The 2013 Chicago Bears come into the season with more questions than answers. With the fourth and final preseason game this Thursday one thing is for sure, Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman have the spotlight.
Coming off a respectable 10-6 2012 campaign, the Bears have a lot to live up to. With Lovie Smith being shown the door and the face of the franchise, Brian Urlacher, hanging up the cleats, things will have different look.
So how does a team that was ranked 5th in total defense, 3rd in points allowed and 1st in turnover differential get better? An obvious answer would be improving the 5th worse offense in the league.
The Bears are bringing back their core of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte along with second year man out of South Carolina, Alshon Jeffery. With Cutler coming into his fifth and final year of his contract, it is important for him to stay healthy and show he is the Bears franchise quarterback.
The Bears have add more talent around Cutler with signing players such as Marshall, Jeffery and this year’s addition Martellus Bennett. Along with spending their first round pick on o-lineman Kyle Long and bringing in a head coach who is called a quarterback ‘guru’ in Trestman, stakes are high for the offense. It is a do or die year for the Bears offense and more specifically, Cutler.
Along with eyes on Cutler, there will be lots of pressure on the right side of the line with what looks to be two rookie starters in Long and Jordan Mills. It will be great to see how the remodeled line looks along with a new offensive scheme in place.
Overall, this offense needs to average more than last year’s 23 points per game. All eyes will be on #6 to keep his cool and light up some score boards.
The first and most concerning thing about the Bears defense is the number 2013. That is because everyone just got a year older. The core of Julius Peppers (33), Lance Briggs (32) and Charles Tillman (32) are not getting younger. Can all three of these guys repeat a pro bowl kind of season?
Along with the production of an aging core, names like Shea McClellin, Corey Wootton, Jon Bostic and Isaiah Frey need to become house hold names. All four of these players are young and need to be impact players for this defense to succeed. McClellin, the Bear 2012 1st round pick, needs to improve on his 7 tackles and 2.5 sacks, Wootton on his 7 sack season and Bostic and Frey just surviving their first NFL regular season game.
A mix of youth and veterans has the potential to be successful, but there could be collapse if the youth plays young and old play, well old.
Overall, this defense needs to play with the intensity of 2012. If the vets can lead the young guys in the right direction, the Bears D will look like the ‘Monsters of the Midway’.
Hands down the most special thing about the 2013 special teams is Devin Hester doing what he does best, returning kicks. With the all-time leader in returns back at his full-time job, this gives the Bears a big advantage.
If you don’t believe that Hester is something special, click here.
Historically, the special teams for the Bears have been superb. I don’t see much changing there.
Overall, Devin Hester is amazing.
With so many questions for this upcoming season, it is hard to be confident to say the Bears will make the playoffs, especially playing in a solid NFC North. Having to play five teams that made the playoffs last season, the Bear have a steep road ahead.
This will have to be an injury free year along with a profound difference in the offense to make this happen.