When an NFL team like the Chicago Bears hasn’t made the postseason in five seasons - an eternity in football - and generally has had no consistent markers of success over recent decades, the tendency to react rationally to any move they make isn’t always made. The rebuilding Bears have hardly been molded in a fashion to inspire any faith of late because of their less than stellar track record. Any roster turnover in Chicago is met with derision and exhaustion because of it. Or in some cases, even incredibly poor research on a national scale (not all of the mentioned quarterbacks are on the current roster, obviously).
Generally speaking with all of this mind, the atmosphere and energy that surrounds a team like the Bears will be that of a laughingstock and punching bag at every corner until the status quo changes. You know, until they’re a legitimate winner.
How long it takes them to pull out of their current tailspin, become a contender, and heaven forbid, win a championship, is anyone’s best guess let alone if it happens at all. For any benefit of the doubt, reasonable progress needs to be made and soon i.e. some kind of results. These aren’t the New England Patriots where everything they do or touch seemingly turns to gold after all.
But that doesn’t change the fact to have a need for perspective.
Chicago is one of the NFL’s definitive bottom feeders at the moment and yet it feels like they can’t even make a quarterback depth signing like Mark Sanchez without becoming a butt of jokes. Much like the previous addition under center in Mike Glennon seemed to be evaluated based on one play in a general sense at first: Everyone can only remember one specific play with the 30-year-old Sanchez before screaming “Uncle” over and over at the top of their lungs at thought of the Bears adding him to their quarterback room.
Whether he was the right decision to bring in with guys like the more talented former San Francisco 49ers passer in Colin Kaepernick still sitting on the street is a different story altogether. Put aside all stories of veteran leadership and mentoring, Sanchez won’t capitulate any drafting plans of the Bears to acquire a young quarterback. He’s not going to sink the organization with his mere presence. He doesn’t cloud the future. He’s merely the veteran presence who will have the most experience for Chicago in tutelage of next year’s starter in Glennon and the likely long-term young starter in development.
Remember too, the Bears quarterback room was purged of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, and of course, Jay Cutler. Sanchez is just filling in the blanks.
Overall, the Bears didn’t sign Sanchez with the ideal to not draft their own franchise guy at any point in the draft. Even they haven’t lost sight of the overall goal. Even they - with all of their futility in tow - know waiting three years to draft anyone at the position to set up for success in the future has been way too long.
And considering that head coach John Fox hasn’t carried more than three quarterbacks on an active roster in six seasons, Sanchez or anyone else such as Connor Shaw aren’t guaranteed a spot with the team.
The only quarterback guaranteed to be with Chicago in 2017 at the moment is Glennon. Yet the immediate need for an angry mob because of a depth quarterback that will likely have no bearing on the 2017 season - feels a tad drastic. A 2017 season where of course - there are still outliers who believe to no end - Chicago probably won’t even be competitive on a grand scale.
Either this means there’s too much time between now and the actual 2017 Draft, the offseason is too long, or both, it doesn’t matter.
It’s all going to be okay, and if it isn’t, that’s okay too. The time to despair is not now. The action to agonize over people that will largely have no consequence on the Bears in the present and later, never makes sense.
But somehow, doom and gloom have set in. Somehow the Bear apocalypse led by general manager Ryan Pace has begun as many a fan go bald from tearing their hair out.
This kind of raw emotion applied doesn’t just extend to the quarterback position in Chicago. This is how it’s been following and covering the Bears ever since their widespread consistent failures. Under a microscope even when they shouldn’t be. Always digging and looking for fault.
Of other recent examples, they can’t sign a special teamer such as Benny Cunningham, Chris Prosinski, or Joshua Bellamy without people making sure to exclaim aimlessly into the void, “how does this make them better?!” Somehow the third phase of special teams has been lost as the Bears are expected to add All-Pros at their positions whenever possible as they also only have value on offense or defense. That your 46th to 53rd guys can’t make a difference now. Clearly, they place too much of a premium on players who can’t play, correct?
Finally, at the end of April - per the standard operating procedure - it’ll be fascinating to watch how the Bears won’t be able to make any draft pick - particularly their first rounder - without criticism levied in some light. Because assuredly, they’ll be wrong and heading in the wrong direction according to someone somewhere.
Draft a safety and they’re wasting positional value. Draft a quarterback and they’re wasting an opportunity at a defensive game changer. Draft a bona fide polished pass rusher and don’t worry, there will be some kind of huge fault in his game eventually. If not initially, some will make sure to find the flaws in a player and it’ll be a “wasted pick.”
There is no reason to blindly charge into the light and buy everything the Bears will attempt to sell to the masses. That helps no one either. In fact, that probably inflicts more harm than good. A measure of accountability does need to be maintained, and if you’re that much of a glutton for punishment, the call for it will ring louder than ever soon enough.
But those cries won’t come because of anyone on the bottom of the roster, that much is for certain.
For now, stop sharpening your pitch fork. Blow out the fire on your torch before you hurt someone. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Take a step back. The Bears’ future isn’t in jeopardy, at least not yet.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is a staff writer for Windy City Gridiron and Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.