Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com lambasts the Bears as a bad football team:
“So what is left to play for in the final three weeks of the season?
“It is critical [head coach John] Fox gets this team a couple more wins to add confidence in his young players and retain the faith of his new fan base.
“Without a couple more wins, it will be difficult to continue to argue this team is better than last year’s, and a lost season is not something Bears Nation will take kindly to after the promise of just a few weeks ago.”
Though I agree with most (really all) of what Arkush said in this article, I’m going to mildly disagree with the final conclusion above.
The Bears don’t have to win any more games for the core of the fan base to be happy. What the fan base needs to see is the team play better and get back to maximizing its talent. A good indication that they are doing that is if they substantially reduce the very damaging fifteen penalties for 151 yards that they’ve had the last two weeks. As John Mullin at CSN Chicago points out, more intensity, especially at the beginning of the game, would also be welcome.
“A lack of urgency was almost palpable in Soldier Field when a team that prided itself on being fighters and finishers was neither, twice now, with the season on the line. That perhaps was the most disturbing aspect of the Washington game, and really the San Francisco game as well. That the Bears weren’t “starters,” effectively spotting mediocre opponents advantages and then and only then deciding they’d better get going.
“’The bottom line is that we have to come out and match their intensity,’ said rookie nose tackle Eddie Goldman, one of the few Bears who played anything close to a consistently solid game. ‘Usually we do that. In practice we do that. I can’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but we’ve got to start fast and finish.’”
A better show of character would, indeed, be welcome at this point in the season. Fans need to see what this coaching staff and the core talent on this team is capable of when it’s not shooting itself in the foot with dumb mistakes.
If the Bears do what they’re capable of, the wins will probably come. But fans don’t just live for wins. If they did, they wouldn’t be fans for long because only one team wins the Super Bowl every year. What fans live for is hope. And even if there are no more wins on the schedule, the end of this year is about hope for the future.