Today is a weird day. Not just in the DFO Clubhouse either. All across America today, PERHAPS EVEN RIGHT NOW, the moon is blocking out the sun.
What greater metaphor for the 2017 Bears Football Season than that?! Abandon all hope ye who enter this season as Bears fans. In these (literal and figurative) dark times, and when it’s unlikely the Bears will be able to hit your GSH-spot (h/t Moose), we must find light and joy somewhere. And so we shall steal a page from BDD and RANK BEARS. Not a single Chicago Bear made the NFL Network’s list of the top 100 players for this season. Hard to quibble with that, but a few should make this list. TO THE ANIMAL KINGDOM!
1) Pandas. These fuckers are cute as hell, beloved in pop culture, ferocious, don’t know how to fuck, but they get us humans to keep them alive because they’re amazing. Plus they’ll rip your face off. Even fake pandas are more intimidating than Chicago Bears. TOP BEAR!
2) Grizzly. Nobody fucks with a grizzly bear. If the Chicago Bears started a grizzly bear at quarterback, they would have a better record against the Packers than the 2-6 mark under the combined Marc Trestman and John Fox regimes. Pretty decent bet that Fox doesn’t get that record above .500 before getting (deservedly) shitcanned.
3) Water Bears, aka Tardigrade. Dok Zymm introduced us to these in an open thread a while back. They’re basically indestructible and will likely be the only thing to survive the coming Trump-fueled apocalypse/nuclear winter. Would be number one, but some experts say they’re not a bear, but if Mark Sanchez can be a Bear, this badass can be on the list.
4) Sloth Bear. Homer pick since being lazy and pantsless is a common goal around here.
5) Jordan Howard, RB. The biggest bright spot of last season. I know running backs are “overrated” in the NFL, and I know that everyone is expecting a sophomore slump out of Howard, and I know the offensive line is still suspect. But he was fantastic as a rookie out of Indiana, and he’s not fucking around like Antwaan Randle El. Howard is likely the next Neal Anderson, good not great talent wasted on a middling Bears team. Fuck, now I’m depressed again. Ok, let’s look at Jordan Howard highlights from a youtube account that epitomizes the grounded nature of Bears Fans:
6) Polar. Seems like without the Coca-Cola ads, we’re happy to accelerate the destruction of their habitat through global warming, leaving them all to drown and die. Sure are cute, though. And they can be pretty fierce.
8) American Black Bear. Would be higher on the list, but #MAGA
9) Kyle Long, G. Starting to decline over time, but arguably the face of the Bears right now. Good mobility pulling, he’s big and strong, and fans love him. Or maybe it’s just me. I’m even willing to overlook the bloodline. Naturally the Bears are wasting his talent. Plus, he’s coming off of ankle surgery (UPDATE: VERY MUCH INJURED ALREADY!), so his health remains a question mark. You may notice that as a theme as we go through the Bears not from the family Ursidae.
10) Owl Bears. I don’t know what they are, but I stole this from MikeMartzsColorsDon’tRun’s comment on the 2015 Bears preview: “Owlbears ambushing your d&d party and wrecking your whole fucking crew, RIP Sir Vancelot the lvl 3 Paladin.” I also don’t know what that comment means.
11) Danny Trevathan, ILB. As the Bears tried a Broncos east approach last year, this was one of the better signings. Trevathan brings playoff experience, leadership, and comfort in a 3-4 defense. Naturally, he almost immediately hurt his knee and went on IR. If healthy, he’s a key component of the defense. If not, he’s a key cost item on the balance sheet.
12) Grizzly-polar bear hybrid. Definitely putting a lot of faith in Wikipedia to believe this exists at all. Apparently it’s also called grolar bear or pizzly bear. If anyone uses either of those names in front of you, then you are legally permitted to feed him or her to the nearest bear and/or woodchipper.
13) Cody Whitehair, C/G. I’m irrationally high on Cody Whitehair. He was slated to play guard last year while awesomely named Hroniss Grasu handled the center duties. The Bears’ injury luck being what it is, Whitehair was pressed into playing out of position at center as a rookie for a team with a temperamental quartercat and he did a damn fine job. I expect him to continue to grow and be awesome unless he just fucking snaps having to play with Mike, Mitch, and Mark. Unrelated, if any of you have information on why his wikipedia entry says his nickname is “Licks,” please let us know in the comments, preferably with pictures of a college gf that christened him as such.
