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Team checklist: Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler celebrates his touchdown against the New York Jets with center Olin Kreutz in the second quarter of their NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago AP

The Lovie Smith Bears haven’t always done well with high expectations.  They have enjoyed some of their best seasons when they snuck up on people (2005, 2010.)  That won’t be possible after an NFC Championship game appearance.

Here’s what we think the Bears need to do after the lockout.

1. Re-sign Olin Kreutz.

Kreutz’s better days may be behind him, but it’s hard to put a price on his leadership for an experienced offensive line. There just aren’t many centers out there.   There are too many questions already on the line to add another.

2. Make sure J’Marcus Webb can play left tackle quickly.

The Bears are expected to move Webb to left tackle, while slotting in rookie first round pick Gabe Carimi (AKA the Bear Jew) on the right side.  This experiment better work out or the Bears are in trouble.  Perhaps they should pick up a fallback at tackle.

3. Add a linebacker or two.

Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are good, but they aren’t good enough to be the only two linebackers on the roster.  The Bears need guys for special teams and a starter for the strong side.

4. Sniff around for wide receiver value, including Steve Smith(s).

We know the Bears don’t see this as a huge need, but they don’t have great depth at wideout.  They should bring back Rashied Davis for special teams help, but there is no depth after Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester.

They should see how much it would cost to get Steve Smith from Carolina (a third-round pick?) or Steve Smith of the Giants. Both could fit what Mike Martz does on offense.  The younger Smith may not be healthy early in the year, but he’d be a long-term value play coming off an injury.

5. Re-sign Anthony Adams.

If Chicago picks up Cullen Jenkins from the Packers, you can throw this one out. But we’d be very surprised if the Bears out-bid the Redskins and others for Jenkins.  We know they spent big on Julius Peppers . . . but that’s Julius Peppers.

6. Think about 2012 at cornerback.

It’s not exactly a deep position to begin with, and the Bears know Tim Jennings and Zackary Bowman are free agents after 2011.  That’s why looking for a young free agent that fits Smith’s scheme makes sense this year.   There should be some Cover Two values out there.

7. Sign Matt Forte to a long-term deal.

This isn’t an immediate concern, but Forte should be next up among Bears veterans for a contract extension. He fits what Martz does on offense beautifully.

8. Say you are better than the Packers again.

Because that never gets old.

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39 Responses to “Team checklist: Chicago Bears”
  1. mrclearview says: Jul 17, 2011 11:18 AM

    You forgot to mention finding a QB that can play through some pain when it really counts, like the NFC Championship game for example.

  2. tsi4431 says: Jul 17, 2011 11:24 AM

    9. Get a new football field. Soldier Field is a mess.

  3. theecowardlylion says: Jul 17, 2011 11:41 AM

    I predict hard days for the bears….

  4. blackheld says: Jul 17, 2011 11:43 AM

    6-10. God, yes. Continue the trash talking.

    Tell everyone how great your receivers are.

    Tell everyone how tough and capable Cutler is.

    Tell everyone that Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are the two best linebackers in the NFL.

    Tell everyone how Mike Martz is going to create new schemes to protect Cutler.

    You know, for all the decades long rivalry between the Packers, Vikings and Lion s, the one thing they all agree on is that all three of them cheer for each other, when they play the Bears.

    When Walter Peyton left Chicago, the class left with him.

  5. greenbay4ever says: Jul 17, 2011 12:00 PM

    The above posts…..excellent points. They also need a new coach . Lovie is overrated. They also need some courage, brains and heart. ….

  6. jibska says: Jul 17, 2011 12:04 PM

    Just so that people are aware, Andy Fantuz was signed before the lockout. He was a champion in the CFL(I know the caliber is lower). Here are his stats for 4 years. Games-74 Catches-276 yards-4,136 Avg/play-15.2 Touchdowns- 23. Andy has RIDICULOUS hands and I truly believe if he can learn the playbook he will truly be an asset for the bears. I mean the guy got his own cereal for pete sakes!! FANTUZ FLAKES!!! You might remember another fellow CFL’er/NFL’er who was the cover man for the flake cereals. MR.Doug, Wade Philips should have kept me as the starter, Flutie

  7. Christian says: Jul 17, 2011 12:07 PM

    I agree with almost everything Rosenthal wrote, except for two things:

    1.) The Bears don’t really need a small reciever in the mold of Steve Smith–they need a tall one in the mold of Plaxico Burress (not sayin’ they should definitely sign him, but he’s worth a sniff).

