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Team needs: Chicago Bears

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For most teams, we identify five specific draft needs.  For the Bears, that approach easily could yield the following quintet of necessities:  left tackle, left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle.  But I won’t take the easy way out, searching for four other areas of need along with the most obvious one.

Offensive line:  The Bears claim that they’re happy with their current offensive line.  No amount of hypnosis could make that one stick.  They need help across the board, primarily at the tackle positions.  Yes, 2011 first-rounder Gabe Carimi could upgrade the unit if/when he gets healthy, but left tackle J’Marcus Webb can’t be trusted to protect Jay Cutler.  The guards are acceptable, less glaring because of the problems at tackle.  And they need another Olin Kreutz at center, but he may be a once-in-a-generation anchor for the offensive line.

Defensive end:  Before free agency started, there were rumors that the Bears wanted to bookend Julius Peppers with Mario Williams.  Though the salary cap wouldn’t have permitted two big-money pass rushers, the Bears could try to grab one at a far lower rate of pay in the first round of the draft.  With Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, the only way to truly beat them could be to, well, beat them.  In the non-bounty way.

Receiver:  Getting Brandon Marshall for a pair of third-round picks gives the depth chart a long-overdue lift, but they shouldn’t stop there.  Devin Hester never will become what they thought he’d be when they paid him like a gamebreaking receiver, and Johnny Knox likely won’t play much, if at all, in 2012 after suffering a serious back injury last season.

Tight end:  Former offensive coordinator Mike Martz didn’t like to use tight ends, and so now the Bears need to beef up what has become a position of demand in the pass-happy NFL.  Unfortunately, the draft is weak at that position, which means that the Bears may have to search for a free agent, or scour other teams’ trash heaps.

Cornerback:  With or without help in the pass rush, the Bears need to be ready to defend against Rodgers and Stafford by covering their receivers.  And so they can never have enough competent cornerbacks.

The Bears were on track for another playoff appearance in 2011, until injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte knocked the team out of contention.  If they can find a way to make Forte happy, they could make another run at the postseason — and possibly give the Packers some real competition for the NFC North crown.  If they don’t, new G.M. Phil Emery could make a run at coach Lovie Smith’s job.

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26 Responses to “Team needs: Chicago Bears”
  1. danno1212 says: Apr 19, 2012 9:45 PM

    Good job Florio! You nailed it! Go BEARS!

  2. wrathofgodzilla says: Apr 19, 2012 10:15 PM

    Even before Forte went out they were playing themselves out of contention. They definitely need to protect Cutler so he stops getting injured.

  3. grizzlott says: Apr 19, 2012 10:21 PM

    I’m not going to pretend that the Bears OLine is perfect, but to call out every friggin’ position? Carimi is outstanding at RT, Lance Louis will do just fine at RG. While I’d like to see a young center drafted, Garza was a friggin’ pro-bowl alternate last year.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an upgrade at LG, moving Chris Williams back to Tackle. I’m undecided on Webb at LT. I wouldn’t mind them trying to upgrade, but I don’t think it’s an emergency, especially if LG gets upgraded.

    As countless people before me, and countless people after me will say “Florio, you are an idiot”

  4. metalhead65 says: Apr 19, 2012 10:32 PM

    while upgrading the line would be nice I think you continue to over look the progress they made when over the last 2 years martz was made to scale back his playbook and stop his 19 step drops and passing every down. in 2010 they went on a winning streak after the bye week when he was made to run a more balanced attack and made it to the nfc championship game. and last year went on that 5 game streak as soon as he was told to do so again, so while not a all pro line it is one that can do the job if the right plays are called, thank god they do not have to worry about that any more. they are much closer to a play off team than you think and you have been picking them to fail the last 2 years. now that they have a gm that has a clue and improved the players around Cutler they can and will focus on defense although they do have some young guys they have drafted the last couple of years you seem to dismiss.

  5. mialto says: Apr 19, 2012 10:34 PM

    They need a real oline, 2 & 3 WR, DT, and start grooming a MLB for Urlachers move to LB Coach.

