State of the Bears Address

September 4, 2008

State of the Bears Address

 

With training camp just under a month away, I thought I would write a pre-training camp sate of the Bears address.  I’ll start off by saying that last year was very painful for me.  I had a bad feeling the Super Bowl hangover would cause problems with the team but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was.  I’m trying to put a positive look on the 2008 Bears team, but decisions by team management is making it difficult.

 

I’ll start out with the positives:

 

Special Teams

A definite positive overall, the Bears have one of the best special team’s squads in the league.

 

Return Game

Devin Hester, Devin Hester, Devin Hester.  Don’t really need to say anything more than he is a threat to score a touchdown on pretty much every punt return or kick return he gets his hands on.  Rashied Davis is also another solid kick off return threat. 

 

Kicking/Punting

Robbie Gould has turned out to be one of the most accurate kickers in Bears history.  He made the Pro-Bowl in 2006 and signed a 5 year contract extension during this off-season.  Entering into his 12th year in the league Brad Maynard is still one of the best punters in the NFL. 

 

On free agent loss that will hurt is the Ravens signing of Brendon Ayanbadejo.  Ayanbedejo is a perennial special teams, Pro Bowler and will be missed.  He amassed 26 special teams tackles last year.

 

Defense

The combination of injuries and an awful offense took its toll on the Bears defense last year.  Reports are that all of the key factors in the defense are healthy or at least mostly healthy and ready for training camp. 

 

D-Line (Tackles)

Coming off a hamstring tear the year prior, plus fighting a knee injury, Tommie Harris still showed why he is one of the best defensive linemen in football.  Harris should be 100% this year and I have zero doubt that he will continue to dominate the middle.  Anthony Adams is another solid defensive tackle for the Bears.  Dusty Dvoracek has played 1 quarter in the 2 years he has been with the team.  He has a motor that won’t quit. Hopefully he can stay away from the injury bug because I am excited to see him become a key factor in the front 7.  The Bears drafted Marcus Harrison from Arkansas in the 4th round of this year’s draft.  It sounds like he has the potential of being a very good lineman in the NFL.  Off the field issues dropped his status in the draft, but hopefully he doesn’t go the Tank Johnson and Cedric Benson route. Gerald Lee and Matt Toeaina add solid depth to the tackle position.

 

D-Line (Ends)

It sounds like Alex Brown will join Adewale Ogunleye as the 2 starting DE’s with sack specialist Mark Anderson as the insert to keep everyone fresh.  I like this a lot better than Anderson as the starter.  I think his sack numbers will go up to his rookie year levels this way.  Isreal Idonijie and Dan Bazuin round out the DE core.  Bazuin was IR’d last season as a rookie and I am interested to see what he brings to the table.

 

Linebackers

Not much to say here, but arthritic back or not, the Bears have probably the best linebacking tandem in the league with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.  Hunter Hillenmeyer doesn’t get the press he deserves as the other factor in the linebacker core. I also think Jamar Williams and Michael Okwo are ready for break out seasons.

 

Secondary

The secondary was decimated by injuries last year.  Charles Tilman had another solid year but Nathan Vasher was out for most of the year and that hurt the defense badly.  When Mike Brown is on the field, he is one of the best FS’ in the league.  Unfortunately, in the past 3 years, he has been off the field for most of them due to injury.  It sounds like he is healthy again and very excited for the 2008 season.  Mike Brown makes the defense better in play and leadership.  Trumaine McBride, Ricky Manning Jr., Danieal Manning add very solid depth to the secondary.  The Bears drafted SS Craig Steltz this year.  I’m excited with this pick because I have visions of Gary Fencik and Doug Plank dancing in my head.

 

The fun part is over with, now I have to talk about the offense. 

