With the acquisition of former partner-in-crime Brandon Marshall, the Bears solved the receiver problem they had had since Curtis Conway left. Together with running back Matt Forte, everything seemed in place.
Instead of the high-powered, highly paid offense taking over for the aging-but-skilled defense, though, the defense was the third best unit in the NFL.
Allowing just 17.3 points per game, the Bears defense rushed the passer and covered the pass well. Per Pro Football Reference, the Bears led the NFL in adjusted net yards per attempt, meaning that nobody forced passing offenses into worse performances than the Bears. In the arm-heavy NFC North, this was vital.
However, the Bears offense—and the Bears—fell well short of expectations.
Finishing 10-6 and losing a tiebreaker to the Minnesota Vikings kept them out of the playoffs. Their sixth-best point differential of 6.1 points per game were good for 10.8 Pythagorean wins, so the talent existed to do better.
This was the last straw for head coach Lovie Smith, and now former San Francisco 49ers offensive architect Marc Trestman has been brought in to right the ship. Can he do the job that Smith's long line of offensive coordinators couldn't?
Perhaps more importantly, can new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker keep the Bears defense going strong without longtime captain Brian Urlacher?