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Old 12-20-2006, 08:55 AM   #1
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Default "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

Remember Dennis Green's explosion after the Cardinals' Monday Night loss to the Bears? Everyone knows he had a good reason to be angry. This ESPN article not only backs up Dennis but hits the Bear's flaws right on the money. I think this team will be one and done in the playoffs.



Bears still have time, but not much margin for error

By Gene Wojciechowski

The Chicago Bears are going to finish the regular season 14-2, have the home-field advantage during the postseason and then, if they're not very, very careful, get eliminated in the NFC Divisional playoffs.

Last season's playoffs didn't end well for Bears coach Lovie Smith and QB Rex Grossman.
Have you ever seen a more dysfunctional, less impressive 12-win team than these guys? Have you ever seen a coach who plays the paranoia card as often as the spectacularly tone-deaf Lovie Smith? Have you ever seen fewer players unwilling to at least acknowledge what everyone else with at least a beer cup's worth of objectivity sees: that the Bears are walking a line as thin as the laces on a football?

Sunday afternoon, as I was cleaning my cache of semiautomatic weapons and surface-to-air rocket launchers, I watched the Bears-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game with my kids and our 26 pit bulls. Oh, wait, that was defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who, incredibly enough, is still employed by the Bears.

Anyway, the more I watched, the more I realized how flawed and fragile this team is. The Bears aren't posers. Posers don't go 12-2. They're not frauds. Frauds don't clinch a first-round bye as early as Game 14. But they're also not the NFL's best team. Or second best. Or third. Or fourth. Or maybe fifth.

I know they have the league's best record. I know they're 4-0 in their division and 10-0 in their conference. But the other three NFC North teams are a combined 14-28 and in danger of being optioned to NFL Europe. And the rest of the NFC is so stressed out that it needs a spa day. It's the two-bagger conference, if you know what I mean.

In mid-October, the Bears needed the collapse of the decade to beat gawd-awful Arizona on the road. Two months later at home, they needed overtime to beat a Tampa Bay team that scores less often than guys in leisure suits. If you have to struggle to beat the Cardinals and the Bucs on opposite ends of your regular season, you've got a major problem.

The Cardinals' Dennis Green had it right when he went Danny DeVito after the Oct. 16 loss. "The Bears are who we thought they were," he raged. "If you want to crown them, crown their ass," said Green, YouTube's Sportsman of the Year. "They are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook."

The Bears deserve a fist bump, not a crown. Of their 12 wins, 10 have come against teams with records of .500 or worse. Next up: the Detroit Lions (Hello, No. 1 pick! Goodbye, Matt Millen!) and Green Bay Packers.

In a game of NFL word association, you'd say, "Bears," and I'd say, "Watching the Super Bowl on their home plasmas." You'd say, "Home-field advantage." I'd say, "2005 Divisional Playoff at Soldier Field: Carolina Panthers 29, Bears 21." You'd say, "Kyle Orton." I'd say, "Rex Grossman and his 1.3 quarterback rating."

There are too many moving parts on this machine. The tailback tag team of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson can barely tolerate each other. Grossman is like food on a cruise ship: You don't know if you're going to love it or ralph in your state room. And the defense suddenly needs mouth-to-mouth.

The Bucs, led by third-string quarterback Tim Rattay, outscored the Bears 28-7 in the second half of Sunday's game. The Bucs.

Six days earlier, the Bears gave up 27 points to the St. Louis Rams. If defense wins championships, the Bears better find some help for Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. And fast.

Did I mention the injuries? Offensive tackle John Tait missed the last game, though it didn't seem fatal. Cornerback Nathan Vasher was out. Defensive tackle Tommie Harris is lost for the season. So is safety Mike Brown. Jones has some cranky ribs. Charles Tillman is nursing a sore back.

And yet, Mr. "The Glass Is Completely Full" Smith acts as if it's a huge deal the Bears are unbeaten against the rest of the NFC North mopes. He recites the Bears' overall record like it's a weather update. Last week, 11-2. This week, 12-2. Next week, after they dispose of the Lions, 13-2.

