The Chicago Bears finished the 2012 NFL season with a 10-6 record but did not make the playoffs. As a result of this, Chicago parted ways with their long time head coach Lovie Smith.
The Bears signed Marc Trestman to be their new head coach, and Trestman comes into Chicago after a successful stint in the Canadian Football League as a head coach.
The Bears biggest offseason move was not resigning Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher who had spent his entire career in Chicago. Instead, the Bears decided that brining in middle linebacker D.J. Williams was a better move for the team.
On top of bringing in Trestman, the Bears also signed tight end Marcellus Bennett, Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod, and drafted offensive lineman Kyle Long to help solidify that unit.
After failing to make the playoffs last season, the Bears are looking to rebound with a strong 2013. Here’s their 2013-2014 season preview.
Jay Cutler is one of the more scrutinized players in the NFL, and for good reason. Cutler has one of the best arms in the league, but often makes boneheaded decisions with the ball. Last year, with a subpar receiving core, Cutler threw for 3,033 yards and 19 touchdowns.
One of the reasons for Cutler’s struggles is he never seems to have time to
survey the field and deliver the ball to the open receiver because the Bears’ offensive line has been atrocious the past two seasons. However, the additions of Jermon Bushrod and Kyle Long should really help improve this unit. Last year, the Bears gave up 44 sacks and ranked 24th in the league in pass protection, but look for both of these numbers to improve in 2013.
When healthy, Matt Forte and Michael Bush form one of the better running back duos in the league. Forte is a do-it-all type of back and Bush excels in short yardage and goal line situations. The additions of Bushrod and Long won’t only help Cutler out, but they will also help open up more holes in the running game.
The Bears tight ends were virtually nonexistent last season, catching 29 passes for 3 touchdowns. Chicago signed Martellus Bennett away from the New York Giants, and he’s a huge upgrade over any tight end the Bears had last season. Bennett is a huge target in the middle, and is a good enough receiver to even draw some attention away from Brandon Marshall on the outside. Chicago is going to need either Alshon Jeffrey or Earl Bennett to step up this season to take some of the pressure off Marshall as well.
The Bears have weapons all across the board on offense. Whether they are successful or not will be determined by how well their offensive line plays.
Chicago’s defense was very good statistically last year, finishing 8th in the league in both opponents pass yards per game and opponents rushing yards per game.
Brian Urlacher has been the heart and soul of this Bears defense for the past decade, and not having him on their sidelines this year will hurt, even though
he isn’t nearly the player he used to be.
However, the Bears do return the rest of their defensive studs, including Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, and Charles Tillman.
The Bears have always been known as a defensive team, and this year shouldn’t be much different.
Their defensive line should be solid again this season, and second year defensive end Shea McClellin could have a breakout season in 2013. After seeing limited time in his rookie season, McClellin should get more playing time and live up to his first round pick potential.
D.J. Williams was brought in to replace Urlacher, and he definitely has the ability to do that. Williams has four, 100+ tackle seasons on his resume and fit nicely into Chicago’s defensive system.
Chicago’s secondary was good last year, and should be good once again in 2013. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings form one of the best cornerback duos in the league, but the Bears need safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright to play better in 2013 if they want to contend for a Super Bowl.
2013 Prediction: 10-6
The Bears will be one of the better teams in the NFL in 2013, but also face one of the toughest schedules. Don’t underestimate the importance of a solid offensive line and the benefits it has on a team’s offense in both the running, and the passing game. With Bushrod and Long on the offensive line, Cutler will have more time to find his receivers and Forte will have more holes to run through.
Wins: Cincinnati, Minnesota, @Detroit, @Washington, Detroit, Baltimore, @St. Louis, Dallas, @Cleveland, @Philadelphia
Losses: @Pittsburg, New Orleans, New York (Giants), @Green Bay, @Minnesota, @Green Bay