Netting Out the Bears Offseason Additions and Subtractions

In an offseason that kicked off by management promising big changes and then leaving most of the status quo in tact, let’s sum up what really happened during the Bears offseason.  ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson does a nice job summing up the key additions and subtractions to the Bears’ roster.  Check it out:

Notable player additions:

Defensive end Julius Peppers, running back Chester Taylor, safety Chris Harris, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, safety Major Wright, defensive end Corey Wootton, cornerback Tim Jennings, Pisa Tinoisamoa (re-signed after playing in just two games)

Notable player subtractions:

Defensive end Alex Brown, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, linebacker Jamar Williams, safety Kevin Payne, cornerback Nathan Vasher, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, fullback Jason McKie, running back Adrian Peterson, running back Kevin Jones

JD goes on to outline where the offense and defense ranked last season, but I’ll leave that depressing reading to you.

When you look at it right there in black and white, it would seem as though the additions outweigh the subtractions.  Or do they?  Dos the addition of Julius Peppers outweigh the losses of Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye?

Is there anyone listed on the “Key Additions” side of the ledger that adds to the Bears’ most critical offseason needs like offensive line or wide receiver?  I’d call those Key Omissions.

When you look at the additions and subtractions on the Bears roster, how do you net it out?

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Tags: Adewale Ogunleye Alex Brown Julius Peppers

  • City

    Hey Boomer!

    Seems like your vote is missing a category, which I’m sure you did on purpose, which is “no change”.

    I think you nailed the topic well when you said does the addition of Peppers outweigh the loss of both Ogunleye and Brown. (That little bird in the back of my ear keeps whispering “Big Contract equals Down Year”, but I’ll ignore that for now).

    They’ve upgraded in a couple spots: Safeties are definitely better (but is Lovie really got Manning and Harris swapped around because they think a ROOKIE can step in right away and play SS!?!?!). Runningbacks are also definitely better (I’m including Manumaleuna in that category).

    But, after that… corners are same, o-line is same, receivers are same, LB’s are same… So, the question is does a good RB make a O-line better or does a good O-line make an RB better. In my mind, O-line has to come first, and we didn’t improve there.

    Finally, the last piece which wasn’t covered: Coaches. I do believe the Offensive Coach has been upgraded (ANYTHING is better than Turner!), but defense… I can’t say that we upgraded there…

    So, a whole lot of the same, if you ask me.

  • Behr34

    In reply to City who says that; “corners are same, o-line is same, receivers are same, LB’s are same…” come on, you have to have some serious blinders on to make those statements!

    First, I’ll give you the CB’s, except you make it sound like there are big problems with them. The biggest problem our corners had last season was not having a pass rush, which would be a huge problem for any team’s CB’s. Bowman and Tillman are both quality CB’s that will be much improved now that we have a legitimate pass rusher on the team.

    O-line. No, the O-line is not the same. If you’ll recall, Orlando Pace is not around to collapse the left side of the line on a consistent basis this year. In fact, when he went out with an injury, or was benched (not sure which), and Williams was moved over to LOT, the Bears O-line was much improved. And there still may be an addition of a FA LG.

    Rec’s are the same. True statement. You nailed that one. I happen to think that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I won’t get into that…

    But now we come to probably your most false statement (to put it nicely), that the LB’s are the same. Really? I can’t hardly believe that you forgot that Urlacher and Pisa, 2/3rds of our starting LB’ing corps, was put out of action for basically the whole season in the very 1st game. (Yeah, Pisa made an appearance in one other game, but re-aggrivated his injury and was done for the year). They’re both back, turning the Bears LB’ing group from a semi-decent bunch of back-up to arguably one of the best groups in the league.

    Bottom line; The Bears are a different team this year with upgraded additions all over the team at almost every position. Expect big things and expect the playoffs.

  • City

    Hey Behr34:

    Good comments. Maybe a couple clarifications to understand my perspective:

    Corners: Tillman (who I highly respect) is a tough son of a gun, but is recovering from some pretty serious injuries. Bowman looks good so far, but is undersized and not a good bump and cover guy. And there is ZERO depth if one of them goes down…

    O-line: Yes, Pace is gone, and the line played better toward end of the year, unless you look at overall run-game success. But, many analysts look at the line as something that should have been upgraded and wasn’t. If you look at the defensive lines in our division alone, I wouldn’t feel too comfortable with what we have right now. (And I don’t see any FA’s saving us…)

    LB’s are not the same: I agree with you here: losing Urlacher in the first game killed both our leadership and the Cover-2 on our D last year. So, having Urlacher back should make the LB’s significantly better. My concern with them again is persistent injuries to Pisa and Urlacher. But, I’ll stand corrected here. With Urlacher, they should be better.

