By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
The Chicago Bears have a lot to celebrate this season. As one of the oldest franchises in the NFL, the Bears celebrate 100 years of electrifying, heart-stopping plays, both good and bad.
But this year seems different. The Bears won the NFC North division in 2018, after a lack-luster 2017 season. The defense topped the league in an unexpected fashion. But like every off-season, players come and go, whether it be via free agency or trade.
With preseason in full swing and the Bears at 1-2, some fans wonder if this is the sign of bad things to come. Well, maybe it could be a sign of greater things to come because history tends to repeat itself. Take for instance in the 1985 Bears preseason, the Bears lost their first three preseason games but won their last one.
- Rams 10 – Bears 3
- Colts 24 – Bears 13
- Cowboys 15 – Bears 13
- Bears 45 – Bills 14
So far in this 2019 preseason, the Bears lost two games after scoring 13 points. Against the Carolina Panthers, the score was 23-13 and against the New York Giants, it was a lopsided 32-13. Technically, if the Bears lose the last game of the preseason, we may have an eerie similarity.
However, the biggest similarity would be the loss of 2 starters.
In 1985 the Bears lost two starters from their 1984 unit in defensive ends/linebackers Al Harris and Todd Bell. As the Bears jumbled through their first three preseason games and the lopsided victory over the Buffalo Bills, the media back then had predicted that the Bears defense would experience a downfall in the next season. Interesting, how the same thing is being said of the Bears this season, with the loss of free safety Adrian Amos, cornerback Bryce Callahan, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Todd Bell was an All-Pro safety who had not played in any preseason game until a better monetary offer was made. Along with Bell stood linebacker Harris who was asking for an excessive amount of money. The general manager at the time, Jerry Vainisi, was not going to be held hostage by any player. He stated, with jaws firmly set that the current 1985 team was set leaving Bell and Harris to find a new home.
Bell sat out the entire 1985 season during the contract dispute, (sounds like another Bell we all know) and missed his chance to be a part of the most dominating Super Bowl teams of all time. Harris also missed the entire ’85 season and Super Bowl victory. Both Bell and Harris ended up in playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Both Amos and Callahan are on different teams now, Callahan is with the Denver Broncos, with Fangio, and Amos landed in Green Bay. The question that kept coming up in conversations was whether the loss of Callahan and Amos would affect the defense in 2019.
The Bears replaced Callahan with veteran defensive back Buster Skrine, formerly of the New York Jets. Let’s face it, the nickel position is an interesting position on its own. The nickel is basically on an island, giving a receiver a lot of room to play with. Skrine would be on the field a lot since most teams play more sub-packages. As for Amos, the Bears had no problem filling that position with Pro Bowl FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Back in 1985, the defense was supposed to fail without their key players and yet the Bears pulled off one of the greatest wins, with the best team in Super Bowl history. With all that being said, sometimes change is good. As witnessed in the 1985 team, adjusting a few pieces may not be a bad thing, but may turn out to be the best decision ever.
Talk Bears with Wanda on Twitter @WandaW63