2012 NFL season preview: Chicago Bears

 

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In the years since the Chicago Bears faced off against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI, the team has looked like a team with just enough talent to compete but not enough to put it all together. They’ve made the playoffs just once in the last five seasons and have finished with winning records in just two. 2011 looked like it would be a winning year after a 7-3 start, but timing is everything and some of the Bears’ key players suffered injuries towards the end of the season. Quarterback Jay Cutler broke his thumb and missed the last six weeks, while star running back Matt Forte missed the final four weeks with a knee injury. On top of this, wide receiver Johnny Knox also missed time. These injuries to key players turned that 7-3 start into an 8-8 finish.

Injuries heal, though, and so do the Bears. The offseason has given the players enough time to lick their wounds and make it back to 100 percent. Jay Cutler is lining up under center once again, and Matt Forte – entering the first year of a new four-year, $32 million deal – is also poised to enter the season with a new burst of energy.

Of course, having their starters healthy now doesn’t guarantee that they will remain like that throughout the season. Cutler has looked fragile throughout many of his seven seasons in the league, and the offensive line is going to have to do a better job of protecting him this year. If opposing defenses are able to reach Cutler frequently, he’s going to struggle and likely miss time.

Even if Cutler does miss time, the Bears are much better prepared for such a scenario than they were last year. While last season saw the team forced to rely on reserve Caleb Hanie after Cutler’s injury, new general manager Phil Emery used this offseason to sign former Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell. Campbell was solid in Oakland prior to getting injured and losing his job to Carson Palmer. With Campbell as the second in line behind Jay Cutler, the Bears have a decent insurance policy at quarterback.

That same approach of mitigating risk also appears to have been extended to the running back position. Emery also signed Michael Bush, another former Raider who put up solid performances in Oakland. Bush brings a bruising element to the running back position, and he’ll be an excellent fill-in for when Forte needs to come out for some snaps.  Read More…

Bears’ Matt Forte signs new 4 year deal – Super Bowl next?

Matt ForteThe Chicago Bears and their pro-bowl running back Matt Forte have agreed to a new contract that is worth $32 million dollars over 4 years according to ESPN

Terms of the new agreement have yet to be disclosed, but you can rest assured that the folks at Halas Hall and Chicago Bears fans are all breathing a sigh of relief.In this case it may not be considered an overstatement to say that a few retired hall of fame players from various teams, Chicago Bears past and present, most every NFL analysts, as well as the parties involved in the negotiations of the contract are all happy to get this saga over with.

The Bears on many fronts will now be expected to compete with their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers and the resurgent Detroit Lions for the best record in a division that many people consider to be the best in pro football going into the 2012-2013 season.

Now that Matt Forte has been placed back into the fold and with the additions of WR’s Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery, as well as the free agent signing of RB Michael Bush, Bears QB Jay Cutler will have a plethora of offensive options at his disposal. When you also take into account the Bears QB will have Devin Hester, Cutler’s college teammate WR Earl Bennett, newly signed return specialist/WR Eric Weems, 3rd string RB Kahlil Bell, and TE Kellen Davis to round out his offensive corps, you could argue that this could possibly be the best offensive cast that the Chicago Bears have had in their storied history and maybe one of the best in the NFL this coming season.  Read More…