The Bears are not the Cubs. They are not undergoing a massive overhaul that tears them down to the foundation in order to rebuild from the ground up, enduring at least three, if not more, pathetic, losing seasons that come along with zero reason to keep the casual fan entertained as the season grinds like a broken pepper mill to the end.
The Bears are not the White Sox. They do not lack talent in their younger ranks. Shea McLellin, Alshon Jeffrey, Kyle Long, Jon Bostic, Khaseem Green, and Chris Conte all provide very promising pieces of the puzzle for the future.
The Bears are also not the Blackhawks. They do not have a talented core of winners who have been there before, like Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa. They do have veterans who are hungry, much like the Hawks did last year, in Lance Briggs, Peanut Tillman, Jay Cutler, Roberto Garza and Devin Hester, but those players have not smelled the rarefied air of holding the Lombardi Trophy in February.
Going into the 2013-14 campaign, I don't know that the Bears really compare well to any of the Chicago teams. Coming off of a 10-6 year in which Lovie Smith and Co. raced out to a 7-1 start only to go 3-5 in their last eight games to miss the playoffs, Da Bears have question marks galore.
Will Jay Cutler rise to the occasion and play well in his contract year? Will the defense, (who was also supposed to be too old last year, yet somehow still dominated), finally succumb to the media's pronouncement that they are better served in rocking chairs then going sideline to sideline? Will Martellus Bennett regress to his days in Dallas when his talent wasn't enough to make up for mental lapses during games or will he maintain the focus he displayed in New York? Is Brandon Marshall healthy? Will Henry Melton be upset about the franchise tag and sulk? Has anyone seen Devin Hester?
Yet, with all of those questions, and I probably left out nineteen more, why not Da Bears? As Dan Pompei pointed out in this article in the Tribune, there is a lot to be positive about.
The Bears finally surrounded Jay Cutler with weapons at all the skill positions, the running game will be improved, the offensive line will be improved, Trestman is the "quarterback whisperer," and Alshon Jeffrey, if healthy throughout the year, means that the Bears have three targets six foot three or taller that Jay can toss it up to when he is improvising or scrambling as protections break down.
Sure the defense is older, but the scheme didn't change when they brought in Mel Tucker from Jacksonville. He really seems to be leaning on Briggs to help keep things consistent, and even though #54 (why not retire his #?) is gone, this defense still has pride. Sure, age is going to be a factor, but heart doesn't usually disappear over night.
If the secondary can make things difficult with two returning starting pro-bowlers, then that will free up the defensive line to provide pressure (with Sedrick Ellis an intriguing new signing), and Julius Peppers will be allowed to terrorize quarterbacks. (Peppers might be the most underrated athlete in the NFL on a year-to-year basis. The dude is a beast.)
Add that all together and why not? Why can't da Bears surprise us all, get career years under the tutelage of a career coordinator who is finally getting his shot? If Bruce Arians, a career coordinator could do it last year with a rookie quarterback and a roster that was supposed to be at least a year awar from competing, then why can't Trestman do it with a quarterback who might finally be hungry enough to drop the attitude and buy in to a team that needs him to be better then he has ever been as a pro?
I don't see why not. The 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, Lions, Redskins, Giants, Falcons, Saints and the AFC might see why it's crazy to say it, but I'm not from there.
I'm from Chicago.
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