UA-59049186-1 2020 Chicago Bears Preview: Murphy's Law and a Song That Apparently Isn't By Kelly Clarkson - Good if it Goes

2020 Chicago Bears Preview: Murphy’s Law and a Song That Apparently Isn’t By Kelly Clarkson

(Photo credit: @SoldierField on Twitter)

Back in the before time, when people ate in restaurants, training camp was in Bourbonnais, and things existed such that we could go to them, I sat in a McDonald’s just off the Borman expressway, grabbing a quick breakfast before heading down to Bears camp. The year was 2017. The Bears had just signed Mike Glennon and drafted Mitchell Trubisky. As I’m eating, a song comes on the radio:

Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again”

A Google search to determine the name of the song wasn’t immediately successful because I thought it was Kelly Clarkson singing. Apparently, it was not. It was P!nk. This took me by surprise, because I didn’t think that sounded like a P!nk song, but then again, I only know two or three of her songs to begin with, so maybe this is par for the course for her. If you’re asking why I didn’t just use Shazam, it’s because there was too much extra noise in that McDonald’s for Shazam to work. Regardless, whatever adult contemporary station was playing in McDonald’s that morning was not someplace I expected to find a tagline for the season, but there we were. Just looking for a reason.

I got to camp later that morning to see Mike Glennon be outplayed not only by a rookie Trubisky, but by Ol’ Buttfumble himself, Mark Sanchez. At that point, it should have been clear that that team was not just bent, but broken, but everything seems possible in the summer, and so I entered the season with a certain amount of optimism. Week 1, it looked as though that wasn’t totally misguided as Glennon and the Bears nearly eked one out over the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. The following week, Glennon was so bad in a blowout loss to Tampa Bay that I legitimately wondered if he was a mole sent by his old team to guarantee the Bucs that win. Would that have been a great use of the Bucs’ money? No, probably not, but they paid Greg Schiano actual U.S. currency to coach their team, so it’s not like the idea is that crazy. Or maybe they were still mad about the Josh McCown thing. Either way, Glennon sucked. Another egg laid two weeks later at Lambeau Field was the end of his tenure in Chicago. That team would end up 5-11, with Trubisky looking like a rookie, but interspersed in that rookieness were enough good moments to provide a legitimate belief that the team was in fact, not broken, just bent and could be fixed by a new coaching regime.

Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again”

Enter Matt Nagy.

Andy Reid’s protege was Ryan Pace’s choice to lead the team in 2018 and beyond and immediately injected a new energy into the team and those who follow it. After a tough loss in week one, the team didn’t let the bitterness linger, instead they won their next three straight. They would drop one to Miami in overtime that they should’ve won and one the following week to New England where they were a yard away from forcing overtime. They were at another point where things could have gone off the rails and, under John Fox, would have. But they didn’t go off the rails. Instead, they just went off. The Bears would lose only one more game during the regular season, an overtime game against the Giants in New York with Trubisky sidelined with a shoulder injury. The Bears would win the division at 12-4 and Trubisky would earn a trip to the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

It was at this point that things began to fall apart. The events of *that* night at Solider Field probably don’t need to be relayed to anybody. Trubisky led the team down the field for what should’ve been the game-winning drive and…yeah…

Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again”

But he still led them down the field! As little fun as the end of that season and the numbskull kicker’s appearance on daytime TV were, we could look at Trubisky’s Pro Bowl season and clutch drive and think that maybe we were done wandering the desert. Maybe we had our guy.

But then last season started rough and didn’t get much better. Trubisky looked lost a lot of the time, multiple guys got hurt, and even though the team finished 8-8, which would have felt awesome just a few years ago, this just felt bad. Just plain bad. It was clear that we were still wandering that desert, the oasis we though we saw just a mirage.

The world fell apart not long after. Between a pandemic that’s taken hundreds of thousands of lives and multiple instances of senseless police brutality cutting black lives far too short, for months it seemed that every day’s headlines were worse than the previous one’s. This space wants to make it clear that black lives matter. That George Floyd should still be here. And Eric Garner. And Philando Castile. And Michael Brown. And Laquan McDonald. And Breonna Taylor, whose killers should have been arrested long ago. And countless others, gone far too soon, because of a broken system that didn’t, and still doesn’t, properly value their lives. This space also wants to applaud the NBA for their efforts to address the inequalities in this country. Lastly, this space wants to make it clear that Colin Kaepernick is a hero.

Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent, and we can learn to love again”

Life in 2020 is not what we’re used to, but we’re starting to see little signs here and there of normalcy. We’ll get back eventually; this won’t be forever, even if right now, it feels like it. One of those signs has been the return of sports even if they don’t look like what we’re used to. This football season won’t; the Bears have already announced there won’t be fans at games, at least initially. But Sunday, September 13, the sun will come up, the Bears will take the field, toe will meet leather, and we’ll play football, hopefully providing a brief respite from all the unpleasantness in the world right now. For that second, we’re not broken, just bent.

So what of that team that takes the field Sunday? Trubisky returns as QB1, having fended off Nick Foles. Foles’s presence means Trubisky had to earn it, though. He’s a Super Bowl MVP, not a guy who can throw on a bucket hat and blend in with the Bears backers in Bourbonnais. That says the QB play we see this year should be at least solid. If Trubisky can’t hack it now, Foles comes in to provide a steady hand. Jimmy Graham is not the guy he was years back and Cole Kmet is not yet the guy he’ll ultimately be in the league, but even so, this tight end group should be markedly improved over last year’s bunch of guys. The Bears finished 8-8 last year with erratic QB play and exactly zero tight ends reaching the 100-yard mark. No, not for the game. For the season. Seriously. That’s not a typo. None of the tight ends they had around last year totaled 100 yards. And they were still 8-8. Mostly because the defense was awesome. But that defense should still be awesome and the offense should be at least good enough to waste it.

Week Opponent Prediction
1 at Detroit likely win
2 vs. New York Giants likely win
3 at Atlanta lean to win
4 vs. Indianapolis toss-up
5 vs. Tampa Bay toss-up
6 at Carolina likely win
7 at Los Angeles Rams toss-up
8 vs. New Orleans toss-up
9 at Tennessee toss-up
10 vs. Minnesota lean to win
12 at Green Bay toss-up
13 vs. Detroit likely win
14 vs. Houston lean to win
15 at Minnesota toss-up
16 at Jacksonville likely win
17 vs. Green Bay toss-up

Tampa Bay is listed as a toss-up because I have no idea what that team is going to look like. New Orleans is a toss-up because the game is in Chicago, and even if there aren’t any fans there, the Saints are still a different team outdoors. That’s a lot of toss-ups, but I don’t see any games where the Bears should be serious underdogs. This space says 8-8 is the floor. The Bears got there last year even with the offense looking downright dysfunctional. The ceiling is 14-2. For that to happen, the defense needs to be among the top 3 or so and Trubisky needs to be more than solid, he needs to be legitimately good.

2020 Chicago Bears: 10-6, 2nd place NFC North, NFC Divisional Round

 

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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