    2.) It’s “sneaked” not “snuck”.

  8. bearsbulls34 says: Jul 17, 2011 12:32 PM

    To above posts: How many of you have played a game at quarterback with a partial MCL tear?

  9. t3dstrik3r says: Jul 17, 2011 1:02 PM

    bearsbulls34 says: Jul 17, 2011 12:32 PM

    To above posts: How many of you have played a game at quarterback with a partial MCL tear?
    —————-

    Drew Brees played with the same injury last year. Philip Rivers played through a lot worse. Go watch it again on youtube, Cutler was still taking 7-step drops and still able to run out of the pocket, even after the “injury.” Film don’t lie. Just about every QB in the league, except for Cutler and probably Vince Young, would have sucked it up and played, especially in a playoff game. Face it, your boy quit.

  10. woodyg says: Jul 17, 2011 1:10 PM

    Da Bears are definitely on a downward trend & will become an insignificant NFC North team, but not in 2011 …… Playing 4 games against the likes of the Vikes & Lions will keep them in the hunt for a wildcard spot, at most ….. After 2011, look for a total blow-up of this team ….. Expect a huge roster turn-over by a new coaching staff to begin in 2012 …….

  11. austin2720 says: Jul 17, 2011 1:19 PM

    It’s easy to be lucky in a mediocre division, but now in a good division the Bears will try to fight off the Vikings for last place. Sorry Bears fans, you have little to get excited about with a whiny quarterback, no receivers, aging defense, and Swiss cheese o-line. Can’t wait for the truth to actually hit your senile minds.

  12. jaderbear76 says: Jul 17, 2011 1:21 PM

    Also need a punter maynards gone for sure! And please cut Chester Taylor!

  13. Soulman45 says: Jul 17, 2011 1:33 PM

    The Bears will have a hard time betting out Minn. for last place.

  14. chobes68 says: Jul 17, 2011 1:56 PM

    “It’s easy to be lucky in a mediocre division, but now in a good division the Bears will try to fight off the Vikings for last place. Sorry Bears fans, you have little to get excited about with a whiny quarterback, no receivers, aging defense, and Swiss cheese o-line. Can’t wait for the truth to actually hit your senile minds.”

    All of sudden its a good division, because for about the tenth time in the past twenty pathetic years, the Lions are the sexy pick to be decent? Please, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  15. chobes68 says: Jul 17, 2011 1:59 PM

    “6-10. God, yes. Continue the trash talking.

    Tell everyone how great your receivers are.

    Tell everyone how tough and capable Cutler is.

    Tell everyone that Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are the two best linebackers in the NFL.

    Tell everyone how Mike Martz is going to create new schemes to protect Cutler.

    You know, for all the decades long rivalry between the Packers, Vikings and Lion s, the one thing they all agree on is that all three of them cheer for each other, when they play the Bears.

    When Walter Peyton left Chicago, the class left with him.”

    =============

    I’m sure the Bear’s, and their fans, are very upset that the other teams, and their fans, don’t like them. Sad face :(

    Chicago is classless, but the Packers are good at getting arrested, the Vikes have the love boat, and the drama mama in Favre, the Packers too obviously, and the Lions have just been plain bad for far too long. Winning the SB doesn’t grant class, don’t confuse the two.

  16. oxycode30 says: Jul 17, 2011 2:19 PM

    Mark my words ~ Bears repeat as division champs.
    One of our greatest weaknesses is Lovie Smith. He’s a lousy tactition and seems to have a feeble grasp of the rules of the game. Still, with good assistants, quality talent and some Bears magic we will return to the Conference championship game… something Green Bay won’t be able to say.

  17. sakatak says: Jul 17, 2011 4:21 PM

    @oxycode30
    The Bears will need more than magic to return to the Conference championship game, 2 magical seasons in a row seldom happen. When you no longer have Lovie Smith as your head coach you will appreciate him a lot more. I personally hope the Bears make it to the NFCCG again this year, it would be nice to see the Packers beat them in back to back years. I enjoyed the NFCCG even more than the Super Bowl.

  18. theecowardlylion says: Jul 17, 2011 4:25 PM

    “Mark my words ~ Bears repeat as division champs.”

    Consider them marked….. And laughed at.

