It is impossible to continue pretending these 2019 Chicago Bears are anywhere near who we thought they were.
Yes, they were 3-3 last year at this time, too, but the differences in that club and this one are absolutely chocolate and vanilla.
Last season at this time, players and coaches were still getting to know each other — and part of what made them dangerous is they came with absolutely no expectations and certainly no attitude.
Small wins became big ones, players began doing things they’d never done before, and quite possibly didn’t know they could, and before you knew it, they were a freight train steaming downhill.
These 2019 Bears were anointed before they got to training camp.
Brimming with confidence, they traded away their best running back with an awful plan to replace him, completely ignored that even if Mitch Trubisky does become the guy they hope he will they needed to do something about the fact they aren’t good enough behind him, continued to turn a blind eye to their mediocrity at left tackle and tight end, took the exhibition season off and then when the danger signs were everywhere after the opener vs. the Packers, they spent the next five weeks brimming with attitude and acting like all they had to do was push a few buttons and all would be well.
Now back at 3-3 again, they are clearly the weakest team in the NFC North, not even middle of the pack in the NFL and staring over the edge of the cliff at a completely lost season.
Blame it all on Trubisky if you must, but if you do you are clearly missing the forest staring at your least favorite tree.
Mitch is a problem but at the moment he isn’t the problem.
At this point it appears the Chicago Bears of Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, Neal Anderson and Matt Forte can’t run the football.
It feels like we’ve been talking about it since Matt Nagy got here, and because he is the NFL’s reigning coach of the year, we have continued to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But after telling us the day after London that he thought he knew what the problem was but wasn’t going to share it until he had finished a week of self scouting and self reflection, in the first half against the Saints, Nagy came out and called 23 passes, five runs and just one handoff to his answer to Jordan Howard, David Montgomery.
It ain't rocket surgery; that’s why they can’t run the football.
To start the second half, Nagy gave the ball to Montgomery on his first offensive play after the Saints had opened the half with a touchdown drive – 3 runs and 3 passes – Montgomery fumbled and for all practical purposes the game was over.
The defense rebounded nicely from London in the first half without Akiem Hicks in spite of being put in one bad spot after another by special teams and the offense, but following the Montgomery fumble the offense just sucked them down with it.
By the end of the third quarter, the Saints had doubled the Bears up in time of possession and with a few minutes left in the game had thrown 38 passes along with 32 runs and put 36 points on the board.
What we saw Sunday at Soldier Field was one of the best-coached teams in the NFL versus one of the most poorly prepared and managed.
It is impossible not to wonder if part of the reason his players weren’t ready for the Saints was because Nagy chose to reward his players no-show in London with an entire week off over the bye and just three full practices prior to greeting the Saints.
I still believe Matt Nagy is a good football coach, but like so many before him, he’s finding out now that second Coach of the Year Award comes a lot harder than the first.
There are 10 games left and the defense is still loaded with talent — although the offense is pretty clearly lacking more than I realized — and stranger things have happened than this group turning things around.
But after the Saints' visit, there’s just no way to see it happening soon.