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Thursday, July 18

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Bears in Five

Optimism Meets Reality
by the Bearscast.com hosts

One: Good Rex... Bad Rex... Above Average Rex?
Over the past two years Bears fans have become very familiar with what Good Rex and Bad Rex look like. But Sunday we were introduced to a new Rex, "Above Average Rex." It didn't translate into a victory in Seattle but it should translate into a small increase in Bears fans confidence in him coming home next week to face Denver. I don't want to put the cart ahead of the horse, but it amazing that Rex still has some small chance of resurrecting his Bears career. With limited options in free agency and Griese obviously not the answer, the Bears would probably have to admit it was over and pull the plug by drafting a QB early in 2008 or trading too much for an injury-prone option like Donovan McNabb. Consistent play from Grossman over the final six games could provide this team with another option. It's a stunning story and maybe it will say a lot about Rex playing better now with less pressure heaped on him. Or maybe it just says how bad of a year it's been that we're looking forward to a possible return for Rex Grossman.

Two: Who's That Wearing #32?
Did a Bears running back really break a long TD run? Who is that? Did they sign someone and we miss it? Is that Garrett Wolfe in a muscle suit? Believe it or not but Cedric Benson finally had a game that made him look like a legit NFL running back. Outside of his 45yrd TD burst on the second play from scrimmage, he averaged 4.6yrd/att over the rest of the afternoon. The rest of his afternoon somehow inexplicably consisted of only 10 more carries, but chock that up to the offensive genius that is Ron Turner (also credit him with continuing to misuse Devin Hester in a way even the color analyst could point out). Still, perhaps this is a game from which Benson can build some momentum. The final six games are just as much of an audition for him as they are for Rex. He must show something to prove that the Bears should worry more about the offensive line this offseason than bringing in some more serious competition for him. All that aside, it was at least a bright spot at a time when Bears fans are getting desperate for them.

Three: Starting at Right Tackle, Fred "Turnstile" Miller
I really think the people at the Bears personnel office should go back and check Fred's birth certificate to make sure "Patrick Kerney" isn't listed under "Father," because after Sunday I have some doubts. That was an unbelievably atrocious performance by Miller on Sunday as he got beat by Kerney for three crucial late game sacks and was also whistled for a couple of false start penalties. It's frightening to think that this unit which was not long ago considered the foundation of this team. It's now its biggest liability. Fred Miller is not the only one who has played poorly but you can find enough evidence to blame him almost single handedly for the loss Sunday. If you can't keep your composure in crunch time and aren't fast enough to keep a defensive end from consistently getting the edge on you, then it's time to step down. I am sure Rex and anyone else who lines up behind center the rest of this season would greatly appreciate the sacrifice.

Four: Adam "I Can't Tackle" Archuleta
Most useless stat thrown out during Sunday's broadcast: Adam Archuleta is the only safety in the NFL with at least one sack every year since 2000. The problem is that sack was the only good hit Archuleta made all day and he came unblocked at a quarterback, apparently the only position on the field unathletic enough to not be able to avoid him. This has to go down as one of the worst personnel moves made during the Jerry Angelo era, and this man once wasted a first round pick on Michael Haynes. (Who, you might ask? My point exactly.) If Archuleta doesn't see more of the bench than the playing field down the stretch then I think Bears fans have the right to march on Hallas Hall. You'd think his ankles would be broken after the move Mo Morris put on him, but with our luck he'll be the only Bears defensive player who doesn't get hurt for the rest of the year.

Five: What Now? I'll Tell You What Now.
The Bears pretty much must win out to get into the playoffs, and for a team that hasn't even won back to back games yet this year that seems like an immeasurably tall order. So while leaving the remote chance that we make a deal with the devil (I know he and Ron Turner are close personal friends) and somehow make the playoffs, we have to start looking at this team's holes and what we need to do for next year.

Offensive line is obviously the #1 priority in the off-season, along with finding a competent veteran safety to team with Danieal Manning. That along with the departure of Ron Turner would be a necessary start, but the Bears are really stuck at two of the key offensive positions — quarterback and running back — with no obvious answers. Plus this once dominant defensive unit has played like an aging middle of the pack group that lacks play-makers and can no longer force turnovers. My mind is already spinning out of control with all the questions that need answering and holes that need patching. The NFL is a place where teams can quickly go from the bottom to the top, but sadly the Bears currently are proof that the reverse is equally true.

Pucks in Five

by Jeremy Piniak

...is off this week.

Bulls in Five

Glimmers of Hope
by Dan and Patrick O'Neil

One: Bad Record
The cellar Bulls stand now at 2-7. They did, however, show Ben Gordon (Bull's top scorer) could make nearly half his shots. Unfortunately Bull's number two scorer, Luol Deng was out the entire game. Without Luol, Bull's didn't have anyone to take on Kobe.

Two: Kobe Focus
Consistent with what we wrote earlier, the Bulls have not shown focus since the Kobe trade rumor. It's amazing they've been able to get their shoes tied before tip-off. Let me give the Bull's some advice that my grade school coach gave me — keep your eyes on the ball and focus on the goal. Forget about Kobe. If you focus on getting the ball in the hoop, it's more likely the check will go in the bank.

Three: Laker's St. Valentine's Massacre Eclipsed
Witnesses report Bull's biggest loss to the Lakers since Feb 15, 1968 (132-105). Bulls were blown out Sunday 106-78. Forensic pathologists are looking into the possibility of foul play. Suicide has not been ruled out. Police are looking or suspects.

Four: New York on A Saturday Afternoon
Look to the Knicks game Saturday afternoon at 1pm. I have a feeling it's a turning point for the Bulls. They'll have time to rest, reflect and refocus in time to get on track. It won't be easy, yet I predict Bulls by three.

Five: Matador-ya
In Chicago, there's pretty much nothing funnier than an overweight man doing physical comedy. Think John Belushi doing a samauri. Chris Farley busting a table as Matt Foley, who lives "in a van, down by the river." That passes as high comedy. Therefore, large men cheerleading during commercial breaks at the United Center? Hilarious.

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About the Author(s)

Sean Cassidy, Herman Coats and Gabe Dixon are the hosts of Bearscast.com, the best and brightest Bears podcast, part of the Chicago Sportscast Network. Now with perfect pronunciation of "Adewale Ogunleye"...by one of the hosts anyway. Go listen. Send comments to hosts@bearscast.com.

Patrick O'Neil is a Chicago designer and software developer. His second Bull's championship celebration was marred by a cordon of riot police at North, Milwaukee and Damen. Daniel X. O'Neil is Chicago writer and old skool Bulls fan. See more of him here. Send comments to bulls@gapersblock.com.

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