Last year, the Chicago Bears had a quarterback in Kyle Orton who had questionable arm strength. They had limited ability with their receivers to stretch the field, and refused to commit to Greg Olsen as a receiving threat at tight end.
The key returning member of the Bears offense in 2009 is running back Matt Forte. Forte averaged nearly 24 touches per game last year, rushing for over 1,200 yards and adding almost 500 as a receiver. He was one of the better, more versatile running backs in the NFC last year.
Sunday night starts the Bears 2009 season. They have fully committed to Olsen as their starting tight end, but did little to upgrade a weak receiving group in the off-season. The offensive line is "improved," meaning Forte should get more carries with better holes.
In the first half of the season opener, Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner called a group of plays that can best be described as "questionable."
Of the 33 plays the Bears have had on offense, 22 have been passes. Forte has only eight touches, and was replaced by the non-Viking Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe late in the second quarter.
And Rex Grossman... I mean Cutler... has completed almost as many passes to Packers (three) as he has to Bears (seven).
This Bears team was allegedly built to run the ball effectively and allow Cutler to create plays in space with his enormous arm. Cutler did make one nice play in the first half, a 68-yard completion to rookie receiver Johnny Knox.
But after that completion, which saw Knox go out of bounds at the six-yard line, the Bears opted to throw the ball three times inside the ten. The drive ended with Cutler getting an attempted screen pass picked off by a defensive tackle.
Turner needs to have a heart-to-heart with his playbook and remember how the Bears almost made the playoffs without a big-time quarterback in 2008. That, or he needs to have a quick refresher with his resume.
Thankfully, the Bears defense looks every bit the champion they have claimed to be all summer. The Packers haven't been able to establish anything on offense, and Aaron Rodgers has been harassed as much as Cutler has in the first half.
The difference between Rodgers and Cutler, though, is the three interceptions.
The Bears defense has taken care of the scoring for Chicago as well, sacking Rodgers in the end zone for a safety. The score at halftime is 10-2 in favor of the Packers.