Say what you will about Mike Shanahan, but he doesn't deal with quarterbacks who don't have the drive for excellence (see McNabb, Donovan). The Bears gave up 56 sacks last season which was the most in the entire league, not forgetting to mention the offensive line let the quarterback get hit 96 times.
Cutler missed one regular season game, the same as Aaron Rodgers, and Green Bay's quarterback was hit 25 less times. It should be noted that the hit that forced Rodgers to miss the New England game could have been easily avoided, while Cutler has to deal with Mike Martz's sometime wacky play-calling. Matthew Stafford seems to be injured whenever he gets knocked down. The Lions let their quarterback get hit 65 times, ninth best in the league. The Vikings signed Charlie Johnson, left tackle for Indianapolis, someone the Bears could have used to say the least.
Simply put, the goal for the Bears is to get to the signal caller more often. Chicago ranked behind Detroit and Green Bay in sacks. Julius Peppers had a nice postseason but he finished with only eight sacks in the regular season, the same amount as Israel Idonije. The total should easily be in the double digits for Peppers in 2011. If Clay Matthews can get 13.5 sacks on a full tank, Peppers should get the same amount with three-fourths of the tank full.
The secondary has lost its play making safety in Daniel Manning, so less time in coverage for the secondary would in the two games Chicago must face Green Bay and its wide receiver depth. Calvin Johnson is an issue when he's healthy and he's even more of an irritant with Stafford tossing him the pigskin (see Week One).
It'd be something if Vernon Gholston could add anything to pressuring the quarterback, but his ship has sailed and sunk. Anthony Adams was a great resigning and he'll continue to hold down the middle. Chicago just lacks a fair amount of pass rushers and it's not exactly fair to expect Peppers to get every meaningful sack in every big moment when the offensive linemen are keying in on him. Stephen Paea is definitely a nice second round pick with his strength to be a defensive tackle but more has to be done on the outside. The Bears will bail out to stop the run at all costs; it's time for Peppers to treat every game like he's being watched in prime time because there is no other alternative for the Chicago Bears.