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Across The Middle: The Bears, John Fox & a Baby’s Molars

| September 26th, 2017

Teething is a bitch.

My one-year-old son already has seven teeth, all of which he toughed his way through with little complaint, but now he has molars coming in and it has been a struggle.

He has one big, dull tooth bulging into into the back of each side of his mouth. It’s created all kinds of problems. He’s had ear infections, boogers all over his face and just doesn’t seem to want to eat sometimes. The most puzzling part is when he fusses for no apparent reason.

But there is going to be an end to this. He’s going to have all of his teeth and proceed through his life like a normal, growing boy.

In a lot of ways, this Bears season has reminded me of my son’s teething. It’s been painful, but there are signs that things are going to turn around. Whether or not they’re able to finish the job is another story.

Last week was a big win. Things didn’t go their way with the officials, a defensive back made a stupid blunder and they got nothing from their quarterback. But they won. They won because they have a pretty good defense that took a significant step against a pretty good offense. They won because they have two studs in the backfield and a coach who is creative enough to know how to use them.

It was the first September win of the Fox regime. They showed there are things they can do well. The next step is consistency. I don’t know what this Bears season will end up being, and I don’t know what the Fox regime will be, but this was a step.

Now let’s see if we can get another tooth to pop through.

The Next Coach

After writing about Sean Payton last week, the most common response was: “Who do you want to be the Bears next coach?”. To me, the answer is easy: John Fox.

Currently, I think it’s impossible to argue that Fox deserves to keep his job and I don’t think anybody is predicting that he will. But the best case scenario for the Bears is that Fox is either (a) right about Glennon or (b) realizes he’s wrong and Trubisky turns the season around.

If the Bears can go 7-9, Fox will keep his job as it would be hard to not qualify this season as a success. That’s something off of which the Bears, and Fox, can build. The alternative is a new coach comes in, changes the scheme, changes the playbook and wants to get rid of half the players. That certainly isn’t ideal, but, unfortunately, looks like the most likely scenario.

Feed The Beast

This game served as a subtle reminder that Jordan Howard is really fricken good.

Having Kyle Long back helped a lot. Getting Josh Sitton back will be huge too. But this was about Howard and his ability to keep chugging. I don’t know if he was ever tackled by one guy and he often broke multiple tackles on any given play.

The Bears didn’t get him the ball enough in the first two games. In the first game, they were having a lot of fun playing with their new toy — Cohen — and, in the second, the game was out of hand by halftime.

If the defense can keep the game close early, the Bears need to put an emphasis on getting Howard going. He’s their best player. They can’t try to win without using him.

Worse than Tebow?

I’m just going to leave this here:

Bring On The Packers?

The Packers are vulnerable, but does it matter?

At this point in time, the Steelers are probably better than the Packers so, in theory, the Bears can win this game, but I just don’t see them winning many games if they don’t get more out of their passing game.

Through three games, the Packers have been average. And weirdly, Aaron Rodgers is turning the ball over at a pretty high clip. The Bears defense should be able to slow them but we’ve seen this show before.

In fact, I think it was just last year. The Bears were going into Lambeau Field with Brian Hoyer and it was clear that Dom Capers wasn’t afraid of him at all. Capers is going to blitz the hell out of Glennon, just like he did Hoyer. (If Josh Sitton plays, the Bears might have a chance at holding up against Capers’ aggressive blitzes.) They’re going to press the Bears receivers — just as they have in the past and the Bears aren’t going to be able to pass it.

The problem with reading too much into this game right now is that we have no idea who is going to play.  The Packers have a long injury list that includes both starting tackles, a guard, their second best receiver, their best pass rusher and their best defensive player. That could be a problem, but they have Aaron Rodgers and the Bears have Mike Glennon.

If the Bears are going to win, they need Leonard Floyd to break out and Marcus Cooper to stick with Jordy Nelson. But, most of all, they need Mike Glennon to make a few plays without any mistakes. I’m just not confident he can do that.

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