How about any of these quotes?
- “Even a healthy Rex Grossman won’t prevent Chicago from finishing last in the NFC North again.”
- “The Bears appear to be doomed to repeat last season’s offensive ineptitude.”
- “…the defensive line is one of the most impressive young groups in the league.”
- “The Bears will finish 6-10 and fourth in the NFC North.”
- “…[at running back,] the Bears have an effective slasher and a legitimate pass-catching threat…”
- “Brian Urlacher in the middle and Lance Briggs on the weak side comprise one of the best young duos in the NFL.”
- “…defense will have to carry Ron Turner’s offense, at least in the early going.”
- “Kyle Orton is now the starter for a franchise that has started 20 different quarterbacks since 1990.”
- “…if the offense can’t stay on the field, the Bears [defense] will struggle.”
Every single one of those quotes and articles was written in the prelude to the 2005 season. And they all hold water leading up to the 2008 campaign.
In fact, here are few more articles just like those above:
…the record for fewest points scored in a season is held by the 1992 Seahawks with 140, averaging 8.75 points per game. This Bears team could give chase…
…Less than 18 months ago, Chicago was playing in a Super Bowl in Miami. Now the Bears are being picked as the last-place team in the NFC North by just about everyone… Are they the worst team in the NFL? Probably not. But they could be pretty darn bad…
…I hate their quarterback situation, question their running back situation, get sick thinking about their receivers and don’t trust their suddenly inexperienced offensive line. But aside from that, they’re great!…
…And the receivers? Well, there may be no worse depth chart in the NFL…
(By the way, it’s by no coincidence that three of these four articles were written by Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager, a guy who hates the Bears and also has no business spewing anything about football.)
The most alarming issue in this year’s preseason was the ineffective play of the defense, but it ultimately was just the preseason. This year’s offense — and again, take this with a grain of salt because the games didn’t mean anything — already looks head and shoulders above 2005’s version, if for no other reason than Orton is older and wiser and the playbook is much more open.
Fear not, Bears fans. If the defense can figure out exactly what is going wrong, this Bears team will be competitive in 2008. Division champs? Not likely because of how talented the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are, whereas in 2005, the division was not as competitive. But they can be competitive to the point that casual Bears fans don’t turn off the games before the final horn, and the drunken buffoons don’t throw their beer cans at the TV.