The NFL regular season is now over, and it is now time for teams to start looking towards the offseason.
The offseason not only requires the team to look for the best players, but to look for the best-fitting players for their respective system.
With the Chicago Bears finishing at 9-7, they will need to improve on both sides of the ball. A 9-7 record is very respectable, but missing the playoffs two years in a row is just demoralizing. Especially at the end of the season, when everything that needed to happen via teams losing, they were the ones that couldn’t get the job done.
The Bears offense was decent this season, but should have been a lot better. Quarterback Kyle Orton got off to a hot start, while rookie Running Back Matt Forte was fantastic all season long. The Bears need to bring in a quality No. 2 running back. Adrian Peterson and Kevin Jones are just not good enough to be a solid two back.
Looking at some of the teams in the playoffs, most of them have an effective two running back system. The Bears must address their need for a No. 2 running back later in the draft, or in free agency.
The Bears receivers have been somewhat respectable this past season. Brandon Lloyd, Devin Hester, and Rashied Davis could be unstoppable on the field together, if the bears get a true #1 reciever. When healthy, Brandon Lloyd proved to be one of the best receivers in the league. Add Hester’s speed, Davis’ hands to the mix and the bears signing a #1 reciever, and you have a great receiving core.
Most people think the most “solid” offensive lineman the Bears have is Olin Kreutz. But the truth is, Kreutz is getting old, and he is making more mistakes than some of the younger offensive linemen in the league. Kreutz is signed through the 2010 season, and the Bears should look to trade him after the 2009 season is over.
The Bears need to start Chris Williams at either tackle spot, because John Tait is on the decline as well. Williams could be, and should be, the new anchor on that offensive line.
The Bears defense was looking to be one of the top defenses in the league this past year. But that was washed away with an injury-plagued safety in Mike Brown and an aging middle linebacker in Brian Urlacher. The Bears must look to draft a quality safety in this year's draft to replace Mike Brown.
A couple good prospects the Bears should target this offseason are (in no specific order):
1. Derrick Ward, RB, NYG
2. Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG
3. Correll Buckhalter, RB, Phi
4. Dawan Landry, S, Bal
5. Brian Dawkins, S, Phi
1. Shonn Green, RB, Iowa
2. Kevin Ellison, S, USC
3. Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State
4. William Moore, S, Mizzou
The Bears must look to free agency or draft a solid safety that is ready is start on day one. Then they should draft a No. 2 running back in the second or third round. Both of the above running backs should be there in the second round.
Overall, the Bears have the talent to win their division, but do not have enough to win the NFC. They must make changes to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to make a push next season.