By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) It probably doesn’t matter that Bears quarterback Mike Glennon avoided being bad enough for it to appear good or that rookie Mitchell Trubisky kept throwing the kind of passes that hint at a bright future.
We know better, or at least we should. Glennon will hit his thumb on a helmet soon enough or fall off a moped, Trubisky will get his chance only to immediately have his foot turned backward at the bottom of a pile of bodies and then it will be Mark Sanchez at the position only until his arms are eaten by a pack of velociraptors. This is what happens.
The Bears went through all of their passers last year, a campaign that set glorious NFL records for total man/games lost to injury, the most since such records have been kept since the turn of the century. We nodded along as general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox told us about all the time and resources the team has since invested in preventative care, and yet we see the same alarming trends beginning to take shape.
Every day is the all-too-familiar accounting of who’s ambulatory and who’s not, who’s traveling and who’s active and Fox blathering about not wanting to “put a timetable on it.” There’s the dreaded physically-unable-to-perform list too, and the one on which some of us may eventually reside, wondering Who the Hell Are These players and subsequently placed on the WHAT? list.
Let’s get all excited about Cameron Meredith, the overachieving former college quarterback ready to contribute after a breakout 66-catch season! Actually let’s not, because he tore up his knee and is out for the year. But that’s OK, because the Bears have Kevin White! Remember him? He broke his leg at practice right after the Bears drafted him, and then he came back the next year and broke a different bone in the same leg. He’s not that fast now, but he’s still here! And they signed Markus Wheaton, but he had his appendix removed and then broke his finger.
While we’re talking about former top picks, Leonard Floyd is hurt again after missing games last year with head and neck problems. The Bears don’t seem to think his foot injury is serious, and we can always rely on them to be completely genuine and forthcoming about such things. Kyle Long is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered last season to go along with a torn labrum in his shoulder, and nobody knows when he’s coming back. This and Eric Kush tearing his hamstring already means their best center is forced to play guard, so there’s also that.
Jonathan Bullard looked great until he pulled his butt. Prince Amukamara hobbled out of the locker room on crutches Sunday with his ankle in a compression boot. And they need another new long snapper also, because Patrick Scales tore his ACL and is out for the year.
We aren’t yet done with exhibition games.
This is Bears football, and any expectations for them have to be seen through an honest perspective based on our experience. This is only the beginning of the attrition, and with every Sunday’s mass car-crash we take three hours of our time to watch, there are going to be more. We spend weeks building up to each year’s draft and more weeks evaluating the annual haul of talent, and then they all go on injured reserve so we can watch undrafted free agents run into each other. We have no real idea how good a team can be when we know that some future contributors this season are about to get cut by somebody else and will be signed away from a grade school P.E. teaching job in December.
They’re all going to be hurt. Everybody you want to play will play, until they can’t, and then it will be people you don’t know and never wanted to see. This is what happens.