An Optimist's Take on the Chicago Bears

Sure, Sunday was bad, but there's still plenty of hope here

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jay Cutler was bad. Brian Urlacher was injured. The Bears lost. What more could go wrong?

    Lots, actually. The more you step away from the visceral reaction to Sunday night's loss, the more you realize that there's plenty of potential here. And that if you keep your expectations in line -- blame Sports Illustrated and the rest for inflating those insane Super Bowl hopes in the first place -- the Bears still have plenty of time to make this season a giant step forward.

    First, Cutler. It was supposed to be his coronation, this Packers game. It was supposed to be proof that the Bears were the team with the star gunslinger behind center now, that the Bears offense was entering a new era, one that wasn't mired in the old-world convention that running the football always wins the game. Instead, Cutler was horrible. He was so horrible, in fact, that he threw a career-high four picks to the Packers, including a game-sealing pick to Al Harris on the final drive.

    But Cutler won't always play this badly. Those four picks were a career high for a reason. Even a marginal improvement, given what Cutler was able to create with his inexperienced group of wideouts, will keep the Bears far more secure on offense. Meanwhile, Matt Forte's in the backfield, waiting to make good on his rookie season. There's no reason to freak out about the offense yet.

    As for the defense, well, sure, losing Brian Urlacher is a bummer, but the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh is correct: If there's anywhere on the field the Bears can afford to lose a player, it's at linebacker. The depth there is perhaps better than anywhere else on the field. (Maybe except for kick returner, we guess.)

    The defense can still be decent, if not great, and Jay Cutler will without question improve. He has to. When -- not if -- both of those things happen, the Bears will be just fine. Not a Super Bowl team, but they were never that anyway. That's our fault for getting caught up in the hype. Let's recalibrate, shall we?

    Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.