The Chicago Bears 2010 training camp begins today, and I’m not too enthused by their prospects, although beleaguered head coach Lovie Smith sure thinks they’ll be the feared “Monsters of the Midway” of old (although I’d gladly take the 2005-’06 version), according to this Chicago Sun-Times article.
The author of the piece, Rick Morrissey, has a lot of fun talking about Lovie’s well-known optimism, a trait that, at this point in the coach’s Chicago career, most Bears fans have grown sick of, myself included.
The optimism was tolerable when Rex Grossman was stinking up the field, as long as the defense was swallowing up opponents’ offenses, but since their 2006 Super Bowl loss to the Colts, that defense hasn’t exactly been top-notch, and the offense slid from mediocre to poor, even with the addition of the team’s new “savior,” quarterback Jay Cutler.
If the team stands a chance of smelling the playoffs this year, it will be because of Cutler’s improvement upon his awful 26-interception 2009 season. This was a man who went from preseason MVP talk to a week one performance in which he took a big, steamy (although aided by poorly run routes) dump, and in Green Bay, no less.
Despite last year’s woes, in the picture to the right, Cutler looks as though he’s bulked up a bit in the offseason to withstand the hits his piss-poor offensive line will subject him to. A bounce back year from Matt Forte and the addition of Chester Taylor could make the running game a little better, too. If only those receivers looked in any way like NFL-caliber players…
Anyway, I digress.
On the defensive side, at least one thing has improved, as the team signed free agent defensive end Julius Peppers to shore up a pass rush that hasn’t been anything special in the last three years. His presence should help take the pressure off the clearly aging — and arthritic — Brian Urlacher and the perpetually injured Tommie Harris.
So, yes, coach Lovie does have a little reason for hope, but I, like the rest of Chicago, feel this team is set for another year of mediocrity. This time, though, the ending will be different and we won’t be hearing the positivity from Lovie’s mouth next year.