RedEye

Was an Urlacher injury worth finishing 8-8?

I wish I could get good and outraged over Lovie Smith’s decision to declare Nathan Enderle inactive for the Bears’ meaningless finale in Minnesota on Sunday, naming the failed, disastrous Caleb Hanie as the No. 2 quarterback behind Josh McCown.

I wish I felt the apoplexy of the Bears’ laughable care and feeding of the most important position  in the game.

I wish I could rail at the joke of spending a draft pick on a quarterback and redshirting him in a league without redshirts, thereby learning zero about him, other than perhaps they have drafted another zero at, yes, the most important position in the game.

Yeah, I wish I could get upset about the talent evaluation and development process at the position that cost the Bears a playoff spot and left the talent and development departments with one postseason appearance in the last five years.

But thank goodness Smith gave me something to launch on: Playing the game as if it mattered and seeing Brian Urlacher hobble off the field with an MCL sprain.

This was one of the worst fears: this risk of losing one of the best players on the best unit the Bears have.

At least, it was one of the worst fears of those who realized how useless this game was.

Don’t count Smith among them. He said the Bears were beginning their 2012 season Sunday. Nice way to start the season -- having your Pro Bowl middle linebacker hobble off the field.

Was winning a game that made the Bears 8-8 worth the risk?

Who would make that trade?

Was avoiding a losing season a fair trade for Urlacher’s health?

This was all kinds of stupid. This was all kinds of fitting for the end of an aggravating Bears season.

I’m not blaming Urlacher for trying to make a play. Blame the guy who put him out there. Ask that guy how an injured Urlacher helps the Bears win a Super Bowl.

Because winning Sunday didn’t.

Maybe someone higher than the general manager, maybe even someone higher than the team president will ask what exactly was accomplished Sunday. Maybe someone at the very top of the organization will ask hard questions about the philosophies and decisions of the people responsible for this situation. Maybe someone with the authority and vision to change these fortunes will do so.

Did the Bears learn anything about McCown? He can fumble and throw interceptions. Great. They ought to have enough game tape of McCown to learn they need game tape of someone else. It just won’t be Enderle.

What they might’ve learned is that J’Marcus Webb isn’t ready for big-time defensive ends. Maybe Enderle could’ve been tried at left tackle.

Or on the defensive line. If this was a real game, the Bears would’ve been trying anybody who could tackle Joe Webb.

If you want to argue that the inexperienced Enderle would’ve been killed behind J’Marcus Webb’s lack of protection, then I would ask how you could know. The Bears didn’t give themselves a chance to find out if he could make quick decisions and had a quick release.

Or if they believe they already knew, then either made a bad draft choice or failed to develop him to the point where he could play even in a meaningless game. Or both.

Either way, how did this help the Bears? How does this thinking help the Bears next season?

No, wait. Smith said Sunday was next season. He believes his team is 1-0 in the 2012 season. It isn’t, really. That kind of hogwash sounds crazy when you see that kind of performance on the offensive and defensive lines, not to mention wide receivers who still aren’t good enough, and those aren’t the only positions that need help.

The Bears won’t have tape of Enderle from a meaningless game. They will, however, have tape of Urlacher’s injury from a meaningless game.

Halas Hall, hel-LO. Anyone home?

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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