According to Paddy Power, Ireland’s premier gambling site, the Chicago Bears are 30-1 to win the NFC in 2015. Only two teams have worse odds: the Redskins and Bucs. (Those two teams are sub-professional.) Only four teams in the whole of the NFL have worse odds to win the Super Bowl. But one does not need the citizens of County Clare to state what is clear to anyone objectively examining the Bears 2015 roster: this team just isn’t all that good.
Does that mean they can’t win some games? Of course not. It’s the NFL. But they have flawed quarterback, unhappy running back, rookie at wide receiver, disgruntled tight end and serious deficiencies on the offensive line. The defense? The Bears have as many men on one-year deals as T-Mobile. The unit will be improved as a result of the coaching change alone but will any of that improvement mean anything if a majority of the group will be elsewhere in 2016?
There are things to care about this summer. There always are. The combination of Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White could anchor the Bears offense for years to come. The placement of Kyle Long along the offensive line is as significant as any coaching decision made in the lead-up to Bourbonnais. But developments and decisions such as these, while harboring a long-term importance, won’t mean much for the coming campaign. Even if Kevin White is a revelation it won’t win the Bears enough games to contend for a title (see the 2014 Giants). Even if Kyle Long emerges as one of the game’s best tackles, no tackles have ever willed a team to a title.
The Bears were unprofessional in 2014. They were an embarrassment, led partly by a turncoat who seems to spend his offseason beating up children in Florida. The optimist dreams of playoffs and a shocking run to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. The clear-minded see 2015 for what it is – a return to the professional ranks.
In that regard this training camp is as important as anyone the Bears have faced in years. It’s just not an exciting one.