The Bears are two games over .500, but it doesn't feel that way.
Is there really any difference between the Bears of today and the Bears of last year? Or the year before? Or the year before? Or the last 20 years? Sometimes competitive, sometimes lethargic, sometimes embarrassing, and for one or two plays a game, brilliant. Not exactly a recipe for the Super Bowl.
Can we agree to blame Lovie?
A good coach makes adjustments over time. Look at gurus like Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick or Mike Tomlin. They seem to pull stars from thin air. Guys you've never heard of step in to the starting lineup and catch fire. Meanwhile, the Bears are littered with high draft picks and expensive free agents who play well-ish, but not enough to scare anyone. No one comes out of nowhere to excel with the Bears. And that's the problem.
Sure, the Bears special teams have looked special at times. But does it really take a genius to tell Devin Hester to catch punts and run like hell? Who's the last special teams coach you remember who became a superstar head coach?
Special teams success is more or less a fluke. Every year, some guy comes out of nowhere to be a superstar returner. Just as quickly, they return to obscurity. Desmond Howard, anyone? And it's not like the skills of kicking coverage really translate to the majority of the game. When a guy punts, you know where the ball's going to go. It's not like the punter is going to hand it off or fling it down the field. Special teams is a glorified track meet.
That said, the Bears don't have a ton of in-house quality to choose from. You want Martz at the wheel? That guy designs plays on a Hot Wheels track, then sulks when his wideouts can't go as fast as his tiny cars. How about Rod Marinelli? After leading the Lions to an 0-16 season, he's due for a win, right? Mike Tice is also moping around the locker room. He'd be great if we're looking to duplicate the steady decline of the Vikings on his watch.
So maybe this Toub guy is the best in-house candidate. That's kind of like saying the can of corn in your pantry is the best thing to eat if everything else has aged past its expiration date. About three bites in, you ask yourself why you're eating a can of corn when you could have gone to the store to buy something fresher and more exciting.
Then again, Lovie tastes like an old, leathery Slim Jim we found in our glove compartment. We've been gnawing on it for seven seasons and it's not tasting any better.