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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chicago Bears 2010 Preview and Predictions

Last Years Record 7-9
Wins: Steelers, Seahawks, Lions, Browns, Rams, Vikings, Lions
Losses: Vikings, Packers (x2), Lions, Falcons, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers, Eagles, Ravens
Biggest Playmaker Matt Forte
RB, Tulane, Drafted #44, 3rd Year
Forte tore apart defenses both rushing and receiving, finishing in the top 5 of total yardage, during his 2008 rookie season. To follow up that season, Forte disappointed fantasy football owners with a major drop in production in 2009. With Coach Mike Martz being hired as the team's new OC, expect Forte to be more involved in the passing game, and more touches altogether resulting in increased production. Note: Forte showed his receiving week 1 with 2 TDs in the passing game, look for a continued stat line in the pass game for Forte.
Impact Player Brian Urlacher
MLB, New Mexico, Drafted #9, 11th Year
Due to an injury last year, Urlacher missed most of the Bears dismal defensive 2009 season. Urlacher is the general and captain of the defense, placing his teammates into position to make plays. His leadership was sorely missed last year, and with his return and the addition of Julius Peppers, the Bears look to rebound after a miserable 2009 campaign.
Biggest Offseason Addition Julius Peppers
DE, North Carolina, Drafted #2, 9th Year
Possibly the NFL's most talented defensive end, Peppers over the past few seasons has established a reputation for taking plays off and his inconsistent play. After a Super Bowl appearance versus the Patriots in the earlier part of the past decade, Peppers has failed to return his Carolina Panthers defense to glory. The organization decided to dump off his salary and move in a new direction, opening the route to Chicago where Peppers will instantly impact Lovie Smith's defense. If Peppers can consistently play hard nosed football, I believe Peppers could re-establish himself amongst the league's best ends.
Biggest Offseason Loss Alex Brown
DE, Florida, Drafted #104, 8th Year
Besides having one of the greatest names ever, Alex Brown provided a key spark to the Bears pass rush year in and year out for the 7 years he played in Chicago. Brown played a pivotal role in the Super Bowl appearance team which lost to the Colts, and was signed this past offseason by the New Orleans Saints.
Biggest Draft Steal Corey Wootten
DE, Northwestern, Drafted #109, Rookie
After turning down the draft of 2009 following a stellar junior season at Northwestern, Wootten produced significantly less than previous year dropping him down scouting draft boards. That withstanding, the Bears were able to hold on to their future draft picks, stay put beyond the third round, and draft depth to their defense throughout these picks. Wootten is a very talented end who will likely hit the field early and often in 2010.
Biggest Draft Mistake Waiting until the last round to address OT issues
Nothing against big kids from small schools, but Chicago waited way too long to address their offensive tackle problems. The Bears next season must draft a franchise offensive tackle whom they can count upon for years to come.
Offseason Grade B
I felt the Bears did an adequate job addressing needs in an aging defense, while adding a big-time playmaker in Julius Peppers. Coach Mike Martz is sure to spark some life into the sputtering offense, and Matt Forte looks primed for a solid 3rd year. My only qualms are with the offensive line and the lack of action regarding the personnel at that position. Good, not great offseason.
X-Factor Jay Cutler
QB, Vanderbilt, Drafted #11, 5th Year
The success of the Bears offense corellates completely with the level of play Jay Cutler exhibits in 2010. If he can cut down his turnovers, and consistently move the ball, the Bears could present a major thorn in the side of the Vikings and the Packers. Cutler has all the physical tools needed, he just needs to piece this puzzle of "success" together.
Name You Should Know Devin Aromashadu
WR, Auburn, Drafted #233, 5th Year
No other receiver in the NFL, in the games which Aromashadu started, received more redzone targets over the last 5 games of the regular season. It took a long time for him to break the lineup, however Aromashadu has impressed his coaches and has a good rapport with Cutler. Look for Devin to be Jay Cutler's main downfield weapon.
Rising Star Greg Olsen
TE, Miami, Drafted #31, 4th Year
Olsen is a big target with lots of speed. Olsen has the ability of any other TE in the NFL, and its just a matter of time before he develops into a superstar. This could be Olsen's breakout year, as Martz has begun to tailor his offense to suit Olsen's skills, yet it will be interesting to see how Olsen will be utilized in 2010.
Offensive Outlook B
The Bears offense looked better than last season, however still struggled to put the ball in the endzone, especially close to the goal-line. The intricate Martz system will take time no doubt to be firmly implanted, however I feel the Bears will make considerable strides from last season.
Defensive Outlook B
On defense I may or may not be overly optimistic. Peppers and Urlacher provide a gameplanning nightmare for offenses as you cannot take either one of these players out of the game; try to run the ball and Urlacher will scrape across the line for the tackle; try to pass and Peppers 6'7 frame and quick feet will sack your QB. The only problems therein the Bears defense is the interior line and secondary. If these positions can hold up, the Bears could eek out a few wins versus the high octane offenses of Green Bay and Minnesota.
Special Teams Outlook A~B?
Devin Hester. That is all. I want a few Devin Hester special team's returns for Christmas this year...Gould is a solid kicker and has been for quite some time in Chicago, but it is very unpredictable how good or bad this unit may be this season.
Projected 2010 Record 8-8

In 2010, learning curves and bumps will plague the first half of the season. That being said, I feel this team may sneak up on divisional opponents Minnesota, Green Bay, and as evidenced by the win (should've been loss) Lions, the Bears could be on to something. Only time will tell, however Jerry Angelo has done a good job of turning this organization back to its winning traditions.

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