  19. monk316 says: Jul 17, 2011 4:27 PM

    Jay was not on the bench because of pain. He was TAKEN OUT by the coaches because he could not plant his let to throw. It just gave out on him. Olin Kreutz said when he was in the huddle, his leg was shaking and wobbly. Brees’ injury was a low grade knee MCL tear and it was on his left knee. He did not have to plant and throw off that leg. Rivers played the game after he injured his knee with a custom made brace that made him able to plant and throw without his leg giving out on him.

    I love the negativity towards the Bears by ignorant people. It makes me happy. Is the division going to be tough in the coming years’ with the Packers being set-up to be good for a long time and the Lions getting better each year? Yes. But the Bear are better than you all are giving credit for and should be better this year than last.

    And the Bears classless? Really? Please elaborate.

  20. wamj2008 says: Jul 17, 2011 5:11 PM

    If Urlacher keeps making comments like that, I’d say early retirement due to concussions and dementia is in store.

  21. pacificamjr says: Jul 17, 2011 5:34 PM

    2-14!
    jay is a quitter. quitters never prosper!

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LIONS

  22. tokyosandblaster says: Jul 17, 2011 6:15 PM

    Cutler’s phantom injury was a joke. In all likelihood, the Bears won’t be playing against 10 3rd string QBs this year.

  23. patbocam says: Jul 17, 2011 9:17 PM

    You failed to mention devin aromashadou (<__spl?) at wideout. This automatically shows to me your lack of knowledge of the bears. Cutler loves the guy and he came on strong at the end of the reason. Do more homework next time.

  24. 1historian says: Jul 17, 2011 9:40 PM

    As long as the McCaskey family owns the team they will average mediocre. Last season they went to the NFC finals, so this year they will average that back to mediocre by going 6-10.

    1) Packers, 2) Lions, 3) Bears, 4) Vikings

  25. jaderbear76 says: Jul 17, 2011 9:41 PM

    Love how all the Lions fans start talking sh*t all of a sudden! Lol haven’t heard from ya in like 52 years.

  26. jimmyy201 says: Jul 17, 2011 10:21 PM

    So what makes Da Bears Defense aging? Do any of you ignorant people even know who the Bears have at each position? or do you just guess they are aging because of Urlacher’s age?

    And Jay is a quitter for trying to play through the injury yet not being able to make the accurate throws in the game because of the injury?

  27. jimmyy201 says: Jul 17, 2011 10:24 PM

    I do recall Da Bears losing a close game to the Packers with a 3rd string QB.

    I just would like to hear someones reasoning for why Da Bears are going to be soooo terrible next year. I keep hearing it but I don’t understand.

    Didn’t the Bears make it to the conference game with a below average offense? I’m telling you right now there’s no way the offense could get any worse so if it is only going to improve by adding more pieces and gaining more experience and chemistry, how will that make it any worse?

  28. paulbrownsrevenge says: Jul 17, 2011 10:38 PM

    Get rid of lovie smith…… trade cutler to a despate team that needs a QB (cards, dolphins, etc) sign a veteran for one year, tank the season and draft LUCK.

  29. junglejimff says: Jul 17, 2011 10:46 PM

    patbocam says: Jul 17, 2011 9:17 PM

    You failed to mention devin aromashadou (<__spl?) at wideout. This automatically shows to me your lack of knowledge of the bears. Cutler loves the guy and he came on strong at the end of the reason. Do more homework next time.

    *******************************************************

    Condescension is so much more effective when you know what you are talking about! Your comment above 'automatically shows to me your lack of knowledge of the Bears' and the NFL in general.

    In what way did DA come on strong at the end of the season? Was it his 2 receptions for 29 yards off of his 4 targets over the final SEVEN games? Was it how he capitalized on 25 targets for the entire year with a whopping 10 receptions? DA had 5 receptions for 71 yards in week 1 and then 5 receptions for 78 yards spread over 15 weeks! His weekly average of .34 receptions for 5.2 yards is definitely worth keeping your eye on.

    The Bears equipment manager is a greater offensive threat at this point…

  30. jmetzger5158 says: Jul 17, 2011 11:38 PM

    Priority #1 cut jay cutler

  31. carolinethedog says: Jul 18, 2011 12:51 AM

    blah blah blah….

    DO NOT sign Steve Smith, Santana Moss, or any other under-sized, speedy WR…..we’re all stocked up on those.

  32. banditxx says: Jul 18, 2011 12:53 AM

    Bears fans are retarded get rid of one of the best young QBs in the game when he keeps getting killed by the WORST OLINE IN THE GAME!