  6. superbowlseahawks says: Apr 19, 2012 10:53 PM

    A QB that’s not a whiny, little girl.

  7. asublimeday says: Apr 19, 2012 11:02 PM

    Webb will look muchhhhhh better without martz

  8. bearsoxass says: Apr 19, 2012 11:04 PM

    They still suck! Pathetic team lolllll

  9. daaabears says: Apr 19, 2012 11:17 PM

    The o-line will be better because of Tice and his game plan. Not great mind you, but doable.

    The tight ends will be way better than most people suspect, I would put money on it.

    A first round receiver would be way sweet, but we really need an outstanding end opposite Peppers.

  10. kjs7way says: Apr 19, 2012 11:35 PM

    And Tim Tebow….

  11. clarkisgod says: Apr 20, 2012 12:04 AM

    I think the arrest tracker may be going for a record!! 16 days??

  12. ronin36 says: Apr 20, 2012 12:53 AM

    I’d have to generally agree with Florio’s assessment.

    But…

    The o-line isn’t a total basket case. Somebody good on the left side will definitely bring up the average for the unit.

    I’d group WR and/or TE together. Any good player at either position, will help the whole group.

    I’d change DE to DL.. Tackles or Ends, doesn’t matter. They could use youth.

    DB. spot on.. any help any where would be welcome.

    Bottom line, they have some talent, but after that tier of players, there’s a big gap to the rest of the team.

    But…. there’s only so much they can fix with one draft. This draft can stop their decline. (unless age really hits them hard) But they’re going to need a couple more to start getting better.

  13. lilmiddle78 says: Apr 20, 2012 1:01 AM

    Florio,

    I expected a much more unique outlook from you on the Bears offensive line! To say that all 5 positions need to be replaced/improved is drastically exaggerating the truth! Each of the last two seasons, once Mike Tice was given the rains of the blocking schemes, everything improved along the O-line & the 5 to 7 step drops went away as well. The other huge difference will be the ability to audible out of a bad situation. With Martz there was no such thing as an audible and that is simply asking for mismatches and unblocked blitzes, I can’t imagine how many times Cutler probably knew pre-snap that the play had slim chances of success!! My high school offense would audible almost 60% of our total snaps, HIGH SCHOOL!!!

    This line is not that bad at all! That said, I would like to see an O-lineman drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round to become a solid left tackle,
    a good level of competition for the starting jobs & create better depth along the front 5..

  14. gallopingghost says: Apr 20, 2012 1:15 AM

    Awful start Florio, I’m happy to say I stopped reading after your obnoxious opening. Suggesting they overhaul an O-line that needs 1 or 2 players facetious and remiss as a “journalist”. If you think Carimi is not a good RT you don’t know football. Garza isn’t the best but I wouldn’t call him a weakness either. Spencer and Louis both show promise and are at least mediocre. Webb sucks and Williams doesn’t belong at guard, but that’s 2 out of 5.

    In case you’re interested, the Bears will probably pick up a tackle in rounds 2-4 to develop on the right side as they prime Carimi up to take over at Left. They have made no secret about targeting Defensive End with #19, so unless a crazy value falls in their lap they’ll end up with a new pass rusher. I’d expect receiver or secondary in addition to RT drafted in some order over rounds 2-4.

  15. dino2997 says: Apr 20, 2012 1:31 AM

    superbowlseahawks says:
    Apr 19, 2012 10:53 PM
    A QB that’s not a whiny, little girl.

    —————————————————

    Jealousy. Got to love it!!

  16. toonsterwu says: Apr 20, 2012 2:36 AM

    Again, the idea that the entire Bears OL needs to be overhauled is ridiculous. Carimi is going to be given every chance to be the RT, and as a first round pick, he should be. Lance Louis is a fine interior option, big and athletic. He held his own at RT, a position he isn’t equipped for (size/length wise).

