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If you want to feel stupid, watch an NFL pre-game show. Just before ESPN's show zapped my will to live, I watched a segment that gave certain teams "First quarter grades," now that most teams have completed a quarter of their regular season. My brain imploded under the weight of stupidity after Keyshawn Johnson handed out an "F+". A little better than absolutely brutal? A bit greater than pathetic? A step above worthless? Is it that hard to choose between a D- and an F?
Speaking of which, here are my first-quarter grades for the Bears.
Offense: After a rough start, the Bears finally admitted their problem: They were spending too much time each week defending Rex Grossman and not enough time getting another third-rate quarterback ready for their next game. Now they have to get over their apparent enjoyment of watching Cedric Benson run up to the line and stop. Sometime this year, we'll see Benson remove his mask to reveal that he is in fact Curtis Enis.
Grade: H (for Hopeless)
Defense: Here's what I don't understand about the Bears D: Just about everything. For example, the "Tampa 2" is supposed to be a great system. And this team is supposed to have great players playing in that great system. And yet, the Packers discover a running game against the Bears that looks like German tanks working the Maginot line? And don't talk to me about injuries. Did you see what the Colts did with their second team last week? The point of a great system is that it helps lesser players perform. And the point of a second-string is to step up when the first-string is hurt. Paging Ron Rivera!
Grade: E (for Excuse-Ridden)
Special Teams: Devin Hester is Ridiculous. Devin Hester is Ridiculous. Devin Hester is Ridiculous. Devin Hester is Ridiculous. Devin Hester is Ridiculous. Devin Hester is Ridiculous. And Robbie Gould and Brad Maynard ain't bad either.
Grade: R (for Ridiculous, natch).
Coaching: Look at Lovie Smith's eyes. Last year: Quiet confidence. This year: On the cusp of crying. It's like he's reliving the times in his life when he was made fun of for being called Lovie.
Grade: AC (for Almost Crying)
Fans: After three weeks, fans lost the one thing that united them: A hatred for Grossman. Like the Democratic Party, Bears fans know they hate something, but they can't agree on what any more. Is it the War in Iraq, Brian Griese, Health Care, Lovie Smith, Getting Crushed by Republicans or Cedric Benson? Like Democrats, Bears fans don't know until they've lost the big game once again.
Grade: BAU (Business As Usual)
Vikings at Bears
Last week, the matra seemed to be "2-3 is better than 1-4." That's like saying "One million dollars is better than a kick to the groin." If that's the best the Kool-Aid Nation can come up with, that's a serious lack of confidence.
Furthermore, does it mean this week's mantra will be "At least our opponent has only one real threat"? Expect one of those classic NFC North battles: A bunch fat guys run into each other for three hours. After all that effort, one winner prevails: boredom.
Pick: Chicago Minus 5.5 Points, Under 37.5 Points scored.
Sugar in the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 50%
Recommended Sugar in the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 25%
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