PRACTICE~!Being a football fan is a strange thing. It can make you refer to a bunch of dudes you've never met as "we." It can make you spend $75 to wear a replica of another man's shirt. It can even make you look at a guy - a guy you've never met, who has hopes, dreams, feelings, and a family that loves him - and condemn him as a gutless pig who need to be skinned alive and then strangled with his own skin, just because he's bad in man coverage or holds the ball too far away from his body. So with all that in mind, it somehow makes it less strange that a nation of people is currently freaking out over what's going to happen when a bunch of football players finally gets to practice. Practice. We're talking about practice, man - Not the game. Not a game... Practice. I mean, how silly is that? What are we talking about? Practice!? We're talking about practice right now. It's strange to me too. Practice.
But anyway, here we are.
You'd think he'd spend all that football money on a decent goddamn haircut.
Training camp has begun, and with it come the answers to many of the questions we've had ever since the Bears pissed away the 2008 season with high school level wide receivers and junior high level coaching. But the one rotten asshole of a question that's plagued this team ever since 1950 or so - What the hell are we going to do about a quarterback? - seems to have been answered, when Jerry Angelo's desperation to save his job met Josh McDaniels's absolute dumbshit slavish devotion to recreating the Broncos in Bill Belichik's image, and resulted in Jay Cutler's arrival in Chicago. I'm sure this will end badly, as all things based around Chicago football seem to do, but for now, I'm clinging to the hope that this mopey-looking dude will finally be The Answer, after years of suffering through injuries to would-be decent players like Jim McMahon, Erik Kramer, and Jim Miller, and through the complete doesn't-belong-in-pro-football-ness of turds like Mike Tomczak, Rick Mirer, and Rex Grossman.
- But wait. Before we go any further, I know that sooner or later, any mentions of Bear quarterbacks by me are somehow going to devolve into half-mad jabble about how much I hate Rex Grossman and everything he stands for. But insofar as that era is and should be forevermore buried, I'm just going to get it all out of my system now:
Fuck you, Rex Grossman. Fuck you in the ass. Fuck your stupid face, your stupid "cannon arm," fuck the stupid way you helped piss away the only Chicago Bears Super Bowl appearance I'll see before I'm sixty, throwing the ball to no one in particular and not being able to take a snap from your six-time Pro Bowl center, and fuck you, stupid. You swine. I challenge you to pistols at dawn, and I will kill you, Rex Grossman. Eat a bag of dicks. I wish you ill, Rex Grossman. Have fun backing up Dan Stupid Orlovski, and rest easy in the knowledge that planning your stupid goddamn New Years party at least won't cost the Texans any games, you cur. Hey. Hey. Hey, Rex Grossman. Screw you, Rex Grossman.So there we go. Let sleeping dogs lie, and let the past stay dead and buried, like Rex Grossman's NFL career. But yeah, Bears got a quarterback, and now, everybody's acting like we could all be making plane reservations for the Super Bowl now, that is we could if the Super Bowl was open for attendance by anyone who's not an ad executive or related to the President or something. But really, quarterback wasn't the problem last year. It was damn near everything else. This is a team with questions remaining to be answered, and Jay Cutler isn't the answer to all of them. So here's the part where I get into which of these questions have been bugging me the most:
Question: What the hell are we gonna do about our wide receivers?
As of right now, only one starting position is set, and that's Devin Hester. And he might have been the best receiver on the team, (at least after Mark Bradley got cut) but on the 2008 Bears, where Marty Booker aged seventy years in six weeks, Rashied Davis made me pay dearly for talking him up a year ago, Earl Bennett got less playing time than I did, and Brandon Lloyd lost his last chance at an NFL career by getting in Darryl Drank's stupid dog house, it was one of those "say, this piss tastes better than shit" situations. And hell, Hester being the default #1 guy makes it that much worse, because Devin Hester is not a goddamn number one receiver. He's a #2 guy, the guy you send deep to keep the defense from being able to double-team the other guy who's better than he is, and a good #2 rarely makes a good #1, just ask Alvin Harper about that shit. So not only do the Bears have to find a starting receiver out of the crop of rookies and rejects that fill out the position, but they also have to find one who's a better receiver than Devin Hester is. So as of right now, either Earl Bennett, Juaquin Iglesias, or mayyyyyyyybe Johnny Knox needs to step it up hugely, or this team is probably fucked.
Question: Cuts - Who will survive, and what will be left of them?
The worst part of all this madness is knowing that your team is going to cut loose some guys you'd rather have around for a few years. Has channeling his Napoleon complex into special teams insanity saved Garrett Wolfe, or will they finally decide that four running backs is too many, when one is not suited at all to the offense the team runs? On the other hand, has Wolfe's special teams emergence spelled doom for the O.G. Adrian Peterson? Is Derek Kinder going to be the 2009 version of Marcus Monk? Is Nathan Vasher going to keep making superstar money, if he falls to fourth on the depth chart? Are Will Ta'ufo'ou, Matt Toeaina, and Al Afalava all doomed, now that Pisa Tinoisamoa has taken up the team's maximum allowance of one Wild Samoan? This shit's gonna suck, but it's gotta be done, to get down to that really arbitrary sounding number of fifty-three guys.
Question: What the hell are we gonna do without Mike Brown?
For years, that dude was pretty much the secret best player on the team, while Brian Urlacher was shooting commercials and shit, but after the horrifying last few years of injuries upon injuries, Brown is gone, and waiting in the wings are a bunch of rejects, broken leftovers, and broken leftover rejects. Danieal Manning is fast, but he can't tackle and has the football smarts of Leon Lett with post-concussion syndrome. Craig Steltz is white, and therefore a fan favorite, but that's about all he has going for him. Josh Bullocks is the lesser of the two Bullockses, and getting rid of him ended the same sort of long national nightmare in New Orleans that ended here when that quarterback I'm not mentioning anymore got booted out of Chicago. After some debate, they decided to keep Corey Graham and Zack Bowman at corner, and Glenn Earl's only contribution to the team was retiring before he could be cut. It's hard times at free safety in Chicago right now.
Question: Are they really that hell-bent on having Frank Omiyale start for this stupid team?
If you don't know who Omiyale is, don't worry; that just puts you with about 99.7% of the population. The dude is a former (shitty) backup offensive tackle for the Panthers that the Bears signed, and I swear to god, the coaching staff talked him up more upon his signing than they did for Jay Cutler and Orlando Pace combined. And they've already pretty much anointed him the starting left guard, where Josh Beekman came out of nowhere and had shit locked down all of last year. And the last time the Bears used a shitty backup lineman as an out-of-position starter, we got a year of John St. Clair at left tackle, and dear sweet Lord, let's not do that again. Sure, Beekman is the chosen one to replace Olin Kreutz at center someday, but that doesn't mean you can't use him at guard now. Jesus, I wonder what sort of blackmail photos Omiyale must have to get a sweet deal like that.
There are probably more questions; after all, this was a team that overachieved like a motherfucker to win nine games last year. But my brain is hurting, and this is too much typing to do when we're only talking about practice. I mean... Practice.