UA-59049186-1 2021 Chicago Bears Preview: Obvious Tom Petty Reference Is Obvious - Good if it Goes

2021 Chicago Bears Preview: Obvious Tom Petty Reference Is Obvious

Soon. [Photo credit: ESPN on Twitter]

I made a point not to use a specific word in the course of this preview. I need a break. I talked last year about how football was that break we all needed. I could more or less just duplicate that post here, unfortunately, because we’re in a similar spot. The difference now is fans are back and there’s the prospect of brighter days ahead. As Jon Rothstein reminds us on Twitter, this too shall pass. I really appreciate him. I appreciate the positivity because I need it to come from somewhere. This is supposed to be that thing, and yet, a day that I normally look forward to the same way I used to look forward to Christmas has pretty much just snuck up on me. It’s been less “awaiting the season with baited breath” and more “oh, yeah, that is happening, isn’t it?” It’s not just football, either. I’ve had a hard time getting excited about anything. Days just sort of run together now.

I completely understand why Bears fans want to see Justin Fields play. You need something to be excited about and Andy Dalton is the antonym of “excitement.” That’s not to say he’s a bad quarterback – he isn’t. Shoot, after watching some of the jokers we’ve trotted out there, Dalton only feels like a disappointment because Fields is waiting in the wings and before the Bears drafted him, there was a chance they might trade for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson, particularly the latter after he included Chicago on a list of destinations he’d accept. Those always seemed like longshots and I said so at the time and I also said if you let yourself get hyped up about that and you’re upset that it didn’t happen, then it’s your own fault. I get why you wanted to believe, but it’s still your fault.

And that brings me here. Festivus doesn’t come until December 23, but I feel the need to stage an early Airing of Grievances, because this fan base has gotten spoiled despite the lack of anything real to get spoiled by. It’s incredible, really. There’s a not insignificant portion of this fan base that’s forgotten what a bad team really looks like. They’re already ready to fire the coach despite the fact that he’s won 28 games in three years with a trio of QBs that nobody else in the league wants. Mitchell Trubisky signed with the Bills for a ham sandwich to back up Josh Allen. He’s not even backing up a guy on the way out, a la Jameis Winston in New Orleans. He’s backing up a 25-year-old who was finished third in MVP voting a year ago. The rest of the league knows he sucks. Matt Nagy knew he sucks, too. That’s why he and Ryan Pace traded for Nick Foles instead of taking a chance on Andy Dalton’s health – he wanted to make sure he had somebody else. I understand getting mad at the guy who drafted Trubisky. But we have no idea what Matt Nagy is capable of as a head coach. All we’ve seen are three seasons with lousy QBs and three pre-season games where the objectives were “don’t put anything on tape,” “get Fields some reps,” and “figure out who makes the final 53” in some order. The guy was involved in drafting and developing Patrick Mahomes. He had his eye on Fields for well over a year. He’s probably not an idiot.

This off-season should’ve been fun, what with the Packers in the process of pulling a Lions and infuriating the greatest player in franchise history. Your author can’t help but wonder if they would’ve gone full Lions if Mike Richards hadn’t tried to Dick Cheney his way into the Jeopardy! hosting role. But instead of basking in that sweet, sweet schadenfreude, we dealt with weekly trouser soilings from @Meatball69 and @Ditka4Pres and the like about the lack of a superstar QB, the fact that we didn’t trade the Sears Tower for one, even though we just saw the cheeseheads lose consecutive NFC title games despite having the star QB because the defense couldn’t stop anybody, the fact that there isn’t a “force trade” option in real life like there is in the NBA 2K games, and the idea that Andy Dalton is somehow now the worst QB in the history of the NFL. I mean, for Ditka’s sake, we were trotting out guys like Brian Hoyer not that long ago. I would’ve killed for Andy Dalton then. So would you. If you’re telling me you wouldn’t have, you’re a liar. And now, the fan base is mad because he’s gonna be the guy for a year while the team develops the guy they hope will be the franchise’s first star QB since Sid Luckman.

I know I usually try to make these things more poetic than this. I just needed to get that out.

I’ve heard the song. You’ve heard the song. We’ve all heard the song. It’s cliché, but it’s true – the waiting is the hardest part. Given the state of both the team and the world, there was really nothing better I could have titled this post.

We see better days ahead and we want them to be now. Because now kinda sucks. And it’s sucked for a while. There are better days ahead, but we’ve got to wait. And yeah, it’s hard, so do whatever you need to do to make the wait a little easier.

I mean, within reason. Don’t go, like, rob a train or something. This space is not responsible if you do.

So while we wait, here’s this year’s schedule:





at Los Angeles Rams

likely loss


vs. Cincinnati

likely win


at Cleveland



vs. Detroit

likely win


at Las Vegas

lean to win


vs. Green Bay

lean to lose


at Tampa Bay

likely loss


vs. San Francisco



at Pittsburgh

lean to win





vs. Baltimore



at Detroit

likely win


vs. Arizona

likely win


at Green Bay

likely loss


vs. Minnesota

lean to win


at Seattle

lean to lose


vs. New York Giants

likely win


at Minnesota

lean to win

The floor is 6-11. Going up against the NFC West and the AFC North will be tough, but there are a handful of games against truly awful teams and even if this team disappoints, they shouldn’t be so bad that they’d drop every game listed as a “lean to win.” The ceiling is 13-4, but that takes a ton of things going right. Andy Dalton needs to be not just good compared to Mitchell Trubisky, but seriously good and the defense needs to be not too far off what they were in 2018. The latter includes someone stepping up at corner, a few guys who are now three years older playing to their ceilings and staying healthy, and Sean Desai being Vic Fangio 2.0. This space asserts that Dalton will be a marked improvement over Mitchell Trubisky, but not enough of one to get past the truly tough teams. The defense will be a top-5 unit, but not the juggernaut it needs to be if the Bears are going to seriously contend for the division title without a career year from Dalton.

2021 Chicago Bears: 10-7, 2nd place NFC North, NFC Divisional Round

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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