    That leaves 3 spots, but realistically, the chances of an interior draft pick in the 3rd-5th rounds stepping in ahead of Spencer (surprisingly solid as a starter at guard last year), Chris Williams (was solid before getting hurt), Garza (veteran anchor, although I do wonder if Spencer’s solid performance could cause the Bears to give Spencer a shot at the center spot), and Edwin Williams (solid interior backup option) is fairly slim.

    I anticipate the first/2nd round pick to likely end up addressing LT/DE. The need at DE is glaring – at DT, they at least have youth with potential (Melton/Paea). They badly need a pass rush threat opposite Peppers, as Idonije showed his age last year and is better off in a rotation, while Wootton has never developed into the all-around threat that was hoped for. If the Bears aren’t comfortable with the LT options (keeping in mind that Tice is likely to prefer a big, physical guy), then TE could be an option.

    I’m not so sure the Bears will go WR early unless the value is too good. They may look for a deep threat, but with Sanzenbacher in the slot and Bennett as a possession receiver that Cutler trusts, that allows Hester to fill the deep threat needs.

    Emery has done a good job in free agency, ensuring that the Bears aren’t forced into making a reach on a pick by resigning guys and adding some depth options at positions like LB and CB.

  17. boilerup1869 says: Apr 20, 2012 12:09 PM

    I wish the Bears would cut Chris Williams already.

    Just another worthless relic and painful reminder of the failure that was Jerry Angelo’s tenure as GM.

  18. clanmckelvey says: Apr 20, 2012 1:09 PM

    I agree with the comentary, I just think you got lazy on the Bears. With the other teams you suggest possible draft picks, for the Bears you suggest none.
    If you really knew what you were talking about you would have given Garza a shout out as the bright spot on the line.
    Why do we have to have an all pro center? want to excpand on that thoughtlet?

  19. gobears84 says: Apr 20, 2012 2:31 PM

    Dear superbowlseahawks,

    You signed Frank Omiyale, s#ck it. Thanks for stopping by.

    Sincerely,

    Bears Fans

  20. chicagoclarence1126 says: Apr 21, 2012 8:28 AM

    What we need is to draft floyd from notre dame if he is not there then go DE then go wr in 2nd rd and DT OR DE in the 3rd

  21. chibears187 says: Apr 21, 2012 10:29 AM

    I believe along the Oline Webb is the wink link. Louis is s beast Garza played solid Spencer also solid and this year Spencer probably moves to tackle and Rachal goes to guard. DE and safety are the other immediate concerns. Wright is not Safety material and that experiment has to end but I did like what Conte brought to the table and DEs are loaded in the draft and I’m positive Emery takes the best one available. I think the Bears HAVE to go DE first rd. And Safety 2nd. Defense wins Championships and with an offense that features a top 5 QB ( yeah I said it ) and receiving core led by BMarshall it’ll hard to stop us

  22. jimcal229 says: Apr 21, 2012 11:03 AM

    Defense does not win championships anymore.The late score by the offense and not enough time left for the other teams offense to score does. See Patriots/Giants super bowl for details.

  23. digital muscles says: Apr 23, 2012 2:32 PM

    We will be much better this year just because Jay has a real #1 WR in Marshall.

  24. voiceofsweetness says: Apr 23, 2012 9:21 PM

    What is the number one help to this supposed line that is weak everywhere? FINALLY allowing your highly football intelligent QB to audible out of a crappy play call BEFORE it happens.

  25. jimcal229 says: Apr 23, 2012 10:04 PM

    Good damn point. Tice and company could coach themselves into the best offensive football we have seen in years.

  26. gobears84 says: Apr 26, 2012 1:41 PM

    @ SuperbowlSeahawks

    First putting the words Super Bowl and Seahawks togather is commonly referred to as a conundrum. But, for your sake we’ll just call it wishful thinking. Second, and I’ve referenced this before, your team signed Frank Omiyale, so the joke is on you. I’d like to take the time to personally thank you for stopping by, because even when our season goes poorly, we can all just be thankful that were not Seahawks fans. Have a nice day a#s clown.

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