14) Spectacled Bear: NEEEEERD
15) Pernell McPhee, DE. This rating inflated to piss off Cuntler, who keeps tweeting “Fat Pussy” at/about McPhee. He’ll start the season on the PUP list and participate in a non-televised episode of House.
16) Pat O’Donnell, P. Seems about right for the Bears, where punters are often in the discussion for team MVP.
17) Koala. Not a Bear. Still better than the Bears that follow.
18) Eddie Goldman, NT. The best thing about the 3-4 is that it means there’s a true nose tackle. Goldman clocks in at 320 pounds, which makes him a true nose tackle. He was hurt a lot of last season, but when he’s healthy, he’s a beast. He’s one of those keys to a defense that could gel and make the Bears competitive in a bunch of games that their quarterbacks throw away with pick-sixes and other incompetence.
19) Josh Sitton, G. I was HIGHLY skeptical of Josh Sitton when the Bears signed him. “Oh, the Packers got rid of him because they didn’t think he was worth the trouble? And our front office knows better why?” Pleasant surprise to see him play at a high level and get along with everyone. Makes me hope he punches Glennon in that big ass neck of his at some point this season.
20) Cameron Meredith, WR. I really didn’t want to list Cameron Meredith (or any Bears wideout) this high, but he really did have an awesome coming out last season and was a bright spot in a dismal season. If you picked him up off of waivers in fantasy last season, you know what I mean. I expect a bit of a sophomore slump/regression to the mean/expected drop-off given who’s throwing to him this season, but he’s currently the best WR on the roster until one of the other has-beens and never-weres prove otherwise. Of course, Meredith’s thumb is all fucked up, proving again that the Bears can’t have nice things.
21) Willie Young, DE/OLB. I LOVE Willie Young. The Fisherman is a beast. He’s somehow not a number one starter this year, but Vic Fangio is smart enough to use a full rotation of pass rushers, and he should build on last year’s 7.5 sacks if opposing teams ever feel the need to pass.
22) Staley the Bear.
23) Kyle Fuller, CB/S. What? No YOU wanted the symmetry of jersey number and ranking here. :sigh: At this point, it’s unclear if he’s in the CB rotation or looking to play safety. I hope he’s healthy enough to return to corner and really make things tough on opposing wideouts. I also think it’s too early to write him off as “injury-prone” and think he’s tremendously talented. Shit, this is what I said about Mike Brown (the safety, not the Bengals owner) for like three years. Fuck. Regardless, this may be moot, as rumor is the Bears are looking to trade him and/or may end up cutting him. Played pretty well the first two preseason games.
24) Akiem Hicks, DE. Contract year. Sky high expectations. Usually not a good thing with this team.
25) Red Panda. MAYBE not a bear. From wikipedia: “The red panda is the only living species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. It has been previously placed in the raccoon and bear families, but the results of phylogenetic analysis provide strong support for its taxonomic classification in its own family Ailuridae, which, along with the weasel, raccoon and skunk families is part of the superfamily Musteloidea. Two subspecies are recognized. It is not closely related to the giant panda.”
26) Dion Sims, TE. Dion Sims was competent in Miami. I thought he’d be a good 2nd TE in jumbo situations and fill in admirably when Zach Miller gets hurt…but apparently the Bears want to start him. Is it to motivate Miller? Is it a prophylactic move because we all know Miller is getting hurt? Is it because he’s actually good and the Bears finally have two solid options at TE? Does that make up for jettisoning the Black Unicorn or Greg Olsen when both were in their prime? No it does not.
27) Mexican Grizzly Bear: Farther down the list at the direction of the President of the United States.
29) Quintin Demps, S. The Bears signed a bunch of DBs in the offseason to try and bolster a swiss cheese pass defense. Either Demps is a stud or this unit still sucks. Hopefully it’s the former, but the jury is still out.
30) Jerrell Freeman. He had a great season last year. Heroic off-season He will almost certainly have a drop off as the defense is forced to spend too much time on the field and being an undersized and overly enthusiastic linebacker wears on errybody. Unclear if anyone can stop this team from choking.
31) Asian Black Bear. Knocked way down the list since no one ever talks about them (NO BUZZ!) and the “crescent-shaped” marking that gives it the nickname of “moon bear” doesn’t even look like a moon.
32) Zach Miller, TE. Nice season last year. Unclear if he’s going to start Will likely be on IR by week 6.
