I must be insane. I mean it. I must be full goose bozo. Because while Chicago burns over the performance of the Bears last night, in a fit of perversion I actually came out of it feeling pretty good.
Fans are burning up the phone lines at sports radio stations in Chicago with very legitimate complaints about last nights 41-13 drubbing at the hands of the New York Giants. The defense was pretty awful, especially against the run and the tackling was poor. Special teams were miserable and it was made worse because they are usually so good. Coordinators around the league are targeting the Bears as the standard by which they are measured and they’re getting up for them, even in the preseason.
But having said all that I’m not particularly worried. The defense and the special teams will be fine. You can’t say that if you’re head coach Lovie Smith (and he didn’t). But the bottom line is that these units have been a strength of the team for years and they almost certainly will be again this season. That’s particularly true with what is by all accounts an improved defensive line, something my own eyes have confirmed so far. In the first preseason game it was Henry Melton at defensive tackle who stood out. Last night it was end Israel Idonije.
No, for me last night was mostly positive and the reason was because of what I saw in the offense. The running game left something to be desired but they’ll run OK. Where this team needed to improve was the passing game and I thought it looked as good as it ever has under offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
The first thing that they needed was improvement from the offensive line and they got it. Lance Lewis looked 100% better. J’Marcus Webb looked better. Everyone else was solid. The only caveat I’ll provide is that they saw mostly four man rushes with few blitzes. But when the Giants did blitz, the offense picked it up or took care of it in other ways as they were supposed to.
In response to another chronic complaint of mine, I also add that I thought Devin Hester looked great. I mean really good.
But my real praise goes out to Jay Cutler who to my eye had a wonderful game. I have constantly complained about Cutler because he has a bad habit of not executing the offense in the passing game. Instead of reading the defense, dropping back and throwing to a spot on time, more often than not Cutler looks to see if the man is open. But not last night. Last night Cutler threw with wonderful anticipation and accuracy. He looked as good as I’ve ever seen him in a Bear uniform.
Yes, there are things that need to be cleaned up. But for the Bears, it was much more important to show that they they can do the things they haven’t been able to do in the past. The Bears showed every sign last night that they may be able to finally execute as an attacking offense, something they haven’t seen around here in years and years. As Cutler put it himself:
“Obviously there’s some things to improve. We messed up a few plays, but I think overall we got better tonight.”
And, as we should all remember, that is the ultimate goal.