5 Reasons Bears Will Be Better Than You Think: Part I

| July 26th, 2015


The expectations for the Bears are at Wannstedt-level lows, but there are several reasons to think that they’re going to be better than almost everyone is predicting.

The common predictions for the Bears are ranging everywhere from 4-12 to 8-8. Not crazy when you consider they went 5-11 last year, but to describe them merely as a team that had that record last year is missing so much of the picture. As awful as they were just a short time ago, the Bears have some stuff going for them and that stuff might just be enough to get them into the playoffs in 2015. Here are five reasons why the Bears are going to be better than you think.


There has been a general assumption that the NFC North is a great division, but both Detroit and Minnesota have major weaknesses that could be their downfall.

The Packers are clearly a level above the rest of the three, but even they could have a down year. It isn’t often that teams lose in the playoffs the way they lost and don’t have it linger into the next season. Add in the fact that the Packers went through 2014 without any major injuries, finishing the year with all 22 offensive and defensive starters, and you have to figure that won’t happen again.

The Vikings are the trendy pick to compete with Green Bay. Their defense is going to be great and I’m going to believe Adrian Peterson is the best back in football until proven otherwise. But they still have the worst quarterback in the division by a wide margin in Alex Smith Teddy Bridgewater and question marks on their offensive line. As great as Peterson is, they didn’t miss him a lot last year with his replacements combining for 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games. Not quite AP numbers, but not bad either.

The Lions won 11 games last year based on the strength of their defense and they lost their best defensive player. Ndamukong Suh is a rare defensive player who makes the other 10 guys better. Offensively, their running game is weak and Matthew Stafford might be the most inaccurate quarterbacks in the league. As bad as Cutler might have been last year, Stafford was worse.

Tagged: , ,

  • Scharfinator

    FIRST. Now to read.

    Edit: I’d tend to agree about Minny – they’re being highly tauted, but I am not sure why. They have a running back who has been out of the game for a year, a new malcontent at WR, and question marks in a bunch of other spots. Bridgewater is good, but he will not be a Luck caliber player in his career.

    • SC Dave

      I think Bridgewater gets more shit (disrespect) than he deserves.

  • Big Mike

    Oh look a football article about the Bears 🙂

  • Big Mike

    4. A real live defensive coordinator
    3. Cutler – won’t be as bad as last season – guaranteed
    2. Offense still has plenty of talent
    1. Leadership by an actual head coach

    • The GP

      #1 with a bullet

      Already talk is in that camp is loose, the guys WANT to hit, and Foxy likes it when the boom box is rapping and the dancing is going and nobody is singing koombayah.

      Fox is fully capable of pulling a Walter Mattheau and Bad news Bearing this team by making them angry that nobody believes in them, so they gotta believe in themselves. With the right man at the head of the room (not the back of it) looking these guys in the eyes and saying “nobody in the press thinks you are worth a fuck” – he can light a fire. Maybe they ain’t got it, and maybe there will be Chico style quitters out there – but I think some of these guys want to stay in the show and will play hard given the chance.

      • Big Mike

        GP after that shit show of a HC, all I want out of this year is to not be ashamed of my team. Last year, was an embarrassment. There is way more talent on this team than what showed up for games last year. Head Coach’s job is to get more out of the sum of the parts of the talent he is given. Tresticle did the opposite. This is the a better group that went into camp last year looking like a contender.

        • AlbertInTucson

          THERE’S a ringing endorsement: “Please don’t embarrass us”.

          Not saying it isn’t true, mind you.

          • Big Mike

            Baby steps. Also calibrating my expectations and emotions. End the seasons as a team nobody wants to play, up and comer for 2016

          • basically be Minnesota, only a year behind.

          • Big Mike

            More talent, better staff. Might leap frog them this year. (that’s the outside hope). But yeah. Like MN feeling good about ourselves.

          • I dunno about more talent. MIN is oozing young talent on the defensive side of the ball. Chicago has better talent on offense, but MIN is solid pretty much across the board there.

          • Big Mike

            Without starting a war, our QB is better. On Defense, my opinion is we simply don’t know. But I like our talent on D. You watch.