33) Jonathan Bullard, DE. A bunch of folks are very high on Bullard this season. He wouldn’t be the first Gator to have success pass rushing for the Bears, and if he is as smart as Brown re: Trubisky, I’ll like him even more. I go into the season doubting that he’s that smart or that good.
34) Nick Kwiatkowski, LB. His name is a Super Fans fan’s wet dream, and he is a solid back up plan for when Trevathan gets hurt again. But he’s not the second-coming of legendary Bears inside linebackers. Not that that’s fair, but if life were fair Virginia McCaskey wouldn’t still be alive.
35) Hroniss Grasu, C. Sweet name. If he’s healthy, he’s solid. But then you’re talking about swapping out one of Whitehair, Long, or Sitton, probably due to injury. Right now he’s starting at center, sliding Whitehair down to guard while maybe Kyle Long recovers. Then you have to wonder about a chemistry problem since O-lines always need time to mesh.
36) Markus Wheaton, WR. Markus Wheaton is young, fast, and talented. So of course as soon as he got to the Bears his body rejected the move and he had to have an appendectomy. And then he broke his finger. I look forward to him having one game where he lights up the scoreboard before internal bleeding forces him to retire early.
37) Other Brown Bears. Honestly, I always forget that there are more brown bears that just Kodiak and Grizzly, and I blew my wad on that Mexican Brown Bear joke. And it wasn’t even that good. Let’s just move on.
38) Adrian Amos, S. I can’t imagine something summing up the 2017 Chicago Bears better than the fact that Amos is penciled in as a starter on the Bears depth chart YET he may not even make the team. I thought he played decently well last season, but he who burns brightest in a dumpster fire may not shine longest. Or something.
39) Jeremy Langford, RB. Proved himself to be “not-the-answer” unless the question was “who should Jordan Howard be starting ahead of?” That being said, he could be helpful spelling Howard and/or inspiring a Benny Cunningham career resurgence. In the preseason, Tarik Cohen has seen more carries and more production, so who Langford may be… :puts on sunglasses: …left out in the woods. YEEEEEEAAAAHH
40) Lamarr Houston, LB. When you hear Lamarr Houston’s name, what do you think of? Pulling a Gramatica, right? Yup. Allegedly he’s healthy and he’s dangerous when he’s healthy. But then again, when the Bears finally released their first depth chart this preseason, they listed him with the third unit. And I don’t have high expectations for him to stay on the field too long. Can’t imagine where my pessimism about Bears players staying healthy comes from, though.
41) Eric Kush, C; his hamstring was smart enough to rupture before the season started so he doesn’t have to let a giraffe shove its paws up his ass all year long. I mean, this was Whitehair’s job all along, but fuck it.
42) Kevin White, WR. I would love to put Kevin White higher, I really would. But so far, we’ve seen a young player who was really fucking good in college not be able to get onto the field. That’s not a knock on him, I don’t think “injury-prone” is really anything other than “unlucky,” but how the hell can anyone evaluate this guy when he’s played in four games. And now his wide receiver coach is publicly crapping on him? Ominous when this roster is full of good but not great wide receivers. Oh, and here’s footage of Kevin White from the previous two offseasons:
43) Prince Amukamara, CB. How is this only his seventh season in the league? It feels like he’s been around a helluva lot longer than that. Though I suppose one year in Jacksonville feels like twenty. Regardless, I look forward to him being wildly overwhelmed whenever he’s left one-on-one with a halfway decent WR.
44) The rotting corpse of Victor Cruz, WR. Ugh, really? Can’t he just salsa his way into retirement? Word out of camp is that his speed is back, but I presume he’s there to mentor and be a decoy the seven times the Bears are in the red zone this season.
45) Bobby Massie, T. Massie played like dogshit last season. Can he earn his large contract this season to keep Glennon or whomever upright? Probably not. Tackle is a huge weakness for the Bears and will continue to be for quite some time.
46) Rueben Randle/Kendall Wright/Josh Bellamy, WR. The Bears can’t carry nine wideouts, so a bunch of folks aren’t making the cut. Which of these “I can’t believe they’re as young as they are guys” is going to be there to drop passes and frustrate the hell out of you? Personally I hope it’s not Wright since he’s tainted by Titan and screwed me in fantasy in years past. And Brian Westbrook hates Randle’s work ethic, so that’s a good sign.
