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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By: Greill Kupicky

It was a great day for Bears football, and a great precursor for the upcoming Packer game. The Denver fan's boos actually made me laugh. I thought to myself, “Self? I hope that someday the Packer fans learn to hate us again instead of this fake hatred for Minnesota, and I can’t wait until the boos I hear today are being cried out from angry, frustrated Packer fans.”

I really can’t wait! I truly believe that this is going to be a fun season for us Bear fans, something special. But, as we all know too well, we have to win. And, as we all know to well, anything can happen on any given Sunday. So, I know, Rule #1…Don’t count your frickin chickens before the fricken chickens are hatched.

I saw some really wonderful things, but man…I saw some red flags, too. Offensively, the thing that stood out to me more than anything was the very first play the Bears ran. Why oh why do the Bear’s coaches insist on running “Play X”. If I see one more Wide Receiver screen pass, I am absolutely going to scream! IT DOESN’T WORK! WHY DO WE KEEP RUNNING IT?!

Aside from that irritation, I noticed that Matt Forte really is the “Real Deal.” This guy is so versatile, it makes me grin. I mean really, a Halfback option pass? WOW! When is the last time any of us have seen that from a Bears Halfback? Answer…Walter Payton? I was talking to a guy in a bar yesterday, and he told me that all of his friends thought he was crazy for choosing Forte for his Fantasy Football team. My question was, “What is so crazy about that?” I mean, he is definitely as good as anyone else out there. In fact, I told him that I predict that Forte would likely get as many as 2,000 all purpose yards and at least 15 touchdowns this season. I’m crazy, right? Well, I don’t think so. Between him and Olsen, Cutler certainly has options, and without a “legit” WR, so they say, Forte will be one o the main go-to guy's and wow us all again this year.

After three weeks of preseason games, fans have seen an offense that at times looks good and capable of moving the ball and putting up points. That 98 yard drive was truly impressive. The bad is still that glaring hole at WR. The Bears have seven guys fighting for six spots, and most of them are young with upside. Can any of them become that “legitimate” NFL WR? Well, we know that Earl Bennett and Cutler are familiar with each other, but will that translate to production? Is Devin Hester going to continue to develop, or is he still going to look like an “athlete” playing Wide Receiver? Are we going to have a threat as our third receiver or are we going to rely on Greg Olsen as our match up nightmare for defenses (because he is too big and fast for Line Backers or Safeties to cover).

If the Bears find a decent threat as our third receiver Olsen and Forte will flourish. In order for them to have any chance at all, the offensive line needs to quit being so offensive. They need to play well and stay healthy. I see, at times, a line that is good, physical at the point of attack, solid in pass protection. Then there are times when I see plays that make me concerned. Denver’s Ends/OLB’s made Pace and Williams look like turnstyles at the train station. If you noticed, both got beat several times by those quick edge rushers, and Cutler was forced to throw off of his back foot, or scramble away, resulting in a wasted play.

The Bears need those guys to play well, and in this league, both of your starting tackles have to be on an even par with each other when it comes to pass protection. They need solid play from these front five, or we will see an offense that will be easy to defend, and basically become an almost "vanilla" offense. Can we say that the great years of run to the right, run to the left, wide receiver screen, and punt are over, hopefully? I hope and pray that will be the case, because we now have the Quarterback we have always wanted and dreamed of, a good three down running back, and a great young tight end. All the Bears need now, oensively, is for a few guys to step up, play to their level, and they will be just fine. One thing is for sure…as optimistic as I am, there are a lot more questions than answers about this unit at this point.

Now about the Bears defense. This is the enigma of the preseason. I would like to know if they will be capable of stopping the run on a consistent basis. Will we get enough pressure on the QB from our line, especially from the interior? I am worried about their health, and youth at DT. Harris is hobbled by a bad knee (again), and “In Dusty, I do not trusty,” Dvoracek is injured again. He is like Mike Brown…he is a good player, but we will never see him play for a full season. The Bears defensive line will be reduced to unproven youngsters. I’m not saying that they will be bad, they have a good coach to teach them, I’m just saying that it could be a problem. It was good to see Anderson get a sack, too. He better play well this year or he will be some other team’s underachiever next year.

The biggest, and most worrisome, position is our secondary. At times, the Corners seem like they can not cover a bar of soap with a wash cloth, and they have become frickin rag doll, blades of grass when it comes to making a simple tackle. That stupid arm tackling again! WRAP UP! I never saw more arm tackles and basic peewee football mistakes. It was downright ugly to me. I am beginning to wonder if these guys afraid to cover and tackle. I am concerned with our Safeties. Who are they going to be? Who is going to start, and where? Do we really have two legitimate NFL Safeties? As I have stated so many times lready, this secondary could be our nightmare this season. Just like the offense, there are a lot more questions than answers at this point.

The Cover 2 isn’t my favorite defense to run, but it works. But there are components that make it work. It is a bend-don’t break defense that relies on turnovers and pass rush. If this unit does not play well, the Bears will have to rely on a pass rush that has issues, as well. We need to hope that our coaching staff has vanillaed the schemes for the preseason and haven’t shown what these guys can really do, because if what I have seen so far is a true reflection, this defense looks like a swinging gate. I mean they seriously give me frequent heart attacks against the long pass. Against Denver, we were lucky, Orton looked like Orton, and Orton doesn’t throw many down field. But Rodgers is going to be another story. Unless they fix some of these problems, the Bears will have their hands full, and I don’t just mean against Green Bay. Other teams will have their way with this defense, as well.

Last but not least, special teams. There are not really any questions here. They were solid as usual, and I really enjoyed seeing Hester back in his usual form. I predict two TD returns this season, and he will solidify his place in the NFL Hall of Fame. But Hester…Geese Louise!!! Grade school punt returners know that you don’t catch punts inside the 20 for a crying out loud! If I was Toub, and I’m not, I would make Hester do 100 pushups every time he messes up like that in a game. They got away with it, as they have so many times in the past, but somehow, someday, a boneheaded play like that will really cost you…and it might not just be a regular season game. So Hester…KNOCK IT OFF!!!!

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