I didn't care for the draft, but am hopeful that Phil Emery knows what he is doing, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I did appreciate the job that Emery did in trades and free agency this offseason.
Last year, the Bears were rolling at 7-3 when QB Jay Cutler went down to injury. If that had not happened, this would have been a playoff team for certain. But even if the Bears had a capable backup to Cutler, they possibly still would have made the playoffs.
Meanwhile, there are lots of reasons why this season will be key for the Bears. For one, the core defensive stars are aging. Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman are all in their 30s. It is a pivotal season because fairly soon, the Bears will be rebuilding that core, so 2012 may be the best opportunity they have to reach the Super Bowl for years.
Likewise, there are many reasons why I expect our Bears to improve upon last season's disappointing 8-8 record. Let's take a look at them right now.