What the Seattle Seahawks think of the Bears

It’s always interesting to learn what sports experts in other cities think of our Bears. If you visit the Web site of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, you’ll uncover a preview of the Bears. And what do the fine minds in Seattle think? Well, they have the feeling that new quarterback Jay Cutler will improve the Bears offense. But they’re not sure if the Bears are going to win anything anyway.

The newspaper points out the Bears’ obvious flaws: The offensive line is a weak, and relying on aging, injury-prone Orlando Pace probably isn’t the smartest move. The wide receivers stink. The loss of Tommie Harris and Charles Tillman for the first month of the season, at least, will stress an already questionable defense.

It’s hard to argue with any of this. Some Bears fans are blinded by the arrival of a real quarterback. We haven’t seen many of those here in Chicago, after all. But even a rifle arm isn’t enough to disguise the Bears’ real problems. My prediction? 9-7, again. And no playoff berth, again.

Favre changes his mind: Is anyone surprised?

So Brett Favre actually isn’t retired. Anyone surprised?

Here’s a promise from me: When I say I’m retiring from this blog, I’ll mean it. You won’t see me sneaking back in here three months later to post about the problem of grown men wearing Urlacher jerseys.

Anyway, Favre is back. And this time he’s playing with the Minnesota Vikings.

Bears fans may shrug this off. They may point to all the interceptions Favre has been throwing lately. They may point to the fact that Favre failed to lead the New York Jets to the postseason last year.

But let’s be honest: Favre, even in his reduced state of effectiveness, makes the Vikings a much better football team. As a Bears fan, would you rather see the Bears defense facing off against Favre or the Vikings’ other inept quarterbacks? If you said “Favre,” you’re an idiot.

Favre’s return certainly makes the race for the NFC North division crown even more intriguing. Right now, it’s hard to say who’ll take the top spot, the Vikings, Bears or Packers. Though if I was forced to pick one, I’d go with the Vikings. I hate to say it, but that defense combined with Favre’s arm, should make the purple squad the favorite … barely.

Instant analysis: Preseason football blows

They need to stop television preseason football. All it does every year is make Chicago Bears fans think the team’s backup quarterbacks are future ProBowlers.

It happened again Saturday night during the Bears’ 27-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in their preseason opener: Starting quarterback Jay Cutler looked pedestrian in his outing. The backups, though, looked good.

Of course, the backups were playing against the dregs of the Bills’ lineup against a slew of players who’ll never make the field during the regular season.

So, was there anything worthwhile to take from the Bears’ loss? Only that the secondary might be as bad as we all feared. I know I just said preseason football means nothing, but Bills quarterback Trent Edwards completed all 10 of the passes he threw. That’s pretty darn good. Or pretty darn bad if you’re a Bears fan.

At least one preseason game is done. As the baseball season gets more frustrating here in Chicago, I’m waiting eagerly for the start of football games that really count.

The slog of preseason football

I always have mixed feelings about the first preseason game of the Bears season.

It’s nice to see the NFL, and the Bears, of course, back in action. But preseason football? There are few things worse to watch. Maybe Spring Training baseball. But who watches that?

Here’s what you’ll see Saturday night: A whole lot of action from players you’ll never see once the regular season begins.

Preseason football also brings out the idiots who want to elevate a rookie or scrub to Pro Bowl status because of their performance against fellow also-rans. How many lousy third-string Bears quarterbacks have looked like superstars during the preseason? Just look at last year, when fans were calling sports radio stations demanding that Caleb Hanie be given a shot as starting quarterback?

I know we have to suffer through the preseason. Let’s just hope that no one gets hurt. And if you must watch these games, remember, it doesn’t matter who wins. It just matters that your star linebacker or offensive lineman doesn’t break a limb.

Are Bears overrated?

Training camp is an odd time. You can either leave it completely in love with a mediocre team or horrified by what you see from a highly regarded squad.

That’s because you spend much of training camp watching scrubs try to tackle other scrubs. Sometimes, these scrubs look great. Other times, they look like scrubs.

But this Chicago Bears training camp is something different. This was supposed to be new quarterback Jay Cutler’s camp. And so far, Cutler’s looked impressive. It’s nice to see what passes look like when they’re thrown by a quarterback who has a real arm.

But this training camp has also unearthed a whole slew of questions. First, is cornerback Nathan Vasher ever going to be good again? He hasn’t looked like it during training camp. Secondly, what about Tommie Harris? Will he revert to his old form again, or have injuries robbed him of his Pro-Bowl skill? Based on training camp, unfortunately, it looks like Harris won’t be returning to the Pro Bowl anytime soon.

Then there are the wide receivers. They all sort of stink. We knew that before training camp. We know that now.

And what about running back Matt Forte? He had an impressive rookie year. But he wore down at the end of the season. Is he just a one-year wonder? It’s impossible to tell from this training camp, at least.

