The NFL Films highlight show about the 2011 Bears should be titled "What Could Have Been" or "Lost Opportunities." After last season, fans thought, sure we'd be right back in the thick of it for a title this year, and after a rough start, the team was before injuries derailed the season and fans' hope. Yesterday's season-ending win was at least something nice to carry the Bears into hibernation; break the five-game skid, leave a not-as-bad-taste in our mouths and we got a look at some players for offseason consideration purposes. Other than that, all I got from yesterday's game is that 1) I hate Jared Allen and 2) Josh McCown might not be coaching high schoolers next fall and I'm OK with that.
Anyway, so Hall of Fame voters are going to have to start re-evaluating the way they are going to evaluate players from this era, but I digress...
This should be an interesting offseason for the Bears. Finishing 8-8 was gross and awful, but at the end of the day it's not bad. It means the team went 1-5 without their starting QB, which shows Cutler's worth, but also means there was a good chance the team could have been 10-6 or 11-5 with him. Not that that is something fans want to be reminded of today, as they watch division rivals Green Bay and Detroit march into the postseason. I'm also going to throw in having to watch Atlanta get to play in January after the Bears trounced them opening day back in September 30-12.
The Bears hold the 19th overall pick in the draft, the team can thank their strong strength of schedule for that, while it's not a game-changer of a pick, like a top 10 pick could be, we all learned last year that crazy stuff happens, like when Gabe Carimi, a guy many experts thought would be one of the first two or three tackles taken, lasted all the way down to the Bears at 29.
So Jerry Angelo will have options, that's of course after he and Lovie make decisions regarding coaches such as Mike Martz and Dave Toub, and not to mention the many players who have expiring deals like Matt Forte, Josh McCown, Corey Graham, Tim Jennings, Israel Idonije and Zack Bowman. Plus there is a guy like Lance Briggs who wants a new deal and other players, such as Amobi Okoye who could see extensions.
Let's not fret then, sports fans, because there are going to be plenty of decisions, news and discussions to be had regarding the team. At some point this week we'll get Jerry Angelo's annual Excuses Seminar, uh, I mean "End of the Season Press Conference" where he'll speak in vague phrases about what moves the team could make and then make excuses for why they won't make any of said moves and more excuses for why another playoff-less year was somehow beyond the fault of the coaches and him.
And, as always, WCG will have all the stories, updates and open threads in which you can pour out your heart, plans, ideas and ways to improve the team, and mostly, to complain about Jerry and his lack of moves.
It's going to be an interesting ride, but 2012 season will be here soon enough and the Bears should be right back in the drivers seat.