For many years, the Bears’ offense was one of the most anemic in the NFL for many seasons, but that changed with the additions of Brandon Marshall & two seasons ago, drafting Alshon Jeffery from South Carolina.
Both of those receivers are big, physical receivers who can also take the top off the defense & allows Cutler, who has one of the best arms in the entire NFL, to show off his skills & stretch out the secondaries & make defenses think twice about blitzing on a regular basis.
Cutler needed those offensive weapons, especially when his offensive line was letting him down on a consistent basis. The offensive line has had time to gel a bit better & give him more time in the pocket to operate. The team will also benefit from having Matt Forte completely healthy & being able to catch passes out of the backfield as well as running the ball. Forte has been one of the better combo running backs since he entered the NFL, but this coming year, he has some help in running back Kadeem Carey, the rookie from Arizona. At one point, Carey was an outside candidate for a possible Heisman Trophy win, so having him along with Forte will save Forte’s body a little bit & again, give more weapons for Cutler.
Another area that is a concern is the tight end area. The team brought in Martellus Bennett last year from the Dallas Cowboys, & another year in the offense, along with a growth in overall maturity should help Bennett become a better offensive option in the slot or blocking on the offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chicago Bears lost one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Julius Peppers, & on top of that, Peppers signed with their biggest rival in the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers.
However, the team made up for it in signing a guy who will definitely be his replacement in defensive end Jared Allen from the Minnesota Vikings. Allen is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, not as strong as Peppers, but Allen is at the point in his career where he is playing for a SuperBowl championship & Minnesota isn’t there right now. Plus, Allen loves being in the north & the Bears will most likely prove to be a perfect fit.
In the rest of the defense, the Bears have many questions to answer. In the linebacking area, Lance Briggs still plays at an above average level, but he is getting much older by the season, & the injuries have started to catch up with him. The team signed D.J. Williams to maybe be the guy who can replace legendary linebacker Brian Urlacher.
In the secondary, the best player for the Bears is clearly Charles Tillman, who is one of the best at not only intercepting the ball, but getting strips & causing receivers to fumble, thus creating valuable turnovers. But its still not enough to show that the Bears are ready to be much better against the run & pass – the running defense ranked 32nd in the league while the pass defense ranked 15th.
In terms of the record for this season, the Bears will be 9-7 & miss the playoffs. Too many questions on the defense, but the offense will have the chance to be one of the absolute best in the NFL. Mark Tressman has done a phenomenal job with installing more of a high-flying offensive game, but he is about a year away from getting a championship level defense in place.