          • I like Chicago’s talent on defense too, but they have a really good young DE, a really good young LB, a really good young CB, and a really good young S. All have played at very high levels in the NFL already. Plus I think they got the best non-pass rush LB in the draft this year, and the consensus top CB.

          • The GP

            I think it’s a Bridge Over Troubled Water up there, personally.

            I gloss myself 1961 blog points for a S&G reference.

          • AlbertInTucson

            I believe S&G were parting ways during the production of the album and it was really rought going.

          • SC Dave

            *Bzzzt* 1969 blog points, compadre

          • AlbertInTucson

            I’ll drink to that.

          • AlbertInTucson

            “Calibrating Expectations”.

            I iike that.

            Sounds a tad more upbeat than “Pragmatic”.

          • Big Mike

            Look there’s nothing but pain, thinking you’ve got a 12-4 team when you have at best an 8-8 team. That’s part of what made last year the most miserable in my lifetime as a Bears fan. I was dead serious thinking this club was a lock for 10-6, and would likely win 11 games. To then be a laughingstock, was beyond horror.

          • AlbertInTucson

            I hear that, loud and clear.

          • SC Dave

            Fuck that… we’re winning 13 this year!

          • Big Mike

            I don’t want to be around for the meltdown when after week 7 that is no longer possible. A 3-4 start won’t doom this team, their schedule is brutal out of the gate. 3-4 would feel pretty good if we beat the Pack, Seattle and the Lions or Vikings. Then it would depend on did we get embarrassed in the 4 losses?

          • Johnnywad

            All I’m asking for, is meaningful games in December.

          • Those 50 burgers utterly destroyed what little remained of the Bears last season. But I think that Panther’s game was the last one where they resembled a team.

    • Aaron T. Starks

      I’ll repeat what I said on Twitter: The upgrade in coaching alone is worth 3 wins in and of itself.

      • Big Mike

        Minimum. A top staff is worth a couple wins. Upgrading from dog shit is 3-4

  • Bobby Douglass

    “Cautious Optimism” — Not a good name for a punk band.

    • More like an Old Rock-n-Roll cover band that plays at the local VW on Sunday Nights after Bingo.

      • Bobby Douglass

        With guys older than I am…

  • GB is not due for a down year as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy.

    • The GP

      I agree, I’m done shorting GB. That’s probably an 11-5 team up there.

      • at least.

        • SC Dave

          Rodgers is that good. Bastard.

        • Big Mike

          Easy now..

    • Hence, Shea breaking his vadge.

      All it takes is one awkward (lucky) hit on Rodgers (and if Shea can do it, anyone can). If he’s out even like 2-4 games, that’s hope.

      Plus, I do think they will suffer a bit of a hangover. That being said, they’re clearly still the favs.

      HOWEVER, that D is schizo and their HC tends to shit the bed in big games. The Pack are more like streak hitters not like Tony Gwynn consistent winners because of that enigmatic D and HC

      • yeah, an injury to Rodgers makes GB beatable, but they still have a phenomenal supporting cast on offense and a decentish defense.

  • JP

    Stretching these out eh? lol.

  • BearDown100393

    There is one elite QB in the division. Ranking among the rest is like guessing which of the 3 tuna casseroles has not yet spoiled. Good luck.

    • Bender McLugh

      the “smell test” will be available after the 2nd pre-season game.

      EDIT: I read team and not QB. disregard….move along……

    • SC Dave

      The Bears may have the worst starting QB in the division. Which sux, given he’s in the top half of the league.

      • I’m not entirely sold on Bridgewater just yet. Apparently he did ok vs everyone EXCEPT our dogshit D. Yeah, he’s only a rook, but rooks tend to get exposed their 2nd year once Ds have a whole off-season to examine tendencies (Geno, EJ Manuel, etc etc).

        He does seem to take care of the ball, so he’s got that going for him, which when combined with that D and AP, will be enough to compete in most games.

        Bridgewater still seems like a bad fit in the Norv offense IMO.

        Norv likes the Rivers big-armed gunslinger types, and Bridgwater seems antithetical to that, but hey, Martz squeezed production out of Cutty and that terrible Oline and WRs, so I guess anything is possible.

