Bears

Bears 'building' their way out of Halas House of Horrors​​​​​​​

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USA TODAY

Bears 'building' their way out of Halas House of Horrors​​​​​​​

As far as the Bears winning a Super Bowl, hiring Matt Nagy as the head coach was very arguably not the most important thing that happened on January 2018. The “story” has deep roots, reaching back thousands of years in China in ways that may make Nagy the beneficiary of matters beyond his offices, beyond football, in fact. More on all that shortly.

The Bears matching up with – and losing to 23-16 – the Carolina Panthers and coach Ron Rivera occasioned a 15-year flashback involving the former Bears linebacker and defensive coordinator, one with more than a little relevance for the coming days and months.

Training camp ’19 will wrap up on Sunday and the Bears make their way back to Halas Hall. That may or may not be a good thing if they are set on winning a Super Bowl.

Because it was Rivera, a devoted student of the ancient Chinese discipline of feng shui that traces back more than 60 centuries, who warned that the Bears would never win a Super Bowl with Halas Hall as their epicenter. The reason lay in the bad feng shui at Halas Hall, feng shui being the study of the environment, places, people and time, and how those elements interact. It those elements are in conflict and essential energies impeded, buildings and their occupants – read: football teams – have problems.

Sure enough, in the 20 years since the Bears moved from their old Halas Hall (where they did win a Super Bowl) to the new one over near I-94, they have reached one but lost that one along with playoff games the other four times they did get to postseasons. The old Halas Hall, in east Lake Forest, was dedicated in 1979, the year the Bears drafted Dan Hampton. The new Halas Hall was dedicated in 1997, the year they traded for Rick Mirer. In 2018, when a near-total Halas Hall makeover was starting, the Bears drafted Roquan Smith. Just sayin’….

This isn’t just some Chico Curse, or Rivera being grumpy after leaving in 2007.

Cliff Notes summary of the Bears-feng shui problem because there’s really quite a bit involved: The design and materials of Halas Hall as originally designed have a negative influence on chi, the core energy so central to the Far East thinking that runs through and binds people and all things together. Chi must flow in, easily through and around a structure or even a room, based in part on its furnishings. Through the end of the Dave Wannstedt years, the Dick Jauron era, most of the Lovie Smith tenure, and certainly through the regimes of Marc Trestman and John Fox, very little has flowed easily in Halas Hall spaces “blocked” in feng shui context.

Bad feng shui can cause “serious health problems,” according to tradition. From Curtis Enis to Erik Kramer to Curtis Conway to Cade McNown to Jim Miller and on and on and on, have many organizations had more health problems than the Bears?

Construction on the Halas Hall expansion began in 2018, the Bears’ healthiest season in years. Again, just sayin’….

Coincidence? James Bond correctly observed that "once is chance, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action." Or at least bad feng shui.

But now comes all the construction at Halas Hall, with the “addition” dwarfing the original building and, more important in Rivera feng shui context, facing the “right” direction. The main entrance to Halas Hall still faces west – not good – but feng shui says that the most favorable direction for a sports-industry business is to face northeast. The Bears headquarters have been expanded massively to the north and to the east.

The Bears may stand in Rivera’s way to a Super Bowl. But the ex-Bear would at least acknowledge that the Bears are finally at least facing in the right direction.

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The real point of first and fourth preseason games, which don’t involve much if any scheming or game-planning, is to see what teams have below the starters on their depth charts. O, in the Bears case, what takeaways are there for someone like their top rookie, running back David Montgomery?

· Montgomery, facing Panthers No. 2’s, flashed in the second quarter with the ball in his hands on five of the seven plays on the Bears’ first touchdown drive. Montgomery was targeted by the Bears in the third round of the draft, caught passes for 23 and 6 yards, the former a perfectly executed screen pass behind a clear-out block from right guard Ted Larsen. He added runs of 5, 5 and 7 yards, the last for the TD on a play that was stopped but the rookie bounced outside around left end and picked his way through a smattering of Carolina tacklers.

Preseason isn’t the least bit conclusive, and the fact that Montgomery flashed against the backups of a middling NFL defense doesn’t mean he mean he does that against the starters for a good defense. And the Bears don’t see a top-10 rushing defense until Minnesota comes to Soldier Field in week four.

But here’s the thing: If Montgomery DIDN’T present in this situation, that could be cause for some concern. But he did; on top of that, he turned in a TD-saving pursuit on a punt return.

