Last year I wrote a column showcasing the players in the draft who jumped off the screen on college football Saturdays. In that column I highlighted Chris Borland, De’Anthony Thomas, Demarcus Lawrence, Martavis Bryant & Zach Mettenberger. Not bad. Let’s see how this year goes.
It was a long time ago that Lovie Smith was introduced as the Bears head coach and stated his first goal was to beat the Packers. Over a decade later, John Fox and Ryan Pace are walking into a similar situation and, if they’re going to catch the Packers, they have to do exactly what Smith did by building their defense.
The common reaction from Bears fans when the NFL schedule was released was that the team was going to start 0-1 and ruin Thanksgiving by losing to the Packers. Such early negativity is a little ridiculous but there’s reason for it. If the Bears are going to change the course of their franchise and undo much of what Phil Emery and Marc Trestman did, it starts with the defense.
Week One – Sunday September 13th (noon)
Week Two – Sunday September 20th (noon)
Week Three – Sunday September 27th (3:25)
Week Four – Sunday October 4th (noon)
NOTE ON THE FIRST QUARTER
This is a classic you’d-sign-for-.500 start to the season.
The NFL will announce the 2015 schedule at some point this week, setting travel calendars for many of the sport’s fans this fall and winter. Personally, I love the announcement as much as any day in the off-season. It’s like building a brilliant travel itinerary. Sure, the fun is actually executing that itinerary but creating the itinerary itself makes the trip real. Seeing the Bears 16 games laid out makes the 2015 season suddenly real.
Here are my hopes…
HOPE #1 – Return the Bears to Sunday at Noon
I know the Bears are a huge television draw and the NFL has more prime time slots than Law & Order in the 90s. But two years straight the Bears have gone almost a month late in the season without playing on Sunday afternoon.
When the Bears don’t play on Sundays, Sundays are worthless to me. Sure you get the chance to watch a few other clubs closely but I do that on Mondays and Tuesdays anyway. Sundays are about routine. Sundays are about ritual. Some folks like to go to church. I like to go to Josie Woods and pray the Bears don’t embarrass themselves.
HOPE #2 – Send the Bears to San Diego in December
You think a lot of Bears fans show up to Nashville and Dallas and Charlotte? Try scheduling the Bears in paradise once the winter has rolled into Chicago. I’ll have my hotel room booked an hour after the schedule is released.
Side note: the Chargers should have petitioned the NFL for this. They already are amongst the league’s worst fans and with word leaking the team has its eyes on LA, it isn’t going to get better any time soon.
Scott Wright spends every day of his year on the NFL Draft do I turn to him for the information I lack time and interest to gather on my own. On the pod we discuss:
The Bears have been projected by many to take a wide receiver with the seventh pick of the draft. But does that really make sense?
The answer to that question isn’t as simple as determining the team’s draft strategy or analyzing the talent in the draft. It’s more about how the Bears view the best way to build their roster and, in this case, how they view their current talent.
The “best player available” argument is outdated. Every team says they’re going to take the best player available, but they always have an eye on what their team currently needs. Any player drafted in the top-10 is a player that should be a key building block for your team going forward.
In this draft, there are two wide receivers in the top tier in Kevin White and Amari Cooper. One of them figures to be available when the Bears pick, but whether or not they pull the trigger could depend on how they view their current number one receiver, Alshon Jeffery.
There is room for sentimentality in sports.
Despite football fans now being overly obsessed with salary cap structures, guessing which college kids will be solid professionals and PFF’s oft-unfounded system of grading, there is still room for an old fashioned fan to hold old fashioned beliefs. This old fashioned fan sure does.
Charles Tillman should have never worn another jersey in the NFL.
The trade the Bears made for Jay Cutler six years ago didn’t go as planned, but they’re as much at fault as he is.
With a new general manager, a new head coach and Cutler turning 32 years old, they’re likely going to have a new quarterback in the near future, but they can’t repeat the mistakes they made with Cutler.