On Wednesday, Nov. 4, Chicago Bears left tackle Orlando Pace turns 34 years old.
Why is this relevant? Because it's the 187th reason he shouldn't be playing left tackle for the Bears any more.
In a move that can only be ironically described as saying Pace was in Jay Cutler's shadow, the 6'7", 325-pound Pace signed a one-year deal on the same day the Bears traded for Cutler.
The ironies don't stop there, though.
The Bears added Cutler because of the bright future in front of him and the great experience the Hall of Fame-bound Pace has behind him. After eight weeks, however, the Bears are watching Cutler's future dwindle behind Pace, while defensive linemen have a great experience in front of him.
The Bears brought in Pace because he was the cornerstone of the Greatest Show on Turf. Now, each week, Bears opponents are making their personal Jay Cutler highlight videos after their hits on the Bears' franchise quarterback become the Greatest Show Hitting Turf.
Rented mules haven't been beaten as regularly or as badly as Pace this year. To say he's been bad would be disrespectful of "bad" things everywhere. Mediocre's self-esteem grows every time Pace steps on the field.
When the Cleveland Browns almost bury your quarterback, and the schedule has Terrell Suggs and Jared Allen coming up, the best advice for Cutler and Bears fans alike is, "Go to church."
And today, Pace turns 34.
Even the Chicago Tribune wonders how much longer Cutler can take the shots he's been receiving on a weekly basis; on Monday, the tease at the top of their front page wondered if the Bears' line would be accomplices in Cutler's death if they continue blocking, or not blocking, the way they are this year.
Pace is past his prime, and his diminished speed is compounded by teams moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme that emphasizes speed off the edge. Cutler has been a mobile, durable quarterback in his young career, but he's been hit more in one half than he was all of last year on an average Denver team.
It's time for the Bears to make a change. Let's get off the Pace Bus and get a line that works.
Happy birthday, Orlando. Hopefully Cutler lasts as long as your candles this week.
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