Bernstein: Lame Bears Exposed As Pretenders

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) The good news is that we really knew they probably weren’t any good, anyway.

Not good news in that it’s actually fun for any of us, but good in that we can let go of the collective fog we choose to embrace that allows annually for the tantalizing local possibilities afforded by a league that has devolved into more random chaos than we care to admit.

The NFL product sucks, and the Bears’ version of it is now proven to be something consistently below that level, with coach John Fox now having sufficiently under-promised and commensurately delivered. Fox protects his trade secrets as if they are valuable corporate intellectual property, when they’re easily obtained each game by opponents who seem well ahead of him.

He harrumphs as his offense misses blocks, mutters while the defensive line stays blocked and sputters as his hand-picked kicker clangs a gimme.

On Monday night at Soldier Field, it was Eagles 29, Bears 14, and here we are with a team that’s already bad and hurt and can only hope for NFL silliness and attrition to take enough effect to raise its hopes. Anything else is dreaming, as it probably was from the outset.

That’s the real benefit to having the facade ripped off this stalled rebuild at this point, saving us the pretense. This roster was poisoned for years by Jerry Angelo and then Phil Emery, and Ryan Pace has yet to have gained the benefit of the doubt that he can stop the bleeding. We saw the middle and bottom of this weak group forced into action Monday night, and we watched the fate of all the recent top picks.

Leonard Floyd is a raw project who gets overpowered, Kevin White has all the quick-twitch suddenness of a warm egg-salad sandwich, Kyle Fuller is sitting hurt, Kyle Long is playing hurt, Shea McClellin is gone, Gabe Carimi is out of the game and the other first-rounders were traded for Jay Cutler, who’s hurt.

Pace spent gazillions on the front seven while Fox ran off players he didn’t want to coach, and we invested our trust that both know what they’re doing. It’s possible that both indeed know that they’re in the process of continuing to screw this up, but we’ll never find out. They talk about a football world that only they get to see, and I sure hope it’s better than this one.

The exhibition game that just broke out is what back at rock bottom looks like, not materially different from the back-to-back 50-point surrenders by the Trestman team that eventually had owner Virginia McCaskey working blue in her stated assessments.

If the previous failures had her as “pissed off” as her son George described, this may have her throwing full beers at heads in meetings, screaming like Gordon Ramsay in perfect Stratford-upon-Avon accent or doing DeNiro as baseball-fan Capone at the round table in “The Untouchables.”

I’d pay more to see that than another Bears game.

It will get marginally better, somehow, the certain dead-cat bounce all but guaranteed by how all this months-long NFL meatloaf gets ground up and formed, sliced and served. The design of the business makes sure of it.

But this was a bad night for a bad team, leaving us with the cold confrontation of reality – a bracing slap out of our collective and opportunistic stupor. Somewhere, we knew it.

We did the whole thing we do, with the big second game of the season and the hope and the big national stage and the natural inclination to diminish struggles and emphasize potential.

Our bad. We of all observers should know better.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Boers and Bernstein Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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