its not all bad
The 2007 Chicago Bears season, whether it finished 6-10 or 7-9, will be remembered as a colossal failure. Maybe the most colossal in the team’s history. Coming off a runner-up finish in 2006, the Bears were–at the very least–supposed to make the playoffs and have a chance to defend its 2006 conference title. Instead, by Thanksgiving, it was apparent that this team was not only not making the playoffs, but it was just plain bad.
In previous pieces I’ve written about the Bears I feel are culpable in this lost season. While the national media focuses on Rex Grossman, the smart Bears fan realizes that the Bears’ running game and offensive line were the key to this season’s offensive failures. Cedric Benson didn’t have many holes to run through, but when he did, he looked as if he was just waiting to get tackled. The offensive line went from a team strength to its biggest weakness, as many as four of the five slots may have to be replaced next year. While recently Bernard Berrian has made some big plays, lets not forget that he couldn’t catch a fucking cold in the first half of the season. And if Muhsin Muhammed is on this team next year, I’m going to set myself on fire. Defensively, Brian Urlacher suffered though a bad back and didn’t really play well until late in the year. On the flip side, Lance Briggs started out on fire but has vanished recently. Perhaps Lance is taking it easy, knowing he is just weeks away from free agency. And then there’s the secondary.
Wow. I mean, even the Redskins have to be amazed at how bad Adam Archuleta was. When the Bears signed him, I wasn’t a huge fan of the deal, but I had no idea the guy couldn’t cover or tackle anyone. And thats not a fan’s overstatement……he simply does not belong in the NFL anymore. Daneal Manning went from a talented rookie to one of the worst tacklers on the team. And finally, injuries to key personnel ruined any limited chance of the Bears making a playoff run.
But, like the title here infers, it wasn’t all bad. Here are some bright spots from the 2007 season:
Charles Tillman: In his fifth year, Peanut has proven to be the big, physical corner the Bears need in the cover two defense. He has 72 tackles and two interceptions, and has forced four fumbles and blocked two punts. While others get the recognition and Pro Bowl nominations, Tillman has consistently been the best player on the defense (and perhaps the special teams) all year. Hopefully, with the return of a healthy Nathan Vasher in 2008, the Bears defense will be closer to itself.
Tommie Harris: Harris is basically playing on one leg. Also, he’s been playing alongside 5 or 6 different defensive tackles this year, and has been constantly double-teamed. Other players might have packed it in this year, especially when it became obvious that this team sucked ass. But Harris has 7 sacks and 32 tackles, and is constantly in the opposing team’s backfield. If 100 percent in 2008, the Bears defensive line will be much improved.
Adewale Ogunleye: Ogunleye had not played up to his reputation prior to this season. After putting up a league high 15 sacks in 2003 for Miami and getting traded to Chicago, Ogunleye has had a grand total of 21 sacks in three seasons. However, in 2007, Ogunleye has been the team’s most consistent playmaker on either side of the ball. 56 tackles, 9 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 4 fumbles recovered later, and Ogunleye has almost been able to make up for the other defensive end’s–Mark Anderson–horrid season.
Devin Hester: I’ve written a few love letters to the guy on this page before, and we all know how good he is. I’ve been able to be present for two of his touchdowns, and for another two that were called back. There hasn’t been anything in Chicago sports, since Michael retired, more exciting to see in person than Hester. I just hope the geniuses on the coaching staff and in management don’t get too cute in the offseason and decide to keep running these little reverses and bubble screens for number 23. Every time they run one of these piece of shit plays I expect some 290-pound lineman to pursue down the line and shred Hester’s knee.
So, yeah, thats about it. Brendon Ayanbadejo had another great year on special teams. I like the work of Greg Olsen and think he will be a really dangerous weapon in 2008. And unlike many others, I think Ron Turner has done an adequate job of calling plays considering he has no offensive line, quarterback, receivers, or running game. Other than that…….when does baseball start?