The Bears slid to a 7-9 season last year after reaching the Super Bowl and has had a number of off season issues to deal with. But I have yet to see or hear a positive outlook from any analysts for your 2008 Chicago Bears.
With that being said this team returns with most of their core players in an NFC North Division that's very raw. Pro Bowlers Tommie Harris, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, & Nathan Vasher are back and healthy for the Monsters of the Midway.
In addition the Bears have added depth and are expecting a healthy Mike Brown back on defense. And don't forget about the best special teams player in NFL history...Devin "the windy city flyer" Hester.
That nucleus bodes a lot of experience that seems to be getting "slept on" by numerous media outlets and pessimistic fans. Yes the Vikings have superstar Adrian Peterson, the Packers return most of their players from the NFC Championship run last year. And the Lions....well yes Matt Millen still has a job.
I'll be the first person to tell you the Bears have some questions on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line is inexperienced and has looked shaky at times. Kyle Orton has been declared the starter and rookie Matt Forte will lead the rushing attack.
They're also counting on a group most consider No. 2 & No. 3 wide receivers to help put points on the board. But I see no reason this unit can't be better than last year's offensive product.
The Bears offense was bad last year. As I see it they only have room to improve. The consensus from Hallas Hall is that rookie Matt Forte is ready to shoulder the load and is already an upgrade from the lethargic Cedric Benson.
Wide Receiver Bernard Berrian has departed for the Vikings, but frankly was a player that dropped a lot of balls, dealt with frequent injury issues, and wasn't a true No. 1 in my humble opinion. Mushin Muhammed was detrimental to the team last year and has fallen quickly with age to a receiver most wouldn't touch in a fantasy league.
Rex Grossman is no longer Lovie Smith's quarterback. Leading that charge will be Kyle Orton in his fourth NFL season. Kyle Orton has bigger hands than Grossman, is three inches taller, and is a much better game manager. What I like about Kyle is his composure. He never seems to get rattled and has an even keel in his demeanor.
My best example would be when Kyle led the Bears to a 35-7 drubbing over the Green Bay Packers last December. Granted Kyle didn't do much offensively that game with -30 degree weather and winds that made it unbearable to play a game of football. I thought that game showed a lot about Kyle Orton and his ability the lead an offense.
Furthermore Kyle Orton has been voted as team captain this year by his teammates, which tells me a bit more about his character and development than any analyst.
Frankly I'm tired of the complaining and pessimistic outlooks for the Bears this year. I've read and heard that just about everyone down to the Equipment Manager is to blame for the Bears fall from the top of the NFC.
I've searched long and hard to find an optimist in Chicago. I read and hear plenty of pessimism for a Chicago Cubs team thats held the best record in baseball for a good portion of the year. I guess Chicago isn't satisfied unless their team wins it all.
Isn't there someone out there that thinks this years Bears could emerge as a division winner? In fact most teams statistically struggle after a Super Bowl loss and decimating injuries.
This is the NFL after all and parity should at least shed some positives on the Bears.....shouldn't it?