Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr already earned a degree of ignominy with many Bears fans this offseason by calling for Justin Fields to demand a trade and by making their second-year quarterback poster boy for passers who need transfer portals to escape bad situations.
Now Orr has doubled down on Bears criticism with SI's power rankings. He labels the Bears the 32nd best team in the NFL.
Of course, there are 32 teams in the league so this means he believes they are the worst team in the league.
There is no reason for Bears fans to gang up on Orr, this time anyway.
There are plenty of others voicing similar opinions. A 2022 season of defeats is the consensus among those paid to observe the league in some form. In the words of the late Rodney Dangerfield, the Bears get no respect.
Do they deserve any, though?
There is little they can do to alter this perception until Sept. 11.
NFL.com had them No. 30 after the draft. CBS Sports gave them credit for being a little better, ranking them a robust 27th.
In each case, the rankings mentioned the team didn't do enough to help Fields.
Poles has taken on complaints for the lack of veteran offensive line help at tackle or right guard just like he has at wide receiver. Of course, few mention what was done to help their defense at one starting lineup hole and another starting weak spot.
The Bears' descent in the eyes of analysts seemed to begin with the draft. No one—or at least very few—called for the head of first-year GM Ryan Poles after Larry Ogunjobi failed a physical and their best free agent wide receiver acquisition was arrested for allegedly automotive immaturity.
There is no doubt the Bears' schedule release proved a pivotal point in their criticism.
It is a softer schedule than many others based on last year's winning percentages and fewer playoff opponents, but they still seem destined for devastation in the eyes of many.
Seven wins seems to be a ceiling.
The consensus among media as well as the betting world looks like six wins, just like last year's Bears.
Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com assigned win total over/unders to all 32 teams and gave the Bears a 6.1. It's not the worst but is worse than longtime doormat teams like the New York Giants (6.5), Jacksonville Jaguars (6.2) and Detroit Lions (7.4).
"While my models suggest the Bears won't be overly punished for not adequately addressing their O-line issues this offseason, they have other questions marks (receiver, pass rusher) that could impact their ability to take full advantage of having a top-five schedule in terms of favorability," Frelund wrote.
The Chicago Tribune's staff of three Bears writers achieved a consensus of six wins: Dan Wiederer says five wins, Brad Biggs six wins and Colleen Kane seven wins.
ESPN Bears beat reporter Courtney Cronin assigned a 6.5 over/under for the Bears
"If they want to hit the over, they might have to rely on their defense to carry the load with some early wins as Justin Fields builds chemistry with his new teammates during the early portion of the schedule," Cronin wrote.
BearDigest's call on the season was seven wins, although a final projection will be made just before the regular season when the 53-man roster is finalized.
Vegas, Others Pile On
The glum outlook is projected in gambling futures, as well. Sports Illustrated's sports book set the over/under at 6.5
Frankie Taddeo, SI Betting's senior analyst has the Bears' over/under lower than the gambling site, at 6 games, worse than both the Lions (6.5) and Jaguars (6.5).
If disrespect for the team isn't enough, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks put out a top 10 list of second-year players destined to break out, and has two quarterbacks on it.
Fields' name isn't on the list. Brooks predicts breakout years for Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, with Lawrence being No. 1 on his list of all second-year players breaking out.
Is it time to seek out that transfer portal?