Random News of the Day: Would you rather...

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Random News of the Day: Would you rather...

Tue. Jan 4, 2011
9:52 AM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Happy New Year!

I hope that the start of 2011 was a good one for you. It certainly was for the Monsters of the Midway. A lot of critics figured that the Bears will be on the couch watching the playoffs come January 8th. And wouldnt you know itthose critics were absolutely right. The Bears earned a first round bye and the right to channel surf during the start of the NFL postseason. The Bears will practice Wednesday and Thursday before awaiting the New Orleans-Seattle and Philadelphia-Green Bay games over the weekend. If the 3-seed Eagles win, then Michael Vick and company come to Soldier Field. If the Packers win, then the Bears host the winner of the Saints-Seahawks game.

I was going to do a preview of each NFL playoff game, but then quickly realized that a preview of this nature would end up looking like that scene in Mr. Mom when Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) is trying to fight the out of control washing machine. Its a futile exercise and its just going to leave you looking like an idiot if you even try to outsmart the menacing beast. This season, the NFL has been that out of control washing machinestuffed up with too many potential surprises. Take the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks for that matter. Given this crazy season, would you even flinch if they shock New Orleans? Doubt it. I mean, outside of maybe penciling the New England Patriots in for a win or two, what rock-solid locks are there? Good luck on trying to outsmart the machine.

And yes, I just referenced Mr. Mom.

So I figure that, since the prediction game is out, why not try an NFL variation of the game Would You Rather? Apparently this is an actual card game that adults play as a sort of ice breaker at parties (picture a PG version of Truth or Dare, crossed with a Choose Your Own Adventure book and a typical eHarmony first date conversation). Its a game that focuses on what you would do in hypothetical situations. But lets focus Would You Rather on the Bears' first opponent in the playoffs.

If you were the Bears, would you rather

1. play the Saints? The Super Bowl champs? Really? I wouldnt mind it. Yes, the Saints racked up 11 wins. Yes, Drew Brees and his receivers can carve up a secondary like Zorro slashing a Z into somebodys chest. But they have shown they are susceptible to dumb mistakes (-5 turnover ratio). Have they played their best football yet? I don't think so. Yes, they lost to Cleveland and Arizona but they were also hampered by injuries. Maybe the Seahawks will smack a little wake-up call into the Saints? Hey, with this crazy NFL seasonwho knows. Speaking of which

2. play the Seahawks? Ha! Sure, why not! A 7-9 team that ends up playing the Bears after beating New Orleans? Wowthe Saints would really have to mail it in for this to happen. The Seahawks have very few playmakers on their offense, not to mention a shaky offensive line. Their defense is iffy at best. They were the kings of the NFC Westa division that was the butt of constant jokes this season. But hey, theyve already come into Chicago and dealt with the Bears (23-20 on October 17th). By the way, is it just me or does their quarterback Charlie Whitehurst look a little like a younger Bob Seger? Given the insanity of this NFL season, I wouldnt be surprised if Bob Seger comes off the bench and quarterbacks a team to victory. Too bad his hometown Detroit Lions arent in the postseason.

3. or play the Eagles? Again, why not? The Bears already grounded Michael Vick and the Eagles earlier this year (31-26 on November 28th). But can anybody figure this Philly team out? Which group comes to Chicago: the team that staged an epic comeback against the Giants? Maybe the team that beat the Colts? Or Atlanta? Or the team that looked like raw sewage against the Vikings? Keep in mind that the Packers have already beaten the Eagles this yearin Philly. The Eagles have loads of injuries and who knows if that situation will get any better when a physical Packers team shows up this weekend.

Its up to you, Bears fans. What do you think? What team poses the biggest threat? Or the smallest one? What will it take to put a smile on your face? I insist on playing the Would You Rather game. Dont end up making predictions about the playoffs. Heck, dont even listen to any of the blowhards making predictions. Pssshlike they have any clue whats going on, you know? They should know that the NFL is unpredictable.

Like an out-of-control washing machine.

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.