7:50 PM CDT, September 20, 2012
It would be snobbish — not to mention cowardly — if I suggested we all park our opinions of the Bears and the NFL until there's more evidence to evaluate in a few weeks.
But pessimism over the 1-1 Bears is not a rush to judgment, a knee-jerk reaction to another bad loss in Green Bay. The Bears have confirmed they are too flawed to be a great football team.
Do you need to see DeMarcus Ware sitting on Jay Cutler's chest in Week 4 to connect the dots? Would Cutler authoring another five-interception night in San Francisco in November bring things into better focus?
Here's what I know to be indisputable:
•The savior so many thought was arriving in the spring of 2009 didn't. It's unnecessary to pore over Cutler's numbers any more since his last bed wetting. He collapses when it matters most. He magnifies deficiencies around him by playing horribly when harassed.
Cutler isn't going to be among the league's elite. To get on that board, one must be unflappable. He isn't. This will not change.
When the final chapter of the Jay Cutler Story is written, there will be no tales of the snotty-nosed kid from Santa Claus, Ind., standing under a confetti shower on a Sunday in February.
•The Bears can't pass block any better for Mike Tice than they did for Mike Martz. And Tice almost seems eager to prove he can wear the dunce cap as often as his predecessor.
I'm still having trouble digesting what the Bears offensive coordinator did eight days ago. He left that poor J'Marcus Webb fellow on an island against one of the league's best pass rushers. Not a couple of times. Eleven times Tice invited Clay Matthews and some pals to dine on his quarterback's abdomen.
Tice crafted this blueprint for a big, early-season divisional road game. Under similar circumstances, Tice previously should have witnessed some embarrassingly dreadful performances by his fleshy, passive left tackle.
Remember the Monday night game in Detroit last September?
Hate to play the I-told-you-so card, but before training camp, I scorned the victory parade over mere "Martz-lessness." Early returns have me wagering Tice is going to be every bit the boob as his predecessors.
•Phil Emery eagerly is seeking a remedy for the blocks of silly putty he inherited.
The Bears general manager was at Ryan Field last Saturday for Northwestern's date with Boston College to evaluate Eagles senior tackle Emmett Cleary, a 6-foot-7, 313-pounder, who prepped at St. Viator. The Eagles have another pro prospect in John Wetzel, a 6-8, 302-pound tackle from Pittsburgh.
My moles spotted Emery on the field, feverishly scribbling notes as he watched Cleary work the Eagles pre-game routine.
•Special teams coach Dave Toub is good at his job. He will atone for the Packers' fake field goal that went for a touchdown with a much more inspired effort from his troops Sunday against the Rams.
•Cutler's thumb still isn't right. If it were, he wouldn't only point his finger.
•The 49ers will host the NFC championship game. They have a deep, diverse offense with a growing-by-the-game quarterback in Alex Smith. Defensively, the Niners are fast, physical and angry.
I couldn't have been more wrong about Jim Harbaugh when I questioned the hire two years ago. The 49ers' fast ascent to the top of the mountain is even more of a testament to Harbaugh's skills than it is of Mike Singletary's in-your-face lack of them.
•The Bears are 71/2-point favorites against the Rams. The Bears will cover.
Oops. I buried the lead.
Special contributor Dan McNeil hosts "The McNeil and Spiegel Show" weekdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on WSCR-AM 670.
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