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Across The Middle: Bears, Back to Life

| October 4th, 2017

I grew up on Bears vs. Packers.

As most DBB readers already know, I grew up in Wisconsin, right near the Minnesota border, and had to sit on the sidelines while Packers and Vikings fans battled it out. But the two times a year the Bears played the Packers were the best two weeks of the season. They were my Super Bowl simply because I knew the Bears had no shot of getting to the actual Super Bowl.

I’ll admit there were times when I cried after the Bears lost to the Packers. One of the happiest days of my life was the Walter Payton game. The 2010 NFC Championship was one of the worst. The Bears beating the Packers meant everything to me.

Last Thursday’s game meant nothing. I didn’t have any hope. Something wasn’t right in my Bearsmosphere and I’m damn glad they fixed it.

And Thursday night played out exactly how I feared it would.

Dom Capers loaded the box to take the run away.

Mike Glennon needed to make plays and couldn’t.

The Bears needed to make a change.

They knew it and, finally, they did.

Now, you can feel the buzz. The Bears are back. Or at least their games will actually mean something. I don’t know if Mitch Trubisky is going to turn the franchise around, but I know it’s possible. They have a player with the talent to make plays happen that otherwise shouldn’t.

The Bears aren’t going to win the Super Bowl this year. They never were, regardless of who was at QB. But now they can show fans they are on the right path.

And, if they’re not, there will be no question about what needs to be done.

“Mike Glennon is bad. He just is not good.”

Those were the words of Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to his podcast parter Tom Silverstein when he was wondering how the Packers defense allowed the Bears to get anything in the passing game at all. Cohen said what we’ve known for weeks, but it was interesting hearing another perspective.

A lot has been said since the Bears admitted their mistake with Glennon. But I don’t actually blame GM Ryan Pace for the decision to sign him. He took a shot, he missed, it happens. I’d be much more worried about the GM who doesn’t take shots.

Quarterbacks are such a crapshoot. The Bears weren’t the only ones fooled by Glennon. Tampa Bay wanted to make him the highest-paid backup in the league and a handful of other teams were interested in him. He chose the Bears.

Look at what the Seattle genius duo of John Schneider and Pete Carroll did before finding Russell Wilson. Forget about Matt Flynn for a moment. They gave up assets to get Charlie Whitehurst and signed Tarvaris Jackson as a free agent. Look at all the quarterbacks the Patriots spent high draft picks on between Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Ted Thompson spent a second round pick on Brian Brohm. Bill Walsh loved Giovanni Carmazzi. It goes on and on.

The smart thing that Pace did was make sure the Bears won’t be paying for this in the future.

Don’t Know What You Got Til Its Gone

The really stupid things Pace has done is let good veterans go for no apparent reason.

I know he isn’t exactly lighting it up with the Dolphins, but the Bears would be able to play out their plan of keeping Mitch Trubisky on the bench if they had kept Jay Cutler.  Hell, the Bears would probably be 3-1 or, at worst, 2-2 with Cutler.

I have yet to hear a legitimate reason as to why cutting him for Glennon was a good idea. I just hear people say “it was time” or bring up his injuries. Well, if he got hurt, Trubisky would’ve gotten valuable experience without the pressure of needing the full time job. Also, Alshon Jeffery has flat out said that he would’ve stayed with the Bears if Cutler were the quarterback.

But, that might not even be the worst example.

Cutting Robbie Gould because he had a bad training camp in order to sign Connor Barth is inexcusable.

Gould just came off a year in which he made seven field goals beyond 50 yards. He excelled in bad conditions and made a hell of a lot more game-winning kicks than he missed. His leg was the only reason San Francisco was in their game last week. Knock Gould for missing the game-winner against San Francisco two years ago all you want, but he kept the team in games by not missing kicks earlier.

Since the Bears let Gould go, he hasn’t missed a field goal. Not one. Overall, his kick percentage is 91.6, one of the best marks in the league. Barth is at 87.8% and 50% on kicks greater than 40 yards. Gould is 100% and they both have 10 attempts.

Bring On the Vikings

A lot of people are coming off watching the Vikings against the Lions and thinking the Bears should win this game. They certainly can win it, but the Vikings are pretty good.

Minnesota melted down against Detroit. They made some stupid mistakes, but they still almost beat a pretty good team despite them. They won’t have Dalvin Cook and who knows what the hell is going on with Sam Bradford. But they have some good receivers and their defense is tough.

As I wrote in my coach power rankings, Pat Shurmur is doing a damn good job with the Minnesota offense. It’s near impossible to stay relevant with a backup quarterback, especially when the backup is Case Keenum. But, here the Vikings are.

If the Bears are going to win, they’re going to need Trubisky to play like a stud. The Vikings have a solid run defense, but they’ve given up more than 280 passing yards twice already.

Can you imagine how the fan base would react if Trubisky lit the Vikings up in a Monday night win? It’s unlikely, I know, but it’s possible. That wasn’t the case a week ago.

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