But it doesn't change some essential truths about this team. First of all, they aren't the '85 Bears. Never were ? even when they were winning big during the first six weeks of this season. Never will be. Aside from the fact that the '85 Bears would crush your thorax the moment you walked off the team bus, they were likable, eccentric, charismatic.

The '06 Bears reflect Smith. Mostly bland. Defensive. In a state of denial about all sorts of things, including, oh, I don't know, defensive tackles, assault rifles, and wee-hour fatal shootings.

Four days after police raided his suburban Chicago home and found unregistered firearms, Johnson was still on the team. Three days after Bears management read him the riot act, and two days after his friend/roommate/bodyguard was shot and killed at a Chicago nightclub (with Johnson at the same club), Johnson was still on the team.

Smith didn't absolve Johnson, but during his weekly news conference Monday he did seem to suggest that the defensive tackle's career with the Bears still had a heartbeat, however faint. If so, then Smith needs a refresher course on tough love.

There is a lot to like about these Bears, but more to dislike. They are either five games from a Super Bowl championship or three games from a January playoff loss. Right now, I'm leaning toward the loss. Too much Bears indifference, arrogance and self-importance.

What's that phrase they tell alcoholics? The first step toward recovery is admitting you've got a problem.

That's what the Bears have to do: admit they've got a problem. There's still time for recovery. Barely.
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

The only thing is the NFC is so weak that the Bears could make the Super Bowl. Plus playing in Chicago in Jan. isn't pleasant. But I agree the Bears have flaws and isn't a lock for the Super Bowl.
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

That press conference has to be one of my all time favorite press conferences. Watching him donkey punch that mic is right up there with didly poo, playoffs!,YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME and last years mark cuban press conference

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Old 12-20-2006, 09:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

That was a very entertaining article, although it sounded a little like the author had some personal issues with the Bears - maybe the fact that he is from Michigan (and maybe supports the Lions?)

Anyway every team has its flaws - what is interesting is that fans and the media still have a desire to have a team like the 85 Bears or the 60's Packers in a league that is desperate for 'parity'.

The Chargers are the most peoples consensus 'best team' and yet they are entering the playoffs with a QB who is in his first year as starter - that is what they call a potentially fatal flaw.

Anyway, back to the Bears, everyone knows the NFC is relatively the weaker of the two conferences that the top team there wouldn't even match up favorably with the #4 in the AFC (see Patriots vs Bears).

The fact remains that AFC teams wont be a part of the Bears playoff trail (until the SB) so who exactly is going to send them home - the Giants, the Hawks....the 49ers?

Seriously, the Bears are by far the best of a medicore bunch in the NFC - they aren't a shoe-in for the SB - but then the Chargers aren't either.

They've been great for a while now, three Super Bowls' worth of great. But only this season have the New England Patriots become The Show, the must-see team of stars, pretty boys and reformed bad boys. Suddenly, the Patriots are not simply great; they're compelling, fascinating, appearing to be almighty and a touch lawless.
The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

Saying the Bears are one and done in the NFC playoffs, given the quality of the competition in the JV division of the NFL, is a stretch.

While I cannot imagine how the Bears will win the Super Bowl, with home field advantage they are as likely as any other team to make it out of the NFC.
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Old 12-20-2006, 10:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

As a Bear fan, I love all the talk of the weak NFC and the JV conference. How'd that same logic work out for the National League St. Louis Cardinals?
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Old 12-20-2006, 10:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: "The Bears are who we thought they were!" #%#$@

Originally Posted by Big D View Post
That press conference has to be one of my all time favorite press conferences. Watching up donkey punch that mic is right up there with didly poo, playoffs!,YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME and last years mark cuban press conference
My friends in Az are telling me the local tv and radio stations still play that rant all the time - one of them uses it as their intro every day...
"You can't handle the truth..."

"The Bears are who we thought they were!!!! ..the Bears are who we thought they were!!!! ...you wanna crown their a--, then crown'em..." Dennis Green - voted Best Damn Quote by Fox Sports and Sumo-2006
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