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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

Last week, I postulated that as Americans, we enjoy being right. This week, I tackle a new existential question: How do we quantify a seemingly subjective phenomenon - such as the Bears' chances this season?

Fortunately, I'm the lucky holder of a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and as such fully capable of writing up a scientifically valid survey. In conjunction with Beachwood Laboratories, I present: "A Search for Sugar Self-Discovery: How Much Sugar is in My Blue and Orange Kool-Aid?"

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1. Which best describes Devin Hester's speed and likely impact this year?

A) Hester will remain a premier kickoff and punt returner.

B) Hester will become an elite receiver.

C) Hester will use his speed to reverse the Earth's rotation to give the Bears a second chance to win the Super Bowl.

* * *

2. Which best describes the development of Rex Grossman?

A) Grossman played well early last year but he regressed as the season progressed. Perhaps NFL defenses adjusted to his tendencies.

B) Grossman failed to play well the whole year, but let's remember this season is like his second full year. Grossman needs our continued support.

C) Expect Grossman to set passing records this year. Last year he spent his spare time pushing El trains down the track with his rocket arm. Now that the El system runs smoothly, Grossman can focus on football.

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3. The Bears seem very impressed with their first round pick, tight end Greg Olsen. How will he fit into the offense?

A) Like any highly touted rookie, Olsen will get his share of catches but the Bears will not rely on his talents.

B) Expect Olsen to be Offensive Rookie of the Year.

C) Being true to his alma mater, the University of Miami, Olsen will excel on the football field, while splitting his time working for the Peace Corps and making humanitarian trips to Darfur.

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4. How will the Bears offense fare without running back Thomas Jones?

A) Cedric Benson is capable, but his durability is a major concern.

B) Cedric Benson is better than Jones, and Adrian Peterson is just as good as Benson. Expect a fully balanced attack.

C) Benson is smart and motivated; he will build the new Olympic Stadium five years early and under budget.

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5. Tank Johnson's legal troubles finally led to his release. Will this off-season distraction affect the Bears defense?

A) Expect this to be a question every time a Bears player is interviewed.

B) The Bears veteran leadership keeps the team on course. The adversity makes the Bears an even stronger defense.

C) The Bears defense will use the departure of Tank Johnson as motivation. They will wear black "TJ99" shoulder patches and score more points than they allow.

* * *

6. The Bears suffered on defense last year when Tommie Harris and Mike Brown went down to season-ending injuries. Will the Bears keep these key defensive players healthy?

A) Sometimes injuries linger. Hopefully these players remain healthy. If so, the Bears remain a top 5 defensive unit.

B) Have you heard of the phrase "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" These two come into this year an even bigger force to be reckoned with.

C) Thanks to President Bush's reversal on stem cell research, these two are not only healthier, but they are now genetically engineered uber-players hell bent on crushing the opposition, my friend.

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7. Last year Brian Urlacher's personal problems tainted his image. How will this affect his legacy?

A) At worse, his time with the stripper serves as a cheap joke for columns such as this, and at best, fans simply worry about his production on the field.

B) This shows him as a human being who cares for all his children, no matter how many more children may be out there. His popularity soars.

C) Urlacher becomes a highly-paid endorser for Jeffery M. Leving and a leader in the fathers' rights movement. He is also hired by the Catholic Church to promote sex without condoms. And opposing quarterbacks awed by his virility simply lay down after receiving the snap.

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8. Lovie Smith proved himself to be a very capable coach last season. How will his style affect the Bears this year?

A) On one hand, his loyalty and perseverance is a calming factor to his players. On the other hand, his strength is also a weakness given that the Bears continually fail to adjust to faulty game plans and personnel decisions.

B) The loss in the Super Bowl motivates Lovie anew. Expect to see him focused and recharged.

C) Lovie goes on a spiritual quest in the Himalayas, caddies for the Dalai Lama, and is promised total consciousness on his death bed in lieu of a tip. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

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9. The Bears begin this season with a schedule notably more difficult than last season's. What kind of start will they get off to?

A) This is a concern. It was easier to start last year against Green Bay, Minnesota, and Detroit. On paper, San Diego, Kansas City, and Dallas promise to be tougher opponents.

B) Great teams win tough ames. The Bears start 3-0.

C) The Bears win all three and, in a touching gesture, donate them to the Cubs so they can finish above .500.

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10. Final prediction?

A) The schedule slightly overmatches the Bears. Expect them to come down a little from last year.

B) Expect the Bears to finish what they started. Buy your tickets for Arizona!

C) After winning all 16 regular seasons games, the Bears are named champions. Instead of playoffs, the Bears play games against All-Star teams. To even the playing field, the Bears are required to start Kyle Orton. Or Rex Grossman.

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Scoring

For each A) answer, give yourself 0 points
For each B) answer, give yourself 1 point
For each C) answer, give yourself 2 points

*

If you scored 0-5 points:
Consider yourself diabetic when it comes to the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid. You almost never drink the Kool-Aid, especially if the Kool-Aid has too much sugar.

If you scored 6-10 points:
You are a Kool-Aid frontrunner. You drink from the Kool-Aid when the Bears are doing well, but when the Bears play poorly, you put down the glass and walk away slowly.

If you scored 11-15 points:
You are in need of a Kool-Aid intervention. If you look in the mirror right now, you'll see a hint of a Kool-Aid mustache on your upper lip.

If you scored 16-20 points:
You're this guy.

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Preseason Sugar in the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 85%
Recommended Sugar in the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 55%

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Eric Emery is the Beachwood's resident football writer and author of The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. He accepts comments from Bears fans reluctantly and everyone else tolerably.

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