Former Bears & Loyalty Lines as a Chicago Football Fan

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By Soxman

As the Bears record drops to 3-2, with tough divisional match-ups still on the horizon, I couldn’t help but notice how well former Chicago Bears players are doing these days.  Yes I said FORMER players.  What’s even more shocking is that fans’ desire for these player’s exits from Chicago came almost as fast as the gusts of the windy city could push them out of town.

At this point in the season, would we take them back?  Let’s examine and see where your loyalties lie.

Out:  Kyle Orton

In: Jay Cutler

Orton has a 100.1 QB rating on the season, has thrown for 1465 yards and only one interception in six games.  His team is 6-0.

Cutler has an 86.9 QB rating and has already thrown 7 interceptions on the season.  We know “his team’s” record.

Out: Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones

In: Matt Forte

Benson has become the third leading rusher in the NFL (594 yards) and has found the end zone 4 times.  Yes.  I’m talking about the same Cedric Benson who I was critical of since he was anointed the “face of the Bears” two years ago and left Chicago with mace in his eyes and the label of another RB bust. Thomas Jones, who the Bears pretty much gave away after he rushed them to the Super Bowl, has racked up over 1100 yards every year since he’s left Chicago and has already rushed for 481 yards and six TDs this season.

It would be an understatement to say nicknames like “Sweetness II” and “the answer” once being bantered about Matt Forte have been put on hold as the Bears’ running game is now a defined as “a problem.”  Forte has rushed for just 294 yards and scored one touchdown. Is it not inevitable that as Bears fans we are so quick to rush to judgment?  Especially when the year 1985 is our only recollection of super bowl glory?  matt-forte-inside

I still remember when Rex Grossman returned from one of his many injuries to supplant Orton as the Bears starting QB in 2004.  How many Chicago Papers said how great it was to “finally have a real QB in Chicago?”   Remember how quickly that changed when Grossman posted a 66.4 QB rating in 8 games in 2007?   Last weekend, I noticed a Grossman jersey being used as a hand towel at a local Chicago restaurant.

It goes without saying that if the Bears were 5-0, we would care less about former players, or that Matt Forte is currently one of the lowest ranked RBs in the NFL.  But, we are here instead.  So instead we voice our frustration and fantasize about a backfield with the 2009 Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones, or spew hatred at Kyle Orton because he “found himself” in Denver. A special lady in my life recently opened my ears to the possibility of appreciating country music.  Something that I never thought possible.  So as a Bears fan I can say with 100% assurance that it is possible to find something good out of something perceived to be bad.  Ironically, a song by Little Texas entitled “What Might Have Been” just randomly started playing on I-tunes  as I type this article.

The refrain is interesting: “Try not to think about what might have been.  That was then, and we have taken different roads, we can’t look back again, no use giving in, there’s no way to know, what might have been.”

So I guess you can say that in the spirit of divine intervention, I will not begin to theorize or debate how Forte would fare in New York, or how Benson would perform with the 2009 Bears offensive line blocking for him. But in the spirit of irony, I’ll also reveal that I’m wearing my Chicago Bears Kyle Orton jersey as I type this article and strangely find myself thinking that the 2009 Broncos have all the fixings for Sportsbank readers to love:bearspractice1

-New England Patriot ties
-Chicago Bears castaways
-Underdogs predicted by everyone to be in a re-building year
-The Sportsbank colors or Bears colors.
-The “Monsters of the Mountains” defense.  Catchy isn’t it?  (patent pending by Soxman)

And both cities have fair weather…conditions… albeit fans. Now we only need to come up with a sappy white man’s rap to rival the 85 Bears Super Bowl Shuffle and we truly might be on to something here. For diehard fans who love the Bears no matter what, remember, a trade is not measured in one season alone. Jay Cutler is 5th in the NFL in interceptions.  Only Mark Sanchez, Jake Delhome, Kerry Collins, and Carson Palmer have thrown more picks.  Three of those four players may lose their starting gig before the season is over.  Roast accordingly and swim in the cess pool of negativity that only the Chicago media, or perhaps more aptly the Bears PR (“Police Resistance”) staff can generate.

Where do your loyalties and thoughts lie?  Think about it while I consider accepting a Jay Cutler and Matt Forte for Kyle Orton and Cedric Benson swap in one of my fantasy leagues.   After all, there are loyalties.  Especially when it comes to winning games.

Bears travel to Knox(ville) to find WR answer

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By Soxman

No, this is not going to be an article about that guy who had a hit show on MTV by “creatively” beating up himself and his friends.  However, it is about a daring stunt that would otherwise be posted as a warning to anyone who starts a 5th round rookie wide receiver yet hopes to win in the NFL:johnny-knoxville-melanie-clapp-wife-divorce-2-2-0

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Yet the Bears’ risky move, albeit a very desperate one due to injuries, has proven to be beneficial thus far:  152 yards on just 8 receptions and a touchdown through your first two games-  Greg Olsen? Devin Hester? Earl Bennett?  Matt Forte?  Nope. 

