View Full Version : Offseason Primer: Chicago Bears

02-24-2008, 07:25 PM
After reaching the Super Bowl in the 2006 season, 2007 became somewhat of a disappointment for the Bears, as 7-9 is not what the team expected

Much of the problem was inconsistent play from the quarterback position. The Bears were forced to flip flop from Rex Grossman to Brian Griese to Grossman to Griese to Kyle Orton, for a number of reasons, including terrible play and injury.

Yet the oft-maligned Grossman was resigned and it looks as if heís going to have a good shot at the starting position again. Griese was the best of the bunch, coming in with a 75.6 quarterback rating, 61.5 completion percentage, with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Kyle Orton came in with a 73.9 QB rating, 53.9 completion percentage, 3 TDs and 2 INTs. Meanwhile, Grossman was the worst, by far, with a 66.4 QB rating, 54.2 completion percentage, 3 TDs and 7 INTs. He was also sacked 25 times for 198 yards lost. All three will be back in camp most likely, and all three have a shot at the starter job. The real question, though, is, is this actually good for the Bears? They sit at No. 14 in the draft. Do they dare take a QB? Probably not, but its an interesting thought.

The problem is, running back isnít a great position for the Bears, either. Between injury and ineffectiveness, Cedric Benson has never lived up to the expectations that come with being taken fourth overall. He carried the ball 196 times for 674 yards, but his YPC was just 3.4, and he only reached the endzone four times. Adrian Peterson is an interesting running back, but probably nothing more than a backup. What he does provide is a solid pass-catching back on third downs or long situations. They also drafted Garrett Wolfe from Northern Illinois, and while shifty, heís probably not going to ever be an every-down back. So the questions continue to come for the Bears.

Jason McKie is a solid blocking back, but he doesnít contribute much otherwise. Often the Bears employed a three wide receiver set quite often, and McKie wasnít even on the field. He carried the ball just six times and caught it nine, yet he found a way to fumble it once. McKie will never be more than a blocking back for the Bears, but he can be a solid blocking back. Despite being in the league six seasons, heíll only be 28 next year.

The Bears have two solid tight ends in Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen. Clark will be entering his 10th season, his sixth with the Bears, in 2008. He caught 44 passes last season for 545 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, Greg Olsen, a first-round draft pick in 2007 out of Miami is a big and physical prospect, who caught 39 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns. While the Bears seem to be shaky at other skill positions, they seem to be very set at the tight end position.

Meanwhile, at wide receiver, there are still some questions to answer. The Bears probably need to sign Bernard Berrian back, but they arenít necessarily a team known to fork over a lot of money for free agents. Berrian led the team with 71 receptions for 951 yards and five touchdowns. A third-round pick in 2004, Berrian has become a solid option in the passing game, with 2007 being somewhat of a breakout season. Across from him is the aging Muhsin Muhammad, who will be 35 next season and is not likely to be much of a factor in the future in the passing game. However, he can still be a solid No. 3 option. The problem is, the Bears donít have a solid No. 1, and now they donít have a No. 2. Berrian can be a mediocre No. 1, and a good No. 2. So, the Bears probably need to find one more option at receiver.

Though there are some solid pieces to the offensive line, the Bears could need some upgrades there as well. John Tait is a solid left tackle. After playing right tackle in Kansas City, heís moved to left in Chicago, and he has done a fine job up until 2007. The Bears offensive line was atrocious, and Tait may be part of the problem. Heíll be 33 next season, and without some help, heís not going to be as effective. He could be moved back to right tackle, if the Bears can find someone better. I wouldnít expect them to do so in free agency, but maybe in the draft.

Terrence Metcalf really has never been the answer at left guard for the Bears. Ironically, in 2006, when he didnít start a single game, they went to the Super Bowl. Now, we know it isnít because he, specifically, wasnít in the lineup, but it does say that heís nothing more than a backup in the NFL. Though the Bears looked to be the leaders in the Alan Faneca sweepstakes, it appears they arenít really interested in him, after all. Expect guard to be addressed in the draft, especially if Ruben Brown isnít resigned or if he decides to retire.

Olin Kreutz is still one of the best centers in the league, he just needs some help at both guard positions to survive. He canít do everything in the middle on his own. Kreutz has missed one game in the last seven seasons, as heís one of the most reliable offensive lineman in the league.

