Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do You Feel The Lovie?

Nope, just anodder heart attaaack my friend.

Suddenly I find myself in a serious Bear Fan funk. I don’t get it. WTF?

For a very short time (three weeks) I was drawn into a rapture with the thought that Jay Cutler was the real deal and his leadership would make the others play better. He looked so good at times especially during those late game rallies. He has the skills. He had the papers. He also had his multi-generational retirement plan set up last week with a contract that gave him an extension adding about $20 million in guaranteed money to the $30 million extension.

Cutler or not, the Bears best days may be years away unless drastic moves are made. Shuffling defensive and offensive line player positions isn’t going to cut it. Elevating second-tier players with the hope of finding a diamond in the trash is a crap-shoot even if Lovey claimed how deep they were (on defense) during the pre-season.

That Bears defense resembled a group of life-size cardboard cut-outs last weekend. On offense few elite running backs could find a hole to run through with that offensive line not to mention those costly turnovers.

Tonight on a dark, rainy train ride home from Chicago while reading the Sun-Times one local sports media guy had the guts to step up and write what I have known for the past few years. The problem with the Bears lies with head coach Lovie Smith.

Most local media sports pimps shy away from negative commentary when it comes to Bears management or ownership. They fear being cut out of the inside access food chain at the Bears Lake Forrest compound.

Chicago sportswriter and talk radio host Dan McNeil is a northwest Indiana native. He has been involved in Chicago sports talk radio since it’s inception. Dan worked for sportscaster Chet Coppock back when Chet was the only sports talk game in town.

From the published Dan McNeil article I read today in the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Barring Cutler, the Bears' business model is wallowing in the mire. Gone are high-round draft picks (for Cutler and Gaines Adams). They need at least three new beefcakes on the offensive line. Their secondary is dreadful. Kickers excepted, Lance Briggs is the only consistent high-level performer on the team. Smith's choices for assistants, including his stubborn defensive coordinator -- himself -- earn very low grades.”

Kick some ass, Dan!!!

This is the only internet information I could find on Dan tonight, then again my internet research efforts are generally short (yawn) lived.

What isn't mentioned is Dan graduated from Gavit high school in Hammond Indiana. He is a bit younger than I am but grew up within five miles of where I lived. I had the pleasure of being on a fishing weekend with him about fifteen years ago at the time when he earned his first prime-time Chicago sports radio program.

One of the Magician Lake regulars invited Dan up for one of the two traditional spring and fall Bass fishing weekends at my cousin’s lakeside cabin. Mike, who is a regular at these bi-annual events, went to school with Dan. Seems that Dan enjoys bass fishing. A dozen of us had a ball that weekend even if the weather sucked.

As I remember that trip the rain was falling with real gusto all weekend assisted by a stiff wind. I hate fishing in the rain. I do own the finest rainwear money can buy but that is only so I can stay dry on the speedy ride back to the cabin or public launch or sitting in a duck blind all day.

On this particular weekend years ago most of us (all Notre Dame fans) spent Saturday afternoon in the cabin in front of the hot fireplace watching Notre Dame football, talking crap and drinking after a soaking wet morning in the boats. Not the guys in Mike’s boat, no. Mike is as serious about his fishing time as they come. Mike, Dan and another of their high school buddies spent hours in the rain that afternoon fishing out of a fourteen foot jon-boat. Sheesh. When it finally got dark they returned…soaking…freaking…drenched.

They had no fish to bring to the table. None of us did that weekend. Bait and tackle shops exist because of guys like us.

The first thing Dan asked when he walked through the door of the crowded cabin dripping wet that evening was, “How did Michigan do today?” He’s a big Michigan fan. So, nobody’s perfect.

We mercilessly pelted him with lead split shot, empty beer cans and whatever debris was handy. Later in the evening he shared some bizarre Chet Coppock stories. Lots of laffs.

Dan is one of the few Chicago sports wags I have respect for. Any guy willing to spend a windy and rainy autumn day in a 14’ jon-boat when he could have been holding court near a dry lakeside cabin fireplace watching college football earns my respect. No matter how dumb that sounds.

If the Bears gag against Cleveland this weekend (don’t be surprised when that happens) maybe more media experts will jump on the dump Lovie bandwagon.

For now it’s just me and one Chicago sports wag named Dan. Neither of us feel the Lovie.

In all fairness you may read an opposing viewpoint here.

1 comment:

Dan from Madison said...

Rare is the print guy who will call out Bears higher ups for fear of losing access as you noted. That is, until the train comes completely off the tracks, which it very well may this year.