70 years removed from the nickname that has stood the test of time, the Chicago Bears are determined to take it back to the 1940’s and the Monsters of the Midway.
On paper, the Bears look to live up to the defensive style of football that this franchise and fans have prided themselves on. But we all know that "on paper" is as faithful as a married sailor on day leave in a brothel.
But the Bears defense seems to have the sense of urgency and maturity to not let their own shortcomings define the season.
Middle linebacker and team captain Brian Urlacher has heard the overrated comments for years, and now he must hear that he is washed up and only a shell of himself. We all know that Urlacher is more substance than flash. He is considered a key component to what the Bears do this year. Hopefully the reality of missing football hit him hard last year and he realizes that his NFL days may only have 3-5 years to go, fingers crossed.
Defensive end Mark Anderson also has something to prove. After bursting on the scene as a rookie in ’06, his 12 sacks helped the Bears reach the Super Bowl. He was then given the starting job over fan favorite Alex Brown - only to digress. This season he will be pushed by the forever going motor that is Israel Idonije and rookie Corey Wootton, whom also has something to prove after dropping in this year’s draft due to injury in college.
At the other defensive end, is prized free agent Julius Peppers. No need to get into the chip on his shoulder. I’m just glad we get to reap the benefits.
We also know the stories of Tommie Harris, Zackary Bowman, Charles Tillman and Danieal Manning. Other than Harris, all of these players have shown the type of character that can propel their athletic ability to heights they know they can reach. With the entire locker room in dominate mode, I just can’t see Tommie not giving it his all.
Even though the players may have plenty of ammo for this season, the coaches have much more on the line.
As soon as last season ended too short once again, Lovie Smith’s hot season almost burned him a new one. However, he was given what many perceive as one last season to prove that 2006 was no fluke. After handing over the defensive reigns to a buddy for the second time in three seasons, Smith’s Cover 2 needs to not only save his reputation but also his job.
From 2007’s experiment with defensive coordinator Bob Babich to this season’s promotion of ‘Hot’ Rod Marinelli, you can never say that Lovie Smith is not loyal to his friends. It’s time that Babich, now back to his proper linebackers coach position, and Marinelli give the love back to their boy.
OTA’s and early days of training camp show that the players are behind their bewildered coach. Couple that with Vietnam Vet Marinelli gaining the utmost respect from his unit since day one, and the players having their own scores to settle, this Bears team will have more in common with the teams of the forties than a nickname: championships.