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Columnist
Sure seems like Bears believe a little too much
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 8/15/2010 8:43 PM

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Not much appeared to be different about the Bears over the weekend.

Head coach Lovie Smith didn't display much urgency on the sideline, and his players didn't play with much on the field.

This isn't about an urgency to save jobs in a pivotal season for the entire franchise. It's more about an urgency to play better than the Bears have the past three years.

Cool isn't cool for this team at this point in history.

Seriously, you'd think the Bears would have come out on fire Saturday night, even in an exhibition game.

After missing the NFL playoffs since 2006 the Bears should have been trying to prove something to everyone, especially to themselves.

Instead the Bears projected an unearned arrogance. If that's an unfair assessment coming from an outsider's peek inside, so be it.

The Bears began this comeback season sort of in a laissez-faire gear, going at the same patient pace that characterized last year's meltdown.

The mood screams that the Bears believe, "We know what we're doing," with Smith still proclaiming, "Trust me," even though they all squandered the benefit of doubt long ago.

Yes, yes, it was only the first preseason game of a new season. But it can't be too soon for this team in this situation to establish a new tone.

You know, to demonstrably emphasize that what went on before wasn't good enough.

Preseason scores don't matter for teams like the Colts, Patriots and Saints. For the Bears they do after finishing 7-9 last year and 23-25 over the last three years.

Sunday afternoon the NFL Network carried the Indianapolis-San Francisco game, and an interesting image flashed just 3:14 into the two teams' preseason.

After Colts quarterback Peyton Manning didn't connect on a pass in the end zone he grimaced, shook his head and slapped his hands in disgust.

The Colts played in last season's Super Bowl and Manning is the NFL's best quarterback, yet that essentially meaningless pass in a nothing game was important to him.

Playing in a system he could operate in a coma, Manning stayed in for a second series and attempted a combined 10 passes.

During the Bears' preseason opener at San Diego, quarterback Jay Cutler, needing to acclimate to a new offensive coordinator's system, played half as many series as Manning did and attempted a fifth as many passes.

The Bears' attitude seems to be, "What's the hurry?" Their body language smirked, "This is only the beginning and we don't want to peak too quickly."

So to them it was OK that new defensive-line savior Julius Peppers was out there just getting some exercise instead of trying to make even a brief impact. By the way, didn't a reputation for not always going hard stalk him here from Carolina?

Brian Urlacher, returning from injury, might have been obsessed with wanting the Bears' defense to show it's going to tackle better than it did without him last season.

Instead Urlacher sort of shrugged at Smith's beloved system looking too much like, well, let's just say too familiar.

The prevailing mood seemed too much like the Bears were warming up with the assumption they'll turn it on in the season opener.

The question is whether it's in their DNA to amp up the urgency by then.