The mid-1980’s Bears had their identity; very, very good, and they annihilated people physically. The early 1970’s Bears theirs; not very good at all and seemed at times to play for the annihilation as much as the scoreboard, although there wasn’t always a lot of point playing for the latter. The 1940’s Bears were the Monsters of the Midway.
The 2015 Bears? Not so sure yet.
Coach John Fox was tasked in part with changing the culture within the team, which is clearly in the early stages of happening, based on things said publicly and privately, and what has shown up on the field, although “we still have a pretty significant body of work ahead of us,” Fox said. “I don’t like seeing who wins the race when we’ve barely gotten out of the blocks yet.”
What occurred in the loss to Green Bay does not make an identity, particularly for a team on which so many members were playing their first minutes ever in a Bears uniform.
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But to one of those outsiders, one with experience with identity formation with an Arizona Cardinals team that reached a Super Bowl and with a New York Giants that won a Super Bowl, signs are there.
By way of perspective, “[the Cardinals] weren't always the most athletic team, we weren't always the most talented team, but we played together and we played fast,” said safety Antrel Rolle. “And we fought, we fought with every inch of our body.
“And this [Bears] team is going to get to that. I'm pretty sure of that.”
Identity, like leadership and other intangibles, can’t be installed or voted in. Whether accurate or not, the Bears after the Green Bay game felt that they had shown character in not only folding against Aaron Rodgers, but also in coming back for a touchdown after the disastrous Clay Matthews interception.
Not quitting is not necessarily a positive, however. That’s what is being paid for. But getting back on the rails and expecting to come back and win was seldom part of the identity of the past two years.
“Right now it's just a team that I think we're still figuring it out but right now it's a team that doesn't quit and a team that continues to fight,” Rolle said. “Just like any person, it takes a long time any kid or anyone to develop an identity within themselves and I think we're still trying to learn who we are and what we're about. There are just some characteristics we know that we have that we want to continue to build on.”