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Friday, September 24

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Bears Thu Nov 06 2014

Does Anyone Care That It's Bears/Packers Week?

Chicago BearsIf you're only a fan of football and the Bears, I'd believe you. I would understand that you still care about this team at this particular time. But if you're a fan of other Chicago sports -- the Hawks, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox -- it's hard to give a damn about the Bears right now.

Watching pathetic performance after pathetic performance has left people frustrated and angry. The team was coming into its second year with Marc Trestman running a high-scoring offense and made significant upgrades along the defensive front to improve one of the NFL's worst defenses from 2013. There were expectations; big ones.

And instead of looking at the back half of the season loaded with home games as a celebration and an opportunity to make a statement before the playoffs, we're instead talking about getting new coaches, begging for team leaders, and trying to think of any way not to get blown out by the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The only thing anyone has come up with is to knock Aaron Rodgers out of the game again. Good luck with that.

The Quarterback Whisperer hasn't been able to coach the mechanical mistakes out of Jay Cutler. Phil Emery admitted -- admitted -- in the bye week presser that "habits are hard to improve," and talked about how Cutler was doing the same types of things at Vanderbilt because he was trying to make all the plays himself. So you paid him $54 million guaranteed when you could've franchised him for one year? Not really a sparkling endorsement of yourself there, Phil.

Brandon Marshall lost it at a babbling press conference after ESPN re-aired a piece on him from a few years ago that brought up his alleged abuse of a former girlfriend. He told the Bears PR people that he would stay on point and keep it short, but there he was, 45 minutes later, victim blaming and passing out copies of evidence that made no salient point.

Then there's Lamarr Houston, telling fans to eat dirt, then going out and doing exactly that after celebrating his first and last sack of the season. "Disappointed for him," according to Trestman. Emery had to clarify things and say that they're both disappointed for and in Houston. Hey fellas, the latter statement is fine on its own. It was a stupid mistake for a team that couldn't afford one. I think Houston is an adult enough to hear that.

How's that experiment with Jordan Mills going at left guard? Oh, you abandoned it already? Really? What tape are you guys watching that makes you think Mills can be a successful tackle at the NFL level? He consistently gets beat by speed rushers and guys with good hand fighting technique, and it's turned into a lot of fumbles for Cutler. Unbiased graders have him as one of the worst at his position in the league. Apparently the status quo is fine with the Bears though.

And now Lance Briggs, who is all but finished with the Bears after this season, comes out and says to the media that he's "phasing out" in meetings, looking at the clock, and pining for it to all be over. That's great to hear from the longest-tenured Bears player, and the "leader" of an incredibly young position group that the Bears hope can be something to anchor their defense on in years to come. Will he be reprimanded for his statements? Come on -- you know better than that. It's no wonder why Trestman's leadership is in question.

The Bulls are playing fun, watchable basketball after infusing their team with three new players who excel on the offensive end. Derrick Rose has played sparingly after spraining both his ankles, but they're an entertaining watch night in and night out again. Tom Thibodeau has to scream for a reason. His team isn't great defensively or in the rebounding department, two calling cards of all his previous squads. You can watch a group of likable players grow in front of your eyes.

The Hawks are good -- we all know that. They've stumbled a bit out of the gates while dealing with an injuries to Corey Crawford and now Patrick Sharp, but a yearly Stanley Cup contender is interesting in itself. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane alone are must-watch TV.

The White Sox are talking about going after Victor Martinez to infuse their offense with another big bat. Throw in a decent starting pitcher, a couple of relievers and another hitter somewhere, and they'll be something to dream about all winter long as a team that's ready to compete with the Tigers and Royals.

The Cubs, in the middle of the Bears season, have splashed the most headlines, scooping up one of the best managers in baseball, talking to the best catcher on the market, and looking to add a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. This is supposed to be a Bears town in the fall, but people are talking about the freaking Cubs.

The Bears haven't given fans any reason to care much about Packers week. They've pissed away every ounce of goodwill they had coming into the season with poor performances, silly infighting, and stupid comments to the media. A win on Sunday would buy back some fan support for another week, but people don't want to waste their energy if the team is going to come up just short of the playoffs again.

Marc Trestman hasn't just lost his team. He's lost the city, too.

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