/BEAR DEN DOOR FLIES OPEN
[Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli stumbles into room knocking over empty Old Style cans holding a malort bottle in each hand wearing a Cubs championship hat, a Cubs championship shirt, Cubs championship underwear, carrying a bag of various Cubs championship merchandise bleary eyed from a nine-month-long bender]
WOOOO! WOOOOOOOOO! CUBBIES! WE DID IT! WE FINALLY WON IT. IT TOOK 108 MOTHERFUCKING YEARS BUT WE DID IT! TAKE THAT HATERS. And let me tell you, it was a motherfucking great time. In fact, let me tell you about these Cub–
[BrettFavresColonoscopy whispers in ICRM’s ear]
Oh. Those Bears. Well. Uh… What did they do? They had the number two pick, right?
[checks draft, eyes go wide]
Oh God. OH GOD. THEY DID WHAT?! Jesus. I mean, at least they aren’t throwing Mr. I Love Kissing Tittiess into the fire right away. And frankly, we shouldn’t knock off-brand Theo Epstein for signing Glennon to what’s effectively a one-year contract to let Truwhiskey age a bit more. Even so, a team with this many holes probably shouldn’t have reached for a QB at the cost of multiple picks. They’re a sure-fire last place team unless either the Lions of Vikings hilariously implode.
Well, at least I have the juvenile Bears to root for. Now, let me take a long sip of malort and check in on how the sure-to-repeat-as-champion Cubs are doing…
/ICRM passes out drunk and angry
47) Adam Shaheen, TE. WHY THE FUCK DID THE BEARS DRAFT THIS GUY? Or fine, a tight end from a D-II school no one has heard of can be worth a risk, but with a second round pick? What are the odds he was on anyone else’s board before the 5th round? Apparently he’s been good in camp, but I’m still gonna be cranky about it.
48) Charles Leno, OT. Wondering why he’s so low despite being a member of the starting offensive line? Here’s a look at how Charles Leno plays tackle:
49) Berenstain Bears. Get your shit together.
50) Mark Sanchez, QB. Senor Buttfumble himself! Two sad facts: 1) it’s a disaster if he sees the field this season and 2) he’s the MOST game ready quarterback on the Bears’ roster right now.
52) Mike Glennon, QB. Now is this fair? Is Mike Glennon really less talented than scrubs on a shitty Bears team? Yes. More importantly, this is my confidence level in his ability to “make the leap” and actually be an above replacement level NFL quarterback. Frankly, I’d rather see Nacho and then try Trubisky next year. But I’m not part of the Bears’ brain trust, because I have a working brain. The best thing I can say about Glennon is that he gives the Bears the best chance to have the draft pick they need next season. If the Bears stay healthy, they actually have decent weapons at the skill positions (Howard is a genuine stud, the WR are all above average and have some speed if Wheaton can burn without literally disintegrating) but none of that matters if opponents can put eight in the box and Glennon can’t make them pay. My guess is that it’s a lot of pounding the rock and screen plays until Fox lets Glennon huck it deep, and the results will dictate if this is a decent or horrendous Bears team. I will pull for Glennon to prove us all wrong, but my bet is that by the Bye week, Bears fans are pining for Smokin’ Jay. His preseason performance has borne that out so far, as Glennon has thrown the ball worse than an actual giraffe.
53) Mitchell Trubisky QB. Obviously I don’t have a lot of confidence in this kid either. Looked shockingly good in the first preseason game. That means nothing. Except for a bunch of fans (and columnists) calling for him to start right away. If that did happen, they’d surely turn on him at the first INT, destroying his confidence. The schedule is brutal and the talent isn’t there to actually contend yet, so I say let him get adjusted to the speed of the game and wait for a season that isn’t destined to suck as hard as this one. Like maybe in the hopefully soon post-John Fox era. More importantly, the folks on Bears Reddit calling Trubisky the GOAT is a sure-fire sign that he’s not game ready and/or is going to blow out every ligament in his body because we can’t have nice things. Regardless, here’s hoping he doesn’t see the field this year and doesn’t suck next year.
54) Any bear from Bojack Horseman. They have a low success rate for both communication and entertainment. Kinda like Cade McNown. ZING!
108) Patrick Scales, LS. YOU’LL NEVER REPLACE PATRICK MANNELLY IN OUR HEARTS!
