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Team needs: Chicago Bears

2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Getty Images

We continue our team-by-team look at the needs of the 32 NFL teams, with the goal of getting them all done before what undoubtedly will be the first chance to fill those needs — the 2011 draft.

Up next?  The defending NFC North champions, who surely would have preferred the prize ultimately won by the team that finished second in the division.

WR:  The Bears did fairly well in 2010, despite having a substandard set of wideouts.  None generated 1,000 receiving yards, and only one managed more than 50 catches.  (Johnny Knox had 51.)  Stubbornly refusing to attempt to upgrade the position last offseason, the Bears probably will take their chances once again with Knox, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, and whoever else they can muster.  They shouldn’t.  Since it’s rare for a rookie to make a major impact, free agency could be the best route.  But that shouldn’t stop them from trying to find a first-year player who can be groomed into an effective veteran contributor.

OL:  Mike Tice eventually made chicken salad last year.  Imagine how good the line could be if Tice were starting the season with something other than chicken sh-t.

DT:  With Tommie Harris gone, the Bears need at least one extra body at the position.  With Julius Peppers drawing plenty of attention after a solid first season with the Bears, there’s a chance for the interior linemen to blossom.  If they have enough who can take advantage of playing next to or near Peppers.

RB:  Matt Forte generated big numbers in 2010, but not the kind of crazy stats that the Dick Vermeil/Mike Martz offense has produced with guys like Marshall Faulk in St. Louis and Priest Holmes in Kansas City.  The Bears should draft a guy who could be groomed to become the full-service run-pass option after Forte.  If Martz is still with the team by then.

CB:  No team in the NFC North can have too many quality corners, given the presence of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Jay Cutler.  The Bears don’t have to worry about Cutler (at least not in the way they have to worry about an opposing quarterback).  But they do have to worry about Rodgers and Stafford, and they need to beef up the position.  Charles Tillman is now 30, and Nathan Vasher is long, long gone.  Tim Jennings performed well in his first year with the team after arriving from Indianapolis, taking over a starting job in Week Four and never letting it go.  Still, the Bears need to be able to better contain the likes of Greg Jennings and Calvin Johnson twice per year.

QB:  The lack of a capable veteran backup blew up in the Bears’ faces during the NFC title game.  Though it makes no sense to spend (waste) another low-round pick on a guy like Dan LeFevour, they need to be thinking about an established No. 2 player who will be able to get it done.  With all due respect to Caleb Hanie, who performed admirably after Jay Cutler left the NFC title game, he’s not the guy the Bears need if Cutler ends up missing multiple weeks.

Overview:  The Bears followed their 2006 NFC title with three years of missed playoffs.  To avoid that fate again, they need to address their weaknesses head on.

If they don’t, another down year or two finally could result in a new coaching staff, and a new front office.

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32 Responses to “Team needs: Chicago Bears”
  1. bucks12965 says: Apr 10, 2011 3:18 PM

    Since as you stated, Hanie performed admirably in the NFC championship game…perhaps you should elaborate on why he can’t be a solid #2 on the depth chart.

  2. detroitfootsketball says: Apr 10, 2011 3:26 PM

    as long as the refs have thier back theyll be just fine

  3. tjacks7 says: Apr 10, 2011 3:27 PM

    LOL groom Forte’s replacement? He was drafted in ’08!

  4. dbellina says: Apr 10, 2011 3:29 PM

    What they really need is some Quaker Oatmeal and Liberty Medical. For the Diabeetus of course.

  5. terrellochouno says: Apr 10, 2011 3:30 PM

    Truth be told, the lack of a capable veteran backup QB is one of the best problems the Bears have right now. Caleb Hanie is probably, given a bit of experience, a better QB than Cutler is. I mean, did you SEE Todd Collins play against the Packers?

  6. sterilizecromartie says: Apr 10, 2011 3:35 PM

    I agree with bucks12965. Hanie is one of the better backups in the NFL. He is more than capable of being a #2 QB on the Bears.

  7. lennydpocketqb says: Apr 10, 2011 3:39 PM

    How about coaching that understands substitution rules?

  8. 3rdstringqb says: Apr 10, 2011 4:04 PM

    @ detroitfootsketball

    As long as they get to keep playing Detroit twice a year they’ll be fine.

  9. sowcrates says: Apr 10, 2011 4:14 PM

    Wait a second. Forte is 25 years old, has only played 3 seasons, has had at least 1400 total yards each year, has only handled just over 300 touches each of the past two seasons, has been either first or second on the team in receptions each year, experienced no lack of health in 2010… and you’re suggesting Chicago needs to find a long-term replacement at RB?

