people from Papua New Guinea, but I usually have to remove one to two thousand words of PNG-related hate speech per column. Oh, and as of this writing Lee Elia's not dead.]
With that in mind, please understand that extracting much of the "humor" buried in the BAOKAR is only possible if you live somewhere between my left ear, and right ear.
The links in the BAOKAR are provided to help explain some of the more esoteric [read: completely unknowable] references. For example, I bring up a minor Blue Öyster Cult hit from 1985 down the page.
Trust me, you won't know what I'm talking about.
More importantly, even after learning what I meant, you'll wonder why the second track on the worst BÖC album ever was top of mind when I wrote that sentence, in a column that is ostensibly about football.
Again, insane person.
However, the embedded links smattered throughout the next 1,500 words should provide a glimmer of insight into what in the hell I was thinking when I committed my stream of consciousness to print.
In addition to the links, look for footnote symbols like an asterisk "*" or a penis-shaped eggplant emoji.
When you see one, jump to the bottom of the page, look for the same symbol and tack that sentence onto the last one you just read*.
Please note that this column contains few, if any, accurate stats. You can get that stuff anywhere, so I'm not going to add to the noise.
That said, many of the quotes from players and coaches are partially factual - or at least the first sentence is. I usually take a quote, tweet or soundbite and extrapolate it in some bizarre direction which hopefully makes you laugh.
Well, I really only care if it makes me laugh. In addition to being crazy, I'm also kind of a dick.
For your own sake, never reference the BAOKAR as a journalistic source. Everything contained here is for entertainment purposes only. Especially as it pertains to hypothetical wagering insights into upcoming Chicago-area cock fights.
Lastly, the rating system in the "Kool-Aid" section of the column is an indication of how amped I am about the upcoming week's game. It's a five-point scale that is assigned a beverage loosely based on the name or location of the opponent.
If I give the game a "four out of five shots of Jack Daniels whiskey" for an upcoming game against the Titans (both from Tennessee, get it?), it means I'm pretty stoked.
Conversely, when the 2015 Bears are 4-10 going into the week 16 game at Tampa Bay, I'll probably give it a lower rating, like "one out of five goblets of sea water" and use the word "AAARRRRR" a lot because I'm out of things to say by that point in the season.
And extra lastly, sometimes I include crudely Photoshopped pictures, like Ego Ferguson eating a six-foot party sub or something.
So, look forward to that brand of "fun" in the coming weeks.
In Case You Missed It
For the first time since he arrived in Chicago, quarterback Jay Cutler was not the focus of the off-season narrative. In fact, he was such an afterthought that some unusual behavior flew completely under the radar.
- During a July 15 press conference, the Tribune's Brad Biggs asked Cutler about any changes to his off-season routine under the new coaching administration.
CUTLER: You know, nothing real different. I'm focusing on my footwork, trying to build a rapport with some of the new guys, gettin' blazed, listening to mid-80's Blue Öyster Cult; Club Ninja in particular. It's been fun getting to work with a young group of receivers; Kevin [White], Marquess [Wilson], the whole crew.
BIGGS: It seems like you've been working well with Marquess during camp - wait. Did you say you were getting high and listening to Club Ninja?
CUTLER [shrugs]: Yeah, Marquess is a great receiver and even better dude. I'm excited to see more of him on Sundays.
BIGGS: That's . . . not a good BÖC album. I'm mean, by all accounts it's just awful. How torched are you getting?
CUTLER [Begins humming the chorus to "Dancin' in the Ruins"]: All right, thanks guys [lights cigarette, leaves podium].
- Cutler didn't wear any pants during the Bears-Colts pre-season game, even while on the field. After being replaced by Jimmy Clausen, Cutler removed his helmet revealing that he had done his hair in cornrows. Nobody on either sideline or the broadcast seemed to notice other than opposing quarterback Andrew Luck, who rubbed the top of his head and gave a thumbs-up in the direction of Cutler from across the field.
Cutler responded by rubbing his chin and pointed back at Luck as if to say, "'sup, bro. Love the beard."
- Just prior to its cancellation, Jay Cutler briefly replaced Jim Bob Duggar on 19 Kids and Counting.
The main point of interest in the summer of 2015 was the complete revamp of the Bears defense.
