Dress rehearsal is over and its time for the games to begin. After a 2-2 pre-season, are the bears poised for a run at the Super Bowl or are they a team destined to be at the bottom of the NFC North? With guarded optimism, I am thinking that the Bears have the ability to compete for a Super Bowl. I'm not saying that they will or they won't, but there is a chance to do so. The offense looked good against the Raiders - even though the Raiders are terrible. Cutler distributed the ball amongst his playmakers and Oakland had no rebuttal. Matt Forte should be a huge part of this offense and with Michael Bush complementing him, that's a very dangerous backfield. Wide receivers have a lot of questions after Marshall and Jeffery. Who will be the third receiver? Bennett? Can he stay healthy? I don't buy the trade talks with Earl Bennett because when he is healthy, he is a safety blanket for Jay Cutler. His salary his reasonable, and there really is no reason to trade him.
However, who will step up after Marshall Jeffery and Bennett? Marquess Wilson? Terrence Tolliver? Joe Anderson? Eric Weems? After the top 3, there are many issues, but I believe that Wilson can grow into a reliable player. He has all the physical skills to be an offensive force - remember he was once thought to be a first or second round pick because he ran into trouble at Washington State. I really like what I saw from Joe Anderson over the course of the pre-season; however, I'm not sure if i would be comfortable relying on him during the regular season. The issue at the wide receiver position is alleviated slightly with the acquisition of Martellus Bennett - who will be the middle of the field threat that the Bears have needed since Greg Olsen was once in town. In addition to his pass-catching ability, he can play a significant role in the blocking scheme - making him a player that Olsen and Kellen Davis were not.
The offensive line went from putrid to pretty good. I realize that I once said that Ja'marcus Webb would be a solid right tackle, but it was evident from training camp that his passion for the game did not match his physical capability. I still believe that he could become a starter in this league with his physical prowess, but mentally - he isn't there. I love the addition of Jordan Mills and Kyle Long to the offensive line. They are young, but they are nasty and willing to work to get better. This offensive line is much much much better than any line since the Super Bowl run in 2006, and it will continue to get better as the season progresses.
The Bears' defense, without Brian Urlacher, is still forcing turnovers at a ridiculous rate. I've said all along that if the Bears want to compete, then the offense has to show up. I think they will this year.
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