The Bears are 2-0 in the preseason after beating the Jaguars, 20-19, Thursday, halfway to a perfect preseason. Sports editor Jon Styf and reporter Mike DeFabo discuss:
Styf: You know who had a perfect preseason? The 2008 Detroit Lions, a team that ended up 0-16. You know who started the preseason 0-3? As Hub Arkush pointed out Thursday night, the 1985 Chicago Bears. All I do know is that I’m not buying that this Bears team is much better than last year’s Bears team.
DeFabo: Preseason games are just an excuse for season ticket holders to unload a pair of lousy tickets on Uncle Rick and hope he doesn’t bug you the rest of the year. A 2-0 record at this point in the preseason tells me that the Bears’ backups are better than the Eagles’ and the Jaguars’ backups. That’s it. Maybe the Bears can convince the rest of the league to play their second and third strings for three quarters? They’ll go 16-0 for sure.
Styf: A Jay Cutler team will never ... oh, never mind that. I’m just not buying on this team putting it together this year. I know it won’t sit well here, but I really don’t see the Bears beating out the Packers for the division title again this year. But maybe that doesn’t matter. They’re a borderline playoff team again, maybe a wild card and maybe not. It’s exciting that the NFL season is approaching, but that game the other night (especially the beginning when the starters were in) really wasn’t much fun to watch.
DeFabo: I put them about the same place. The NFC is no joke. You figure the second-place team in the NFC West (Seattle or San Francisco) will take one wild card spot. From the NFC South, the Panthers or the Saints have a good shot at the second one. And no one ever knows what to make of the NFC East. Even some surprise team from that division could come out of nowhere to grab a wild card.
Styf: What I really want to know, Mike, is what you know about the Bears. As an outsider, from West Virginia or wherever you’re from, what is the thought of the team from there? Are outsiders fearful of the offense, of Jay Cutler or whatever he’s calling himself this year? Or is he a joke like Matthew Stafford, a guy who can’t be relied on to win games and lead his team to ... well ... the playoffs (remember, Cutler’s only made it once in eight pro seasons).
DeFabo: Honestly, I think people around here are overly critical of Cutler. He’s no Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning, but he’s a solid middle of the road QB (like the guy from my town, Ben Roethlisberger). I know it’s a passing league and teams are putting up points like it’s Madden, but if Trent Dilfer can win a Super Bowl, Cutler is at least good enough to win a playoff game. The finger should really be pointed toward the defensive side of the ball.
Styf: So Cutler is the same guy as Dilfer? Does that mean he isn’t elite? I’ll stop now. ... Of course the defense got beat up and then run over last year. The question is how much better they will be this year. If they’re not, I think you’ll see defensive coordinator Mel Tucker fired. There won’t be patience here for this.
DeFabo: On paper, they should be better. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how they look next preseason game. Wait. ... Never mind.