    Maybe the St Louis Rams need to begin grooming Sam Bradford’s eventual replacement at QB…

  10. stavreafavre says: Apr 10, 2011 4:14 PM

    I wonder how the phrase “groomed” became so widely used in sports articles. (“Could be groomed to become an eventual starter.”) Always get this picture of the rookie seated in a chair while several people with combs and personal care items carefully attend to him.

  11. bears0492 says: Apr 10, 2011 4:54 PM

    I think you need to understand the difference between need and want. A backup RB is a need? Really?

    Also, the Bears did have a 1000-yard receiver in Johnny Knox who had 1064 yards if you include the playoffs. This, like RB is a want, not a need. The Bears could become a dangerous offense if they can improve their line. Knox is going to be in his 3rd year and is already an excellent deep threat. Bennett is a 3rd down chain-mover while Hester has been used a lot less on offense lately, and his current role suits him well.

    Oh, and Greg Olsen is a beastttt

  12. detroitfootsketball says: Apr 10, 2011 5:01 PM

    @3rdstringqb we agree with each as long as long as they take points from detroit and keep calling phantom forarms thats atleast 2 wins, were on the same page

  13. thefiesty1 says: Apr 10, 2011 5:27 PM

    What do you mean, Vasher is long, long gone? I thought he was just injured last year. They need a head coach with a better name. Lovie, HA!

  14. oldcracker says: Apr 10, 2011 5:36 PM

    Across the board, a change in RB’s tend to have the quickest impact on the team. Yes, there are any number of exceptions but, I’m talking in general terms.

    RB’s also take a constant beating, whether they are directly involved in the play or not. Their peak years are not long.

    While the Bears have several holes that need immediate attention, if a solid RB is available, it would be wise to take him and develope him.

    No man does it alone. The Bears best years always had good RB tandems.

  15. chobes68 says: Apr 10, 2011 5:48 PM

    “detroitfootsketball says:
    Apr 10, 2011 3:26 PM
    as long as the refs have thier back theyll be just fine”

    ======

    Wow, still whining about the correct call? No wonder the Lions still suck. The Bears dominated that game, and should have never let it come down to the last play anyways. Even Calvin Johnson himself said it was the correct call.

  16. tenotnamedmiller says: Apr 10, 2011 5:50 PM

    detroitfootsketball discovered why Lions have sucked for 50 years: REFS!!!

  17. dewalt2990 says: Apr 10, 2011 6:14 PM

    Ya they need to worry about Stafford, but you can’t build your team around nullifying another player. They just have to upgrade the position, and their success against opposing QBs will take care of itself.

  18. beefbus says: Apr 10, 2011 7:03 PM

    RB is far from a “need.” Don’t forget the Bears already drafted a RB in last year’s comp draft- Henry Unga. He’s a beast, and will prove to be a great value with it only costing them this year’s 7th rounder.

    Lions fans go away- Suh’s penalty had zero impact on the conclusion of that game. You’re telling me that 2nd and 2 would’ve been difficult to attain? Megatron is a twit; all he had to do was come up with the ball.

  19. metalhead65 says: Apr 10, 2011 7:04 PM

    why don’t you just change the name to the I hate the bears talk?seriously you have no idea what you are talking about!thier recievers are no good because they don’t have a big name guy? they need a new running back even though forte is one of the best in the game? and the coaching staff and front office will need to be changed after another down year or 2?how excatly ia the season they just had a down one?because they excedded your “expert” forecast of 5-11? thanks for reminding me there could be somebody worse running the team,somebody like an ex-lawyer who thinks he knows football! even a blind man can tell if they improve the offensive line the offense as whole will be better.

  20. detroitfootsketball says: Apr 10, 2011 7:04 PM

    calm down fellas chi town did not dominate that game both tems played bad, and no the refs are not the reason the lions have been bad for years you play better and score more points then the other team and you win they have not done that and there bad calls all day long but yall won two games on calls that changed the score board so yep im bringing it til 2011 football start atleast

  21. txbearmeat says: Apr 10, 2011 9:10 PM

    The Bears got ridiculously lucky last year. Not going to happen again. Aging team with not enough pieces to compete. PLUS a 1st place schedule this year? Please! I smell 6-10 for three years runnin!

