The Chicago Bears are the worst team in the NFL. The team that I root for every Sunday, the team whose every roster move and scheme change I pay close attention to, is awful. It’s tough to say this, but it must be acknowledged. I get that it’s early. 0-2 is by no means the end of the season, and the parity of the NFL allows for all sorts of crazy things to happen. I get that. I also get that one could make a case for the Browns, Dolphins, Saints, or any number of other teams. However, the loser cake belongs to the Bears this year.
My case is that Chicago is at the bottom of the barrel this year, but it helps to get some historical context. The Bears last made it to the Super Bowl following the 2006 season, when Rex Grossman and Co. were pounded by the Colts. They never again managed to replicate the success they were able to achieve that year, and Lovie Smith was fired following the 2012 season. Since then, they have posted a dismal 19-31 record.
2013 marked the year that the team would go completely off the rails, and any lingering Super Bowl aspirations from 2006 would be quietly aborted in a South Side back alley. Marc Trestman was hired as the head coach despite his most notable experience coming from coaching the Montreal Freaking Alouettes. Decades of stingy defense were eschewed in favor of the Bears being an “offensive team.” What this meant was that the Bears completely ignored their defense, allowing a staggering 29.9 points per game in 2013, including a 54-11 loss to the fucking Eagles.
The Bears now employ one of the most mediocre coaches this side of Jeff Fisher. John Fox took over in 2015, and has a not-so-promising 6-12 record thus far. You can’t pin everything on him, though. To find out why, just take a look at the roster. Besides a few stalwarts like Kyle Long, Pernell McPhee, and Alshon Jeffery, the cupboard is pretty bare. Let’s see how many of these starters you’ve even heard of: Charles Leno, Mitch Unrein, Harold Jones-Quartey, Willie Young, Deiondre’ Hall. These players aren’t terrible, but they aren’t that great either. Couple that with the abject lack of depth on the roster, and you’ve got major problems.
Jay Cutler is not the worst quarterback in the league. Far from it, in fact. But I challenge you to find a quarterback who has been this mediocre for this long. Since he joined the Bears in 2009, Cutler has posted a 50-49 record, thrown for a 151-106 TD:INT ratio, and has posted a painfully average 85.7 quarterback rating. That mid-80s rating used to be pretty good, but now you’ve got quarterbacks that are regularly north of 100. Like I said, Cutler is not a bad quarterback. The problem is, he’s just good enough to keep the Bears in a purgatory of settling for average performance. For some reason, they think the risk-reward of keeping old Cutty is better than testing the waters with someone new. It looks like Cutler might miss some time with a hand injury, though, so maybe the next guy up can… Oh wait, it’s Brian Hoyer. Never mind.
Again, I know that this might be a bit of an overreaction. 0-2 isn’t the end of the world, and there are teams that have suffered for longer. But I think this quote from our own Karl Karlson sums everything up.
We’re looking at a perfect season right now. No Cutler, no defense, and a receiver who’s longing for greener pastures. Cleveland fans are holding their collective breaths as they hope and pray for a new C-city to become football’s biggest laughing stock. 0-16, here we come.
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