Ready or not, here they come.
No more training camp.
No more preseason.
No more excuses.
The Packers are coming.
And not the same ole Pack.
Aaron Rodgers has left Wisconsin but is still saying “Cheese!” for the “Hard Knocks” cameras in Jets camp.
This will be Jordan Love’s hated green and gold coming to Soldier Field on Sept. 10, and the Bears must set the tone for the newest chapter in the rivalry. No easing into the season.
I fear the Bears aren’t ready to play real football.
One thing readers who aren’t familiar with me from ESPN 1000 should know, I can panic from time to time. Consider this one of those times.
I like to refer to myself as an educated panicker. So here’s why I don’t think they’re ready.
The Bears’ biggest weakness in the offseason is STILL their biggest weakness heading into opening day: the offensive line.
You can argue that it’s worse now than in the offseason.
Free agent acquisition Nate Davis has barely practiced since he signed for $30 million. Teven Jenkins is hurt again and out for a few weeks. Nobody is healthy at center. Dieter Eiselen?! And prized rookie Darnell Wright tweaked his ankle.
Beyond the offensive line, guys like Demarcus Walker, Yannick Ngakoue, Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker and Chase Claypool haven’t practiced in weeks. There have been more “ramp ups” at Bears practice than my childhood Evel Knievel toy set.
I just don’t believe you can flip a switch with a young team. Even if most of these players return for the opener, are they in football shape after weeks off? And what about the chemistry and cohesion they needed to build in camp.?
Want to poo poo my practice reps theory? Then you must not believe in Bears coach Matt Eberflus. His culture is built on the H.I.T.S. principle, where the “H” stands for hustle and anyone who doesn’t hustle in practice is given a loafing grade. Eberflus wants his team to practice hard and fast. Last week, 20 players weren’t able to do that.
Sorry, Allen Iverson, this ISN’T just practice for the Bears.
It’s about being ready. Ready to set a new standard in this Bears vs. Packers rivalry. You cannot let Love get off to a good start. You cannot have a new “owner” come to Chicago and beat you. The Bears must create doubt in Love’s mind and get off to a fast start.
This fan is ready to finally to turn the page in the rivalry, but are the players ready?
Feel free to clip and save this column if I’m wrong. Serve me up a hot dish of crow.
I also strongly encourage the Bears to use it as bulletin board material. Anything I can do to help.
Ready to watch winning football.
• Marc Silverman shares his opinions on the Bears weekly for Shaw Local. Tune in and listen to the “Waddle & Silvy” show weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on ESPN 1000.