  22. 3rdstringqb says: Apr 10, 2011 9:25 PM

    @ detroitfootsketball

    The Calvin Johnson NON-reception was called correctly as has been illustrated numerous times and the Suh call in the second game had no bearing on the outcome of the game. So whine all you want. Bears were legitimately 2-0 against the Lions in 2010.

  23. tenotnamedmiller says: Apr 10, 2011 10:10 PM

    @ detroitfootsketball

    “chi town did not dominate that game”

    Total yards: 463 to 168.

    ???

    Turnovers made this game way closer that it should’ve been.

  24. MichaelEdits says: Apr 10, 2011 10:30 PM

    They need some toughness.

  25. polegojim says: Apr 10, 2011 10:57 PM

    This one’s just too easy – somebody please find Cutlers testicles and reattach them.

    Sorry, but I respect da Bears WAY too much to watch another season of Baby Jay’s Sideline Sulking Routine while licking his self-imposed wounds.

    Iron Mike would have just slapped him silly—

    Cutler: “And that’s why all these mean and critical people make me sad I think”

    Ditka:“That’s interesting… You know what makes me sad? YOU DO! Maybe we should chug on over to namby-pamby land where maybe we can find some self confidence for you ya jackwagon.

  26. polegojim says: Apr 10, 2011 11:00 PM

    After my Bears love post – I’ll get back to my Lions… since they’re talked about more on this blog than the Bears.

    Da Bears narrowly escaped, then later beat a back up who was having a bad day.

    Not gonna happen this year.

    Suhhhhhhhhh you this fall. Lock and Load.

  27. ursushorribilis says: Apr 10, 2011 11:19 PM

    The Bears did “fairly well”….hmmm….let’s see…if playing in the NFC Conference Championship game is “fair”….how did Ryan, Brees, McNaab, Eli, Vick, etc. do? Terrible?

    Tsk…tsk…anti-Bear Bias Bubbling…….

    P.S. Polegojim: If you had played Bears’ quarterback in the Giants game, you’d be crying out for your MAMA!

    Cutler is the second toughest quarterback in the league (Big Ben #1)….Stafford and Romo were seldom hit and took the year off…..so did Brady, Palmer, et. al. and they all were hit a lot less than Cutler…..
    Now, go play with your Legos….

  28. dino2997 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:16 AM

    I think what’s REALLY funny is Lions fans are on here posting as if they matter………….

  29. zibikbeer says: Apr 12, 2011 9:35 AM

    To ursushorribilis:

    Bradys injury was legit and required surgery. The amount of hits has nothing to do with an injury. Players do not just choose to sit out. Ditto for Palmer. I’m pretty sure Brady would have liked to try and repeat what they did the year before(except losing in the SB). Stafford is always injured and Romo sucks. The cowboys did better w/o him. Think next time before you make yourself sound like an ass, and use another example. I was born in chi town so naturally I respect the bears, but I am not a fan and I’ll be the first to tell you Cutler is not a wuss. I had a torn mcl and had surgery and the pain was unbearable. Annnnddd dino2997 is right LOL

  30. ursushorribilis says: Apr 17, 2011 3:23 PM

    zibikbeer,

    Allow me to set you free from your IGNORANCE….the issue of “toughness” is a function of how many times a quarterback is HIT/SACKED and continues to play effectively (making it to the NFC Conference Championship game behind the worst pass-blocking line in the league is considered “effective” by most rational people):

    Stafford is FRANGIBLE…..Romo is FRAGILE….Brady is a metrosexual wimp who has played behind a great offensive line most of his career……Manning ducks/dives/runs out of bounds and avoids hits although he has had good protection…Brees can’t take a pounding….nor can Vick…..neither can Ryan……

    Who has been sacked the most in the League the past two years? Who has been HIT the most the past two years?

    Who takes a licking and keeps on ticking?: Big Ben, Cutler and in the old days, the GOAT: Elway…..

    Now, go back and play with your Legos!

  31. zibikbeer says: Apr 17, 2011 4:34 PM

    So basically your saying that a qb is only as good as the amount of hits he takes? And you say I’m the ignorant one. I didn’t question Cutlers toughness. He gets hit all day and gets injured, he had to sit out like the rest of them, and when he’s taking a beating w/o getting injured he has to deal like the rest of them. Maybe you should re-read what I typed for you and when you feel like you have something intelligent to say get back at me. Idiot.

  32. zibikbeer says: Apr 17, 2011 4:44 PM

    Obviously you didn’t get it the first time and won’t get it the second, here you go. Your stupid for using those qb’s as examples, because and injury doesn’t determine how tough a player is.

    Now go back and play with your barbies, you inbred.

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