UA-59049186-1 Chicago Bears 2023 Season Preview: I Was In The House When The House Burned Down - Good if it Goes

Chicago Bears 2023 Season Preview: I Was In The House When The House Burned Down

It’s go time. [Photo: Soldier Field on Twitter]

I refuse to believe that Greg Gabriel has sources within the Bears organization. At least not any good ones. At the very least not any good ones that like him. If he did, surely one of them would have advised him to immediately delete a now-deleted tweet that would end up providing fodder for many an online roast.

A friendly, quality source would have told Gabriel “Hey, delete this, bud. Poles is gonna torch the sucker.” And torch it he did. Robert Quinn – gone for nothing. Roquan Smith – gone for next to nothing. After a week 7 blasting of the Patriots to get to 3-4, the Bears lost the last 10 to close the season. 

I don’t blame Gabriel for feeling the way he did when he sent that tweet. I was in the same boat. I genuinely believed that a team that won 6 games with a rookie quarterback and everything going wrong would win more if said quarterback improved in year 2. But then the quarterback showed only minor improvements, though to be fair to him, he never got the chance to show major ones because nearly everything around him was a disaster. 

Disaster may be putting it lightly, actually. They were losing games no competent team could lose if the world depended on them losing it. A game against the Giants that Grandpa Velus gave away, but that shouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with. The one thing the Bears could do last year was run the ball. Up against the worst run defense in the league, they managed 12 points. A Thursday night game against whatever Washington was calling themselves that week that was right there with the Colts-Broncos debacle in the running for the worst Thursday night game in a season full of bad ones. A franchise so sorry they didn’t even bother to confirm they could trademark their name starting a guy at QB who was on his third team in as many years and only isn’t in his fourth in four years now because nobody wants him. The Fighting Dan Snyders put up a whopping 12 points. The Bears lost. The Washington Soon To Be Something Elses tried over and over to give that game away. They begged the Bears to win. The Bears couldn’t pull it off. The week after that, they creamed the Patriots. They looked not only competent, but actually good. They followed that by losing to Dallas by three scores. 

The season got so pathetic that close losses began to be treated like wins by way too much of the fan base, the rationale being that this is a rebuild and the team wasn’t supposed to be good last year anyway. Kudos, I guess, for being able to keep such a sunny disposition about things, but I fail to see the positives in wasting a year of Fields’ rookie contract and hindering his development. I tried taking a lesson from the man you heard at the beginning of this column and enjoying every sandwich, since we are only guaranteed seventeen instances of our favorite thing in the world, but I just couldn’t do it. The bread was moldy and the meat was rotten. Games began to feel like a chore. Film posts went on hiatus because I didn’t want to watch these games once, much less twice and I didn’t see the point of grading performances of guys who weren’t going to be here the next season anyway. By the point of the Lions fiasco, I wasn’t even mad anymore. It was just humorous. I’ve endured some awful seasons, but nothing that had ever made me feel that way before. I just felt nothing. If there was a simulate option like in Madden to just fast forward to the offseason, I would’ve gladly taken it. The only joy last season beyond November came when our old buddy Lovie Smith pulled the ultimate “what are you gonna do, fire me?” move and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Colts, handing us the number one overall pick. This is a man who, in Tampa Bay, tried very hard to not win the season finale in 2015 to secure the number one overall pick that year. He knows what that pick means. I would like to take a moment to thank Lovie for providing the first positive January moment for the Bears in years. 

If you are the sort of fan who reads 10,000-word season previews, you are probably aware of the existence of Frank Fleming. He’s the screaming Met fan on Twitter with a knowledge of sports trivia rivaling Howie Schwab who reviews hot dogs for Barstool. When Frank was maintaining the Sports E-Cyclopedia on a daily basis, yours truly did a Bears season recap for him. The Mets simply drive the man nuts. He’s very negative about them, even when things are going well, because, in his mind, he just knows it’s just a matter of time until they don’t. Lest anyone think that’s just how Frank is, he’s just the opposite with his New Jersey Devils. He’s super positive with them. He made a point of going to game 7 against the New York Rangers this past spring because, while he was obviously hoping for a win, he wanted to be there to give the team a standing ovation if they lost to show appreciation for a job well done that season, as the Devils were ahead of schedule on their rebuild. Frank is not really a negative person, the Mets just did that to him. 

I know how Frank feels. I know this because I am excited for the upcoming Blackhawks season and am confident that they are on the right path and that we will see Lord Stanley’s Cup again in Chicago. Connor Bedard obviously accelerates the process, but even if they hadn’t won the lottery that gave them a truly generational prospect, I am confident that Kyle Davidson was going to get things turned around. And last season wasn’t fun for that team, either. It wasn’t fun for multiple reasons. The team stunk, we constantly played “guess who’s a Blackhawk this week,” and we said goodbye to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Kyle from Chicago let us know up front what the score was, which made the pill a little easier to swallow, as did what looks like a very good hire in Luke Richardson. Last year, the Hawks lost a bunch of games because they just didn’t have good players, not because they were a bumbling mess on the ice. 

Frank is able to be positive about the Devils because he’s seen the Devils win three Stanley Cups, whereas the Mets haven’t done much since 1986 and on the occasions they did, it ended in heartbreak. Sound familiar?

Turning back to our headache, forecasting this season is a difficult task. Looking at the schedule, there are only two games against teams that are definitely going to be better than the Bears. However, there are only two games against teams that are definitely going to be worse, with two more teams needing something pretty significant to happen in their favor to not be worse than the Bears. Still, in 15 of 17 games, the Bears should have at least a puncher’s chance. If Fields takes the Jalen Hurts leap, 13-4 is possible. If not, 5-12 is on the table.

Week Opponent Forecast
1 vs. Green Bay toss-up
2 at Tampa Bay must win
3 at Kansas City very likely loss
4 vs. Denver lean to win
5 at Washington lean to lose
6 vs. Minnesota toss-up
7 vs. Las Vegas lean to win
8 at Los Angeles Chargers very likely loss
9 at New Orleans toss-up
10 vs. Carolina likely win
11 at Detroit lean to lose
12 at Minnesota lean to lose
13 BYE
14 vs. Detroit toss-up
15 at Cleveland toss-up
16 vs. Arizona must win
17 vs. Atlanta likely win
18 at Green Bay toss-up

They say fall is the season of death. For us football guys, it’s the season of new life. Everybody is 0-0. Everything is in front of us. There’s some fresh bread in the pantry. I could go for a sandwich. 2023 Chicago Bears: 7-10, 3rd place NFC North

Whatever Elmo’s calling it nowThreads: @312sportsguy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *