The fan base knows it. They don't want to admit it, but deep down, they know it.
Perhaps it is because the Bears have gone only one draft this century without picking a DE. Or it could be that everybody is too busy trying to throw Brian Urlacher under the bus and seek out Mike Brown's replacement. Maybe they're still disgruntled about Dan Bazuin.
Whatever the excuse, it doesn't change reality. Come 2010, the Bears could be in desperate need of a top-flight defensive end.
Brian Griese, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, and Aaron Rodgers all managed to evade sacks in their games against the Bears in 2008. In fact, the Bears blitzed more than any other team in the NFL and only managed to rack up 28 sacks, their lowest total since 2003.
New Defensive Line coach, Rod Marinelli, has been given his clay to mold with this week's veteran minicamp. He will have the next five months to prepare his edge rushers to strike terror into the hearts of NFL quarterbacks.
However, four of his defensive ends are heading into contract seasons. If the unit fails or nobody manages to have a breakout year, it would not be inconceivable for the team to be looking for top-talent at the position this time next year.
In 2009, the Chicago defense will be targeting the likes of Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb, sophomore sensations Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, and Super Bowl quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger, among others.
So, what does Marinelli have to work with this season? What are their roles, and what are their futures? Let's take a look.