Mullin: Bears’ 2010 3-0 start vs. 2009 3-1 start

Friday, Oct. 1, 20109:22 AM

By John MullinCSNChicago.com

What to truly make out of the Bears 3-0 start…

The offense is better, the defense is better, special teams are better. Yet the Bears have been outgained by 100 yards in each of their last two wins, but those were wins, which really is all that matters. The Bears are 3-0; no argument.

The fact that the Bears started 2009 at 3-1 is certainly a reasonable cause for emotional moderation; losing eight of the next 10 exposed that start as a lie.

But the three wins after that opening loss to Green Bay were over Pittsburgh (with help from two missed field goals), Seattle and Detroit. Those teams, respectively finished 9-7, 4-12 and 2-14, and they all outgained the Bears.

The three teams the Bears have defeated so far include Detroit, but also the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay, which went 9-7 and 11-5 in 2009. The combined records of the three losers last year was 15-33. This year the three defeateds were a combined 22-26 in 2009.

One reader expressed exasperation at references to the Bears past, and as Da Coach in fact said, the past is for cowards and losers. It is, however, also very useful for comparison, a sort of fixed point from which to assess progress, lack of it or simply the degree of change.

The point is, while Im seeing problems for the Bears Sunday in New Jersey, there is clear and conclusive reason to see this years 3-0 start as materially more impressive than last years with its three straight wins. Im not sure I see the Bears winning road games in consecutive weeks, something they havent done since their playoff seasons of 2005 and 2006.

Enis error

As fashionable as it has been to bash the Bears for the making Curtis Enis the fifth-overall pick of the 1998 draft, if Tom Coughlin had his way, Enis wouldve been a Jacksonville Jaguar.

Couglin at that time was the coach and personnel driver for the Jags, who owned picks at No. 9 and No. 25 of the first round. When the Bears turn came at No. 5, the phone rang in the Bears draft room and Coughlin wanted to talk with personnel chief Mark Hatley, then handling his first draft after years as a supporting actor with Kansas City personnel. Coughlin wanted to trade up.

The conversation and negotiations grew heated as the minutes ticked closer to the 15 minutes the Bears were allowed. Hatley felt that Coughlin was trying to bully him and at minute 14 slammed the phone down and declared that the Bears would take Enis.

Coughlin and the Jaguars were stuck at No. 9. They settled for Florida running back Fred Taylor, who played 11 years for Jacksonville, signed with New England in 2009 and is averaging 3.9 yards per carry this season for the Patriots. He is the NFLs 15th leading rusher all-time.

Enis played three erratic years for the Bears. He is coaching high school football in Ohio.

What matters?

The Bears offensive mantra for three weeks now has been that the need to run the ball more effectively is critical. Maybe not.

Of the eight worst rushing offenses based on average per carry, six have winning records. Only Denver and Detroit do not.

More significantly, of the eight top passers in this weeks rankings, only Denvers Kyle Orton is playing for a team that is not tied atop or outright leading its division with a winning record. Realizing that passer rating is hugely affected by interceptions, none of those top eight has thrown more than 2 interceptions. Cutler is one of those with two through three games.

My, what would 2009 have been like for the Bears had Cutler not thrown at least two interceptions in seven remember those? different games?

Deafening silence

Im sure the latent anger is still out there, but wasnt it somehow a restful month without “Fire-Lovie!” hysteria?

John “Moon”
is CSNChicago.com’s Bears Insider, and appears regularly on
Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon

on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

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