Chicago Bears Have Several Issues to Resolve Before 2013 Season

Dean Siemon@deansiemonAnalyst IIJanuary 9, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28:  A Chicago Bears fan reacts as his team takes on the Carolina Panthers on October 28, 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Panthers 23-22. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
John Gress/Getty Images

Only one day after the Chicago Bears concluded the 2012 season with a 10-6 record and no playoff berth, fans saw an immediate change in the dismissal of coach Lovie Smith.

It's a change that some fans have wanted considering the Bears had missed the playoffs five of the last six seasons since the 2006 season where they fell to Indianapolis in the Super Bowl.

Obviously there are a few names being tossed around for potential candidates, but this article has other issues that the team needs to really focus on as they prepare for the rookie draft in a couple of months.

Yes, I know a complete coaching staff to prepare the team in the offseason, but the issues being mentioned have plagued the team the last few seasons.



Offensive linemen

If you have watched the Bears the last two seasons, then you know that this is a huge no-brainer for a team that has not been able to protect quarterback Jay Cutler from injuries.

In this year's draft, there are a few possibilities for the Bears in the first and second rounds.

A few names that come to mind include Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, Tennessee's Dallas Thomas and Alabama's Barrett Jones. This could change following the NFL Combine and who is taken where in the draft.

But Chicago should look for a veteran lineman or two in either the free agent market or the trade block.




In the next couple of years, the Bears may lose some of their biggest names on defense.

Before the season started, veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher said he would be interested in entering free agency. Even if he stays and finishes his career, the Bears need to start looking for his replacement in the draft.

One possibility is Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, who I feel is going to drop from the first round and possibly into the second round after the Irish lost in a 42-14 blowout to Alabama in the BCS Championship game.

The Bears also have to think about the future as many other players are in their later years like Urlacher. Age has shown how the Smith's Cover 2 defense has flaws against teams that know how to pass effectively (i.e. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks).



Wide receivers

The move to get veteran receiver Brandon Marshall was the big plus for the offense this season as he was the first Bears receiver to catch for more than 1,000 yards since Marty Booker in 2002.

But after that, it was hard for Cutler to get the ball into the hands of a threatening second option. You could say it was a disappointing season for players like Earl Bennett and Devin Hester who some expected to step up this year.

Two possible free agent targets the Bears should consider include Dwayne Bowe from Kansas City and Greg Jennings from Green Bay.

Chicago needs to give Cutler a second threat to compliment Marshall. The third receiver could be Johnny Knox returns next season from his back injury.



Tight end

How I wish the Bears would have never traded Greg Olson away, but we have to hope Chicago can get someone to replace Kellen Davis.

Some are touting key free agent tight ends are Tennessee's Jared Cook and Washington's Fred Davis. But I would also consider going after Dustin Keller, despite the poor season with the New York Jets (then again, who on that offense had a good year).

I wouldn't really put this as a major priority when compared to the issues on the line and the receiving core, but it has to be kept in mind during the later rounds in the upcoming draft. Maybe Chicago can find a hidden gem if they can't get someone from free agency.


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