Johnny Knox, the 140th overall selection in the 2009 NFL draft and a throw-in pick in the Jay Cutler trade, is helping the Bears avoid the “Jackass” label for not acquiring a proven wide receiver this past off-season. Shredding double end zone coverage to make a leaping catch against the defending Super Bowl Champions, Knox has risen from the roster bubble, to special teams, to third on the Bears wide receiver depth chart in just three short weeks.  He is quietly drawing early comparisons to Panthers great Steve Smith, a non-traditionally framed, smaller sized wide receiver who overcame critics to have a superstar career.

Thus far for the Bears, SIZE DID MATTER.

It was likely size in terms of his “small” frame (exactly 6 feet) and his “small” school, Abilene Christian that lowered him on the scout’s depth charts despite his running a 4.34 second 40 yard dash at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine.  The Bears reluctance to not super size this draft pick could lead to the extra value meal of this year’s rookie WR class. For those who still think the name Johnny Knox belongs to the wannabe actor who fumbled for laughs in “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Ringer”, think again. This school of hard knocks player has a much more impressive resume:

In just two seasons at the school, Knox set the ACU and Lone Star Conference all-time record with 30 touchdown receptions.

In just 25 games for the AC Wildcats:

Knox caught 118 passes, (7th best in AC history)

2,227 receiving yards (5th best in AC history)
 
2007 second team All American Honors

2006 11 TDs and an average 23.95 yards per reception (First in the National Junior College Athletics Association)

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What will happen the rest of the season or even in week 3 remains to be seen.  However, if history is a lesson, it appears as though Knox likes proving critics wrong.  Unlike his acting namesake, he does not have to strap rockets on to fly downfield.

I’d call him a sleeper, but there has been nothing tiring about watching him thus far.  If there is anything positive about the Bears receiving corps we can say at this point…they are untraditional.  Let’s hope that Knox is the most unnatural of the bunch. To the Bears AV squad, feel free to queue up the Jackass theme song every time this rookie makes a great play.  I’d bet my spot on the PSL waiting list that Bears fans will tire of it quickly. With Cutler’s cannon arm and rocket speed, the Bears could  “quietly” create some shock and awe in the passing game this season.  From history, I bet Knox wouldn’t have it any other way.

Bears should bring WR Hank Baskett, Kendra to the Chi

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By Paul M. Banks

Against my will, I became very familiar with the E! channel’s reality series “Kendra” this summer. So  much so that I’ll probably spend the rest of my time on Earth unable to expunge traumatic memories of it’s IRRITATING and factually inaccurate theme song. (The song ends with the phrase “you’re on your own now”- despite the fact that the former Playboy Playmate is knocked up by and engaged to NFL receiver Hank Baskett). kendra-wilkinson-pregnant1

But now that the Philadelphia Eagles have cut Baskett, to make way for Mike Vick (replacing a “reality star” with a dog murderer, stay classy Philadelphia), I’m actually looking forward to watching one future episode of “Kendra” this season. Despite the fact it’s a program that even the lobotomized would find low-brow and stupid. However, the episode where Baskett gets cut should be fun, right?

And what NFL division would be the best home for a reality star? The NFC North of course, since it has more dramatic story lines than a season of MTV Real World. It also houses a team, the Chicago Bears, with a receiving corp that could be considered mediocre- if they resided in the SEC or Big 12.

Devin Hester topped the 90 receiving yards mark again last Sunday night, and he appears to be showing progress at the position. So finally, after 2 1/2 years, Hester has learned Ron Turner’s “Midwest Coast Offense”. (The place where fullback screen passes RULE!) Other than #23, I don’t see any current Bears wide-out as an upgrade over Baskett. Hank’s 1 catch for 6 yards in week one means he’s had a more productive year so far than Juaquin Iglesias or Rashied Davis. Iglesias is TERRIBLE, but no team in the NFL is more loyal to their crappy draft picks than the Bears, so he’ll stay, even though that’s who I would cut first. The Bears could put any of the “Girls Next Door” out there, and they could be more effective than Iglesias.

Davis is a serviceable #4 receiver, but nothing more. Johnny Knox is….well, not really good at getting open and catching passes. He did make a big play last weekend, but look at what he did the rest of the night. Knox had no clue what he was doing most of the time, and often not finishing his routes. And since we’re on that topic, we also have Earl Bennett. I think he could make a decent number three with Baskett as your #2. Despite the Bears receivers being similarly awful last season, Bennett never recorded a catch; which says something. I’ll admit he’s improved and had a decent game last week. But he also has blood on his hands for one, if not two of QB Jay Cutler’s interceptions.  Bennett really must step up his route-running and knowledge of the playbook.

And of course, here’s the kicker. This gift Baskett comes complete with another special present: Kendra Wilkinson, who fills another huge void the Bears have. Since Chicago has no cheerleaders, they’re without any barely dressed women with huge implants to enthusiastically support the team.

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