Typically, I try to put a positive spin on the Bears losses. Last year though, the team was so bad that I eventually gave up on that. The team was such a hot mess of dysfunction that it seemed hopeless, so why waste time looking for a shred of good in a pile of garbage.
However, one game into the John Fox era and I've bought in. The biggest reason that I am excited to say that is: the team played the game they were supposed to. No one on Chicago got cute or tried to outsmart anybody, they simply played to their team's strengths, and, for nearly three quarters, they punched about their weight.
Going into the the game everyone knew the game plan had to be run Matt Forte until he can't run anymore, grab his backup and run him. Chew up yards and clock and keep Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. This team, the one with the suspect offensive line, banged up receivers, very suspect secondary and out-of-position front seven players managed to keep it a one score game with a perennial playoff team!
Re-reading that sentence that seems like such a sad, small, incidental thing to be excited about, but after going through both Packers games last season this felt like a huge step in the right direction. There was never really a point where I thought 'Why on Earth would they call that play' or 'What were they thinking?'
There was some poor execution at times, bad technique (Antre Rolle, please wrap when you tackle), but overall there were not a lot of times where the players were out of position or miscommunicating or unsure of what was happening. And that is all in the first regular season game of a new system.
I still believe that this is going to be a long and difficult season for the Bears, they are missing a lot of pieces and have questions about some of the pieces they do have. The product I saw yesterday at least gave me hope that the Bears will be competitive this season, that they won't have that 1,000-yard stare when the scoreboard is against and that they will come into games with an actual game plan that makes sense and puts the team in a position to succeed.
And that is progress. I am a John Fox guy.