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I have two critiques of Brian Hoyer's performance as a Bear: He is 30-years-old and his bones are susceptible to injury.
If he can overcome those two shortcomings, he should be an unstoppable force in 2017.
Hoyer was removed from last week's game in the second quarter due to what was later revealed to be a broken arm, which I specifically told him not to do, dammit!
He was replaced by obligatory USC product Matt Barkley, who performed as if he hadn't being doin' much in the way of footballin' since he left the Trojans.
Based on his comments in the postgame news conference, head coach John Fox seemed as underwhelmed as the rest of Bear Nation.
"The personnel people thought he was a taller guy that stood in the pocket pretty well," said Fox (read: I don't know what numbnuts put this guy on my team, but he's a definitely five-foot-nine statue who choked on the big stage).
Fox's tone became distant as he continued.
"A guy that we thought we could work with, that had some experience . . . "
At this point, Fox trailed off and began to blow air through his pursed his lips, the weight of 2016's horrendous start pushing down on him.
He vacantly stared out over the assembled press.
Reflections of simpler days overtook him, as he sought refuge in memories of the young farm boy he once was, running his hand over the blades of wheat that blew gently in Iowa's summer wind.
[Editor's Note: Ooooohkay. The Bears broke Carl again. Sheila, go grab the emergency Scotch while I correct a few things. John Fox played high school football in Chula Vista, California, a town whose only known "wheat" export is juiced wheat grass.The town's nickname is "The Lemon Capital Of The World." You're definitely thinking of the movie Gladiator.]
A distant smile crept across the coach's face as he remembered the feeling of running his small hands over the bumpy yellow bounty that grew from stalks in the ground . . .
[Editor's Note: Sheila, hurry the hell up! He doesn't know the difference between lemons and corn. I've got to patch him up enough to get something posted by tomorrow morning!]
The reporters continued to ask questions, but all Fox could hear were the dulcet tones of a soothing lullaby his mother used to sing . . . Stop, collaborate and listen. Ice is back with a brand new edition . . .
[Editor's Note: Alright, stay with me buddy. I need you to tilt your head back and take few big swallows of medicine.]
Gilk, gilk, gilk.
[Editor's Note: Carl? You ok? Talk to us.]
. . . And then Brandon Marshall lit up his former teammates on Twitter like Elvira blowing up a gas station on her way to Falwell.
[Editor's Note: Brief mention of a former Bear, reference to an obscure movie scene, link to a picture of a chesty brunette and something on fire; he's fine Sheila, you can get back to your desk. Tell my nine o'clock I'll be in shortly.]
Ugh. What the hell happened?
[Editor's Note: It was the game. At least you weren't bleeding from the nose this time. I mean, we all expected it to be bad, but none of us had any idea how terrible the offense would perform without Hoyer running it.]
No! The Scotch! Was that Johnny Walker Red?! C'mon bro, I know you've got a bottle of Glenfiddich in your desk drawer!
[Editor's Note: I've got a meeting with some potential advertisers. Try to talk a little football while I go scare up some revenue, would you?]
Right. Sure. Whatever.
Obviously, we were all hoping for a spark out of Barkley.
[Editor's Note: Then we could call him Sparkley.]
[Writer's Note: I'll tell the jokes here, thank you. Now, as I was saying . . . ]
Obviously, we were all hoping for a spark out of Barkley. Not just for the sake of beating the Packers (which the Bears did masterfully - if by "did" you mean get outscored 26-10), but to provide some hope that Chicago has something, anything, in the pipeline as far as a young, potentially future starting QB amid what has clearly become a rebuild.
After witnessing Barkley's performance, the Bears medically cleared Jay Cutler to return to action.
What a co-inky-dink!
Hoyer played well enough during the last several games to earn himself a job somewhere in the NFL so, even though he'll spend the rest of 2016 holding a clipboard in his left hand, don't feel too bad for him.
Mr. Cutler, on the other hand (the hand that has a good thumb), looks to spend the next 10 weeks proving to the rest of the world that he has the ability to continue plying his trade at the highest level.
With the guaranteed dollars on his contract set to expire at the end of this season, he'll not only be auditioning for all 32 teams but also attempting to royally fuck up the Bears' chances of securing a top ten draft pick.
Will that be enough motivation for Smokin' Jay to lead the Chicago to win, say, six out of the final nine games?
I almost said sixty-nine.
