Random News of the Day: 45 (XLV) Reasons

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Random News of the Day: 45 (XLV) Reasons

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
9:49 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Still apprehensive about joining the Bears bandwagon? Don't worry! Here are 45 reasons the Bears will make it to Super Bowl XLV:

I: January 14, 2004: "Our number one goal is to beat the Packers." That was Lovie Smith at his introductory Bears press conference. You don't think that will get mentioned at Halas Hall this week, do you?
II: Devin Hester. His first punt return TD came against Green Bay. Wouldn't it just make too much sense for him to do it again on Sunday?

III: The Bears are three point underdogs in their own backyard. (POOF). Bulletin board material in an instant. No fuss. Serve while hot.

IV: Columnist Rick Reilly (see previous point about bulletin board material)

V: Brian Urlacher. His 125 tackles (96 solo) on the year will mean nothing if the Bears don't win Sunday. He knows this rivalry better than anyone on the team.

VI: Jay Cutler. A bell must have rung somewhere. Cutler finally got his playoff wings. And hopefully, he won't have to waste any more time talking about the subject.

VII: Because of the work of Ted Phillips and Jerry Angelo. Landing Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna helped put the team in a position to make a Super Bowl run. Speaking of landing people...

VIII: Having three former head coaches assist in steering the ship helps, too. Lovie Smith, Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli and Mike Tice have worked wonders.

IX: Robbie Gould. He already has a playoff game-winning field goal on his resume (49-yarder vs. Seattle, 11407). Umm, he knows the terrain.
X: Because Cutler doesn't want to get the following text messages from his pal Aaron Rodgers for the next seven months: "dude I was ROFL while u were ROF-Sacked...Sorry pal. LOL."

XI: Jim Cornelison. If he does the Star Spangled Banner prior to the Bears-Packers game, that alone would give the Bears a 7-0 lead.

XII: Olin Kreutz. The longest-tenured Bears player will be the absolute last person on that roster to mail it in on Sunday. I wouldn't want to be within 100 feet of him if things start going poorly.

XIII: Jim Belushi. The Bears will win Sunday just to give him something to do on Super Bowl Sunday-- like randomly appearing on the Bears sideline for no apparent reason.

XIV: The Soldier Field turf: the secret ally. It's like North Avenue during winter pothole season. If you're used to driving on it and know where the tricky spots are, you're fine. Let the out-of-towners wreck themselves on it.

XV: Long snapper Patrick Mannelly. Might be the most random piece of the Bears puzzle, but also on the short list of guys that are most deserving of a Bears Super Bowl ring.

XVI: Because the Bears want to hang out with the Black Eyed Peas after Super Bowl XLV. Wouldn't you?

XVII: Penalties. Heck, if the Packers commit half the number of penalties than they did the last time they were here, it'd be a good sign.

XVIII: Packers WR James Jones. He's due for another whiff on a deep pass. Maybe in a key moment in the fourth quarter.

XIX: Bearsss. Ditka. Sausage. Saaahhhssssage.

XX: Because hopefully the Bears can get to the Super Bowl, win it, and we won't have to worry about the Super Bowl XX glory days (at least for a little while).

XXI: Aspirations of a parade. You think the Bears caught a glimpse of the Hawks parade last summer and started dreaming of something similar in February?

XXII: Matt Forte. Let's hope he runs the ball 40 times. Why? Because the Bears have won 48 straight games when they run the ball at least 40 times.
XXIII: Because Lovie Smith would like nothing more than to win the Super Bowl in his home state of Texas.

XXIV: Tommie Harris. Danieal Manning. Johnny Knox (See previous entry)

XXV: The "It Doesn't Matter What We Think" factor: the Bears will win Sunday because of something not on this list, making it only fitting in this insane football season (see also: Jets, New York)

XXVI: With that said, you realize that the games are completely out of the players hands bacause the networks are just scheming to place the 1 and 3 TV markets together in the Super Bowl...right? No matter. By that theory, Bears still win Sunday!

XXVII: The George Halas trophy cannot go to Lambeau Field. It can't. It won't.

XXVIII: Because we secretly want to make Soldier Field shake so much that it registers on the Richter scale--- just as it did during Marshawn Lynch's bulldozing run in Seattle.

XXIX: Truthfully, I actually hope that the Bears win just for the safety of Packers fans that come into Chicago. I mean that sincerely. Let's face it, if the Packers win and their fans start talking while exiting Soldier Field, they might not make it to Lake Shore Drive.

XXX: Greg Olsen. So much for him being a non-entity in the Mike Martz offense, huh? With that said...

XXXI: The Packers' secondary is due for a breakdown, especially now that the Bears' passing game has found a rhythm. Law of averages about to even out? Here's an 'Obvious Stat of the Day': Cutler is 22-0 when his passing rating is over 100.

XXXII: It's because of the little guys, the key contributors outside the glow of the main spotlight: Taylor, Tim Jennings, Kellen Davis, Corey Wootton and D.J. Moore-- just to name a few.

XXXIII: Because Charles Tillman will have the game of his life. The eight-year veteran has the playoff experience and knows what Aaron Rodgers can bring to the table.

XXXIV: The Bears' rushing defense. They held Seattle to 34 yards. You listening, Packers? POKEPOKE James Starks...how about you? POKEPOKE John Kuhn? Brandon Jackson?
XXXV: Because the Bears will need a home field advantage on February 6th. Heck, you can almost put all of Naperville's population inside Cowboys Stadium. Might as well have 'em in blue and orange instead of green and yellow.

XXXVI: The Bears understand the need to finish. That messy fourth quarter against Seattle (165 yards, three TDs on 22 plays) might be a blessing in disguise- it will give the Bears plenty of motivation to close out an opponent that's much more potent than the Seahawks. Getting a nice lead would help this situation, of course.

XXXVII: The weather. 17 and blustery forecasted for Sunday. And this is...er...wait...why is this important? Because, once and for all, this might make the whole "Bear Weather" argument null and void. Like the Packers don't play in these conditions too, right?

XXXVIII: The special teams, outside of Devin Hester. Hey, if Brad Maynard and Corey Graham can team up to pin the Packers deep in their own zone (like they did Sunday against the Seahawks), it'd make it that much tougher for Rodgers

XXXIX: Hunter Hillenmeyer. Deep down, players need to go out and win one for a guy who can't be out there.
XL: Because the smarties that placed their bets back last February need a big payday. The Bears opened at 401 odds to win Super Bowl XLV. (Note: Pittsburgh was 101, Green Bay 121 and the Jets were 151).
XLI: Because there are a lot of players on the roster who want to officially erase the memories of Peyton Manning's rain dance in Miami back in '07.

XLII: ...or heck, every season since Super Bowl XLI.
XLIII: George Halas. Not sure how, not sure why, but the spirit of Papa Bear will make damn sure the Packers don't walk out of Solider Field with a victory.

XLIV: Sunday's Soldier Field crowd. The atmosphere in the stands will the Cubs vs. Sox experience look like an etiquette seminar.

XLV: Hey, with all the stars aligning in the Bears favor this season, you know they're going to make it already.

Bears 23, Packers 21

Or something like that.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.