King has the Bears listed in the fourth spot on his power rankings. While most fans complain about not getting a lot of national respect, one of the most respected football columnists in the country has the Bears playing to go to the Super Bowl.
He is officially on the Bears band wagon, whereas not many at ESPN are on the same page.
So what does King like about the Bears?
A) Duh, Jay Cutler. King feels he is a game-changer at the quarterback position.
Sure, there is some cause for concern among NFL insiders regarding Cutler’s maturity and talk of rubbing some teammates the wrong way, but Cutler’s talent is undeniable. He is an instant upgrade at the QB position who really breathes life into this franchise.
Brian Urlacher, the face of the franchise, never again has to answer whether or not the offense could have done more to help the defense win games. Why?
Because the offense will likely be there and it will be productive, and with the defense still doing just enough to win football games the Bears should be even more competitive.
B) Yes, the defense is still good for the most part, in the key categories that win football games: stopping the run, creating turnovers, and limiting yards per completion.
As King correctly points out, the Bears were in the top three in the league in two of those categories and in top eight in the yards per completion.
To expand upon King’s point about the defense, Carolina and Atlanta were second and third respectively in the league in rushing. The Bears held the Falcons to their lowest rushing total of the year at just 75 yards in their game.
The Bears held the Panthers to a low total as well—only 114 yards rushing.
The Tennessee Titans, seventh in the league in rushing, were held to a putrid low total of 20 yards rushing by the Bears. This was the Titans’ lowest rushing output of the season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, sixth in the league in total rushing yards, were stalled to a low 114 yards against the Bears. Added to that was perhaps the best goal-line stand from last season, where Alex Brown helped seal the Bears' victory over the playoff-bound Eagles.
The Bears’ defense faced some of the top rushing teams in the league and shut them down. As the cliche goes, defense wins championships, and the best way to play defense in the NFL is stop the run and pressure the quarterback.
The Bears’ defense can clearly stop the run, and this offseason they used the draft to address their inability to pressure the quarterback.
Now the question becomes, will Rod Marinelli have an impact on the current veteran talent on hand, and can the rookies come in and be a part of a renewed pass rush attack on the QB?