One of the most famous memes on social media is called “the distracted boyfriend.”
It’s a picture of man and woman holding hands while walking down the street. As another woman passes, the man turns around and gazes with an interested look on his face while his girlfriend busts him with a look of disdain.
This internet joke actually played out in Chicago sports this week.
Jed Hoyer and David Ross were together. Craig Counsell walked by. Not only did Hoyer peak, he left Ross and grabbed Counsell’s hand.
The picture represents disloyalty.
In sports, we call that scouting and improving.
Hoyer’s move may be deemed heartless by some, especially to do that to a World Series hero who you just endorsed when the season ended. Truth is, Hoyer owes it to himself, his team and the fans to acquire personnel that makes his team better. And the Cubs are simply better with Counsell instead of Ross. I applaud the move.
So you’re probably thinking, “I read this column for Silvy’s wonderful Bears thoughts, not to hear about his Cubs takes.” I’m getting there. Patience.
The Cubs story obviously relates to the Bears coaching situation. Ryan Poles must correct it in the offseason, and hit a home run like Hoyer did, money be damned. I’ll never understand why a team skimps on a coach’s salary when a player like Cody Whitehair is costing the Bears $14 million to play subpar football. And that’s just one player. The head coach touches everything on the roster. He sets the culture. Develops players. Hires assistant coaches. Is the face of your organization. And by the way, doesn’t cost a dollar against your team’s salary cap.
We all know the Bears have a coaching issue.
Matt Eberflus’ defense is last in the NFL with 10 sacks.
The Bears are a minus-9 in turnover differential, which is his calling card. That’s also worst in the league.
And the Bears lead the NFL as the most penalized team. The lack of discipline is a poor reflection on the coach.
A record of 2-7 this year, 5-21 overall, 0-8 in the NFC North, and Eberflus’ teams have never won two in a row.
Poles gave Eberflus a glowing, over the top, vote of confidence at his press conference last week.
Behind the scenes, he needs to be working on his list now to identify his Craig Counsell.
But I also don’t think the Ross/Counsell comparison is apples to apples with Eberflus.
Ross was never going to be fired for anyone else but Counsell.
He was a good manager that the Cubs still had hopes for but a better option presented itself.
This comp is perfect for Justin Fields.
In normal circumstances, like Ross, I don’t think anyone would ask the Bears to replace Fields this offseason.
Fields is a fine option at quarterback and can still develop but with no promises that he’ll ever be great.
The reason I have discussed replacing Fields is because the options may be better because of the Bears’ draft status. If you deem any of the college QBs in the upcoming draft class better or with a higher ceiling than Fields, you must pounce now.
It’s why I don’t want Fields to rush back to play with a bad thumb. This will be his last chance to convince Poles that he is the better option than drafting a QB, and I want Fields to put his best foot [and thumb] forward. Fields must play great football. No more excuses.
Speaking of that, I see many Bears fans dismissing Bagent after his awful fourth quarter against the Saints.
Nobody wants to see those interceptions, but why aren’t we giving him some room to grow as most rookies starting their first three games? Here are the numbers from Bagent’s first three starts: 67% completion, 614 yards passing, three TDs, five interceptions, four sacks and 93 yards rushing.
As a comparison, here are Justin Fields first three starts as a rookie: 51% completion, 388 yards passing, one TD, one interception, 12 sacks and 25 yards rushing.
Or how about Fields’ first three games of this season: 58% completion, 525 yards passing, three TDs, four interceptions, 13 sacks and 109 yards rushing.
Bagent’s numbers compare favorably in every category even as Fields started as a veteran in his third season.
Notice the sacks. The Bears offensive line didn’t magically get better with Bagent, he just processes and gets the ball out quicker.
This isn’t to say Bagent is better, it’s just to illustrate that no one should dismiss an undrafted D-II rookie QB who at times, looked really good. Fields must do that when he returns.
Poles has his work cut out for himself.
Who is his Counsell?
Fields or draft a QB?
So as we walk down the street as fans, holding onto our Bears, don’t get mad as we look back at the rest of the NFL with a loving stare. There’s no disloyalty here, we’re just a little dizzy and distracted by all the losing.
• 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.