There is going to be a push from the media and frantic fans to get the Bears to march their starters onto the field in Cleveland for another meaningless football game. There are going to be echos of “you’re not ready” and “we need to build momentum”. It’s all nonsense. Lovie Smith needs to start Todd Collins and Garrett Wolfe in Cleveland. Orange Julius in civies. Hell, he can even leave Johnny Knox in Chicago.
I do not believe the Bears are ready for the season opener against Detroit. And I don’t believe they’re going to flip a switch and start playing flawless football. But the pressure to be a complete football team on the first week of the season is a product of over-obsessive fan bases and wall-to-wall NFL coverage on the Four Letters and across the internet. We know more than we’ve ever known before and – thanks to certain people who go through the pains to create a web site – we are able to vocalize our frustrations in a public forum.
Until I’m proven wrong, the most important thing about the preseason is the avoidance of season-altering injuries. The Bears have done that. Urlacher and Briggs are knicked but I’m confident (and am being told) both will be practicing fully in the week leading up to Detroit. The Bears have not sustained a single injury on the offensive side of the ball, with the possible exception of a bruised psyche. Nothing positive that can be achieved against the Browns could outweigh the negative of a pointless injury.
So be men. Get better. Come out in two weeks and electrify the Chicago faithful who’ll be where they always are: in the seats. Just don’t risk being full strength by attempting to make an unnecessary point in the preseason.