Bears can only wish Ford was right

Bears punter Adam Podlesh on his recent struggles and how he is coping with it.

If you wonder why the Lions have been such a flaming failure for the last, oh, five decades, you have to start at the top -- right at the top of Bill Ford Jr.’s pinhead.

Speaking at the team’s annual Courage House dinner, the Lions vice-chairman called the Bears a “bunch of thugs.’’ He was referring to the room for the dinner feeling alive the way Ford Field was when the Lions beat the Bear “thugs.’’

This from the guy whose team is known for stupid and dirty play. This from a guy who pays the dirtiest player in the league. This from a guy whose head coach seems to foster such antics.

I’m all for colorful descriptions, but apparently the slogan was wrong: Ford does not have a better idea.

A Lions spokesman told the Detroit Free Press that Ford was joking, but it came a couple days after coach Jim Schwartz railed about Jon Bostic’s hit on Kris Durham, who covered the onside kick that clinched Detroit’s 40-32 win over the Bears on Sunday.

Schwartz was right. Bostic should’ve been flagged, and still might be fined this week. But when you have a dirty and stupid reputation like the Lions, you’re not going to get a lot of those calls. If Ford is looking for a team that smacks of thug, it’s right in front of him.

And the biggest thug loves what his boss said.

“It means a lot,’’ Ndamukong Suh said of Ford’s comments, and of course he’d say that. Gets the focus off his cheap play.

But here’s the deal: The Bears would love to be considered thugs at this point.

Sad, but true. The Bears would kill for that kind of rep because it beats the one that grew old and tiresome last week and nearly the week before and nearly ...

Anyway, living the thug life would mean the inept defensive line and lame back seven would’ve tackled somebody hard -- or tackled somebody at all.

It’s hard to be a thug team when Reggie Bush is giving the entire defense windburn. It’s hard to be a thug team when run fits are bad and tackling is worse.

It’s hard to be a thug team when the quarterback gets sacked once in 35 dropbacks. It’s hard to be a thug team when you lose the defensive line.

Nobody here would view the Bears as thugs, and not just because we’re in Chicago. I mean, they haven’t even been busted for a bounty program.

Thug teams hurt people, or at least punish opponents. But you have to catch them first. The Bears couldn’t catch the Lions, and here come the Saints with the NFL’s fourth-best offense.

New Orleans starts with the deadly accurate Drew Brees throwing to Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. The former is a big tight end that the Bears don’t look like they can cover. The latter is a small running back that the defense doesn’t look as if it can catch.

And then there’s wide receiver Marques Colston, who averages more than 14 yards a catch, and running back Pierre Thomas, who leads the Saints and in rushing and still has 19 receptions.

Good night, everybody. Tip your waitstaff. Drive home safely.

Once you get past demanding two or three takeaways every game and one of them for a TD, the fear with this season’s Bears defense was age at critical places, lack of depth at others, and inexperience at safety. And it all has been exposed to some degree. Worse, teams aren’t done exposing it yet.

Some of that age has gotten hurt in Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman’s inability to finish the last two games and Julius Peppers’ failure to show up for the first three.

Some of those depth issues became white hot when Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton went down for the year and was replaced by Your Name Here.

The safety thing is Chris Conte and Major Wright too often getting there late or at the wrong angle or flat missing even when they read it right.

And I still don’t know what Shea McClellin does for a living. Besides getting pounded on the edge to create big running lanes, I mean. He’s not a defensive end. Not in the NFL that the Bears play in. At best, he’s a gimmick like Mark Anderson was. The road to 100-yard rushing games runs through Highway 99. If the Bears are going to misspell the back of his game jersey the way they did recently, they should just stitch “Welcome.’’

This is a new Bears age. The offense can win shootouts. The offense, unfortunately, forced itself to try to win a shootout last week. But the offense has that ability, and the Bears will need it with a defense that has been gashed and might stay that way.

But hey, the Bears appreciate Ford’s kind words.

 

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