In the 2008 offseason, the Bears made their moves, banking on them being what the team needed to make it to the top of the NFC North. They traded for their franchise QB, Jay Cutler, and it cost them Kyle Orton, and two first round picks.
I am not going to, for a second, say that was a bad move. The rule most teams live by is if you don't have a franchise signal caller and you can get one, you do.
I am not even going to put all the blame on Cutler for the 2009 season.
The only reason Lovie Smith is still the coach of the Bears is the uncertainty of the 2011 season. If there were no question, Lovie probably would have been shown the door.
Mike Martz was brought in as the offensive coordinator, and he has not always gotten along with head coaches. One that is already on the hot seat could lead to some internal turmoil between Martz and Smith this season.
Where a lot of people believe that the receivers are a big problem for the Bears, but I think what they have is workable, especially in Martz's offense. Devin Hester and Johnny Knox are probably going to have their best years of their careers.
The running game has improved with the signing of Chester Taylor. It not only helps the Bears but takes away from the Vikings. That is a double bonus.
On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest questions are the health of Brian Urlacher, and the addition of Julius Peppers.
Urlacher is coming off injury, and should be playing at full speed, which the Bears need if they are going to make a push for the playoffs.
The addition of Peppers, I am not so hopeful for. Peppers is a great player, when motivated. Many coaches have stated that Peppers is one of the best when he is motivated. However, having signed his career contract, how motivated is he going to be?
If Peppers plays his best football, the Bears have a realistic shot at competing for the NFC North crown. If he plays like many of his old coaches believe he will, the Bears defense could be in trouble.
My prediction: Peppers has a decent year, but not a career one. The Bears will finish with a record of 8-8, and third place in the NFC North.