Chicago went 10-6 SU, but their defense was what led the way. Despite the great record, the Bears are under new management on all sides of the ball this season and the offensive side is the one to watch this season. Can Chicago return to being a solid and consistent player in our NFL picks? Their offense is going to determine that.
The Bears were a great running team last season behind Matt Forte and Michael Bush. As good as they were at run blocking, the offensive line couldn’t pass block to save a small child’s life. Jay Cutler was sacked 38 times (even though half of the sacks were probably his fault), and was hurried and hit just as much. This led to the passing game ranking 29th in the NFL, which ultimately led to the firing of Lovie Smith and his coaching staff.
This offseason, the Bears have been spending all of their time trying to revamp this offense, and although the plan has been kind of crazy so far, they have done exactly what they need to do to upgrade this passing attack.
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Coming into the offseason, the biggest question on everyone’s mind was the offensive line. This has been the same story for quite some time in Chicago, and they look to have finally nipped the problem in the bud. It started with the drafting of Kyle Long, who will likely start the season backing up J’Marcus Webb at RT, but could take over if Webb starts to struggle again. He could also be converted to RG, but I’m not sold on that just yet.
For their even worse left side, the Bears signed Jermod Bushrod from New Orleans, who has a couple of Pro Bowls, and a Super Bowl ring on his resume. They lost Lance Louis, but they signed Matt Slauson away from the Jets to help take his place at LG. There could be four new starters on the offensive line for the Bears this season. If they can put things together in training camp and the preseason, this offense might be twice as effective this season.
Outside of the o-line, which almost certainly will no longer be an excuse, it all falls on Jay Cutler. The GM and coach that brought Cutler to Chicago are both gone now, and this is also a contract season for Cutler. If things go badly, the Cutler era in Chicago is over. He and the team have no more excuses for not getting it done. I still think they will, but there is always a possibility of Cutler (for lack of a better term) sucking. He has new weapons, he has a much-upgraded offensive line, and he has one of the league’s best running back combos. No excuses.
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Along with all of the upgrades to the offensive line, why not add another boost to that unit, as well as the passing game. The Bears signed TE Martellus Bennett this offseason, and he will give Cutler another weapon in the passing and running game. Bennett is as good at blocking as he is at catching the ball, and along with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, this passing game better produce. If it weren’t for the giant variable of Cutler, this team would have a perfect grade on offense this summer. Keep your eye on the early NFL odds to see where the Bears will be leaning this season.
My Grade: B+
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