faux OR real? for real
September 25, 2013 10:20PM
Mark Potash, Sun-Times sports writer. | Chandler West~Sun-Times
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Updated: September 25, 2013 11:37PM
Are the Bears for real? Long snapper Patrick Mannelly, a remnant of the Dave Wannstedt era, has been around here too long to fall for that one.
‘‘We’ve started off 3-0, and that’s great. But we’ve had good starts before and fizzled or things have happened,’’ said Mannelly, who has played in a franchise-record 234 games with the Bears. ‘‘I don’t think you can say we’re better than we were in prior years. We’ve got a lot of games to go.
‘‘We were 7-1 last year [and didn’t make the playoffs]. We were 7-3 [in 2011] and playing some of the best football we’ve played since I’ve been here, and Jay [Cutler] goes down. We’ve got the potential to be a pretty good team. But you can’t say that yet.
‘‘Offensively, you see a little difference [from previous teams], and a lot of that has to do with coach [Marc] Trestman and his scheme, but also the talent we have. We have an O-line that Jay has been sacked [only] three times. You see Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett — I mean, we haven’t had that before. That makes a difference.’’
It remains to be seen how much of a difference that will make, but already there are enough signs to indicate that general manager Phil Emery and Trestman are not building a house of cards.
That’s not to say the Bears are going to win the Super Bowl. Like the rest of the NFL, the Bears are a key injury away from returning to the non-playoff muck. But already there are indications this team will have more staying power than the faux contenders of previous years. Here are a few reasons to believe the Bears are for real.