The Chicago Bears appeared destined to make the playoffs following an excellent start to the 2012-13 season, but the wheels fell off with December losses to Seattle, Minnesota, and Green Bay and the organization decided major changes were needed. Lovie Smith was finally let go after nine long seasons and replaced by ex-CFL head coach Marc Trestman, while longtime defensive captain Brian Urlacher decided it was time to retire. The move to Trestman could end up being the difference in the Chicago offense finally reaching its full potential, and with an improved offensive line and a veteran defense that understands the sense of urgency this franchise is dealing with, the Bears could surprise out of the NFC North this season.
2013 Super Bowl Odds: +3300
Notable Change #1: Trestman Brought In To Take Offense To Next Level
The addition of Trestman is somewhat of an unknown to many NFL experts that don’t know much about him, but those that have worked with him will testify to both his knowledge and ability to exploit opponent’s weaknesses on offense. Trestman has done an excellent job with quarterbacks at both the NFL and CFL levels, and was able to convince the Chicago management that he was the man to push the right buttons for Jay Cutler in to an elite passer. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer comes over from the New Orleans Saints to help with the transition, and with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett this offense will be hard to stop.
Notable Change #2: Offensive Line Finally Ready To Protect Cutler
Of course, in order for the offense to do its thing the offensive line will need to be able to open holes in the urn game and keep Cutler on his feet for long enough to make plays, which was a major issue a year ago. Kromer’s speciality is the offensive line, and he brought with him former Saints’ tackle Jermon Bushrod to play the left side and protect Cutler’s blindside. The Bears also brought in guard Matt Slauson through free agency, and used their first round pick on guard Kyle Long. That should be enough to solidify what was a major weakness a year ago, as the offensive line is finally ready to hold its own and protect Cutler.
Notable Change #3: Veteran Defense Faces Renewed Sense Of Urgency
The Bears won’t have Brian Urlacher in the middle of their defense, but they will have Julius Peppers, Charles Tillman, and Lance Briggs all back and Nick Roach developed in to a solid starter in the middle when given the chance last season. Many of the key pieces still remaining on this defense are getting up there in years, and the reality that the window to win a Super Bowl ring is closing should be enough to spark what should be a top-5 defense. Chicago will also do a much better job in terms of possession on offense, which will only add to the defense’s strength with more time to rest.
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