There's a lot of good and bad in the article. I don't agree with some of it. But, I hope we're not 3rd in the NFC-N again. They say it could be a real fight between the Packers, Vikings and Bears. I do believe that Frazier has the Vikings improving, so we'll need to claw our way up past them this year. They are not the pushover team of past years.
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Stat To Feel Good About
24. The Bears' number of league-leading interceptions, including nine by cornerback Tim Jennings.
If It Ain't Broke ...
Age notwithstanding, the defense remains one of the best in the NFL. During Smith's tenure (2004-2012), the Bears ranked first in the league in takeaways, three-and-out series forced and third-down percentage. In addition, they were fourth in scoring defense. End Julius Peppers, linebacker Brian Urlacher (if the team brings him back in free agency), and cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are playmakers who give offensive coordinators headaches but should give Trestman peace of mind.
29.63. Percentage of catchable balls Kellen Davis dropped (8 of 27), the highest percentage of all tight ends who were targeted at least 40 times in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus.
Must Fix It
The 6-foot-7 Davis is a competent blocker, but he is not a reliable receiver. He was never able to gain Cutler's trust and probably won't be back in 2013 despite having a year left on his deal. There are several capable tight ends who could be available in free agency that the Bears might consider, including Martellus Bennett, Anthony Fasano and Fred Davis.
More On The To-Do List
1. Upgrade the offensive line. It's something the team failed to do a year ago -- and paid the price for its neglect. Pro Football Focus ranked Chicago's line 30th in the league in 2012 after being last the year before. The Bears need an upgrade at one, if not both, tackle spots, and also find a guard. With both Louis and Spencer scheduled to hit the free agent market, the line could lose depth at guard.
2. Start a youth movement on defense. Although Peppers (33), Urlacher (35) and Tillman (32) are linchpins, all three players are starting to age. Thirteen seasons have taken their toll on Urlacher, who missed the final four games last year with a hamstring injury and is starting to have durability issues. The trio won't be around forever, so the Bears need to start bringing in potential successors.
3. Bring out the best in Cutler. The Bears gave up a king's ransom to acquire the strong-armed Cutler from Denver in 2009, trading quarterback Kyle Orton as well as first-round draft picks in 2009 and 2010 plus a third-rounder in '09. So far, Cutler has shown more promise than productivity. He has thrown more than 20 touchdown passes only twice in four seasons, has never had a passer rating higher than 86.3, and is only 1-1 in playoff games. In addition to improving the line and giving Cutler another receiving weapon or two, the Bears need to light a fire under the quarterback.
What We'll Be Saying In July
For the first time in 41 years (since the days of Abe Gibron), the Bears have a head coach whose background is rooted in offense. Trestman has built a reputation as an offensive wizard and a quarterbacks guru during his many coaching stops, and he will call the offensive plays. Bears fans should have reason to be optimistic about the offense in 2013.
The Bears won't undergo a rebuilding as much as a reloading. A lot of pieces already are in place for the offense to be more potent. What it needs most is a capable group of linemen, and that should be in place by the time training camp starts.
Chicago is not that far away from being a playoff team -- it proved that in 2012 -- but it could still look like only the third best team in the NFC North. The Packers are the kings of the division until proven otherwise, and the arrow on the Vikings is pointing up after they made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2009. The Bears should be capable of making the division a three-team race to the finish.
Read More: Chicago Bears 2013 Offseason Preview - NFL - Dennis Dillon - SI.com