Sure, they found a way to lose to the Jaguars, but with the help of several key cogs coming back from injury, is it really that insane to think that this team can beat the Bucs, Giants, Titans, 49ers, Redskins and just one game against the Vikings, Packers or Lions?
Jay, would you like to secure your future in the NFL and screw a city that has never really fully embraced your efforts, despite being arguably the best quarterback in its history?
That's what I thought.
- Leonard Floyd: Many of us have not only written off Floyd, but have begun to seriously question the scouting ability of the man who drafted him. On Thursday night, Floyd had two sacks, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a touchdown.
Perhaps we spoke too soon on both accounts?
As a counter-argument, I give you Kevin White.
Remember him? Didn't think so.
But on an otherwise depressing night, the man who is so football-skinny that he's nearly transparent flashed the kind of physical brilliance Ryan Pace banked on last draft day.
- Uh, The Defense I Guess? Through three quarters, the defense did a good job of holding Green Bay in check and even scored the Bears' lone touchdown.
But then the fourth quarter happened, the Packers cashed in their opportunities on an exhausted squad, and everyone who doesn't love the Cubs went to bed sad.
That said, gutty performance for a unit that got no help from their offense.
What . . . I Mean Really. What?!
- Quarterback Play: 81 yards and two picks. That's Matt Barkley's line. Which sucks eggs.
Fun fact (fun, if you're into the thrill of encountering a mute guy dressed as a clown in the forest): Hoyer's line wasn't any better. He was a whopping four for eleven before Julius Peppers put an end to his arm's season*.
Hey, maybe holding an open audition at running right now will help things?
Oh, it didn't? Fuuuuuuck!
Eye On The Opposition: The Deep D
Like the Bears, the Minnesota Vikings have been dealing with a slew of injuries to key players and have also suffered a loss at the hands of the Eagles.
In addition, they play 11 men on the field at once and compete in the NFC's North division, but that's about where the similarities end.
For one, the Vikings win football games.
Which is this year.
Secondly, Minnesota has an exceptional D** and enough depth on their roster to absorb a seemingly endless string of injuries. The defensive unit that represents the Land O' Lakes comes into the week leading the NFL in scoring defense and total defense.
Here's the good news(?) - Our ol' friend Jay Cutler is likely to start this Monday . . . wait, the NFL gave the Bears another primetime game?
If I wanted to flaunt my shame in front of the entire nation, I'd just wander down to Washington Street and waggle my third testicle in front of the glass backdrop of the CBS evening news during a live taping.
On paper, this looks like a horrendous matchup for the Bears, but only because it is.
The Vikes' aforementioned top defense allows 14 points a game, while the Bears offense ranks last in scoring at 16 points per game.
So while Brian Hoyer sure looked good between the 20s, it doesn't take a deep dive into whatever the NFL equivalent of sabermetrics are to conclude that maybe he wasn't as valuable as he looked, given that his level of play did not lead to points.
Minnesota's weakness at the moment is their offense. Their O-line is banged up, QB Sam Bradford is one stiff wind away from a rotator cuff tear, and they have a couple of fullbacks filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson.
With the Chicago linebacking corps nearing full strength, it's possible that this game could be close.
Kool-Aid (1 of 5 Rocks Glasses Of Any Kind Of Whiskey)
My current favorite Monday whiskey these days is Breckenridge.
But do whatever feels right.
As long as whatever you're drinking is strong because this game has very little intrigue as a standalone product.
Bears fans interested in the Jay Cutler's play and the coaching staff's strategy for the remainder of the season can hold your attention if you're planning on coming back for more abuse next year.
Actually, even those guys should just DVR it.
To make this game a contest, the Bears are going to have to do three things: Put Sam Bradford on his ass (possible); put the ball in Alshon Jeffery's hands (with Cutler back, also possible); and put together a decent rushing attack (if we're relying on Ka'Deem Carey again for some reason, unlikely).
So there is a path to victory, and the Vikings look more vulnerable than usual coming into the game.
Will it be enough?
Turnovers will doom the Bears to a 1-7 start.
Vikings 20, Bears 13
About The Author
The Author understands that your time is valuable, and if you choose to spend Monday night doing something besides watching the Bears game (for instance, putting an entire loaf of ciabatta bread in your mouth at once), The Author will not hold it against you.
* As an aside, try saying "Hoyer Arm" five times fast. Are your co-workers laughing at you yet?
** Not to be confused with the pubic hair-straightening product, "Exceptional D."
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He tolerates your comments.