SI's King is wrong about the Bears

chicago bears one city one team
So it begins. The national media didn't show the Bears any love last season. Don't expect the sentiment to change around the defending NFC North Champs this season. Sports Illustrated's Peter King predicts the Bears will finish 8-8.

Here's why he's wrong:

Jay Cutler is in his second season under Mike Martz. Cutler has played in different offensive systems every season dating back to his time with the Broncos.

Cutler has improved his mechanics. He seems more fundamentally sound. This time around, he has Martz "gushing".

Cutler has something to prove. His toughness and desire has been questioned. Even though he hasn't said much about the NFC title game, you know Cutler wants to prove everyone wrong.

The offensive line let Cutler take a beating last season. It's still preseason, and we won't really find out how good they can be until the regular season starts, but the unit looks improved.

Last season, the Bears stumbled to a 4-3 start. The offense was predictable as the pass-run ratio was nearly 70-30. The Bears finished the season 7-2 when Martz called for a more balanced game plans as he featured Matt Forte more often.

Forte is a three-down back. He runs well between the tackles, has receiver skills and can block. Forte can be Martz's version of Marshall Faulk in this offense. I'm not comparing the two but Forte has similar skills.

Last season, the Bears struggled on third downs, short yardage and in the red zone. Marion Barber gives the Bears attitude in these situations. If Barber can stay healthy and can convert when he has to, he will be a 4th Phase favorite and can light a spark on the sidelines.

The Cover 2 is predictable but effective as the Bears rank towards the top in points allowed. The scheme depends on the strength of the defensive line and the depth of the unit is the deepest it's been since 2005-2006 and probably more talented.

If the Bears can stay healthy throughout the season, they can go deep into the playoffs and make it to Indianapolis.

Filed under: 4th Phase


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  • Why does Peter King think the Bears will finish 8-8? Look at their schedule. They have a chance of being 2-7 or worse after 9 games. They are playing a far tougher schedule, the new kickoff rules will put the Bears at the 20 yard line more often to start drives, Daneil Manning is gone, and the offensive line is weakened by the loss of Kruetz. Picking the Bears to finish 8-8 was being optimistic.

  • In reply to Dantheman:

    BTW, Martz's offense works when he has playmakers to work with. The Bears just don't have the big down the field threat. Do they have anybody like Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Curt Warner and Marshall Faulk? They demoted Knox and got rid of Olsen and Clark. Roy Williams will not make up the slack, and Forte can't carry the ball 60 times a game.

  • In reply to Dantheman:

    IMO - you can't look at a schedule and say it's a strong or weak schedule because things change week to week.

    With the new kickoff rule, I don't think it will be that much of a difference because kickers will have to kick it out of play for the bears not to have good field position.

    Danieal Manning -- last year was his contract year. He's not as good as you might think and the money he got this past offseason.

    Kreutz is on the downside of his career. The OL is younger and bigger across the board. I think they'll be way better this year.

    I do think the Bears have down the field threats, Cutler lit it up last season. He just didn't have a big target to throw to.

    No one give Forte the respect he should get and since he's not going to get paid yet, you can bet he'll have a monster year.

  • In reply to Bears STH:

    I forgot about the kickoff rule. I do believe that will hurt the Bears in the long run because the offense was not good at going 70, 80 yards for a TD. Those short fields were a huge help for the offense. Well like I said in 5 days all will be answered. The first 3 weeks will tell us all how good the Bears will be, Falcons, Saints and Packers.

  • In reply to glenninflorida:

    Totally agreed... in the first three weeks we see what this team is made of. With the kickoffs, I'm not worried because the returners are encouraged to take it out of the endzone.

  • There were a lot and I mean a lot of things that went right last year for the Bears. No one got injuried. They seemed to get every break know to man and played how many 3rd string QB's. They do have a good team coming back, but is lady luck going to be with them this year? As for Cutler cleaning up his bad habits, I guess that is all in the eyes of the beholder. I think Cutler will get better, but I am still worried about the O-line and the D still is a worry as far as getting pressure on the QB without having to blitz. How about the D-backfield? We had these worries last year and the Bears made it to the NFC Title Game, we will all find out in about 5 days. Come on kickoff.

  • Peter King is awful — as a sports journalist, as a human being — so there's a strong chance he's wrong about anything that comes out of his cupcake-filled mouth. What's going to hurt the Bears this year is the strength of their division. They won't go 5-1 in the North, especially with Detroit improving. And even as pitiful as McNabb is these days, he's always done well against the Bears and their Cover 2. They could still do better than 8-8, but it'll have to come in tough non-division wins. And those wins will probably have to come early.

    Side note: One of my favorite reads on the internet is the weekly KSK takedown of Peter King:

  • Peter King is too optimistic. We have an aging defense, no linebacker depth, an unproven offensive line, a very tough schedule and a middling head coach. I am going with 6-10, battling the Vikes for the cellar.

  • fb_avatar

    When I see the Bears , I see a mediocre team, after watching GB shred the Saints, who are the Bears going to cover when they play teams, like that, It`s ok for people to get upset and defend the Bears to the max , (it`s admirable) ,after they are picked to have a bad yr, but let`s see some realistic assumptions, they are not going to win the Superbowl, with this team as presently built, luckily the don`t play in the AFC where they wouldn`t make the playoffs with the team as built now. Who can you see them beating in the AFC for the Superbowl??

  • In reply to Kevin Hill:

    Mediocre team? What was that? I hope you watched the game. A mediocre team doesn't have talented playmakers on both sides of the ball.

  • fb_avatar

    I love when people pretend the AFC is the class of the NFL. It's the weaker conference overall. JAGUARS, TITANS, CHIEFS, BRONCOS, DOPLHINS, BILLS, RAIDERS, BROWNS, BENGALS... Stop Me when we reach a team that doesn't suck. Other than the top four (PATS, STEELERS, JETS, RAVENS) every other team in the AFC is mediocre or a joke.

  • fb_avatar

    And... Yes, my beloved BEARS are going to be bad.

    You don't go through an offseason like this team did and breakout a Superbowl Season. Look at all the bad press that's hit the team since the NFC Championship game ended. The Bears' reluctance to pay players is public. Angelo is displaying his arrogance to the media (about negotiations). Lance is demanding a higher paycheck. Matt wants his money but can't negotiate with a team that refuses to do so. The issues on the line aren't addressed. The Bears lost out on (or ignored) free agents that could help strengthen the O-Line (at least grab a vet). The Defense is basically the same, but the lack of upgrades doesn't improve the roster. And Roy Williams is what he's always been: A Lazy, Slow, Weak, Diva/wannabe T.O., with zero ability to catch the ball when it counts. Let's face it, he's David Terrell 2.0.

    PK isn't right, but saying this team won't make the playoffs isn't an entirely inaccurate statement. Last season is over. I love Bears fans passion, but don't base your predictions on last season's performance. The Bears came up short when they needed to persevere. That's the true signature of Lovie Smith's Bears.

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