        • SC Dave

          I don’t know enough about Norv or Bridge to judge a fit, but definitely agree with the rest of it. I don’t, yet, get the “Bridgewater sux” meme. He seems competent to me.

  • If I had to rate this Bears team Madden style it would be:

    Offense: 88

    Surprisingly high, but on paper, ballers. Alshon and White will be the real deals, and Royal will catch 60/800 yds/1st down machine. Add Bennett who will be playing for $$$ and a reliable Forte spelled by Langford and Jizz, and you got weapons.

    As always, a questionable Oline, mysterious OC, and quixotic QB keeps this from being in the 90s, but if they gell and find their mojo, this could be a top #3 offense – no lie.

    Defense: 82

    I would say they have avg-to above avg players at nearly every position on D with exceptions going both ways. Fangio is really the best asset on that D, and like in madden, he’ll boost the entire D +3 in every category. So many unknowns – I can’t remember the last time I had questions about so many players on D. At least with Lovie, we knew what was what. Some question marks.

    1. Can Shea be a starter at his natural position with real coaching, or is he the best special teamer drafted that high?

    2. Christian Jones – Looks like a beast, at times, but what will his position be, and will he be any good in the new scheme, or is he the new Kasheem Greene, teasing us but becoming a trivia question in a few years.

    3. Allen – never played a 3-4. OLD.

    4. Jennings. Did he just dog it last year or was that just the beginning of the end?

    5. Houston. Coming off bozo injury. Now an OLB which makes about as much sense as Shea at DE. Did he cash in and check out?

    6. The perennial Washington/Bass break out season that never really materializes.

    7. Young broke out like Washington/Bass should’ve, but now he’s playing in a new scheme, and oh yeah, a torn achillies which is 2nd worst only to microfracture.

    8. All the rookies and 2nd year guys left over from Emery regime.

    What we’re really missing is a DOMINANT defender. Allen’s too old while McPhee is good, but no Suggs (thus far). McDonald probably had the best chance, but apparently he went on a poon power trip. We need to draft a stud playmaker. Hopefully, we already did, but let’s be real.

    If most of these doubts are overcome, we got a D around 88. If they all go downward, well, 75 or so and mondays will suck more.

    Specials: 75

    Gould is beginning to annoy me. The problem with kickers, esp good ones, is that they become default vets playing until their 40s. Somewhere along year 10 or so, they begin to feel entitled to opinions, as if they’re real football players, That’s when they develop what I refer to as “the Chris Kluwe Syndrome”. Gould has just got to remember that he’s a KICKER, and like a fluffer, should just keep quiet and do a good job. He’s missed some clutch kick the last few seasons, and if that continues to be the case this season, we need to find a cheaper, quieter option.

    Punter…well, at least he LOOKS like a football player, but that doesn’t mean Tress Way who looks like a computer programmer wasn’t the better punter. The next O’donnell punt that dies at the 15 will be the first.

    The rest, gunners and all, are below avg IMO, but we’ll see. That group fluctuates the most from year to year since it’s made up of leftover Frankenstein parts.

    Team Overall: 84

    This isn’t THAT bad actually. We’re not the Bucs or Jets no matter what Vegas fucking predicts. Besides, if you look at the rating of the Ravens or Gmen the year they won their SBs, it was probably about the same or lower.

    So, as they say in Dumb and Dumber, there’s a chance! But the biggest obstacle IMO is the very tough early schedule right when all the new players are gelling with each other and the scheme (and the younger guys, learning how to play vs men).

    • Irish Sweetness

      Goldman and Terry Williams will have a say on that defense. And if they don’t then nothing else works anyway. I’m rooting for the Fatboys on that line.

      Should somebody be calling Mike Vick, or are we good with Claws and Fales ?

      • I like Gold too! That’s one of the reasons I backed off on drafting a NT (Shelton) high ; after checking out some of the other NTs, like 3-4 were in the same tier for me, which meant we could snag a quality one later.

        Off memory, my tier was

        Shelton, Malcom Brown, Goldman and Phillips.

        At first I really loved Shelton, but his combine #s didn’t warrant a top 10 pick.

        Phillips had all the intangibles except perhaps the most important one: desire.

