Part eight of a 32-part series that analyzes each NFL franchise's running back situation...
The Chicago Bears had a dreadfully disappointing 2007 campaign, making the previous year’s Super Bowl berth just a very distant memory. General manager Jerry Angelo hinted that significant changes are on the horizon for the Bears.
The offense must have a revamped look with open competition at both the QB and RB positions. Watching the Bears became waiting to see what Devin Hester would do each week.
The offensive line needs to be reconstructed after performing like a shell of the unit that was solid just one year ago.
The defense finished the season a jaw-dropping 28th in yards allowed after ranking 5th in 2006. Their two noteworthy additions of S Adam Archuleta and DT Darwin Walker have to be classified as major busts.
The secondary also needs repair. This off-season, the Bears have signed WR’s Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd, re-signed OLB Lance Briggs, QB’s Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, and TE Desmond Clark. The Bears as a team rushed for 83 yards per game.
Chicago Bears running backs
Cedric Benson 5’ 11” 220 lbs. 196 Att. 674 Yards 3.4 YPC Avg. 4 TD’s
Adrian Peterson 5’ 10” 210 lbs. 151 Att. 510 Yards 3.4 YPC Avg. 3 TD’s
Garrett Wolfe 5’ 7” 186 lbs. 31 Att. 85 Yards 2.7 YPC Avg.
PJ Pope 5’ 9” 212 lbs. 2nd year player out of Bowling Green
Lousaka Polite 6’0” 242 lbs. 4th Year player from Pittsburgh. 2007 w/ Dal
Cedric Benson was drafted No. 4 overall in 2005 and expected to by the guy carrying the load. The offensive line play hasn’t been stellar but neither has Benson.
Their best back was dual threat Adrian Peterson who was the Bears' 2nd leading receiver with 51 catches for 420 yards and an eight-yard average per grab.
Garrett Wolfe is a change of pace 3rd down back. PJ Pope & Lousaka Polite provide depth at the position.
The Bears have a huge need at the running back position, but must also add offensive linemen at both guard and tackle positions. This is a team that needed to be more active in free agency and chose not to go that route.
A good fit for the Bears at running back would be Jonathan Stewart. If the decision is to go with an offensive tackle, they should take Jeff Otah.
I’ll also say that the Bears need to draft a QB out of this draft. It doesn’t have to be in round 1; Joe Flacco might be available in round 2 or John David Booty would work nice for the Bears in the 4th round.
Coach Lovie Smith likes a run-first offense that can methodically move the chains to open up a West Coast passing offense that can take shots downfield and spread the ball underneath.
The question for the Bears: Can they rebuild their offensive line? If they can, will it be adequate enough to make the running game a factor?