· Rashaad Coward saw considerable time at right tackle. The converted defensive lineman was solid in pass protection early, the harder skill to master for any young lineman, through the first half. But he was beaten for two sacks in the third quarter, once on an outside move and the second on an inside-counter move. The Bears need depth at tackle, Coward has been a project worth watching, but whether he did not advance his case for the swing-tackle job against T.J. Clemmings, who worked at left tackle.

· Only a handful of defensive starters saw time Thursday, and the only starting linebacker was Roquan Smith, who promptly delivered a sack on a delayed blitz that buried Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen.

· Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, starting in place of Danny Trevathan, had some struggles in pass coverage and with pursuit angles on run defense.

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For the first time this writer can remember in almost 30 years covering the Chicago Bears, Chet Coppock was missing from the press box. Chet died in April of injuries suffered in an automobile accident in South Carolina.

This may only have been preseason, and Chet didn’t always make all the practice games. But Chet didn’t provide color; he WAS color. The last time we were here, for the January playoff game vs. Philadelphia.

Somehow the old place isn’t the same without’cha, Chester.

Bears in must-win game vs. Redskins after NFC North dominates Week 3

Bears in must-win game vs. Redskins after NFC North dominates Week 3

Rarely is a Week 3 game described as a must-win, but in the case of the Chicago Bears' Monday night contest against the Washington Redskins, it may just be. 

Chicago's win last Sunday over the Broncos was a critical victory that evened their record at 1-1, and while a .500 start after two games suggests a playoff berth is still a very realistic possibility, the early-season returns from the rest of the NFC North have turned up the heat.

Week 3 was dominated by the division. The Packers, Vikings and Lions all won their games in impressive fashion. Detroit was especially terrific in their win over the Eagles, who were favored entering the week. 

Green Bay's victory over Denver moves them to a perfect 3-0 to start the year, while the Lions also remain undefeated at 2-0-1. The Vikings improved to 2-1 with their win over the Raiders and will be Chicago's next opponent in Week 4.

If the Bears lose Monday night, they'll fall to 1-2 and last place in the NFC North. That, coupled with a divisional game next Sunday, is a potential doomsday scenario if Chicago goes 0-2 over that span. They'll be 1-3 and left clawing for a wildcard over the final 12 games, especially if the Packers upend a banged-up Eagles squad Thursday night.

Obviously, a win over the Redskins changes that outlook. They'll return to Soldier Field with confidence and momentum against the Vikings; a sweep improves their record 3-1 and still very much neck-and-neck with the Packers.

As crazy as it may seem, Chicago needs a win Monday night in the worst way. If they come up short, the season could quickly come apart at the seams. 

Former GM says winning a Super Bowl with Mitch Trubisky isn't feasible

Former GM says winning a Super Bowl with Mitch Trubisky isn't feasible

Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky has been bruised and battered by the media and even some fans after a sluggish start to the 2019 season. But the Bears are 1-1 and have a winnable game on deck Monday night against the Washington Redskins, so things could be worse.

The pressing question Bears fans should be asking themselves, however, is how much better can this team actually be? Is Chicago a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Do they have a Super Bowl quarterback under center?

According to former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi, the answer is no.

Lombardi penned an article for The Athletic that outlined several reasons why he isn't a believer in Trubisky or the Bears' chances to win a Super Bowl despite having what he described as a great defense.

Trubisky is not fluent in playing quarterback, he lacks overall instincts for the position, accuracy, and when the game speeds up, he slows way down. He is a great athlete with a strong arm playing the position, not a great quarterback with high-level instinctive skills. Pace fell in love with the the athlete, the arm, the movement, and he forgot about the traits that are essential to play the position. Instincts matter more than anything; being quick-minded is way more important than being quick-footed. If you watched Trubisky and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady work out, without knowing their history, you would pick Trubisky every time. But Brady knows how to play the position, Trubisky doesn’t.

This may be the most damning criticism of Trubisky so far, but it shouldn't be all that surprising. Lombardi has long been a Trubisky-doubter and was one of his biggest haters last season, too.

The problem this time around is Trubisky hasn't provided many reasons to suggest Lombardi is wrong.

Now, the suggestion that Trubisky doesn't know how to play quarterback is obvious hyperbole. He was a decorated high school recruit, had a very successful senior season at North Carolina and flashed top-tier potential in 2018, his first season in Matt Nagy's offense. But his pedestrian first two games this season have added fuel to Lombardi's bonfire and the only way to extinguish it is with a breakout performance in front of a national television audience Monday night.

Through two games this season, Trubisky's completed 58.3% of his passes for 348 yards, 0 TDs and one INT.