 

Offensive (Line)

I’ll start by saying that I have been unhappy with the offensive line for the past 3 seasons.  I have felt that, even in the Super Bowl year, that this was the weakest unit on the team.  Fortunately, rather unfortunately, this is not the case anymore.  I will say that I am very, very happy that the “Human Turn-style” Fred Miller, along with his cohort, Ruben “False Start” Brown are gone.  I can’t count high enough to give you the number of expletives I have screamed at the television at those 2 the past few years.  Good riddance to both. Olin Kreutz = Pro Bowler, John Tait is also solid and I love that he is moving to right tackle.  The Bears may finally have a dominant left tackle in Chris Williams, who was drafted with their first pick this year.  We’ll have to wait and see.  The guard position bothers me.  Roberto Garza, no matter how great of a guy he is, would be a back up on any other team.  I’m not even sure I’d want Terrance Metcalf as a back up let alone a starter.  Hopefully, Josh Beekman can win one of the guard spots.  He doesn’t have the prototypical size but he has a nasty streak that I loved watching when he played for Boston College.

 

Tight Ends

I am very happy with the tight end tandem of Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Olsen had flashes of greatly during his rookie year and Clark showed he is a down field threat in 2006.  Hopefully, Ron Turner…sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little, will run some 2 tight end sets this season.

 

Running Backs/Full Backs

I have to admit, I am eager to see how Matt Forte will turn out.  I was happy that the Bears took him with their 2nd choice in the draft.  I hated the Cedric Benson pick in ’04 and am ecstatic he is gone.  Anyone and their grandmother could fall down and get 3 yards.  Have fun trying to get a job jackass.  Adrian Peterson is a decent backup.  I like him because he runs with heart.  If Ron Turner had any vision at all, Garrett Wolfe could be a threat to gain 15+ yards here and there.  Oh and Ron, I’m guessing that you don’t understand the concept of physics but here is a thought.  Don’t run Wolfe up the middle against the Vikings D again this season.  Garrett Wolfe is 5’ 7”, 186 pounds, Kevin Williams is 6’5”, 311 pounds and Pat Williams is 6’ 3, 317 pounds.  Garret won’t win. FB’s don’t do much in the Bears O, except block, so there isn’t a whole lot to say other than Jason McKie is pretty solid there.

 

Quarterbacks

Going into training camp, there is a competition between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton for QB1.  I’ll start with the positives at QB, 1) Brian Griese is no longer on the roster, 2)…..wait, I am thinking……screw it, now I’ll start with the positives of Rex Grossman – 1) great arm, 2)…..wait, I’m thinking………….I like his gunslinger attitude, 3)….my brain hurts, onto his negatives 1)his gunslinger attitude gets him in trouble 2)fumbles snaps, 3)doesn’t step up in the pocket under pressure, 4)makes poor decisions way too often 5) I have to hear Tony Kornheiser talk about how bad Rexy is 2,000 times a game on MNF. Kyle Orton positives 1) doesn’t turn the ball over, 2)steps up in the pocket under pressure, 3) his beard rocks, 4) Kyle Orton drunk pictures on the internet are awesome. His negatives are that he doesn’t have the greatest arm and is more like Trent Dilfer than a Tom Brady. Both have rings, though so that may not be that bad with a great Bears D.

 

Wide Receivers (I just threw up in my mouth again)

Good googely, moogely, ESPN has Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd as the 2 starters on the depth chart right now.  I have also heard the Lloyd has looked like the best WR during the OTA’s.  I’m starting to tear up just thinking about that.  If Mark Bradley can stay healthy and Devin Hester can makes strides at the receiver spot this year, there is hope that I won’t pop a blood vessel watching the Bears this year. I’ve read that 3rd round pick Earl Bennett doesn’t drop passes, so hopefully he can send Lloyd to the waiver wire or bench, where he belongs. Hey, Ron Turner, just some advice here, GO ROUTE TO DEVIN HESTER, GO ROUTE TO DEVIN HESTER, GO ROUTE TO DEVIN HESTER!

 

Overall

I actually feel a little more positive about the upcoming season than I did before I started writing this blog.  If we can keep injuries to a minimum, the Bears should have a much better season than the miserable one they had last year.  The season hinges on the offense though.  There has to be something of a running game or it will be more of the same.  The Bears will be in games until the 2nd half starts and the defense fades because they have been on the field way too long.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens with QB1 and how the receivers sorts out.  If they can do something, then I see a playoff team, if they are the same as last year (not quite sure the offense could get worse) then it’s just another waste of a great defense in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

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