The Bears have had an interesting offseason, to say the least. They signed Jay Cutler and Orlando Pace, had an interesting draft, and lost their injury-prone and once pro bowl safety Mike Brown.
What happens next?
With the opening of training camp on the horizon, the Bears still have to address a lot of questions before the start of the 2009-2010 NFL campaign.
Questions like: Is Jay Cutler going to be the Jay Cutler from the Broncos? What is going to happen with the wide receivers? What about the secondary? Who is going to replace Mike Brown? Is Urlacher too old?
The questions can go on forever. I'm here to answer them (or at least try).
As everyone knows, the Bears won the Jay Cutler sweepstakes last May. Chicago Bears fans were so happy knowing that we actually have a quarterback on our team, something that hasn't happened since before the days of Jim McMahon.
But will Jay Cutler be the same Jay Cutler of years past?
I say yes, but he won't be throwing the 40+ touchdowns like he did in Denver.
In Denver, Cutler had Brandon Marshall, Brandon Stokley, and Eddie Royal. That group is much better than what is in Chicago.
In Chicago, there is Earl Bennett, Juaquin Iglesias, Derek Kinder, Johnny Knox, Eric Peterman, Brandon Rideau, and of course Devin Hester. None are as proven as Marshall, Stokley, or Royal.
Don't get me wrong. Cutler is very good. But he needs someone on the other end to catch the football. He can't throw it, then run and catch it. I wish he could.
As Bears fans, we can't expect Hester to run down field and catch every ball thrown to him. We saw how good Hester was when Orton or Grossman tried to throw the ball down field. He dropped almost every ball.
With all of that said, will Cutler improve the offense?
Cutler gives the Bears the arm they have always looked for. He is someone who can throw on the run while throwing few interceptions. He is someone who isn't Rex Grossman.
Orlando Pace, the three-time pro bowler, is a definite plus for the Chicago Bears. Pace is a left tackle who played 12 seasons for the Rams. He will help the Bears offensive line immensely.
The offensive line was a definite trouble spot for the Bears this past season, allowing 29 sacks. That number doesn't seem too high, but for the Bears it is.
The running game couldn't really get anywhere, either. Yes, Forte rushed for over 1,000 yards, but he could've rushed for much more if he had the same line as Brandon Jacobs or someone else of that caliber.
The Bears secondary is always a topic of conversation among Bears fans.
In passing yards given up per game, the Bears are 30th in the NFL (241.2 yds). In touchdowns, the Bears are 13th (21).
The secondary needs to be improved, badly.
Who is in the secondary now that Brown is out?
As of Jul. 17, the cornerbacks on the team are Zack Bowman, Randy Burgess, Marcus Hamilton, Trumaine McBride, D.J. Moore, Charles Tillman, Woodny Truenne, Nathan Vasher, and Danieal Manning. The safeties on the team are Al Afalva, Josh Bullocks, Dahna Deleston, Glenn Earl, Corey Graham, Kevin Payne, and Craig Steltz.
The cornerbacks are fine. The safeties, not so much.
The Bears need to get a safety who can be the captain of this young group. Danieal Manning could fill that void for a few weeks but not in the long run. Steltz and Payne are too young to do that. They tried that last year and it didn't work well.
The Bears open the season with a tough game at Green Bay. They end the season with an easy game at Detroit.
Here's a game-by-game prediction:
Week 1: At Green Bay
Winner: Green Bay
Week 2: Vs. Steelers
Week 3: At Seattle
Week 4: Vs. Detroit
Week 5: At Atlanta
Week 6: At Cincinnati
Week 7: Vs. Cleveland
Week 8: Vs. Arizona
Week 9: At San Francisco
Week 10: Vs. Philadelphia
Week 11: At Minnesota
Week 12: Vs. St. Louis
Week 13: Vs. Green Bay
Week 14: At Baltimore
Week 15: Vs. Minnesota
Week 16: At Detroit
Final Record: 11-5