There's been a ton of negativity about the Bears this offseason, as my ChicagoNow counterpart, Boomer wrote in his "Fire Lovie Smith" blog. I don't know what everyone else is seeing. Fans, columnists and "experts" all look at the recent past of the Bears and how mediocre the teams were. A season after the Super Bowl, there were plenty of those same writers who had the Bears winning the NFC North again.
- They question Darryl Drake's ability to develop young receivers, despite his strong pedigree. "Drake really doesn't have a record of strong success," they write. "Hines Ward (at Georgia) is the only receiver Drake developed at any level who has achieved unquestionable success in the NFL."
- They note that Devin Hester was targeted just 11 times in the red zone, although the average No. 1 receiver was targeted 16 times. Hester caught five of those passes, including one touchdown. "In the most important part of the field, where execution and precision route-running are most important, Hester completely disappeared. Things may get even worse for the young receiver in 2010, adapting to a new playbook and call system which is orders of magnitude more complex than any he has dealt with before."
- On the offensive line: "No matter how you want to distribute the blame pie, the offensive line deserves a large piece, as [Matt] Forte spent the year running into wall after wall of defenders and [Jay] Cutler was constantly under pressure."
- On Cutler's time to make decisions: "One reason for Jay Cutler's problems: He was hurried on 22.0 percent of pass plays, the fourth-highest rate in the league."
By their rating, the Bears had the worst red-zone running offense in the NFL, "the worst in the league by a country mile. "Forte took the ball 19 times inside the opponent's five-yard line and came away with only two touchdowns, compared to an expected total of 7.7."
- On the linebackers: "The addition of Julius Peppers, the almost comic misuse of Chicago's linebackers should come to an end. Brian Urlacher should return without any lingering issues from his gruesome wrist injury, but there are serious questions about how effective the six-time Pro Bowler will be in the coming year.
- On the secondary: "Chicago's cornerbacks will not be the most fearsome pair in the league, but they are both a good fit for Lovie Smith's scheme and should once again provide consistent coverage should the Bears be able to transition back to a more Tampa-2 style defense."
I think this is as accurate as you can get. Would you agree or disagree? While many think that I drink too much of the blue and orange Kool Aid, I would much rather drink this than the Chicago River water that most are drinking.