You may or may not have noticed that I’ve barely written about the Bears over the last couple of months. The ascension of Mitch Trubisky into the role of starting quarterback has featured more downs than ups, but he’s clearly got a long way to go. The other stifling factor is that this coaching staff and abysmal talent around Trubisky has shuttled the franchise into a muddy ditch, where some big contract guys are either underperforming (Markus Wheaton, Charles Leno Jr), getting irrationally played over young talent (Dion Sims), or are constantly getting hurt (Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, Danny Trevathan).
There’s Dowell Loggains mindlessly frustrating run-run-pass-punt offense that has resulted routinely in teams solving the Bears well before halftime, and the second halves of games tumbling into losses so predictably that many fans can barely offer more than an eyebrow raise of surprise.
In fact, the Bears have reverted to meeting expectations of disappointment, and while the Browns are certainly scraping bottom with their own romantic brand of football dystopia, the Bears are the unquestioned masters of doddering football indifference.
For a fanbase that is arguably the NFL’s most passionate, romanticized, irrationally fat group of meatballs that follow the sport, this team is from the top-down full of personalities that prefer not to exhibit emotion, lest it divulge a competitive advantage, whilst opponents routinely wipe their asses with the Bears organization’s inept brand of behind-the-times and stance-barren football.
Where once was the fiery and vengeful George Halas, belligerently hot-tempered Mike Ditka, fearless brutality of Dick Butkus, iron-forged violence of Bronko Nagurski, and shades-clad rockstar braggadocio of Jim McMahon, we now are privy to observe the apathetic snark of Vic Fangio, the two-faced frippery of Ryan Pace, gravel-roasted excuses of John Fox, and a roster full of players who would rather say the company line than risk lighting a fire.
There’s pieces there: Trubisky, Long, Trevathan, Whitehair, Fuller, Amos, Shaheen, Sitton, Howard, Cohen, Inman, Hicks, Goldman, and probably a couple other guys I’m forgetting, but they need a culture change to give this team back not only the spirit of winning, but the spirit of giving a shit.
Because right now this team doesn’t give a shit, and to an extent I get it – a three-win team riddled with yet more injuries and a coaching staff that is in full knowledge that they’ll be unemployed the morning of January 1st – it makes sense. That said, these losses are acts of their own volition. They have nobody to blame but themselves, and the coaching staff rightfully deserves to take the bulk of the blame.
Ryan Pace is not without his own failures, particularly in free agency, but he’ll likely get one more year unless Virginia McCaskey gets “pissed off” again. The attendance for the Bears loss to the 1-win 49ers was abysmal, and if George and co. thought that was bad, wait until the Christmas Eve Bears/Browns game. Both teams could be vying for the top pick of the draft at that point.
Ugh. Even typing about this stuff is draining. The team doesn’t care. Fox should’ve been fired this morning, but he wasn’t. Why? We’ll never know because this organization has trademarked non-answers, lies, and obfuscation, all under the banner of maintaining a competitive advantage.
Looks like it’s really paying off.
Robbie Gould returned to Soldier Field and had vengeance on his mind. It paid off. Five Gould field goals was all it took to befuddle an apathetic Bears team that was unconsciously determined to lose all afternoon. Jimmy Garoppolo, even with barely a shred of the playbook, sliced up the Bears secondary and routinely laced passes into the middle of the field, converting long 3rd downs and getting the job done.
Gould did the rest.
Robbie’s departure from Chicago was weird. He was slumping and the team was in transition, but we don’t really know what was said, at least not until last night.
“(The Bears releasing me) motivated me. It drives me every day. I have Ryan Pace and Jeff Rodgers and John Fox to thank for that. Because if I would’ve stayed here, who knows what my career would have ended like? But you never want somebody to tell you that you weren’t good at your job.”
Clearly those three guys named by Gould decided the team was better off bringing in Pace’s kicker and friend from the Saints, Connor Barth. The mercurial Barth was 29/39 before his release last week. Gould has missed only twice in the three seasons away from Chicago.
If only there was somebody in Halas Hall who had the balls to tell Ryan Pace, John Fox, and their lifeless, losing team that they’re not good at their jobs.
There used to be. But he died in 1983.