Wednesday, April 16, 2008

in response to DH

Mostly because I'm bored I figured I'll follow up my question of why the Bears will be better this year and won't do worse than 9-7.

I guess I should start where everybody starts at the QB position. Last year the Bears entered the season with one year starter Rex Grossman aged interception machine Brian Griese and third string Kyle Orton. This year Rex is a year older and is coming off his most consistent three game stretch since September 2006. He's also coming off an injury and is fighting for his spot. Griese and his 2 Ints. a game are gone. And Kyle Orton is actually being allowed to compete for the job after proving he is miles ahead of Rex and Griese in the turnover department.
Advantage 2008. If Rex doesn't shine in the preseason Kyle Orton will be the starter and will keep turnovers to a minimum while gaining confidence and experience. Either way its better than last year and anyone will be as good or better than Griese in the three spot.

At RB the Bears entered last year with an unproven and unchallenged Cedric Benson followed my utility man AP and rookie Garrett Wolfe. If you don't think the Bears will have someone on their roster whose better than that you're probably working for a Chicago paper.
Advantage 2008. The starter will likely be a rookie but that hasn't been a problem for the Colts, Patriots, Bills, Vikings etc. Also Benson has shown that he at least doesn't totally suck usually as a motivated backup. Also Wolfe is a year older and stronger.

The Bears had the oldest OL in the league last year and they played like it. Did Kruetz even make the Pro-Bowl? There are at least two new starters on the line for this season. One of the Tackles will be a first round rookie with a high grade coming in. The Guard spots are totally open.
Advantage 2008. Miller was the worst Tackle in the league last year so decline is impossible in that spot. At the least the Bears will have a strong rookie in that spot. It's also very possible that Tait will switch back to his All-Pro side and a Rookie who has proven himself in camp will be the new LT. The Guards could be anyone but they would have trouble being worse than one-armed Ruben Brown and Garza could very easily remain an average starter. It's also hard to believe Kruetz won't enter the season determined to do everything he can to erase the memory of last year.

The Bears have the same TE's as last year and Olsen looks like a stud.
Advantage 2008. A one year older and stronger Olsen pairs an effective Desmond Clark in an area of real strength.

The WR position was in shambles last year. The Bears kicked Moose out but they also lost their over-hyped number 2 in Berrian.
Advantage wash. Booker is at least a dependable veteran which is better than anything last year. But it's a stretch to expect Hester or Bradley to be at Berrian's level. However Hester should be better than last year, he showed promise at the end of the season, and Berrian had too many drops to be missed as much as the media is writing about him.

The DL looked strong going into the season last year, but things quickly began to deteriorate. DD was lost for the season, Harris was obviously not 100 percent, Walker was a walking injury niggle and 97 clearly wasn't the starter 96 had been.
Advantage 2008. Izzy gained some valuable experience Toeaina was a nice find late in the season and Harris and DD get another shot at staying healthy. Anthony Adams fills out the DT's and with 96 back in the starters role and 97 functioning as a rush specialist the future again looks rosy.

At LB Briggs came in looking to not get hurt. Hillenmeyer really stepped up last year and 54 spent the year hiding a back injury and learning how to play with it. The last 5 weeks 54 was back to his old self and that can't be a bad sign.
Advantage 2008. 54 is motivated to prove everyone wrong, that can only be good. Briggs is around for the long haul and is ready to take his prominent role right next to Superman not behind him. Williams looked great and could challenge an improved Hillenmeyer for playing time. This is the heart of the team and it's the Bears biggest strength.

The secondary looked good early last year as well, but again injuries exposed a lack of depth. Two starters were lost for the season in week 1 and week 3 saw four different starters than week 1. Again there's nowhere to go but up.
Advantage 2008. Mike Brown is back in the lineup! We don't know how long he'll last but anytime he's playing the D looks amazing. Peanut and Vash are back on the corners with an experienced and promising McBride looking for playing time. D Manning looked great for the second half and Kevin Payne is back to ensure AA won't see the field on defense.

Finally the Bears had the best Special Teams in the league for the third year in a row last year. Surely no team could do that four years in a row!
Advantage wash. Devin Hester is just getting better. Robbie Gould is steady. The Bears are the only team that uses important players on Special Teams so I don't suspect much if any decline. The Ravens have a ST coach as a head coach now so they could make a run at the Special Teams title, but Hester is just too good.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

I basically agree with you everywhere, except I do think we're definitely worse at WR. The one thing I thought we should've learned from last year is to not go into the season expecting bigger things from unproven players at skill positions. The only proven WR is Booker, who's certainly better than Moose, but not nearly enough to make up for Moose & Berrian. Yeah, Berrian was completely overrated, but he did have some considerable value.

I'm really not too worried about it, though, cuz the leading receiver for the team's gonna be Olsen, and he's gonna be a frickin' stud. Clark'll probably be the second leading receiver.

Also there's the fact that the Bears actually ran a few successful screens with Wolfe toward the end of the season. If Wolfe plays a larger as a primarily receiving back, and Olsen's out there out-talling people, all we really need at the WR position is a solid guy like Booker. It'd be nice to have more, but the lack of good stuff at the WR position doesn't necessarily mean a poor pool of receiving positions.