Chicago Bears: Is Unsolvable Mystery a Strong Enough Word?

Joe WillettSenior Writer IAugust 31, 2008

The Chicago Bears are going to be mediocre, everybody knows it.  They have quarterback issues, wide receiver issues, running back issues, offensive line issues, defensive issues.

Basically, they have issues.

However, could everything they need to be strong be sitting on the bench?

At the quarterback position, I know some of you are thinking that I really think that Caleb Hanie is the answer, and he may be a great option a few years down the road when Kyle Orton is tired of being knocked on his ass because of the horrible offensive line.

However, I think that they may have figured out what Rex Grossman really needs to do to become a solid starter.

Throughout his years as a starter, he has been trying to be flashy by throwing the ball hard and deep play after play.

However, in the final preseason game, he was extremely efficient and used his arm strength to his advantage, without throwing the ball deep that often.

What he needs to do is to use his arm strength to get the ball to the receiver on time, and that is exactly what he did.

He floated passes in when they needed to be floated, and whipped them in when they needed a little extra mustard.  When he went deep, he failed, when he stayed within 20 yards, he was spectacular.

He even led the Bears on a long scoring drive with their only touchdown against the Browns.

Unfortunately, he can never play for the Bears as a starter again because, well, it would just be way to awkward.  I would rather have to sit through dinner with the family of a person I had brutally murdered than have to go through that situation.

Kyle Orton can be serviceable, but he isn't going to be a spectacular quarterback and he is only filling in until the eventual calls for Hanie.

The offensive line is horrible, we all know that, and it is going to be difficult for any sort of ground game to get going.

However, I refuse to say that they don't have the possibility of a good running game.  When healthy, Kevin Jones is a decent weapon who can work well with rookie Matt Forte in a running back by committee approach.

At the wide receiver position, we have nothing spectacular, great, or even that good.

What we do have, however, is a bunch of receivers who play at the same level, which makes it hard to pinpoint any one person to worry about.

Mark Bradley looked solid against the Browns in the final preseason game and we all know that he has some talent, he has just been unable to show it off yet.

This could be the year that he finally breaks out.  Marty Booker can be a solid possession receiver and Devin Hester is a good deep threat.

Defensively, I was shocked when I looked at and saw the defensive line as a liability for the Bears.

Can a line that boasts three possible starters at defensive end and one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL really be a liability?

Then I look in my Sports Illustrated and see that they have given the Bears a C with their secondary.  However, Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman compliment each other perfectly with Tillman being lockdown and Vasher having the speed to keep up with the opposing team's speedster receivers.

They also have Mike Brown who is a great safety when healthy, and he adds a lot to this team as a defensive unit.  They also have Daniel Manning as well as others who can play at the other safety position.

When it comes to linebackers, I am not sure that anybody in the NFL is better.  They have Brian Urlacher who may be aging, but is still one of the best in the NFL.  Lining up next to him is Lance Briggs who may even be ready to surpass Urlacher as the best linebacker on the Bears and is also a perennial Pro Bowler.

Hunter Hillenmeyer may not be flashy, but he is definitely a serviceable strong-side linebacker to compliment Briggs and Urlacher.

One thing that really surprised me is that the Bears don't have the consensus best special teams in the NFL.

They have the best return man in the NFL with Devin Hester, a great kicker in Robbie Gould, and a boot with Brad Maynard.

Year in and year out they have some of the best coverage units in the NFL, and although they lost Brendon Ayanbadejo, Adrian Peterson and others are still special teams beasts that can handle the load for the Bears.

I can easily see the Bears at 8-8 and challenging for a Wild Card in the playoffs.  If they can find some way to get an offensive line going, they can score some points.  Their defense is better than expected, and so is their offense.

I'm Joe W.

Joe also writes for, a basketball fan's site.