Welcome Total Sports Blog’s NFL Training Camp Previews. For the next two weeks we will continue to preview each team, and predict their records. The chances that we predict any of these records to be right drastically decreases when Earl is writing the preview.
Today’s Team: Chicago Bears (NFC North)
2013 Record: 8-8 Missed Playoffs
Passing Leader(s): Jay Cutler 2621 YDS 19 TD 12 INT, Josh McCown 1829 YDS 13 TD 1 INT
Rushing Leader: Matt Forte 1339 YDS 9 TD
Receiving leader(s): Alshon Jeffery 89 REC 1421 YDS 7 TD, Brandon Marshall 100 REC 1295 YDS 12 TD
Leading Tackler: James Anderson 102 Tackles
Sacks Leader: Julius Peppers 7.0 Sacks
Int Leader: Tim Jennings 4 INT
FA losses/cuts/releases: QB Josh McCown, QB Henry Melton, DE Corey Wootten, CB Zack Bowman, S Major Wright, P Adam Podlesh, WR/KR Devin Hester, WR Earl Bennett, DE Julius Peppers, RB Michael Bush, TE Dante Rosario
FA signings: DE Jared Allen, S Danny McCray, DE Willie Young, WR Domenik Hickson, S M.D. Jennings, DE Lamarr Houston, S Ryan Mundy, WR Santonio Holmes
|1||14||Kyle Fuller||Cornerback||Virginia Tech|
|2||51||Ego Ferguson||Defensive tackle||LSU|
|3||82||Will Sutton||Defensive tackle||Arizona State|
|4||117||Ka’Deem Carey||Running Back||Arizona|
|4||131||Brock Vereen||Safety||Minnesota||from Denver|
|6||183||David Fales||Quarterback||San Jose State|
|7||246||Charles Leno, Jr.||Offensive tackle||Boise State||from Denver|
The 2013 Chicago Bears were the second highest scoring team in the NFL. The 2013 Chicago Bears defense also allowed the second most points in the league. Something about that comparison just doesn’t make sense. Aren’t the Bears supposed to be the “Monsters of the Midway”?
The makeup of the Bears has changed so dramatically over the past few seasons as their big time defensive players from the mid-2000’s got old. Heck, even Devin Hester has moved on. The NFL’s all time leader in punt return TD’s is now an Atlanta Falcon. The days of Rex Grossman and the defense/special teams scoring more points than the offense, are over. Coach Jim Tressman replaced Lovie Smith two years ago and has opened the playbook, and utilized offensive superstars such as RB Matt Forte and WR’s Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
The Bears addressed some of their defensive problems with four of their first five picks in the draft. Especially up front, where they drafted two defensive tackles to try and sure up the worst rushing defense in the league. Long time sack man DE Jared Allen was brought in as well to get to the quarterback with Julius Peppers moving on the Packers. With Allen, Young, Houston, and the two draft picks Ferguson and Sutton, that D-line will no doubt be much improved.
Quarterback Jay Cutler was given a huge contract extension in the off-season, ending the speculation of a possible split. Cutler signed a seven-year, $126.7 million deal in January. The deal included guaranteed salaries totaling $54 million over the first three years, meaning the last four years are all option years. The oft injured Cutler had to be relieved by backup Josh McCown mid-season, and managed to throw 13 TD passes with only 1 INT while filling in. McCown turned that performance into a two-year deal from Tampa Bay worth over $10 million.
For me, the whole season will be decided by the new look defensive line. If they can improve, even slightly, the Bears will be a playoff team. Everyone knows that the secondary can only be good if the line is getting pressure on the QB, and stopping the run.
Prediction: 10-6 (Wild Card)