Jeremy Bates wants to be the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears. So does Charlie Weis. So do Mike Martz and apparently every other out of work offensive mind in the football world (including Al "World's Largest Playbook" Saunders). There are going to be openings elsewhere - Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Kansas City - but the job on everybody's mind is Chicago. Why? The answers are quite simple.
Offensive Reasons For Optimism
JAY CUTLER is a big time quarterback. He made a ton of unforgivable mistakes during the 2009 campaign but there's not an offensive coach alive who wouldn't love to draw in the dirt for that mobility and arm strength.
CHRIS WILLIAMS is a bona fide left tackle and bona fide left tackles don't grow on trees. The offensive line turned a corner once CW was moved, establishing a consistent run game and protecting the quarterback. The line is nowhere near complete but the most important piece is already in place.
YOUNG RECEIVERS are everywhere on this roster. D.A. is a first-week starter in 2010. Earl Bennett will step into the role Rash Davis played in 2006, catching important passes on late-game third downs. Johnny Knox and Devin Hester provide the speed that drives defensive coordinators crazy. The Bears need to add the one guy - the "number one" - and they'll see the passing game flourish. I don't think Jerry Angelo or Lovie Smith will feel comfortable enough in their jobs to NOT take a shot on Brandon Marshall.
TIGHT ENDS? The Bears have three of them, each with a unique skill set. Look no further than this past Sunday where all three could easily have scored touchdowns.
I just don't believe the success of the 2010 Bears will depend upon offensive production. This group will continue to grow over the offseason, adding the right components, and be very effective next season. Coaches - especially rich coaches like Charlie Weis - don't clamor for "project" jobs. They clamor for jobs that provide the opportunity for instant success. The desire of these minds to come to Chicago should prove that opportunity resides on Lake Shore Drive.