How many times have I listened to Lovie say the Chicago Bears are a GOOD team? A rhetorical question to be sure since I am talking to myself as I type…by my inner-voice is still hearing the echo “Rex is our Quarterback”. Finally, I can rest, rehabilitate and look forward to a bona-fide offensive explosion in Chi-town some time in the very near future.
GM Mouser says “maintain the continuity of the past as you move in to the future.” That is a recipe for success when you have a core competency in your team that is proven, reliable and repeatable.
Many times new coaches are brought in to turn around bad teams. A team that is rebuilding is often cited as a reason for leadership changes as well. By the way, rebuilding is code for bad salary cap management. The Bears’ secret weapon is definitely Cliff Stein! No rebuilding needed in Chicago…just a little offense to go with the good special teams and defense.
Yes I believe the Bears will be a good team in 2013…post Lovie. During the Lovie era, the Bears were good a few years but were largely mediocre. The biggest issue revolved around Lovie’s inability to solve the offensive puzzle, both in terms of players and leadership at the coordinator position.
Enter 2013 Bears…they have a good defense with all the key players minus Urlacher returning. They have the makings of a good line with Wootton emerging and a stud defensive tackle in Melton. Peppers is certainly got a few more good years in him and Paea has been serviceable though not spectacular. Throw in a smart move by Emery to bring in a Defensive coordinator to run the defense in largely the same posture as was successful and that spells stability and continuity. The defense will be good.
The Bears have been truly bench mark level in terms of Special Teams. I just have no recollection of a team being so dominant in this phase for so long. If I have a concern of a part of the game slipping, it is Special Teams. Hester is still a Bear though he will need to refocus and refine his craft to regain his former explosiveness. That can happen, but I don’t know that it will happen. Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis, has his work cut out for him. With reports about Robbie Gould’s calf surgery and the subsequent 3-year signing of kicker Austin Signor I have to question leadership’s direction with regard to this phase. If there is a place the Bears might slide in a pretty substantial way…it is here.
Offense…when you are at the bottom, there is only one way to go and that is up. To me, it is not a question of whether the Bears improve in this phase, but rather how much? Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall make a fearsome three-some. The team’s Achilles heel has been the offensive line and horrible offensive play calling/coaching/leadership. Empowerment is information, resources, authority and accountability. Mark Trestman is empowered and will reap the rewards of said empowerment. With the core offensive players the Bears already have, they added LT Jermon Bushrod and TE Martellus Bennett. Those two veterans replaced J’Marcus “foot stuck in a” Webb and Kellen “Butter Fingers” Davis. I know the Bears offense just got better. Now throw in a Coach with an offensive background in Mark Trestman and I see a vast improvement over last year’s team.
There is an intangible that I want to point out. A coach calling the plays tends to call the plays differently than an offensive coordinator does. An offensive coordinator is judged on offensive statistics. Head Coaches are judged on wins and losses. I am not sure how long Trestman’s tendencies will take to manifest in to an identity, but I am sure Bear fans will see a big difference in the personality this group will show this year and in to the future. This coach will call plays that work. He will game plan to win and most importantly, will (in the famous words of Sgt Gunney) Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome.
The Bears also supplemented the team, on both sides of the ball, with some key rookies through the draft. Much has been written about these rookies, though we all know that it is impossible to project what kind of impact Kyle Long, Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene, Jordan Mills or any of the other draft picks or free agents will make. While my own draft pick would have included a Tight End, I am not disappointed with this draft class and am optimistic that the Bears are stronger today than they were this time last year.
Yes, the Bears will be a good team in 2013. The team has maintained the continuity of the past in terms of the team’s strengths as we move in to the future. And the team has improved in terms of personnel and leadership on the offensive side of the ball. The arrow is pointing up and I have absolutely no concerns over a potential backslide. We are about to be witness to the rise of an offensive juggernaut. We will be baffled by the audacious arial attack…by the explosive efficiency of the ground game and the endless array of offensive weapons deployed in ways that will leave us Bear fans shocked and awed. Points, points and more points! WOOT!
So Bear fans…is 2013 the Year of the Bear?