It’s still hard to believe the Bears are where they are right now.
Hard to believe they could be 3-4 with a defense that was so dominant last season. Hard to believe the offense is this bad. Hard to believe an intelligent man such as Matt Nagy could make such a terrible coaching decision against the Chargers, costing his team a victory.
OK, it’s not so hard to believe Mitch Trubisky is a million miles from being the quarterback general manager Ryan Pace thought he’d be when he drafted him in 2017. We’ve watched Trubisky start 32 games as a Bear, and if he ever had ‘‘star’’ written all over him, Pace must have done it in invisible ink.
And, now that I think about it, it’s really, really not hard to believe the much-hyped Bears are struggling. The McCaskeys still are running the show.
You can’t blame ownership for celebrating 100 years of franchise history this season, but if you’ve paid any attention to the family’s stumbling stewardship of the club, you probably saw this disappointment coming. Somewhere in the darkest recesses of your mind, you saw it coming.
With the McCaskeys tripping over themselves to unveil statues and celebrate the glorious past, doesn’t it figure present reality would bury the 2019 team’s Super Bowl hopes? Centuries from now, archeologists will find Pace protectively holding Trubisky to his chest underneath layers of volcanic ash.
So, no, I guess we never should have believed in a magical season in the first place.
It is possible for the Bears to turn this around, starting Sunday in Philadelphia, but it’s hard to imagine. It would entail Trubisky turning into another quarterback, one who doesn’t make two or three bad mistakes every game. It would entail him running more, which Nagy has avoided in his game plans for reasons that elude most everyone.
And it would entail the NFL trading in the rest of the Bears’ difficult schedule and replacing it with a nine-game series against the belly-up Dolphins.
The shadow of the McCaskeys is the tent over this long-running circus. If the family were a movie, the title would be ‘‘Bad Things Happen.’’
If you understand that, then you understand how the Bears could lose the game against the Chargers. You understand how their coach, against all common sense, would choose to have his quarterback take a knee with 43 seconds left to try a kick. You understand how running a few more plays might have reduced a 41-yard field-goal attempt by several yards. You understand the decision to kneel played a starring role in Eddy Pineiro’s miss.
It’s the McCaskeys. This is how it goes with them.
If you understand that, then you certainly understand how, two days after the loss, Pineiro would reveal the ball was placed on the left hash before his kick. His preference is always the right hash. Somebody in the Bears’ organization messed up, though lips, of course, are sealed. By the way, ‘‘Somebody Messed Up’’ is the sequel to ‘‘Bad Things Happen.’’
There’s a whiff of the ridiculous to a lot of what the Bears have done under current ownership. So by that standard — the only standard many adult Chicagoans have known — what’s happening now makes perfect sense.
If you’re looking for someone to scream that the McCaskeys MUST sell the franchise, don’t look here. They’re not going to sell the Bears. They’re ill-suited to run an NFL team, but it’s clear they’re in it for the history and the nostalgia, not the victories. They can’t figure out how to translate George Halas’ six championships as a coach into a Super Bowl title, but they probably can tell you what Papa Bear ate for breakfast before the 73-0 game in 1940.
If the McCaskeys could create a front-office person in their image, he would walk and talk like Pace. A neatly groomed, golly-gee kind of guy who preaches collaboration. And, except for the miracle of the Khalil Mack trade, a man with not much to show for his salary.
Pace decided to trade up and take Trubisky with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft, and no matter how much he and Nagy try to talk up their quarterback, our eyes see what they see. It is so much like this franchise to have a coach who wants everyone to know that the kid ‘‘really, truly cares,’’’ as Nagy said the other day.
I’d prefer a quarterback who really, truly can play.
Hard to believe the Bears are where they are? No, it’s not.