        I ain’t gonna lie I liked Brown more than Goldman, and when the Pat’s swooped him up, I was a lil disheartned, but Goldman can be a terror too. It was like 1A and 1B, and I think either are actually going to equal or even surpass Shelton, IMO.

        Williams we’ll have to wait and see. He’s MAMMOTH and fill’s my Ted Washington quota, so hopefully he can put it together and become a moving wall.

        No Vick! We can’t bitch about Cutler’s turnovers then get cheaper versions of him in Sanchize and Vick. Screw that. I’d rather ride Forte/Langford/Carey to the ground behind Claws and Fales dinking to White and Royal while taking care of the ball, throwing it away, and taking a sack in order to avoid those killer TOs.

        Fox/Gase have a history of success with those types of QBs too.

        • Terry “The Wall” Williams.

          Put it at :58 and see that fatboy hustle the play from behind. Beautiful.

        • EnderWiggin

          Didn’t Claws go 1-6 with Fox?

          • I think so, but Claws was a rook and thrown into the fire on a horrible team. He never was given a true shot since the next draft, I think they drafted Cam.

            Fox also won with guys like DelHommie and Tebus.

            Claws fits the Fox mold I think (since he drafted him?) esp now that he’s no longer a rook.

            I know it was only one game vs the Lion’s, but he showed me some grit, and IMO, the team rallied around him and almost won for no other reason than pride and spite. That shows me this team is willing to fight for him (it helped that he got in the face of that dude after a typical pussy cat cheap shot).

            He didn’t go all Warner, but he didn’t turn it over either until the very last hail mary.

            Don’t know how he’ll pan out over the season, but I’d rather find out what he have in him and Fales than go with known turnover machines like Vick or Sanchize.

            That being said, with us having to pay Cutty, he’s still probably our best this season anyways.

            This is a “get to know your bears all over” year anyways. Would like to find out if for some unexplained miracle we hit the jack pot with either.

            I’ve mentioned this before, but as for Fales, the fact that Billichick wanted to snatch him off our practice squad even though he has Brady/Garrappolo is almost enough for me to roster him.

  • “I never criticized Bears not hiring Bruce Arians. But holy cow is it
    looking like they passed on a truly great and forward thinking mind.” – Jeff

    And THAT alone should be why Emery should have been fired and never to GM ever again. All because Arians didn’t mock interview well? WTF. He was waiting by the phone for the Bears to call him.


  • BerwynBomber

    “But they still have the worst quarterback in the division by a wide margin in Teddy Bridgewater”

    You are waaaaay over-estimating Cutler’s and Stafford’s efficiency ratings. Look into them sometime. You might learn something.

  • BerwynBomber

    Hard to know exactly how much Minny missed AP but here is an educated guess: A LOT. Remember, this is a dude who came within three yards of breaking the all-time single season mark on a team QBed by Christian Ponder with non-existence passing offense; i.e, teams put eight in the box and AP still almost broke Dickerson’s mark.

    Btw, if Ponder were still their QB then your “Vikings have the worst QB by a wide margin” line would be accurate. With Bridgewater, not so much. At least the “wide margin” aspect.

    • AP wants that Dickerson single season record. It’s a record that has stood a while and with this pass happy rb/comitte league might continue to stand if AP doesn’t get it.

      Now, does the NFL want him to hold that record? That would be an awkward ceremony. I would assume the NFL doesn’t want AP on any record book.

      And yeah, I agree. Bridgewater looks like a young Fitzpatrick to me. A cerebral pee-shooter who won’t fuck up too badly, but won’t put the team on his back.

      Is Cutty better than Fitzpatrick? Yeah, but like you said, not by a “wide” margin (unless we’re just talking $)

  • BerwynBomber

    Agree about the Pack. Not sold on their pre-season SB fave ranking. They are due for an NFCC meltdown hangover, and their D secondary could be sketchy with three new CBs. Plus, except for Raji, they were pretty much injury-free last year.

    I am even predicting Rodgers will have semi-mortal #s this year in terms of the TD/INT ratio. As great as he is, he can’t keep up that pace. It is unheard of.

© Da' Bears Blog