Imrem: Bulls best pay attention to Bears' season

As if it isn't difficult enough to be optimistic as a follower of Chicago sports, the recently concluded baseball season made it impossible.

After suffering through the Cubs and White Sox rebuilds, how can you feel the Bears will ever beat the Packers, the Blackhawks will ever win another Stanley Cup, or Derrick Rose will ever stand up on two good knees?

Like the kid in "The Sixth Sense" who sees dead people, I see struggling Chicago sports teams.

Sorry, it's what they have turned me into over the decades. If I had a tattoo, it would be a team picture of the '69 Cubs.

The mention of Rose's knees is particularly relevant today as the Bulls conduct the first practice of a new season.

Is anyone surprised that to me the Bears' loss to the Packers bodes poorly for the Bulls' this season.


OK, this takes some explaining: Maybe it's just me, but I sense that some troubling circumstances apply to both the Bulls and the Bears.

• Each of these teams has a frustrating player as the face of the franchise, the Bulls' being the oft-injured Rose and the Bears' being the oft-puzzling Jay Cutler.

• Each team is challenged this season in its division by the game's best player, the Bulls by Cleveland's LeBron James and the Bears by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.

• Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is a reputed defensive genius trying to fix his offense, and Bears coach Marc Trestman is a reputed offensive genius trying to fix his defense.

• Each team is expecting problem-solving help from a rookie first-round draft choice, Doug McDermott as a scorer for the Bulls and Kyle Fuller as a score-stopper for the Bears.

• Each team also acquired a veteran to fill a hole, Pau Gasol as a Bulls power forward to replace Carlos Boozer and Jared Allen as a Bears pass rusher to replace Julius Peppers.

So, all right, here we are as the Bulls open training camp and the Bears' record stands at 2-2 after a quarter of the NFL season.

The Bears' situation isn't very encouraging for the Bulls so far, is it?

If the .500 Bears are a gauge, the chances at this point are only .500 that either team will wind up better than .500.

To be honest, much of my Bears-Bulls premise depended on the Bears-Packers game.

If the Bears beat Green Bay they would be 3-1, on the way toward a great season and a good sign for the Bulls.

If the Bears lost to the Packers, they'd be just another team and a scary sign for the Bulls.

Well, you saw it: the Packers won decisively. Heaven help the Bulls if they solve their problems against Cleveland the way the Bears did against Green Bay.

Thibodeau's offense better be better than Trestman's defense; Gasol's health better be better than the ailing Allen's has been; McDermott's impact against the Cavaliers' defense better be better than Fuller's was against the Packers' offense.

Finally, there is the comparison of franchise faces.

Cutler has thrown zero interceptions in each of 2 victories and 2 interceptions in each of 2 defeats. If the Cutler trend continues, the Bears will finish 8-8, miss the playoffs and be considered a huge disappointment.

The Bulls need Rose to be better than that - perhaps even close to regaining his MVP form from before his knees collapsed - so they can be better than that. If Rose isn't a monster point guard, it won't matter what Gasol, McDermott and anyone else on the Bulls does.

The Bulls will be only as successful as Rose is, just as the Bears will be only as successful as Cutler is.

So far Cutler has been inconsistent - the Bears have been, too - and inconsistent won't work for Rose and the Bulls.

In this town, inconsistency is an upgrade only in baseball.

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