The first month of the second year of a coaching regime is often a twilight zone for Bears fans.
That’s when it’s still early enough for the offensive coordinator to — fairly and legitimately — accentuate the positive from Week 1 (“We did a lot of good things.’’) and promise that the young franchise quarterback’s foibles are part of the process (“He will get better.”). But for those who’ve been here long before Luke Getsy arrived and will be here long after he’s gone, it’s a movie we’ve all seen before.
History is hovering over Halas Hall like a dark cloud this week after the Bears somehow tripped over a low-to-moderate bar in a 38-20 loss to the Packers at Soldier Field in the season opener. If Getsy was wondering about the pointed questions he faced Thursday, just call Matt Nagy. Or Marc Trestman. Or Mike Martz. If Getsy thinks it’s strange that his seat feels so warm so soon, it’s because it hasn’t cooled down from the last guy to sit in it.
So here we are again.
It’s way too early to panic, but it’s never too soon to wonder: Have the Bears made up ground on the teams in their division? That’s a key storyline heading into the game Sunday against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, and, of course, it’s an old one. In fact, it was the exact same storyline 23 years ago when the Bears went to Tampa in Week 2 after an opening loss in the second season under coach Dick Jauron, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton and quarterback Cade McNown.
The inventive, pass-happy Crowton was a revelation when he arrived as a first-time NFL coach from Louisiana Tech in 1999. After Jim Miller threw for 422 and 357 yards in back-to-back games in November, the concern was that Crowton would leave to become a head coach. But he entered Year 2 in 2000 with a lot to prove as his initial impact fizzled in a 6-10 season.
Coming off a Week 1 loss to the Vikings, Week 2 against the Bucs was seen as a real measurement of which direction Crowton and Jauron were heading. The result was an unmitigated disaster — a 41-0 loss that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
That was about it for the Gary Crowton era with the Bears. In fact, he didn’t even last the season — leaving in early December to become the coach at Brigham Young.
But that was a long time ago in Bears history — 12 offensive coordinators ago, actually. But now we’re back at that same point for Getsy. Just last November, when Fields was running wild and the Bears were scoring 33, 29, 32 and 30 points in consecutive games, losing Getsy to a head-coaching job was a real fear.
But after Week 1, he’s facing tough questions. Two targets for DJ Moore. The offensive line. The conservative game plan. And those screen passes that went for touchdowns in the preseason but were mostly duds against the Packers.
“I know . . . screens have been a conversation,” Getsy said. “If you actually watch the film, we have everybody accounted for, and there’s nobody else out there. If we can just capture the edge, those are 15-, 25-yard gains, and you [reporters] are patting me on my back.
“My point is, we’re gonna make decisions that we feel [are] advantageous to our guys having opportunities. Now, we have to do better. We have to coach it better. We have to make sure that guys execute it better. That’s where we have to get better, for sure.”
The Bears still have time to do that. It’s only Week 2. And it’s not about a giant leap. It’s about proving to Bears fans they’re not watching the same old show.