206) This fucking guy:
Brocky’s Honorable mentions
BrettFavresColonoscopy had quite a bit of this written out weeks in advance, and one more headline had to be added:
269): Roberto Aguayo
Got a funny story about this one: last tuesday, my dad and I were watching something on the DVR, and once it ended, the channel just happened to be HBO, so we ended up watching the last few minutes of Hard Knocks, showing Roberto’s final days with the team, and his release
Dad: Isn’t that the guy Lovie smith traded up to get before getting fired?
(*Note Lovie Smith wasn’t even Tampa’s coach then, he had been fired the previous year, my dad just can’t remember shit)
Brocky: yeah, that’s the guy.
Scene goes on, Roberto gets cut, and then it’s revealed that Bears claimed him on waivers
Apparently he hadn’t seen that bit of information. I just find it weirdly appropriate that this colossal kicking failure found its way to Chicago.
Second honorable mention: #666: Teddy Ruxpin, seriously that thing is evil
You thought I was joking, didn’t you!
Many bears and Bears were omitted from this list, but only due to lack of effort. The TL;DR version of the above is that the 2017 Bears don’t have star power. They have some talent that could come together to contend in a year or two if they get competence or better under center and on the sidelines.
Big thanks to Brocky and ICRM for bringing some Chicago to the table since I bailed geographically years ago. The original intent had been for the three of us to write this together but a) I got ahead of my skis with this list and b) any gathering of more than two DFO Bears fans is only allowed with prior written approval from Buddy Cole.
Speaking of, Cuntler was too busy with the CLOTS to join for Bears predictions this season, but he did offer the following insight:
Can’t disagree with him. A few closing thoughts:
A) This is the Bears’ twitter hashtag/slogan/brandingmonster/whatever: #
It’s supposed to mean “Bear Down!” but really reads like “weak ass bear is going down!” And these Bears won’t even look cute doing it. Or have the other meaning that would get Buddy Cole excited.
2) Jay Cutler going to the Dolphins is good news for Dolphins, good news for Jay (even if he DOOOON’T CAAAAARE), and bad news for the Bears. As our own Inanimate Carbon Rod Marinelli pointed out with the appropriate response, “Unlike the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch, the Bears will not be able to get compensation if Cutler goes to Miami. He was cut before he retired, so he will be a free agent if he decides to reinstate. Had they refused to cut him, the Bears would have his rights should he reinstate.” SO GREAT JORB! This is the same front office that told Mike Glennon to go hang out at the draft for publicity and didn’t tell him they’d be taking a QB first. Not to mention the (yes I still believe it to be) asinine trade with the 49ers to move up one spot to get Trubisky. YARGH, this front office inspires as much confidence as Trump’s phone call transcripts.
&) This team has zero chance to finish above 3rd in the division. The Packers and Vikings should EASILY sweep the Bears this season and splitting with the Lions would be an accomplishment. Looking at the schedule, I guess the Bucs COULD be a winnable game (but probably not) and maybe the Ravens or Saints DERP away a game, but there’s a real chance the Bears go into the Bye week 0-8. Holy fuck is that depressing. And probably hastens calls for Mitch to take them out of the ditch (rhyme scheme original and not-patent pending). The back half of the schedule is slightly more forgiving thanks to appearances by the 9ers, Bengals, and Browns, but all of those teams are probably also looking forward to playing the Bears. I’m going to say 4-12 because 3-13 is probably where the team will want to be for the draft. The only hope for this season not to be a shitshow is if the defense is lights-out and the giraffe takes a leap to capable leader (that’s a step above competent and three steps below elite). Even then, that’s probably a .500 season ceiling. GOOOO BEARS!
4) A hearty FUCK YOU to all those (generally anonymous) people (on twitter) who think that being critical/pessimistic/realistic about your team before the season makes you “not a real fan.” Do I WANT the Bears to finish last in the NFC North this season? HELL NO. Will I root for it to happen? Not until it gets close enough to the end of the season to matter for draft position. Does believing anything other than “the Bears will contend for the Super Bowl!” make me less of a fan? No, it makes me less of a delusional psychotic. I love the Bears, they’re a huge part of my childhood and sports identity. I’ll keep watching, pulling for them, and drinking heavily while watching them. I can even enjoy watching the development of some of the parts while recognizing that the sum is a heaping pile of dogshit. But this season, televising actual bears mating would be more fruitful than watching the Chicago Bears if you’re waiting for a playoff appearance from them. So suck it.
Take it away, trampoline bear!
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