Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Two Mikes

I now believe, perhaps incorrectly, that my high definition television was designed to show Chicago Bears offensive football designed and directed by Mike Martz and Mike Tice. I had no love for either of these coaches prior to their arrival at Soldier Field -- particularly Tice, who was wholly unimpressive in his tenure with the Vikings -- but it has taken only three games to completely convert me.

The advent of well-designed offensive plays and creative, fluctuating sets would, on its own, be enough to set my heart aflutter after the John Shoop/Terry Shea/Ron Turner-induced decade long stupor. But beautiful receiving routes crafted to punish defenses for trying to take away middle and deep routes by putting receivers into space underneath are perfected by the passing lanes created by an overachieving offensive line.

The fact that the Bears are an amazing 3-0 to start the season after tough games against the Cowboys and Packers helps, but it is not the reason I am really enjoying the 2010 version of the team. This iteration of the Bears is simply fun to watch. They make in-game adjustments on both sides of the ball -- Zack Bowman was getting massacred by the Packers and the switch to Tim Jennings was huge. They seem unafraid of the defenses they face -- the Packers are a very good defensive team and, yet, with the game tied late in the fourth quarter, a full spread offense takes the field. And they are punching above their weight.

On the defensive side of the ball, Rod Marinelli has his guys cracking opposing players. And while there are many reasons to rave about Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, and Brian Urlacher, I am most taken by what Chris Harris has offered the secondary in his return to a team he should never have left in the first place. The Bears' secondary is not going to scare any one in their gameweek preparation, but Harris solidifies that part of the unit. Another four games of watching Harris play in a Bears uniform and I may be able to get over the memories of Adam Archuleta.

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