I was texting recently with a popular Bears beat writer recently. I won’t mention his name but it rhymes with the name of my favorite burlesque dancer, Madame Bombs. (The lyricist in me must stress that “Adam Jahns” does not technically rhyme with “Madame Bombs” but once I found that joke I was running with it.) This beat writer and I were both sharing a similar experience. Interest in the Chicago Bears, as we made our way through the early days of August, was almost non-existent. The sites aren’t getting the clicks. The tweets are getting the traction. The podcasts – and his is the best in the business – aren’t getting the ears.
Was it the absence of preseason football? Perhaps. For as silly as those games are, they serve as a sort of lighthouse for a desperate fan base out to sea. We’re not on land yet but we know land approaches. Was it the lack of a fan-attended training camp? Perhaps. Normally, by now, we’ve seen a hundred fan videos of players in shorts and I’d have received a dozen emails with subject lines like “Watch out for Ryan Nall”. In the absence of the season’s build-up, we’re left with two of the world’s great bores: mindless social media debate and baseball.
100%. Surreal. https://t.co/uzxqjrEMlP
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) August 14, 2020
Today could change that, as the beat writer pointed out to me. Today is the first day the media will attend Chicago Bears practice, the first time Madame Bombs and his cohorts will get to weigh-in on the quarterback “competition”. Today they might be able to tell us if Jaylon Johnson is running with the ones, or who has the leg up at right guard. Today and tomorrow there will be a flurry of Bears coverage with actual observations, information and insight, as opposed to blind predictions, what ifs and rankings of inactive game day quarterbacks from across the league. (As entertaining as that piece was from Fishbain, it left me with a “why did I just read that” feeling afterwards.)
There has been a lot of Debra K. Downer surrounding this coming Bears campaign. I’m not buying that knockoff watch of an opinion. I ain’t staining my wrist green with negative bullshit. This is one of the best defenses in the league, and a roster coming off an 8-8 season wherein they received the worst quarterback play in the NFL. With serviceable work from that position – and Nick Foles is more than capable of that – the 2020 Chicago Bears are winning ten games and playing in January. (If the playoff system for 2020 were in place for 2019, the Bears would have only been ONE GAME out.)
But we don’t have to guess anymore. Because starting today we’ll have some concrete evidence on which to base our opinions. Today the season starts. And many of the developments of the next few weeks could determine when it ends.