In addition to signing Broncos coaches John Fox and Adam Gase, former 49ers defensive guru Vic Fangio was hired to retool the historically bad D*** featured by Chicago during the past two seasons.
Known for a base 3-4 (pronounced "negative one") scheme designed to confuse offenses prior to the snap, Fangio's earlier success seems to have inspired confidence in Bear fans.
But questions persist about the current roster's ability to execute a defense that requires skill and versatility up front.
In fact, expect questions like "Why the hell is Lamarr Houston covering Amari Cooper on a go route?" and "Shea McClellin still has a job?" to come out of your own mouth in the coming weeks.
However, I'm sure a lot of people also said the sentence "Well, that loss went better than expected" following the 31-23 defeat against the Packers last Sunday, so while 2015 will clearly be a year of transition, the long-term arrow is pointing up.
If the arrow is pointing "up" the week after the shiny new defense gives up 31 points, you have to ask yourself: How f-ing bad were things last year?
For answers as to how f-ing bad things were, at least inside the locker room, we turn to the Internet.
We'll never really know for sure, but if you read between the lines and parse the "athlete speak" of the following Twitter quotes, it's pretty clear that the majority of the Bears players were unhappy with their former head coach.
- Matt Forte: "The mentality of this offense . . . is nobody had that stupid look on their face [when down 31-16] like before. I hope that motherfucker dies of colon cancer."
- Former Bear Tim Jennings: "What does def coordinator Vic Fangio provide the #Bears that wasn't here before? A dick and balls."
- Brian Urlacher: "Even though I didn't play for Marc Trestman and don't work for them anymore, you can get my take exclusively on Fox Sports One."
Based on these subtle cues, I'm assuming that Marc Trestman won't be using many Bears players as professional references going forward.
Following an injury-plagued finish to the 2014 season, the Cardinals managed to live up to Bears 2014 expectations by disappointingly getting bounced in the first round by the Carolina Panthers.
Led by the coach the Bears probably should/could have hired instead of Marc Trestman, the Cardinals bring a roster that feels stocked with 46-year-old players like Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Cory Redding.
As the season goes on, it's going to take either a miracle or the work of the devil himself to keep this roster upright.
So were you surprised the Bears didn't hire you, Bruce Arians?
"I was," said Arians on this week's press conference call, sounding not at all surprised.
When asked if things worked out better for him by landing in Arizona, Arians was slow to reply.
"There's no doubt," he said, clutching his cursed monkey paw. "They always do . . . things always work out . . . but for a price . . . "
After a prolonged silence, a combination of quiet laughter and intermittent sobbing were heard on the other end of the call.
You still with us, coach?
"Oh I'm with you," Arians quickly replied. "I'll be with you . . . forever."
Uh, good. Glad to hear it.
Looks like strange things will be afoot at the Circle-K this weekend.
Kool-Aid (3 of 5 Bacardi and Arizona Iced Teas)
I don't know what you call that drink, but a bottle of Bacardi and a gallon of Arizona Iced Tea costs a total of $14 at the Walgreens by my house, so I'll just call the savings "delicious."
It's kind of a wonky matchup.
On paper, the Cardinals should stifle the Bears offense, having bottled up the Saints in Week One, but I (and anyone else who watched the Bears-Packers game) really liked what I saw in the Chicago run game last Sunday.
Even if they can't get the ground attack going, I think the receiving aptitude of the Bears running backs and the mid-range passing threat that Martellus Bennett offers are going to pay some dividends as the contest wears on.
That said, the Cardinals have weapons of their own. Not the least of which is the dark magic Bruce Arians possesses in the artifact he stole from the people of the Djuzazi jungle in the area formerly known The People's Republic Of The Tanzania.
Expect another well-played home loss.
So thanks for that, Lucifer.
Cardinals 23, Bears 20
About The Author
For shit's sake, were the first 700 words of this column not enough?
* And that's how a footnote works. Apparently you've read at least one book. Nice job! Now you're ready for Infinite Jest**
** Okay, this is quickly becoming an Inception-esque David Foster Wallace-themed joke. If this made any sense to you, e-mail me and I will literally buy you a beer.
*** Despite a short-lived career, Jamal "Historically Bad D" Jacobs remains one of my favorite stars of '80s adult films.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.
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