Season Preview: Chicago Bears

Season Preview:

chi-bears-helmetChicago Bears

I tried to tell people that john Fox wasn’t that great a game coach. he’s wonderful in the lockerroom and as solid as a rock on rebuilding teams, but when it comes to game planning for game management, not so much.

So glad I got hammered for that for 2 years.

Oh right, Fox is now in Chicago, his third stop. He’s never going to be unemployed long, and considering the Bears need to be respectable, he might be in the perfect situation.

Jay CutlerCutler is the guy that everyone loves to blame and has all the pressure on him. He’s always been under pressure, since coming in as the savoir for Jake Plummer in Denver all those moons ago. Part of his problem is bad coaching, part of his problem is he has all the tools, all the talent, but missing something to give him the total package. Can he be fixed? Sure, there are FAR worse QBs to win in the NFL- and not just Trent Dilfer. The problem with Culter is he shows enough where he can be looked at as a viable QB1, but at times looks like he should be on the scrap heap, but lets be honest, are you really pining for Jimmy Clausen?

Matt ForteMatt Forte is a Hall of Fame running back. Any questions?

Yup.

Matt Forte is 30.

Also, he has a LOT of wear and tear on him, but he’s still durable as ever- touching the ball 368 times rushing/receiving. That’s a lot of hits.

The Bears drafted Ka’Deem Carey as a change up back- to give some power running to Forte’s finesse- then forgot all about him. You can bet john Fox is going to give him the ball more than 36 times this year. The Bears would be wise to limit Forte’s carries, but he’s getting on wrong side of 30 to start to try and extend his lifespan now.

Brandon Marshall is gone- off to the land of great QBs and hating on Cutler, but I wonder how much he will miss him even after Geno Smith comes back.

Kevin White is the replacement, and should be a good one, but the Bears could have picked him up later, but he’s going to get a lot of chances here. Alshon Jeffery should be better than he plays, I don’t know who gets the blame here, but he has to play better. Martellus Bennett had a monster year with 90 catches and 10 TDs, but I’m not sure if I trust him from year to year. Or maybe that’s just Cutler. He does drop a lot of passes, by the way.

kyle longThe offensive line added Will Montgomery, who played for Fox in Carolina and Denver, maybe he likes the training camp menu. Beside him is Kyle Long, who keeps being pushed to play tackle, and I don’t blame the Bears if they move him, but I’d almost rather have a rock solid half of a line- and cheat all my protections the other way. Matt Slason is the other guard, and if he’s back 100% then maybe Long can move without crippling the middle of the line. . Jermon Bushrod is a bit inconsistent, but a decent tackle, and the Bears wish Jordan Mills on the other side had any kind of consistency, he goes from turnstile to solid player and back in the same series. The Bears stole Tayo Fabuluje in the draft, and he could be in the mix if he plays well in the preseason.

Defense

The Bears will be moving to a 3-4, and that could get interesting. I could see Eddie Goldman taking over as a day 1 starter, since he’s more massive and far younger than Jeremiah Ratliff, who might be doing more guiding than playing, sooner rather than later. If Ray McDonald pulls his head out of his ass, he can be a solid talent here, and on the other side Jarvis Jenkins is a great run stuffer, but gets eaten up by blockers in space. Thats fine in a 4-3, but a problem in a 3-4. Ego Ferguson hasn’t exactly lived up to his second round status, but is an above average backup anywhere on the line.

Jared AllenFurther back, we got problems. Johnathan Bostic, Mason Foster and former first rounder (and current bust) Shea McClellin have to man the middle of the 3-4, while on the outside there are better options, with Free Agents Sam Acho (Cardinals) and Pernell McPhee (Baltimore) are solid options, if they both play as expected. Jared Allen will be coming in to add to his Hall of Fame resume. This grouping is going to determine how the defense goes.

The last line of defense is going to need help. Individually, they are better than they are as a group. Antrel Rolle is older than dirt and declining, but has seen it all, and the other safety, SS Ryan Mundy is good against the run and doesn’t bite on double moves. The Cornerbacks have the opposite problem, Kyle Fuller played hurt and it showed, and needs more experience, and Tim Jennings had a lousy year last year but has talent, but is also undersized.

Special Teams

Robbie Gould is underpaid having to kick in this town. He’s as good as they make them in bad weather. Pat O’Donell isn’t a great punter, but shows great punts on occasion, and is still having to make adjustments to this white stuff that keeps coming from the sky in the winter. Coverage Units were not good, but the roster upheaval should add some bodies to the mix.

Final

Ok, Urlacher and Peppers vs Godzilla and King Kong in a ladder match for Ditka's mustache  . . . .

This is a hard year. John Fox make Jake Delhome a winner, and made the Super Bowl in two different cities. This is going to be a hard year, with not only the Cutler drama from day 1 to the 3-4 switch. He could make Cutler a star- or even have a 3 to 1 TD to INT ratio, he could keep Forte fresh all year and could rebuild that defense – but lets be honest, it was 30th in the NFL for a reason.

I can see an 0-3 start with GB/Ariz/Sea until welcoming the Raiders. If the Bears lose that game, then road games to KC and Det are not going to help matters before the Bye Week. 1-5? That could mean the end of Cutler and a rebuild mode, complete with dumping Jared Allen. Minny/SD/St Louis could mean a rebound- and a loss of the first overall pick. Expectations will be crushed as Denver and  GB show the Bears how real playoff teams play. SF/Wash/Min/TB will be the difference between the 3rd overall pick and the 8th. I’m going to go 5-11 here, and a full offseason of Cutler questions.

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