Bears Poised for Disaster ??

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by BSBEARS, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. BSBEARS

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    Chicago Bears Poised For Disaster In 2014?

    Jun 20 2014 02:05 AM | Views: 230 | Jeff Schlegel in Chicago Bears

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    There is quite a bit of optimism about the Chicago Bears heading into 2014. Let me tell you why that optimism might be misguided and how the team could be headed towards a bad season.
    The Bears finally had a legit NFL offense in 2013 as they finished 2nd in points scored, 5th in passing yards and 8th in total yards. Unfortunately the Bears defense didn't play like a legit NFL unit. They were last in the league against the run, 30th in total yards allowed, tied for last in sacks and tied for 30th in points allowed. This was the primary contributing factor to the team finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs again last season.

    Not surprisingly the Bears spent the off-season going to work on the defensive side of the ball. Big money was spent in free agency on defensive ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young and the team devoted the vast majority of the 2014 NFL Draft to addressing that side of the ball. With all of these moves to address the defense and the offense from last year basically intact again in 2014, it's easy to see why the sports media and many Bears fans believe this will be a much better season for the team.

    However, I'm not all that optimistic about the Chicago Bears heading into 2014. Now granted that could be in part due to my cynicism after watching so many years of bad football from this team. It could also be that I don't want to get too excited out of the fear that my hopes will be dashed and will I end up more hurt and disappointed then I want to be. What I can say though is there are some very troubling signs that for me indicate that 2014 could be a very long season for my beloved Chicago Bears. I am going to share my reasons for concern with you. Some of the reasons are based on the team themselves and some are based on other factors.


    JAY CUTLER AND HIS INJURY HISTORY

    Teams that make the playoffs traditionally need consistency and dependability out of their starting quarterback as much as anything else. Well based off his history Cutler has proven that he definitely can't be counted on for that. Only once in 5 seasons in Chicago has Jay played all 16 games and that was back in 2009. For all of the talk about the great Bears offense in 2013, many seem to forget that Josh McCown started several games and frankly outplayed Cutler statistically which contributed to the team's offensive prowess.

    Only 2 teams, Green Bay and Philadelphia, made the playoffs last season with a QB missing time due to injuries. A team must have stability at the quarterback position that largely comes from the starter staying healthy. The history is there to clearly indicate that Cutler can't do this until proven otherwise. Even more concerning is that McCown is gone so if and probably when Cutler gets hurt, the Bears lack a proven back-up who can come in and win games.

    THE BEARS JUST CAN'T BEAT GREEN BAY

    Since 2009, the Chicago Bears have a record of 2-9 against the Green Bay Packers. Even both of those wins have big caveats as the victory in 2010 was a game handed to the Bears by the refs and the victory last season came after Aaron Rodgers had been knocked out of the game.

    Over recent years you can pretty much pencil in the Bears for 2 losses against the Packers. It is very hard to make the playoffs if you can't first succeed in your own division. It is even harder to do well in your division when you lose twice every year to the same team. If they can't beat Green Bay, how can they expect to do big things in 2014? History indicates the Bears won't do well against them this season.

    THE CHICAGO BEARS ARE AN OLD TEAM

    The Bears have a total of 10 potential starters that will be 30 or older at some point during the 2014 seasons. The players and their ages are below.

    Jay Cutler 31
    Brandon Marshall 30
    Jermon Bushrod 30
    Roberto Garza 35
    Jared Allen 32
    Jeremiah Ratliff 33
    Lance Briggs 34
    D.J. Williams 32
    Charles Tillman 33
    Tim Jennings 31

    The age of 30 is usually considered a cliff for players in today's NFL where once they reach that age they fall off of the other side and start to decline as players. It is very concerning to see almost half of the Bears starting line-up, including most of their best players, being at least 30 years old. If just a couple of these ten players shows decline in their skills in 2014 it could spell disaster for the team.


    THE BEARS LACK DEPTH IN SEVERAL AREAS

    What makes the age of this team in particular and the age of most of the key players especially so concerning to me is that this team really lacks quality depth on both sides of the ball. Older teams tend to be more injury prone and assuming this is the case in 2014 the Bears could struggle mightily to overcome this as was the case in 2013.

    Just about every area of the Bears roster has significant questions pertaining to the depth behind the starters. Tell me seriously where you can find one area other than perhaps defensive end on this entire 2014 Bears roster that you feel confident in the depth and talent at that position. A lot of the reserves are unproven and/or young players. There is the potential that some of these guys could step up in the case of injury. There is also the chance these young players aren't starters for a reason and stink up the joint when they get their chance like several players did on the Bears defense last year.

