The expectations change, it seems, as the autumn wind blows. One season, a .500 record is acceptable and the next it is judged a failure. The first-year head coach is given slack, in the second year, the rope becomes taut, and by the third, it forms a noose.
On and on, the cycle continues, the Bears of 2000 swirling somewhere in the middle.
Expectations? This Bears team has only two choices: rise up and meet them or fall back into the abyss of unrealized potential and rising disappointment. And the list is by no means a short one:
Will they reach the playoffs for the first time since 1994, a goal that seems lofty for a club coming off a 6-10 year but is certainly reasonable considering their off-season upgrades?
Will second-year quarterback Cade McNown, starting his first NFL opener Sunday, develop into a poised professional and still be the field leader in December?
Will third-year running back Curtis Enis put a forgettable rookie season and injury-plagued second year behind him and finally live up to his draft status?
Will free-agent acquisitions such as defensive end Phillip Daniels and cornerback Thomas Smith, along with wild cards such as receiver Eddie Kennison and safety Shawn Wooden inject enough fresh ability and enthusiasm to make a tangible difference?
Will a pair of new kickers be enough to vault an already …