In sports, as in politics, it often seems like the most extreme viewpoints are the norm, because they're the ones you most often hear. I think it's that way in part, because extremism makes for good media, and in part because people don't hold rallies or write the newspaper, to express a general sense of contentment. Another aspect of this phenomenon, is to assume anyone who takes issue with your opinion, must have the extreme opposite view.
For instance after the Detroit game, (in BOTH of the Chicago major dailies) I interrupted the catastrophic wailing and gnashing of teeth, to point out that the Bears had actually won the game. I was immediately branded a 'Kool-Aid Drinker', and was derisively assured they would be destroyed in Dallas. Of course, after Sunday, the Cowboys suddenly became one of the worst teams in the NFL, overrated and in trouble. The Bears didn't beat Dallas, the Cowboys lost to Chicago. Doom and gloom await us, on Monday Night Football, against the mighty Green Bay Packers.
But, does it, really?
I like the Bears chances Monday night, for a lot of reasons. The resurgence of our linebacking corps, for one. But mostly, because the players believe in Mike Martz.
And so do I.
It didn't occur to me, until I watched the Dallas game again, on NFL Replay, after the adjustments, during the Hester touchdown. They added an interview with one of the Cowboys corners, and he was saying (basically) they were focused on Forte, because of his performance against Detroit. Hester only caught one pass against Detroit.
Then it started to come to me: The Packers have no idea, how to gameplan for this game. How could they? The pat, NFL 'expert' answer, has been get after Cutler and he'll start trying to force things. And that was logical...last year. Cutler was trying to make something, anything, happen. That's how he put up 26 ints to begin with. Playing from behind,and blitzed heavily.
But Cutler doesn't HAVE to force things this year. He obviously doesn't feel the entire success of the offense rests on him.
If you're Green Bay, who do you focus on? You have to respect Hester's speed, but there's no guarantee he's going to get a lot of looks. Aromashadou had the most balls thrown to him in week one, and went over 70 yards, but was only in for one play in Dallas. The current thinking is he was being benched for drops, but that's just unconfirmed rumors, become accepted wisdom. What if it's misdirection? He has to get attention, when he's on the field. And defenses have to start acknowledging Knox as a long ball threat. And after last Sunday, do you you dare ignore our TE's even for a play?
The truth is, we have a LOT of potential threats on our offense, and a lot more that we don't know about yet, The Dallas game, didn't look anything like the Detroit game (for a lot of reasons). And I'd bet that the Green Bay game doesn't closely resemble either, as far as our offensive attack goes.
Except that it'll be entertaining to watch.
Let me just say this, in conclusion: I AM a homer. I'm a Chicago Bears fan, first and foremost. I'm happy when they win, whether the win 'counts in your book', or not. I'm sad when they lose, but my loved ones aren't afraid to talk to me after a loss. They know I'm not going to take it out on them, or throw rock's at Lovie Smith's house. But if I thought they were as bad as the people who wrote in to the newspapers all summer; if I was that pessimistic about the players, owners, coaches, and stadium? I'd find another team to root for, or spend my Sunday's doing something else.
But I believe in this team. I think they (unlike in the recent past) can overcome their mistakes, like they did in week 2, with turnovers and penalties. I believe we haven't seen the surface of what this offense can do. I think the Martz offensive scheming, is a gift that's going to keep on surprising all year long. Win or lose, it's going to be exciting football.
Update: In today's Chicago Tribune, they point out that last year the Packers used Charles Woodson mainly to cover Greg Olsen. While it was effective then (3 receptions,22 yards) I don't think they can afford to do that again, this season. Using last year's opener against the Packers as a yardstick, I think you'll see a Bears receiving corp that's significantly more mature.