    Injuries are a part of life in the NFL. Some teams are lucky in that they seem to stay relatively healthy throughout the season. Sometimes frankly it's better to be lucky than good. However for most teams how you handle adversity and overcome injuries will usually dictate your success or failure in a season. The Bears couldn't overcome their injuries last year and failed and I frankly don't see where they are all that much better equipped to deal with them if the problem arises again in 2014.

    THE BEARS OVER RELIANCE ON FREE AGENTS

    The easiest and most effective way to build and maintain a championship caliber team in today's NFL is via the NFL draft. The talent comes cheaper, tends to be around longer and tends to be more inexpensive to have around as opposed to spending big money in free agency to often times over pay for players based off past production.

    Of course the Bears have screwed the pooch over the recent years in the NFL Draft and as a result have had to compensate for these organizational failures by hitting free agency very hard. It paid off to a certain degree last season after the team brought in several free agents on the offensive side of the ball who played well. General Manager Phil Emery has taken a similar approach to the defensive side this year and is surely hoping along with Bears fans all over that it produces similar results.

    The problem is that having to build your team primarily through free agency means you are getting older as a team and drastically narrows any window of opportunity to win big. Furthermore, we have seen many times before where teams who tried to go the free agent route to build a team have ended up regretting the decision and setting their organization back long term.Instead of drafting players to fit into and grow into your system, you are try to plug older players into a potentially new way of doing things and expecting them to produce big immediately.

    There are many reasons that the best and most consistent teams in today's NFL are the teams that draft the best, not signing the biggest and most expensive free agents. The Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl 48 with 15 of their 22 starters coming from the draft. The Chicago Bears in 2014 will have at the very most 10 starters drafted by the team. Not a sign that the Bears are heading in the right direction.


    Believe me when I say I would love nothing more than for the Chicago Bears to prove me dead wrong in 2014 and make a deep run in the playoffs. I just see lots of areas of concern that lead me to believe this team is much more likely to disappoint in the season to come. The Bears appear to me more likely headed towards a top 10 pick in next year's draft than they are a playoff appearance.
     
  2. little bear

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    wow I never realized there were so many old guys on the team.
     
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  3. riczaj01

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    Really only 10 out of 52 isn't bad, but most are considered key players and that is a problem, it's one the team has and is trying to do something about, but 2-3 drafts doesn't make it easy.
     
  4. BossK

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    2-9 is not good.

    But 2 is better than none, and excuses for losing, like "handed to them by the refs" and "only after A.R. had been knocked out of the game" are lame.

    Yes, building through the draft is better, but when J.A. has been handling the drafts for over a decade, you end up w/ a lot of sh!t- and you must bring in at least a couple of free agents if you want to be competitive now- is anybody really gonna bitch about bringing in BMarsh? Somebody want to tell me that our roster is somehow diminished b/c we got Houston and mullet after losing a huge pay guy in Peppers?


    That said, this article makes my usually pessimistic attitude seem like DB54 sunshine and roses. Sure, there are some valid points, but I am not ready for chicken little sky is falling right now. I have not been this optimistic about a new Bears season in several years, and this guy wants to pick now to be negative nancy. Maybe he is right, and the Bears do have issues, the past has been brutal, BUT: it is in the past, and there are a lot of reasons to remain optimistic about the upcoming season. Listen to me be a sunshine pumper- what has the world come to?



    There is still a lot of football left to be played, the sun will come up tomorrow, etc. etc.
     
  5. strockrocks

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    I'm so glad I read this article to start my morning; now I know for sure the sky is falling and we are all doomed.

    Look on the bright side, we will have a top ten pick next year!!! Woohoo!! Truly amazing!

    Sure, anything can happen but I'll be SHOCKED if the Bears have a top 10 pick next year. That seems a bit ridiculous to state in June.
     
  6. strockrocks

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    How can the Bears NOT be headed in the right direction? OK, I get the 10 starters but to sum it up and say the Bears are not heading in the right direction is absurd. I didn't know we were headed in the wrong direction based on everything that has happened this offseason.....
     
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  7. Papa_Bear_7

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    Comments in red

     
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  8. BSBEARS

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    I did not take this article as the sky is falling. I believe some valid points are being made with lack of draft hits, primarily JA, which is not anything new here as we have had several discussions.

    The age is and is not a concern. We knew most of these as well, Bushrod I did not realize was that old but the rest of them I was aware of. We believe we got decent depth from the draft at most positions we were weak at. Emery seems to be pushing hard for a back-up LT now with the current 90 man roster so he is trying to address if he can now, if not will be targeted as a draft need. I have no statistics but I believe 30 is a RB thing, Linemen and WR do not seem to drop off so much. WR may loose a step but the finesse they have learned more than offsets the speed.

    Garza we knew was on his last year and we have BLP on the team already. My biggest take away was both CB's in Jennings and Tillman, which is probably another reason why Emery valued CB in the draft so much and we have Fuller on the team now. Maybe we are being overly optimistic for this year if we get hit with key injuries again, but we will still be vastly better than last year.

