A good team trying to get better often has to make tough choices. The Chicago Bears did just that for 2013, choosing to fire Lovie Smith and bring in Marc Trestman from the Canadian Football League. Smith was good for the Bears, leading them to a 29-19 record over three years but somehow Chicago just couldn’t get over the hump and seriously contend for a Super Bowl.
For the offensive side of the ball the Chicago Bears seem intent on making Jay Cutler pay off. Everything revolves around that. The Bears used the free agent market to better protect their quarterback, signing Jermon Bushrod away from the New Orleans Saints to keep the rush down and avoid sacks. It’s a good move. Cutler has been repeatedly victimized over the last couple of seasons. And it’s not the only move. Chicago added a Guard in Matt Slason, drafted Kyle Long with their first pick, and went for some depth in the 5th Round with Jordan Mills. Starting to get the picture?
The Bears also added some weapons, signing Marcellus Bennet to give Cutler a safety valve in the short passing game. There’s also talk that the new offensive system will feature Matt Forte as a pass catcher out of the backfield, getting him the ball in the open field. Of course the Bears still have Brandon Marshall. Devon Hester has been the Bears deep guy for a few years now but there’s talk of keeping him as strictly a return man. If that happens Chicago will have to find someone with speed to stretch opposing defenses.
Is it the Chicago Bears without Brian Urlacher? It must be. The linebacker was let go in a contract dispute and so far a long term replacement isn’t on the roster. Lance Briggs is still there, as well as Julius Peppers. But it’s tough to see this Bears defense living up to their reputation. They’ll still be playing the same basic scheme under Trestman though and there’s enough young talent to expect someone to step up and become a focal point in 2013.
The Chicago Bears were a winning team in 2012 and they’ve got enough talent to challenge again in 2013. Jay Cutler is in a contract year, he should enjoy better protection, and his skill players are better around him. Improving to 12-4 or 13-3 and reaching the playoffs is a good shot if everything holds together.