Chicago Bears Preview
David Funk of the Fantasy Sports Depot was kind enough to preview his beloved Bears for me. Here is a look at his solid work.
There has been more talk about the starting quarterback controversy in Chicago in the past two years, that it’s easy to forget this is a team that is one year removed from playing in a Super Bowl. The Bears are hoping that Kyle Orton can bring consistency to the position, and won’t have to be in situations where he’s relived upon to win games.
The running game was equally as bad, if not worse, than the quarterback play for the team a year ago. Troubled and mostly ineffective running back Cedric Benson is now gone from the team, and Tulane standout Matt Forte was drafted to challenge for a starting job anyway. Former Lions running back Kevin Jones was signed to help restore a running game as well.
The offensive line for the Bears is a question mark especially with the uncertainty of first round pick Chris Williams hurting at this time. The team is thin on depth as a result, and this isn’t good news for an offense that has issues and concerns in other areas already.
The Bears have talent have wide receiver, but they’re mainly unproven. Marty Booker returns to Chicago to give the team a veteran presence while Brandon Lloyd and Mark Bradley have something to prove. Earl Bennett, the team’s third round choice this year, could figure into the equation, too. But the big move was Devin Hester moving to wide receiver full-time to give them a big-play threat, and he’s expected to be just that for them.
On defense, Chicago fell off last year because of injuries, ineffectiveness, and consistent play-calling. Brian Urlacher is being looked upon to return to form this year, and Lance Briggs is also back to return what should be one of the league’s best linebacking duos.
The defensive line will have to get back to controlling the line of scrimmage which proved to be a problem at times a year ago. Tommie Harris is a force up the middle, and Mark Anderson will have to provide a consistent pass-rush at for the team to get back to having one of the league’s better defenses.
The secondary is returning healthy which wasn’t the case for a stretch last year. Emphasis was put on adding depth to the unit in the draft to ensure this isn’t an issue for the second year in a row.
Hester will be given many opportunities to score on returns, and the Bears special teams unit is one of the best in the league. Robbie Gould is a reliable kicker and the return coverage has been a strong point for them, too.
Lovie Smith has been a successful coach since he came to Chicago, but has been criticized by many for the decisions made on the offensive side of the ball in particular. The distractions of Benson, Tank Johnson, and the starting quarterback job has dominated much of the talk in the Windy City the last two years.
Fantasy-wise, Hester is a strong pick especially in leagues that count return yardage and touchdowns. Tight end Greg Olsen could be a sleeper pick as well.
The Bears should have enough to contend for a division title because other teams also have question marks at the quarterback position as well as elsewhere. The team will have to get back to winning games the way they did in 2006 with a power running game and strong defense to get back to the playoffs. Special teams play will be good, but should they not get back to their ways of 2006, it will be a long and very cold season in the Windy City in 2008.
Nice job David. I’m putting the Bears on a 7-9 season and 3rd in their division. Sorry pal.