    Maybe if the Bears bothered to protect their QB they would win over the packers.

    Cutler broke his knee and coundn’t plant and throw because the Bears blockers stink!!!!!!!

  33. svallen says: Jul 18, 2011 8:35 AM

    Bears have some work to do even though the made it as far as they did last year. The Lions have beefed up their team, the Packers are the Packers….Bears are looking like they will have a lot to do in order to survive this division. None of their free agents (www.spotrac.com/free-agents/nfl/chicago-bears/) seem to be anyone that sticks out that is a must have. We’ll see what happens in a few days when lockout is over.

  34. comeonnowguys says: Jul 18, 2011 9:24 AM

    @1historian

    “As long as the McCaskey family owns the team they will average mediocre.”

    Don’t worry. If the Lions try really, really hard, they could claw their way up to “average mediocre” in about 40 years.

  35. jutts says: Jul 18, 2011 12:22 PM

    It seems that every story you write about the Bears, the “Haters” come out.. I think it simple: They all hope thier team will be able to compete with the Bears. “But they Don’t”…. The lions may be better, defense side only. The Vikings have a love of O Line issues. Not to mention QB. The Packers will be good, but it’s a tough thing to repeat and are a injury away from mediocrity.

  36. deweyaxewound says: Jul 18, 2011 1:55 PM

    You people are morons. This time last year everyone on here and elsewhere (except for a few savvy Bears fans) said the same gooey bullspit, over and over:

    1. The Queens & Pack would be fighting it out for the division…

    2. And that the Lions (who are PERENIALLY hyped as supposedly “seriously improved”) would leap-frog the Bears for 3rd place in the division. Bears suck, etc.

    How’d THAT all work out for ya?

    You lemmings learn nothing from history, apparently. You’re all like fish that come back to the hook 7 seconds after being caught.

    You can take potshots and digs at the Bears, spew your bitter bile and venom if you want to — but from where I stand, last year’s Division Championship (I repeat, Division Championship) and appearance in the Conference Championship Game mean the Bears were pretty damn good.

    Lions fans — ever wonder what a Division Championship means? Or what it feels like to watch your team WIN in the playoffs?

    No, most of you chumps don’t know that feeling, do you?

    See, I call that a “good season”. The Bears finished a play or two shy of the Super Bowl. How many other teams in the league can say that about last season?

    In fact, other than the Packers and Steelers, any other team (and fans thereof) only WISH they’d had the season the Bears did.

    No, it wasn’t a perfectly happy ending, but it was a better season than ANYONE else in the league/media predicted for them, and they were far better than any of you jealous little fanboy troll-holes out here thought.

    This lesson is too important to forget.

    Given this history — think there’s ANY chance at all, that maybe, just maybe, and the Bears might STILL be good?

    I know, I know – a bounce or two this way and that, a key injury or three, and all that can change. Yeah, yeah.

    But I think ANY discussion/criticism of the Bears moving forward into this season needs to start with the following acknowledgement…so follow my advice on this one:

    Walk to the closest mirror. Look yourself in the eyes (if you can, after last night)…and, a la Stuart Smalley, tell yourself the following:

    “Yes, I was completely absolutley categorically moronically wrong about the Bears last year, and I am a mindless, sheep-like dolt who makes football evaluations based on my petty emotions
    and/or whatever everyone thinks.”

    You were wwrong last year. It is at least reasonable to suggest that you are — that you WILL BE — wrong again THIS year.

    That is all.

  37. asublimeday says: Jul 18, 2011 2:58 PM

    Fully agree with Dewey. Keep hating, bears will keep winning. There’s no shame in getting to the championship game.

    Having plenty of haters let’s you know you’re doing it right.

    Look at who the most hated teams in the divisions are:
    Pats, steelers, colts, chargers, Seahawks, falcons, cowboys, bears. All the most perennially successful teams.

    Eat it, haters

  38. amuzed2dth says: Jul 19, 2011 8:55 AM

    Cutler had a better offensive line at Vanderbilt.
    Everyone wants to blame Jay, give him a few seconds longer in the pocket and he would pick the other team apart.

    Bears O-line is worse than the one that ended David Carr’s career in Houston, may be nice guys but can’t block in the current scheme.

    Go Bears!!!

  39. neeboy74 says: Jul 20, 2011 9:02 PM

    When yer coach’s name is “Lovey” and yer QB’s name is “Hiney” you need to get the f*** off the field and let the real men play the game.
    G-O P-A-C-K! :p

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