2011 Bears are better than last season's team

2011 Bears are better than last season's team

We're at the half way point of the season and the Bears' record is exactly what it was last season, 5-3. Although the Bears have the same record, this season's team is better than they were last season.

Improved Protection

The improved play of the offensive line, is the primary reason for allowing Matt Forte to lead the league in yards from scrimmage and why Jay Cutler has a nearly 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio, the best in his career.

Last season, Chris Williams was learning a new position at left guard after failing at left tackle. This season, he's more comfortable at the position and has shown his athletic ability to pull on counters and sweeps. He's a huge reason Forte has been killing defenses off the edges.

Olin Kreutz was past his prime of his Pro Bowl years. He's release was a shocker to everyone. He later signed with the Saints and he quit on the team. He looked weak, old and slow.

J'Marcus Webb was just a rookie and at times looked overwhelmed by the speed of the pro game. Webb still has a lot to learn but with his size, athleticism and coach-ability gives him a lot of promise.

The coaching staff did everything they could to make the Frank Omiyale experiment work. They finally realize it wasn't going to work and finally benched him.

Stability at Wide Receiver

This unit has another year of experience under their belt in Mike Martz's system and working with Cutler. The depth at the position is it's been (maybe ever?). Sure, the Bears might not have a "true number one" but all Cutler needs is a group he trusts.

Johnny Knox hit the weight room this past offseason. The knock on him was that even though he had the knack to make the big play, he lacked the physicality to be consistent. Knox has quietly become Cutler's most trusted third down target.

The addition of Roy Williams, although he may not ever live up the numbers he put up in Detroit, still stabilizes the position and gives Cutler a big target to throw to.

A True Fullback

Last season, the Bears offense lined up without a true fullback. This led to the inconsistency in the run game and allowed Cutler to get pummeled. The addition of Tyler Clutts has helped kept Cutler upright. Clutts has also blasted defenders and has sprung Forte to a historic first half.

Defensive Line Depth

The Rush Men has its deepest rotation since the 2005 team that went to the Super Bowl. While the unit struggled against the top offenses - Packers, Saints, Lions - but are starting to settle in.

Henry Melton, Amobi Okoye and Stephen Paea upgrades the speed of the unit and as they have had the ability to be disruptive.

Melton, a converted running back, had a dominant game against the Falcons, then disappeared for most of the season. Against the Eagles, and after Lovie Smith called him out publicly, responded with a solid effort. Despite having the speed and quickness, he will have to be more consistent.

Julius Peppers has a quietly registered five sacks. He's been hampered by a knee injury but continues to dominate in all aspects of the game. His stat sheet does him an injustice.

Secondary Is More Athletic

Early on, it looked like losing Danieal Manning was a blow to the team speed the Bears had in the secondary. This was evident as Chris Harris, although a reliable veteran, looked like he lost a step.

The team was looked to Major Wright, Chris Conte and Brandon Meriweather to fill the void. When Chris Harris was released, the Bears decided the future was now.

With youth and speed on their side, and if Wright and Conte can stay disciplined and the defensive line can keep the heat on, their inexperience will not be exposed.

D.J. Moore continues to impress as he seems to be at the right place at the right time all the time. Under the tutelage of Smith, Moore will continue to thrive in this system.

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