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Great... Er, Low... er... Confused Expectations

I was going to do my Mike Tice lookback in this spot, but... Color me confused about something.

There are some things that you can count on. You can expect Brendan to be a fantasy football mastermind. You can expect Just Dave to be his typical pithy and sarcastic self. You can expect David Taylor to put a funny photoshop on the site. (What? That didn't happen this week?!) I can expect that in early April I can only complete about two miles of what should be a three mile jog. I can also expect that my online teams in NHL '11 will be somewhere at a .200 record, and ditto for my MLB '11 The Show skills. But... I'm not sure what I can expect out of our Bears this season.

As an example of what I'm talking about... Remember two years ago when the Blackhawks got knocked out of the playoffs by rival Detroit?

Or not, because not many people here watch hockey, I'd wager. But that year, there were the makings of a championship team. The year before, the team had just missed the playoffs. Then in 2009, the Hawks locked up a playoff seed, took down Nashville (TRAP!) in the first round and for the first time made Roberto Luongo look like Cristobal Huet. The Red Wings downed the Hawks in the next series, but you just knew you were watching a special team. Adding another player who had been to the previous two Stanley Cup Finals (Marian Hossa), plus another year's growth of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews only fueled expectations - this team is going to win a Stanley Cup. 

On the other side of the spectrum, there's the Cubs. (Yes, I will happily take shots at myself here.) After last season, the bad seasons by Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee (replaced by Carlos Pena); Carlos Zambrano's meltdown (and possible re-emergence), Carlos Silva's horrible second half (replaced by relative unknown fifth starter Andrew Cashner)... I didn't expect that this year would be as bad as last year turned out to be. But watching yesterday's game, the same mistakes were happening - instances of bad managing, failure to bring in runners. Of course, they still have time to prove me wrong, but it just doesn't feel good, even after the win today.

But I don't know what to expect at all with our Monsters of the Midway. With the Martz addition, we expected that Jay would get his head ripped off on occasion (he did), that there would be much increased passing and overall yardage and much rejoicing (passing and overall yardage decreased, rejoicing was at time of press undetermined), and increased point production (it did). We also expected an abandonment of the rushing game (absolutely not) and judging by comments here, everything ranging from making the playoffs with a #1 seed to a 4-12 or 5-11 record. 

Some point to stats to determine expectation. Some point to extenuating factors and circumstances. Some have been in both camps, on separate topics. At various times, we here have brought up the schedule, the third string quarterbacks, Asante Samuel (who, in that other universe, just picked off Jay for the seventh time in the game), having the Lions beat the Packers, The No-Catch, Donkey Kong Suh's Swing, the bad offensive line, getting the Seahawks in the playoffs... You get the point.

I mean, tomorrow, I'll post my look at Mike Tice's Vikings' first draft and statistical improvement, and try to use that information with the first two "Impact of the Ex-Head Coach" posts to give a statistical projection based just on the coaches and their first drafts/chances at improving the team. But I'll still have the same feeling that I won't know what to expect. So far, I'm not even sure to expect an offensive lineman in the first two days of the draft.

Should we feel good just because we won the NFC North, took the #2 seed, and made it to the NFC Championship Game? Should we worry because Green Bay asserted itself as the king of the NFL for now? Can Jay take another step forward next year? Is he going to get his head knocked off and Cam Newton has to enter the game?! (I kid, I kid.) Can we count on the defense to stay strong again, or was that a byproduct of the schedule and 3rd-string QBs?

I could try to boil it down to the one factor that'll make it easy to know what I can expect from our team in 2011... But I can't. I just have no idea what that one factor is.

Is anyone else in this same weird boat? What do you guys expect out of our 2011 Bears?