If we allow ourselves to be honest with each other, it wasn’t easy being a Bears fan in the wake of yesterday’s Super Bowl.
A quarterback Chicago passed on in the 2017 NFL Draft was hoisting the Super Bowl trophy for the Chiefs two years into his starting career, cementing a legacy after just three years in the league. And even on the losing sideline, the 49ers represented a lot of what the Bears were last year (and what many hoped/believed could be) in 2019 with a team built on defense, ball control, motion, misdirection, and a quarterback who does just enough to win ball games. Typing it all out hurts.
Thankfully Allen Robinson and Prince Amukamara are here to soften the blow.
Even as his future in Chicago hangs in the balance, Amukamara still sees bright days ahead with the Bears: “Our stock is rising,” Amukamara said, citing the team’s 8-8 finish as a confidence builder going into the 2020 season.
No, finishing .500 isn’t where anyone wants to be. And when your preseason goals are Super Bowl or bust, missing the playoffs altogether is akin to busting. But to avoid a sub-.500 finish in a season where so much went wrong across the board should have players feeling as if it wasn’t a complete failure. If anything, the 2019 season should be used as a building block moving forward. Because among the many lessons that can be taken from last year’s team, one that sticks out is that there is an ability to dig out from the deepest and darkest spots.
(But also, let’s not allow things to get that bad in the first place. Just a thought.)
As for Robinson, he still believes in the talent of the Bears’ core, going as far as to tell Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times the team is “not that far off” from catching the greatness it unsuccessfully chased this past season. And in order to get there, Robinson is ready to dive into the details.
“For us, we have to make sure we’re going out there with the details of everything, knowing what we want to accomplish — that’s the route detail, the path for the running back,” Robinson explained. “Everything across the board has to become more detailed. I think with the team we have and the youth we have on our offense, we’re only getting better.”
I suppose Robinson has a point in saying the offense is only getting better. Though, that might be partially because there isn’t anywhere to go but up. But from a broader perspective, Robinson is right about the need to tighten it up to the smallest details.
Missed blocks, blown coverages, untimely penalties, routes that weren’t as sharp as they needed to be, and other small things added up to major missed opportunities. It all mounts up over time, and we saw how it led to the demise of the team. Cleaning that stuff up will put the Bears in a better place to get where they want to go in 2020, and I’m glad Robinson sees it and is willing to address it publicly. That’s what leadership looks like.
Finding optimism for the year to come can be a challenge. But leave it to a pair of veteran leaders to provide some positive buzz on the Monday after the Super Bowl. This fanbase needed it.