Chicago Bears: 5 Problem Positions That Will Hurt the Bears All Season

Max MickeyContributor IIISeptember 8, 2011

Chicago Bears: 5 Problem Positions That Will Hurt the Bears All Season

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    The Chicago Bears are a very strong football team, but they still have some glaring weaknesses. The holes in their rosters are probably not going to knock the them out of the playoffs, but they will be sore spots all season long. 

    This Bears team is very unpredictable. They could go 6-10 or just as easily go 12-4, and their record is riding on the shoulders of the whole team, not just the stars.

    If the Bears weak links are able to play adequately, not great or even good, but just adequate then the Bears have a great shot of repeating as the Kings of the NFC North.

    Here are five positions that will give the Bears trouble all season long.    

Offensive Line

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    I could make this article very quick and simple, by stating the very obvious. Five positions that will hurt the Bears all season long: right tackle, right guard, center, left guard, left tackle.

    But I will just categorize the whole offensive line as one position. The Bears offensive line did look better during the preseason, and at times they gave Jay Cutler more than ample time to throw the ball.

    Yet, the line still gave up 15 sacks during the preseason. If they keep up that pace in the regular season, they will eclipse their league worst 52 sacks from last season and finish with 60 sacks allowed.

    Realistically they are not going to give up 60 sacks, but somewhere around 40 sacks is probable. Allowing 40 sacks would be a dramatic improvement from 2010, but it will still be a very weak point for the offense.

    Hopefully the O-line will hold up, give Cutler time to throw the ball, and free up rushing lanes for Matt Forte.   

Tight End

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    Mike Martz forced the Bears best receiving option, TE Greg Olsen, out the door this offseason. The Bears traded away Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a third round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

    Essentially Olsen didn't fit in Martz' system. Martz just wants another blocker, not someone who wants to catch passes. So it seems that Olsen got the boot for being too good.

    In Olsen's two full seasons as a starter he had over 100 passes, 1,000 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Is he the best blocker in the world? No, but he could have got the job done.

    Alas, now Cutler is left with no pass catching tight end. Their starters Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth combined for 10 catches in 2010, but their upside is they are both 6'7", and weigh over 250 lbs.

    Hopefully Martz is right, because if he missed on the tight end situation, he could be the one run out of Chicago next season.  

Wide Receiver

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    The Bears have the worst wide receiving core in the NFL, and it's not close.

    They have no true No. 1 receiver, and realistically they have a few slot or No. 2 receivers along with a guy who has never and will never pan out (Roy Williams).

    Their best receiver is Earl Bennett, but he wont get as many snaps on the field because he is listed as the slot receiver.

    Hopefully the Bears will quickly see that it's ridiculous to start Devin Hester and Roy Williams over the vastly superior Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett, but I doubt they will. 

    Jay Cutler has all the talent in the world, but they took away his favorite target in Greg Olsen, and it will be difficult for him to achieve greatness with the receivers around him.

    Maybe if the offensive line plays well then Cutler can turn this group of receiver duds into a group of studs, but he can only do so much.  

Cornerback

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    The Bears are fine at the right cornerback position with Charles "Peanut" Tillman, but the left side is a different story. 

    Tim Jennings will be starting again opposite Tillman, and he will be the biggest hole in the Bears secondary. 

    Jennings has played pretty well during the preseason, and at times he looked great. But he played just alright in 2010, racking up just one interception and forcing one fumble. 

    That is to be expected out of Jennings, he is just a decent starting cornerback in the NFL.

    Last season the Bears gave up far too many long third down conversions through the air, and I expect teams to look Jennings' way all season long on third down.   

Strongside Linebacker

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    The strong-side linebacker is another position that the Bears are partially very good at, and partially very weak. Two-thirds of the Bears linebacking core is the best in the NFL with Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.

    The other one-third of their core is their soft spot, where Nick Roach is set to start. Roach is similar to Jennings, he is just okay, and okay does not cut it on an elite defense.

    In 2009 it appeared that Roach was going to step up and become a legitimate part of the defense. He had 75 tackles, forced three fumbles, and played in all 16 games.

    Maybe he still has the talent to become an every down player, but that is yet to be seen.

    Hopefully the some of Urlacher and Briggs' talents will wear off on Roach and he can become even half as good as his counterparts.