Roberto Garza is not the answer at right guard for the Bears, and they may look to the draft here to fill his spot. He has started the last two seasons, and with the Bears needing to address a lot of offensive positions, so he may be back again in 2008.

Brown was released by the club, and the solid offensive lineman will most likely retire if he canít work out a deal with the club. If he does return, heíll be 36 and will compete for either guard spot, if he does return.

At right tackle, if Tait isnít switched over, Fred Miller may get the chance to win the job as well. Heíll be 35, so heís no spring chicken, but he hasnít shown any signs of slowing down. He does need to be more consistent, if he plans on keeping the job. Obviously, the Bears have a lot to do on offense to make themselves a contender in 2008.

The Bears have much fewer questions on the defensive side of the ball.

Tommie Harris is an elite defensive tackle. His sack total went up to 8 this season, which is outstanding for an interior lineman. Plus, heís only going to be 25 next season. Darwin Walker, a journeyman defensive tackle may get the opportunity to start opposite Harris, although this is one spot on the defense, where the Bears may look for someone in the draft.

Adewale Ogunleye is still one of the better defensive ends in the NFL. He had 58 tackles, nine sacks and three pass deflections this season. Heíll be entering his eighth season next year and will be 31. Opposite of Ogunleye is Mark Anderson, who got his opportunity to start this season, after being a fifth-round selection in 2006. He will need to get more pressure on the quarterback next season, if heís going to be the long-term solution for the Bears.

Brian Urlacher will be entering his ninth season in the league next year and will turn 30, and heís still one of the best out there. His 123 tackles in 2007 were his third-best performance of his career and his 12 pass deflections was the most in his career. He also added five sacks, five interceptions, and one returned for a touchdown. Heís an elite linebacker and the leader of this defense.

On the strong side, Lance Briggs has also been an elite linebacker for the Bears, recording over 100 tackles in the last four seasons. He also had two sacks and three pass deflections, but heís most likely not going to be back. He wants a bigger contract and the Bears have balked on it for two years now. Heís finally an unrestricted free agent and the Franchise Tag is not going to be applied to him this season. So, that leaves a gaping hole on the strong side of the defense for the Bears. Jamar Williams, a fourth round selection in 2006 is the most likely candidate. In mostly backup duty, he recorded 30 tackles, a sack and two pass deflections.

Hunter Hillenmeyer will be entering his sixth season, and heís had a starting job for most of the last four years with the Bears. Heís an OK linebacker, that is certainly serviceable when you consider heís been complimented by Briggs and Urlacher. With the departure of Briggs, however, the Bears may need a little more out of Hillenmeyer.

Charles Tillman is a very good cornerback. Heís physical and heís a bit of a ballhawk. He has never had big interception numbers, but he recorded 75 tackles in 2007, knocked down 13 balls, intercepted three and recovered a fumble.

Opposite him is Danieal Manning, another tough cornerback. He notched 79 tackles, six pass deflections and two interceptions in 2007. The Bears will look for him to continue to improve in 2008, his third year in the league. Manning is also a versatile player, who has spent time at free safety as well. That gives Trumaine McBride a chance to play. McBride, in nine games started had 41 tackles and 5 pass deflections. His emergence allows Manning to roam and make plays.

Of course, donít forget that Devin Hesterís natural position is at cornerback, as well. However, with his explosiveness on special teams, he doesnít see much time in the defensive backfield.

Adam Archuleta signed with Chicago last year and came in and had a good year. He will be 31 next season, but the Bears are looking for him to be the strong safety again in 2008.

Robbie Gould is a solid kicker, though he did miss five kicks this year. He doesnít have the biggest leg in the league, but thereís no reason for the Bears to look to replace him. Brad Maynard had a down year in 2007, especially compared to his 2006 season, but heís still a good punter.

Obviously, Devin Hester is the most explosive returner in the game. Heís approaching ďbest everĒ status, if he isnít there already, as Broncos fans know all to well. The only problem is that heís so good, teams might kick away from him. Either way, itís a win for the Bears.

Medford Bronco
02-25-2008, 09:11 AM
Great work Missouri

now the Bears gave Rex a contract extention.

I do not get it. They are clueless and Lovie loves Rex for some reason :confused: