Entering 2015, there are so many questions surrounding this Bears team.
Why is this a reason to give a damn?
Well… who doesn’t like a little bit of drama? It helps add to the meaning of the game as we all look forward to seeing what this season has in store!
At the beginning of every year, any fan rooting for their team thinks that this is the year for them.
My question to Bears fans is: “Do you really think this is our year?”
There’s so many question marks surrounding the organization right now that I’m not sure anyone feels totally comfortable saying, “Yes, this is our year.”
Questions like: Will Vic Fangio and his 3-4 scheme bring back the Monsters of the Midway we all miss so dearly? What do we expect from yet another new offensive coordinator? What about Jay Cutler? Is Matt Forte going to return after this year? Can the offensive line stay healthy? Is Kevin White going to make an immediate impact?
These will all have to wait until the season starts to be answered…but let’s shine some light on a few of these questions.
Starting with defense
I don’t know about anyone else, but I would rather watch a 17-14 game or a 21-20 game than the high scoring affairs in which the defenses don’t seem to matter. When all teams do is score back and forth, that makes for a good afternoon nap if you ask me…
Make the game worth while and play some defense.
With all that being said, a good defense starts with the front four. Yes, the front four. I personally am not much of a fan of the 3-4 defense, as I for whatever reason prefer the old-fashioned, standard 4-3 defensive scheme.
Perhaps, I just resist change?
However, I don’t see the switch to the 3-4 as a bad thing.
I think it has a chance to make Shea McClellin feel more at home. When we drafted him, Shea was a stand up rusher out of the 3-4 scheme. Hopefully, this will put some juice back into his career and bring out the Shea McClellin we’ve expected to see since Chicago drafted him in the first round.
This move could also shape Lamaar Houston the same way. He played as the outside rusher in Oakland’s 3-4 defense before he came to Chicago. Before his injury, (when celebrating a sack) Houston failed to perform and wasn’t the player I thought he would be. Hopefully after an offseason full of rehab, Houston will perform better for the fiery Vic Fangio in a scheme he is better suited for.
Vic will also be moving Jared Allen to be a stand up rusher. Maybe that brings some spark into his play as well…
Don’t forget: There’s also Pernell McPhee, who will have to find his role in the defense. What will that entail?
Overall, the move (on paper) looks to be a positive thing. I know that no matter what, Vic Fangio will get more out of the defense than Mel Tucker did…
However, the question remains to whether or not the defense will return to form in 2015.
(More on Vic Fangio’s role in an upcoming reason to give a damn)
Taking a look at the offense
On offense, I’m interested in primarily one guy. He never throws, catches, or runs with the ball…can you guess who I’m talking about?
Adam Gase, our newest offensive coordinator to come through Chicago.
Dating back to our Super Bowl year, Ron Turner is the only offensive coordinator the Bears have had to stay longer than two years. Just for a reference, the Bears have also had Mike Martz, Mike Tice, and Aaron Kromer as offensive coordinators.
Adam has to be able to prove to Ryan Pace that either he can turn Jay Cutler around, or at the very least, get the most out of him in 2015, while the team looks to find the next guy to take the reins.
I hate to say his job is pinned on one guy because football is a team sport, but something needs to happen and get the Bears organization out of this misery. Gase can only play the hand that he’s dealt, and it will be interesting to see how he handles this mess.
Now, when I say “mess”, let me clarify what I mean.
At times, I was fully convinced Jay Cutler was our guy at quarterback. For example, under Marc Trestman’s first year as coach, Jay only played eleven games but he played really well at times… When he played bad I shrugged it off as a, “He’s still learning the system, next year he’ll finally put it all together.”
Then we all know how that worked out.
Until Jay is gone, he will be a problem that the Bears are going to have to deal with. I can see him throwing around big numbers under Gase, but be prepared to see plenty of interceptions to go along with them.
Like I said earlier, football is a team sport.
Surely the offensive line needs to stay healthy to do their part and that was a problem a year ago.
If the line can remain healthy, I don’t see any reason that the group can’t improve and have better pass protection, which could benefit Cutler.
Does Kyle Long move to tackle this year? Or does he stay put.
Hopefully the off the field distractions will disappear with the departure of Brandon Marshall. The polarizing figure is gone, and it’s time for the team to find new leadership and a new identity under John Fox.
With the draft and free agency pick ups I think all the pieces to the puzzle are there.
Will Matt Forte return after this season?
That is still to be determined, but it is starting to seem unlikely…
In just a couple weeks, a running back competition will begin between Ka’deem Carey, Jeremy Langford, and Jacquizz Rodgers to not only be Forte’s backup in 2015, but also for the Bears’ running back of the future.
Kevin White comes in to complement Alshon Jeffery and has a chance create a name of his own.
What about Martellus Bennett?
After an offseason that he clamored for a new contract and didn’t receive one, how will his season pan out? It’s hard to see a dip in his production, but after missing OTA’s he has to catch-up on the new system… and that can affect the early portion of the season.
Again though, I hate to put a team’s fate on one guy… but the Bears will only be as good as Jay Cutler wants to be.
Entering training camp, the Bears have a lot of questions that will only be answered as the season plays out.
Although, the outlook isn’t the best, just having the chance to see how things unfold…Finally, getting answers to all of these questions, is something to watch for and to give a damn about in 2015.
How do you think it will all play out? What questions do you have? Feel free to comment your thoughts below! 🙂
In Case You Missed It
Reason #1: Kevin White’s Vitality to Jumpstart Bears Offense
Reason #2: Restoration of Leadership (and the Captain Patch)
Reason #3: New Bears to Help Create New Identity
Reason #4: Players Poised to Perform in Contract Years
Reason #5: The New Coaching Staff of Fox, Gase, and Fangio
Reason #6: Continuing Along the “Cutler Coaster”
Reason #7: Top Three Draftees (Not Named Kevin White)
Reason #8: So Many Questions (Creates a Little Bit of Drama)
Reason #9: New Video Boards and New Lounge to Improve Fan Experience
Reason #10: (Finally) Moving on Past Lovie Smith