Sunday, November 30, 2008
I started watching Bears football, by my memory, in 1993, when I was five years old. In that time the Bears have gone 7-9, 9-7, 9-7, 7-9, 4-12, 4-12, 6-10, 5-11, 13-3, 4-12, 7-9, 5-11, 11-5, 13-3, 7-9, and are now a middling 6-6 this year after tonight's disaster in Minnesota. If you're counting that's a 117-135, or a pretty pedestrian .464 winning %. I've had to watch Dave Wannstedt's hair-lipped ineptitude and Dick Jauron's blind loyalty to an offensive coordinator who seemed to think you can score by punting. The Lovie Smith era was supposed to fix all of that. For two years we had every reason to believe this team would earn consistent respectability year after year. After going 24-8 from 2005-2006, the arrow was pointing up. But since that time the Bears are 13-15, and back to bumbling their way from loss to loss, and I'm sick of it. For a long time I've defended Lovie Smith's questionable decisions, and while I'm not against him yet, I have to wonder what he's going to do to fix this mess, though the irony is that he created it. Since the end of Superbowl XLI he's made bizzare choice after bizarre choice. Why did we need to replace a coordinator who'd built one of the leagues strongest defense with a man with absolutely No experience as a coordinator at any level, and only a job (from which he was fired) as a head coach at North Dakota State as a notable mark on his resume. Why did we have to let a quality run stuffing defensive tackle, one once labelled by SI as the most underrated defensive player in the league, in Ian Johnson just go in order to replace him with a completely unproven quantity in Dustin Dvoracek? Why did we decide to first bench, and then trade, a remarkable young talent at safety in Chris Harris in favor of the disappointing Daniael Manning and broken veteran Adam Archuletta? Why did we call a vanilla prevent defense, one Smith is blindly devoted to, again and again after it cost us late leads against Carolina and Tampa Bay and Atlanta, and nearly cost us one against Minnesota earlier in the year? Why have we allowed the wide receiver position to become nearly bankrupt of any kind of talent, other than whatever the hell it is Devin Hester offers nowadays? Why wasn't one of the oldest offensive lines in football backed up with any kind of youthful insurance program? I thought this team had rebuilt itself from the ground up in the first three years of Lovie's reign, and yet now it continues to sink back into the mire that it created with the departure of Mike Ditka in 1992. I don't know what it will take to fix it, to be honest, whether Lovie needs to shake up his coaching staff or Angelo needs to reevaluate his approach to the draft and free agency, but I'm sick and tired of the people who Should now how to fix it continuing to dig the hole deeper and deeper and demanding unquestioning loyalty from a fan base that's seen this movie before.