Bernstein: Playing Out Some Bears Possibilities

September 06, 2018 - 2:02 pm
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(670 The Score) NFL randomness giveth and taketh away, and the Bears have been on the latter end of much of that in the last few years, particularly in regard to traumatic injuries to key players. There was also the fact that they were pretty bad regardless, and it all combined to get them a slew of new coaches and players and something resembling hope.

So what does that actually mean for a range of probabilities for their season? It's hard to actually tell from what we have seen in training camp practices and exhibition games with so many people who matter kept from prying eyes or in the cases of Roquan Smith and Khalil Mack just not on the team until recently.

Football isn't the NBA, which lets us identify the handful of potential champions the moment we know the rosters, nor is it MLB, where 162 games usually give players the chance to be something resembling their average selves enough to make predictive metrics mostly useful. It's the sport of big swings and lightning-in-a-bottle seasons, in which it's as hard to stay terrible as it is healthy.

So what the Bears could be includes...

Super Bowl champions: This is Matt Nagy's magic reinventing the offense and Mack having his Von Miller turn. It's no pulled hamstrings or crumpled knees, and it's adjusting to opponents' seriousness of preparation after a 6-2 start. This would be Mack eating quarterbacks and picking his teeth with their bones, Smith chasing down whatever he sees and Mitchell Trubisky becoming Neo in the third act of The Matrix, bending the reality around him and defying physical laws as he realizes that he's indeed The One. It's ... not likely.

A playoff team: Ten wins or so would mean it's all about as good as the current level of confidence seems to indicate, skipping one of the expected incremental steps to arrive what many would think to be a year early. A top-10 defense, a productive offense, enough big kicks at critical times and a little luck. This is a reasonable expectation in holding a team to appropriately high standards, an approximation of doing what the Rams did in 2017.

An improved team that doesn't make the playoffs: Perhaps the biggest sector on the probability range, it assumes the usual fits and starts of the installation of a new and complicated system, a head coach who has never been the head coach of anything, the usual untimely bumps and bruises and what appears to be a difficult schedule both within the division and beyond. It's some bad bounces and being on the wrong side of poorly understood and under-explained referee decisions and a couple too many Chase Daniel starts.

Not any better, whatsoever: Awful again -- say 4-12 -- and still at the bottom of the NFC North wasn't the reason to make all these changes and spend all these dollars and draft picks in one offseason to open a window of contention. Everybody who matters gets hurt, the whiz-bang offense is exposed like that of Gary Crowton, when the former Bears offensive coordinator earned the whispered Halas Hall nickname of "Professor Harold Hill" among some front-office types. Trubisky turns out to be overwhelmed, inaccurate and ineffective. This would put everybody on the clock to being fired, seeing that the all-in was already again put all-in for this group. It's warming oceans and melting glaciers, the inexorable expanding of the universe until it breaks apart, order tending to disorder, man's inhumanity to man, Jack White's "Connected by Love" on and endless loop at deafening volume, reduced-fat cheese, a bad night's sleep and those orange construction barrels that have Ashland or Western down to one lane for no apparent reason.

One of these will happen.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​