Bad, Bad Luck: Bears News And Notes
The Bears head to San Francisco with the entire fan base in full sky-is-falling mode. For a team that has consistently won on opening day, seeing them come out with a lackluster effort was surprising especially considering the offense was in tact from last year, the team was completely healthy and the defense was supposedly improved. But after a humiliating loss to the Buffalo Bills at home, the Bears are licking their wounds in more ways than one. As they head to the buzzsaw that is the 49ers in San Francisco, here are the top story lines:
The offense suffered several significant injuries during Week 1, losing wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a hamstring injury, guard Matt Slauson to a high-ankle sprain and center Roberto Garza to a high-ankle sprain. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall also suffered an ankle injury, but finished the game. Marshall claims he will test the ankle and is expected to play against the 49ers. Jeffery, Slauson and Garza have all been held out of practice this week and it's still unclear if any will be ready to go Sunday. Brian de la Puente and Michael Ola filled in for Garza and Slauson admirably against the Bills and will be the replacements. As far as Jeffery goes, however, the drop off to the next-best is considerable. If the Bears are going to have any chance against the 49ers, they’re going to need their offense firing on all cylinders and injuries at significant positions could keep that from happening.
New Jay Same As the Old Jay
There was a lot of chatter during training camp about a new, more mature Jay Cutler. But that narrative came crashing down in the fourth quarter Sunday, as he rolled out and threw a pick across the field (and across his body) to a defensive lineman. To top things off, Cutler was his usual remorseless self in the postgame press conference, refusing to accept accountability. We’ll see if he’ll be able to bounce back against the 49ers. But the real problem is, if this is just who he is always, will the Bears be able to win knowing backbreaking interceptions are always a play away?
George McCaskey’s Statement
Bears Chairman George McCaskey issued a statement on the Ray Rice situation and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s response to it. McCaskey came out in support of Goodell despite public outcry for the commissioner's removal, saying “Our family has complete faith in the Commissioner. He is a man of integrity and has acknowledged the initial response to Mr. Rice’s situation was inadequate.” It will be interesting if McCaskey and the Bears change their tune as this story progresses, considering evidence seems to mount daily that Goodell was fully aware of the details of Ray Rice’s assault.
As the Bears fly to San Francisco Friday, they will be heading into a pivotal game in a place where they have been historically bad. If they bounce back and steal a victory, the season will be saved for now and they will restore their record to where most thought it should be after two weeks. If not, doomsday 2014 will be upon us and sports talk radio will be particularly entertaining Monday morning.