1-15 may not sound so bad afterall

By The Columbia Chronicle

Marcus Jenkins

Staff Writer

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Chicago is called ‘The Windy City’. It’s because the Bears suck. But that’s okay. You want them to. For now. After an 0-4 start that relegated the few remaining fans to contemplate jumping onto an already South American bus-like Green Bay Packer bandwagon, a familiar song begins to chime its annual chorus.Wait ‘til next year.

But there still is something they can salvage out of a 1-15 season. Start thinking ‘99 draft. The first pick. And instead of jumping ship, consider becoming a surrogate fan of the following teams that will be providing the Bears some competition in football’s race for ugliness—

•Your main foe- Washington’s surprisingly 0-6 Redskins. But conference games, a November rematch with Philadelphia and a mid-December trip to Carolina, will almost certainly see them dent the win column at least once.

•Or Washington’s NFC ‘Least’ division-mate, Philadelphia— The 1-5 Eagles have a rematch with the only team they’ve beat— Washington— and the rest of the conference games to pick up a few wins.

•It’s been a Panther season wherever Carolina plays. They’re off to an expansion- like 0-5 start.

•The Paper Lions, a 1-4 squad that the Bears actually beat two weeks ago. Detroit has too many offensive weapons to stay bad, especially with QB Scott Mitchell warming the wood.

•If the AFC is your cup of tea, the Colts at 1-5 give Indianapolis a shot at yet another top draft-pick.

Although those teams are sure to put the Bears in the running for yet another late top-10 pick, ten more teams are in the ‘hunt’ with two wins or less.

When you consider the opponents won-loss records of Philadelphia (24-33), Carolina (25-32), Washington (26-31), Indy (26-25) and Detroit (34-24) here is where the Bears are at an advantage, albeit a small one. Their next ten opponents’ record is a combined 30-21.

But— and when you’re dealing with the Bears there’s always a but— posting the worst season in team history since 19** won’t get them that coveted selection. They would lose out to a team that hasn’t lost a game. Or beaten them. Well, within a few years. The Cleveland Browns will most likely be Couch potatoes come draft day next year. As in Tim Couch, the highly touted QB from Kentucky. Which leaves them options. Just not option #1.

Let’s face it. The Bears are a needy team. Needy as a homeless person in the dead of winter who just got mugged. And if they actually do themselves a favor and wind up with the second pick, they better use it wisely. And address those needs.

And tell all those wearers of “Will Rush Ball For Food” signs that the Bears are not interested. Time to try out a new position. Somebody say defense? We have finally arrived at a day in which we can no longer have to agonize over bust-out defensive players such as Alonzo Spellman, Brian Cox, Carl Simpson, you name it. But what they have isn’t cutting it. Or tackling it. Or intercepting it.

And if all we are holding on to is the 1985 Super Season, then how about taking some forward progress in that direction. Start in the middle. As in Ohio State middle linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer. A gem that would be a Stonehenge-like cornerstone of a defense for the next 10 years. Katzenmoyer is one of the more dynamic defensive players to come out of college in a long time. Even if he can’t spell dynamic.

But he could spell rebuilding here. And think of it— OT James ‘Big Cat’ Williams and Andy ‘Big Kat’ Katzenmoyer spelling bad luck for any teams crossing their path on both sides of the ball. Don’t forget about the defensive line, either. DT Jared Devries of Iowa might be lingering in the second round too. But picking up a stud free-agent in the offseason would be a smarter move. These all could be possibilities, Chicago. Just adopt a new motto for a couple more months— Just lose, baby.