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Bad Bears season certainly no guarantee there will be change
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 9/14/2010 12:00 AM

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If you bristle now at the level of arrogance hurtling at light speed in all directions from Lake Forest, imagine the Bears at 2-0.

It may seem unlikely, but the team they face Sunday in Dallas sports an offensive line as offensive as the one from Chicago, replete with requisite penalties, bad tackles and inability to pass protect.

The Cowboys were atrocious Sunday night against the Redskins, and if Dallas is favored to win the conference this season, the NFC is even worse than previously thought.

Much like here, the Cowboys' fan base also dreams of a coaching staff minus the head-scratching calls, one of which from Wade Phillips on Sunday rivaled Lovie Smith's goal-line decision in Chicago.

With no chance to score, Phillips failed to instruct Tony Romo to run out the clock at the end of the second quarter, leading to a fumble and 7 points for the Skins.

"That's my fault before the half," Phillips said. "We should've taken a knee."

How refreshing that a head coach takes the blame and admits a mistake.

It's a hair different from the, "I'm always right, you're always wrong" Chicago version, where Smith still defends his decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal Sunday.

Never mind that you take the points because it gives your team the lead, but consider that you may never get another chance even if you stop the Lions and maintain field position, since your team is constantly turning the ball over and taking penalties, which could take you out of field-goal range.

With nine minutes left, Herm Edwards, you play to win the game, though what passes for Bears logic eludes most Bears fans.

What should frighten ownership is that the once rogue elements of Bears nation hoping for defeats in order to bring about regime change is growing by the day, now a serious population actually rooting against its own team.

But if you're in that group, and sick of being told to mind your own business and trust the head coach, get used to the prospect of another year of this group regardless of how good or bad they are this season.

With labor negotiations going nowhere, the Bears may not fire Smith and Co. and pay a new head coach and staff in 2011 unless ownership knows there's going to be a football season.

If there's no CBA until July or August next year, the Bears will have long since made a decision not to compensate two presidents, two GMs and two head coaches with no guarantee of an NFL season.

Maybe it will be something cosmetic for the lockout year, like removing Smith and elevating one of the other head coaches already on staff to throw the fans a bone.

But it's quite possible the trio you thought should have been fired at the end of 2008, and again at the end of 2009, might even survive at the end of 2010.

So if you're rooting for defeats to make a difference, there might not be enough on the schedule to make it happen.

Devin and Devin

After months of news that Devin Hester was making great progress in his role as the No. 1 receiver - how many years have we been hearing that? - the truth is Jay Cutler hardly looked at him Sunday.

Hester caught 1 short pass three minutes into the game that went for 17 yards and didn't officially see another pass thrown his way.

Cutler did try one other time, but they didn't connect and the play was wiped clean by a penalty.

Devin Aromashodu was targeted most (10) and led the receiving corps in catches (5) and yards (71).

Despite a TD drop, Cutler clearly believes Aromashodu knows the offense and will be in the spot Cutler needs to hit.

In the Mike Martz offense, you better know the assignment and hot reads or you won't see the football. It's all about timing, and Cutler has to believe a receiver is going to be where he throws it.

As for Hester's formerly brilliant special-teams game, he continued to look disinterested, returning 5 punts for 17 yards.

The good news

Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher looked like the Pro Bowl youngsters who used to run from sideline to sideline, making plays and wreaking havoc. If they can stay healthy, those are two reasons to be optimistic.

New season

Speaking of health, Matt Forte looks like a different player now that he's back in one piece.

Red flag

First sign of rebellion from Jay Cutler in Game 1 came in the form of a thrown helmet after Lovie Smith failed to challenge a fumble by Matt Forte that looked close enough to take a shot.

Spell check

During warmups Sunday, Channel 5's Peggy Kusinski tweeted a picture of the Blackhawks' Brian Campbell and Patrick Kane on the sideline in Bears jerseys. Campbell's read "Cambell," but at least "Kane" was spelled correctly.

And finally -

Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, on Randy Moss' selfish rant after a Pats victory: "It would be overstating things to claim that we've never heard or seen anything like this before. We have, after all, seen Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch - We watched Roger Clemens set himself on fire in Oakland and Don Zimmer make a bull rush for Pedro Martinez. But as meltdowns go - think of it as Courtney Love meets Oil Can Boyd."