The Chicago Bears and new general manager Phil Emery decided it was time to end one of the oldest, most overplayed storylines their franchise has had. After ending the mediocre quarterback storylines that were replayed each and every year, Emery jumped out this offseason and got an elite wide receiver.
Brandon Marshall, 28, had 81 catches for 1,214 yards last season as well as six touchdowns in a Miami offense that was far from good. He gives Bears quarterback Jay Cutler a big receiver who can make plays down the field for the first time since Cutler had….well, Marshall back in their Denver Bronco days.
Add in the addition of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the draft and running back Michael Bush in free agency and the Bears look to be poised to have a big year on offense. Let’s not forget that these are the same Bears who didn’t have Marshall, or any receiver quite like him, and were still 7-3 before Cutler was knocked out for the rest of the season.
For the first time since acquiring Cutler, the Bears have gone out and helped put some pieces around the franchise quarterback they spent so much to acquire. Now it’s Cutler’s turn to hold up his end. Cutler threw for 2,319 yards last season in his 11 games, as well as 13 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Cutler will be working with yet another system and new offensive coordinator now that Mike Tice has taken over the reins from Mike Martz. Tice will certainly have a far simpler offense than Martz’ complicated 411 page offensive playbook. If you haven’t seen that playbook (from the Rams 2000 team), go check it out online. It starts off telling the players how they will all stand in the huddle.
It is unknown when running back Matt Forte will report to the Bears as he currently sits in the middle of a contract dispute that seems to be making very little progress. Still, with the addition of Bush, the Bears have given themselves some insurance assuming Forte doesn’t play right away. The only big question remains the offensive line, which the Bears seem to be confident in going into the 2012 season.
Things seem to be switching to the other side of the ball for the Bears, who used to be strictly focused on their defense and viewed any contributions from their offense as a bonus. Now, the Bears should be able to win games on both sides of the ball, similar to last season’s Super Bowl champion New York Giants. What is comforting to know is that we will begin that journey in less than a month during training camp down in Bourbonnais.
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