Many consider the Bears to be favorites to win their division. That’s partly because Cutler is such an upgrade over former starting quarterback Kyle Orton. It’s partly because the Bears’ division just isn’t very strong.

Still, when you look really closely at the division, it becomes more difficult to make the argument that the Minnesota Vikings aren’t a more complete team.

Will we see the dominant Tommie Harris again?

When the Bears made it to the SuperBowl in the 2006 season, defensive lineman Tommie Harris was a big reason. Simply put, he dominated several games.

Then Harris suffered a serious of injuries. He hasn’t been the same since.

Sure, he’s been a good player. But he hasn’t been the same fearsome force he was.

Of course, a lot of things went well in 2006 that haven’t gone quite as well since. Remember how strongly the offensive line played? Remember that the Bears defense as a whole was a turnover-creating machine?

Harris, though, has been the big disappointment to me since that 2006 season. I’d love to see him become a nightmare to quarterbacks again. Some say that Harris won’t ever be quite as effective as he was in 2006, thanks to all those injuries. But if he can at least resemble that player again? Then the Bears’ chances of winning their division skyrocket.

Are the Bears asking too much of Manning?

Danieal Manning will play both nickel back and free safety this season for the Bears. He’ll also return kickoffs.

The question is, Will he be good at any of these positions?

I’m sure he’ll be good at returning kickoffs. Manning is deadly fast, and proved last year that he’s nearly as devastating on kickoff returns as Devin Hester was until last year.

But I’m not so confident about Manning’s work at either free safety or nickel back. The Chicago Tribune recently ran a feature story about the number of positions Manning has been asked to play. Problem is, I remember seeing Manning get burned several times in the secondary the last couple of years.

The guy’s fast. Some say he’s the Bears’ best pure athlete. The guy just doesn’t seem to know how to cover anyone.

The secondary looks to be one of the Bears’ big weaknesses this year. I don’t think Manning’s play will change that, unfortunately.

Another odd Bears jersey sighting

It happened again yesterday. I was riding my bike when I came across a middle-aged man, also on bike, wearing a Bears jersey. I think this is weird in all cases: An adult shouldn’t be wearing a football jersey unless it has his own name on the back of it.

Anyway, this guy was wearing a number 83 jersey. You may ask, who is 83 on the Bears? Well, it doesn’t matter. This 83 honored that former Bear great wide receiver David Terrell. You might remember Terrell, the former Michigan University wide receiver taken eighth by the Bears in the 2001 NFL draft. You might also remember that he sucked.

Actually, that was an understatement. Terrell makes Rashied Davis look like Jerry Rice.

So, why was this bicycling guy wearing not only a Bears jersey, but one honoring one of the team’s biggest busts in history? I blinked my eyes and expected to see someone pedaling down the street with an “Enis” jersey on.

Remember, adults, you shouldn’t be wearing the names of any Bears players on your back. You’re too old. But if you insist, try wearing a “Marshall,” “Hampton” or “Payton” jersey. At least those guys didn’t suck.

Why do radio shows broadcast from training camp?

I do like sports radio. But I like it best when people are yelling at each other, whether it’s hosts screaming at each other or fans and hosts bickering back and forth. It’s fun because sports is silly and stupid, and there’s nothing more entertaining than people getting riled up over largely trivial stuff.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened much this week because so many of the local sportstalk hosts are broadcasting their shows live from Bears training camp.

Why does this happen? It’s a radio show. Does it matter where it takes place? If hosts want to interview Lance Briggs about his latest traffic accident, can’t they just get him on the phone? Do they have to talk to him face to face?

I’d see if the hosts actually gave insights from the camp itself. Maybe they watch the practices in person and then report back on it. That doesn’t seem to happen much, though.

So why? Why are all my sportstalk hosts actually hanging out in Bourbonnais this week?

Is the Urlacher-Cutler tiff over? And why are the media such simpletons?

I’m a writer for a living, a newspaper and magazine writer. So I know how sucky most of the members of the media are. And we saw a great example of this during the whole Brian Urlacher-Jay Cutler tiff.

The moment it came to a head to me was when Urlacher was addressing a throng of reporters. He made some lame joke about his and Cutler’s relationship while denying that he ever called the new Bears quarterback a … sissy.

The thing that bummed me out was that the reporters surrounding Urlacher laughed their asses off at the linebacker’s comments. Problem was, they really weren’t funny.

Urlacher isn’t exactly a gifted comedien. The guy can barely string together two sentences in a row. So why were the press members laughing like Urlacher was Seinfeld in his prime?

The same thing used to happen with Mike Ditka all the time. Ditka would spit out some lame joke and the reporters surrounding him would practically wet themselves they thought it was so funny. It’s kind of nauseating.

Look, Ditka might have been a good coach. He might have been a total jerk. But he certainly wasn’t what you’d call witty.

So how about it, media members? Why not grow some backbone? Next time some lunkhead who really hates you — as Urlacher does — tosses a lame joke your way, how about you not treat him like the next Don Rickles?