    My perspective and pessimism is based primarily on the fact that the Bears seem like a team on the decline. We keep saying “If Urlacher stays healthy, If Tillman stays healthy, If the line play at the end of the year wasn’t an illusion, If the loss of Ogunleye and Brown doesn’t affect our ability to stop the run, If the young receivers who missed a ton of reads last year can learn both a new offense and how to adjust in-game, etc, etc, etc. Too many things have to come together for the Bears to make the playoffs. When you look at the Packers and Vikings, they don’t have these questions: they KNOW their D’s are going to be Top 15 D’s. They know their offense is going to be Top 10 O’s.

    It’s hard to “expect” to make the playoffs, when we can’t tell if this team is even a .500 team.

  • Behr34

    City, I can understand your comments for the most part. But I don’t think the Cupboards are bare behind our CB’s. I think we have reasonable back-ups there, and I feel strongly that Bowman is a quality CB, which is expressed in this article: so I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in my high regard for him.

    Regarding the O-line; what I have noticed from the analysts is that they continue to look at the majority of the season that the O-line stunk when Pace was still in the line-up. Very few will admit that the Bears line *did* look vastly improved after Pace was bounced from the line-up and Williams was moved to the position he was drafted for. Now, I’m not saying that the Line is now fixed completely, but I think the areas of it that now need plugging are much smaller and more manageable. Tice will play a key role in this area as well.

    And finally, you comment on the team being in decline, which I usually see combined with some comment that it’s an old team as well. This is a fallacy. The Bears, in terms of rank of ave age w/ regards to starter and impact players is 9th youngest in the league!!

    Think about it: Urlacher is one of our oldest starters at 31 (soon to be 32). The FA’s that the Bears brought in (Peppers and Taylor) are 30, and I don’t think the Bears are real worried about them getting too old too soon. And ANYTIME you have a 27 year old QB, assuming he turns into our franchise player, you will hardly ever be ‘out of it’.

    I’m serious when I say this team is primed and ready for a run. I know that alot of people consider the Bears one big giant unknown, but they’ll soon get to know them, and I think Bear’s fans will Like them once they do.

  • Windy Cynic

    @Behr34…. this is simple and becoming redundant….

    Adding Peppers would have been huge if we had kept either Brown or Ogunleye.
    Adding Cutler demands a similar investment in the Oline, not just a reshuffling of failing deck chairs.
    Adding a 4th TE to block is not going to mask 3 compromised positions on the Oline.
    Adding two safeties should help and the linebackers are a strength.

    There are simply too many “maybes” in a rising division and this team’s talent is getting old fast. Can we count on Tillman? Is Tommy going to play? Mark Anderson?

    I’d say that our “braintrust” made bold PR moves and forgot to surround those decisions with more decisions that support the flashy additions. No holes to run and it doesn’t matter who holds the ball.

    • Bearspwn

      I really like the replies in this thread. The two things that I agree with so far in this thread is that our CB’s are better than most people think, and that our O-line still is a concern.

      Just as one of you mentioned before, the Cover 2 scheme relies on pressure on the quarterback, if there is little to no pressure on their QB it allows the play to develop deeper behind our LB’s along the sideline or the middle of the field.

      As with the O-line, I base my opinion off my own observations that yes Williams looked great at LT, but our gaurds were absolutley awful, when they failed cutler had pressure constantly up the middle which takes away the majority of his throwing lanes and also the ability to step into the throw. Result, more INT’s

      Overall though I believe the Bears will be improved and will be in the running for a wild card.

  • City

    Hi Guys:

    Behr, great response, and I truly hope you’re right about the Bears surprising us.

    Boomer, what are your thoughts about the corners? I am very worried about Peanut. Coming back from a broken rib and “bruised” lung make it very hard to maintain your core strength (and that’s where your quickness comes from). Bowman looks great, but if Tilman goes down, I don’t see him covering any of football’s elite (and tall) receivers. And what do you know about this new guy Jennings. Is he a reliable backup? (I don’t know much about him).

    On the line side, I am also concerned now that I’ve learned that the blocking scheme calls are made 100% by the Center and Olin hasn’t practiced because he’s recovering from cleanup surgery on an achilles.

    Having said this, though, there seem to be some positive signs coming out of camp: the offensive players seem excited about Martz’s offense. Martz is using the fire-hose to teach them his offense, and they will make mistakes. But, I’ll bet he’s way more unpredictable that Turner ever was.

    And, Forte seems to have his burst back. He said in the Trib that Martz has built some plays with both Chester and Forte on the field. That could mess some D’s up!

    So, It’s going to be an interesting year. And, I appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm, even if I can’t get there myself.