The Chicago Bears surprised a lot of people by making it all the way to the NFC Championship game last season. The free agent acquisition of Julius Peppers really made a huge difference to the defense, and the offensive line performed much better than expected.
Lovie Smith assembled an impressive coaching staff, and the effect of Mike Martz and Mike Tice could be seen with the offense last season.
Jay Cutler had a pretty solid season last year, but it really ended on a sour note for him. Cutler worked surprisingly well with Mike Martz last year, and having a full year in Martz’s system will only help him in 2011.
Forte turned it on in the last half of the season, and he looked a lot better than he did in 2009.
Chester Taylor didn’t contribute much last year, but hopefully he can bounce back in 2011.
The Bears still don’t have a top wideout, but Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and Earl Bennett form a solid duo. The offensive line needs a lot of work, as pretty much every position could be upgraded.
J’Marcus Webb was surprising as a rookie, but I’m not sure he’s the long term answer.
The defense was again the strength of this Chicago Bears team, and it was led by Julius Peppers. Peppers and Israel Idonije form a very good tandem at defensive end.
Defensive tackle is somewhat of a weakness, but Anthony Adams is pretty solid at nose tackle. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are still playing at a pro bowl level, and they both should be just as good next year.
The other spot could be a problem, as Pisa Tinoisamoa has been injury prone since coming to Chicago. The secondary could use some work, as they are lacking a standout player.
Charles Tillman is still solid at cornerback, but the other spot is unsettled. Chris Harris and Danieal Manning are both good players, and I expect both of them to be starting again in 2011.