All of those Fourth of July fireworks mean that Bears training camp must not be far away. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: It was a blast to watch the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, but I'm ready for the Bears to kick off training camp in Bourbonnais. Out with Michael Frolik, in with Matt Forte. Out with Corey Crawford, in with Chris Conte. Should I keep going?
Styf: Personally, I'll take Crawford over Conte. But you were are the right page to start. Yeah, hockey, hockey, hockey. But this is a football town. The Bears rule the fandom, like in most NFL cities. They just need to win. I'm not so confident they are much better than last year. They have the same Cutler problem and an aging defense. So, be happy and positive about training camp. But you've been warned.
Musick: I'll play devil's advocate. What if Marc Trestman turns the "Cutler problem" into one of the Bears' biggest strengths? If Joe Flacco can win a Super Bowl, I've got to think that Cutler is at least capable of doing so.
Styf: So he'll be a completely different guy than he's been before? That's an interesting sentiment. Guess Trestman's a magician, or at least David Blaine. Everyone pro athlete has a Edwin Jackson moment, where you're temporarily good, here and there. I just can't imagine him being consistently good over a season. And he doesn't have the pieces around him that the Ravens have around Flacco.
Musick: Step aside, David Blaine. I can see it now. Marc Trestman: Street Magic. Maybe the Bears could put their new coach in a water-filled sphere for the first week of training camp. Or maybe the team could suspend him above Practice Field No. 3 until Brandon Marshall caught 100 passes in a row. Publicity-seeking magicians aside, I do think Cutler is capable of being consistently good for a season, and I also think the Bears have surrounded him with plenty of talent.
Styf: Well, there you have it, folks. A vote of confidence from Tom Musick. It's safe to say, like every season, anything less than the playoffs would be a major disappointment for this Bears team. And, ultimately, it might mean the end of the Cutler era regardless how many years he's trying to convince us that it will take to learn the offense. Jay is a smart guy, he is confident. He is also susceptible to blowups and erratic passing and behavior. He has a big arm. If he ever won something, we might even call him Brett Favre. But he hasn't. So bring on the hate mail.
Musick: Already with the grumpiness. It's not even training camp. Does anything make you happy? Sunshine? Puppies? S'mores bars? Anything?
Styf: Your columns make me happy, Tom. When you turn them in on time. And water skiing squirrels. Is that animal abuse, though? You should call PETA and check for me.
Musick: This probably would be a good time to tell you that my columns actually are written by water skiing squirrels.
Styf: That's hard to believe. Because even they would recognize Cutler isn't going to suddenly change.