    Beating GB is the enabler for us to succeed. If we can not win the division and beat GB 7 out of 10 times, then we will need a lot of luck to win the SB.
    We have to beat them to get there one way or another. I believe Emery believes pressure from the D- line is the best method to beat them based on the importance he put on the line in the off season. He then went and got help at CB for the future and the Nickel package since we play it so often (60 to 90% of the time depending on offensive alignment) GB is a lot of 3 WR sets, so closer to the 90% of the time.

    I beleive Emery has done a good job once again trying to build the foundation and the youth. Just not going to happen overnight. His first draft with the Bears still had JA's scouts and he was new to the organization. In year 2 he fixed the offense, and in Year 3 he appears to have fixed the defense. Year 4 may not be truely BPA (Best Player Avail) as he will probably target the age issues in sync with BPA. Its not like you need a wheelchair at 30 but it shows there is still more work to be done.
     
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  9. Papa_Bear_7

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    For me being in the bottom 10 teams is close enough. I do agree with all of your points though. :thumb:
     
  10. soulman

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    Well done PB. If I didn't know better, and maybe I don't, I'd say the author is more of a Packer fan than a fair analyst of the potential fortunes of the 2014 Chicago Bears. He uses a lot of supposition and projection to get his point across mixed with a little myth as well but there's just enough said to cast a few doubts so as a die hard Bears fan I'll do my best to expel them.

    1) Projecting future injuries for Cutler is just the kind of wishful thinking a non-Bears fan would come up with. To look at his injury history behind one of the worst OL in the NFL and with foolish OCs who continued to expose him to risk with their 5-7 step drop downfield passing attacks is a little unfair. The author wants to portray Cutler as being fragile when he's anything but. Few if any QBs would have survived the abuse he took unscathed.

    The OL is protecting much better, the design of the passing game is far different, Cutler's mechanics and ability to release the ball quicker have been dramatically improved and finally last year Cutler sustained a couple of uncommon injuries that aren't likely to be repeated. So instead of being forward looking the author is simply stating what was yet projecting it as what may be. Sorry but I'm not buying into the nail biting and worry he's selling.

    There's also no assurance yet that Trestman and Cavanaugh can't build a competent #2 to back him up just as they did with McCown. From the reports I've read so far Clausen has actually looked quite good and Cutler is becoming a fan. He doesn't just rubber stamp stuff like that now that he's been made part of the decision process so that means both Palmer and Clausen have a good chance of making the roster and that gives us two decent vet backups.

    Frankly I like our chances if Cutler goes down just as well as I do GBs if Rodgers bites the dust and Joe Flynn is their #2 guy. Let's not ignore that fact that most teams will suffer mightily when they lose their #1 QB and that last year the Bears faired far better without Cutler than the Packers did without Rodgers. Even with Rodgers playing it took a blown coverage on a last minute wing and a prayer play for the Packers to win and make the playoffs. If not for that they would have been 0-2 against the Bears last year with one of those losses coming WITH Rodgers at the helm.

    This entire analysis of our QB situation smacks of being written by a Packer fan who complains that the only reason we even won a single game against the Packers in 2013 was that Rodgers was out. Isn't he over looking that fact the it was the Bears who took him out? Sorry but I simply don't believe the shit the author is trying to shovel here.

    2) The Bears just can't beat GB? LOL Even more projection and magical thinking. Forget what was and look at what is and what may become. Dragging Lovie Smith's track record into this isn't proper. That's ancient history and all it proves is that Lovie had a tough time beating them. So far under Marc Trestman the Bears are 1-1 against the Packers and I guess it simply bears repeating that if not for a missed defensive play call the Bears WOULD have beaten the Packers twice last year and made the playoffs. So the authors shit pile gets even deeper here.

    3) Age 3o is only a cliff for a fall off in performance in this guys imagination. He doesn't even bother to look at the specific players involved or at the mix of younger player in competition for the spots some of these guys hold. In this era of offseason conditioning and a scientific approach to extending careers through that and via the management of their diets and nutritional needs players are no longer washed up at age 30 and beyond. Not one guy on that list has shown a single sign of his play being in a rapid decline.

    Cutler is entering his prime years as a QB. Most SB winning QBs were his age or older. He's exactly the same age as Aaron Rodgers and far younger than most other top QBs. OL like Bushrod can easily play into their mid 30s if they remain uninjured just as Garza has. Jared Allen is two years younger than Pep and unlike Pep shows zero signs of age. Ratliff hasn't played much the last two years so his mileage is less than his age would indicate and he's backed by two rookies and two other young vets. What, they don't count in the age equation?

    Marshall will still be killing defenses for another 5 years because of his attitude, his abilities and his conditioning. He's another "freak" and those guys don't lose it at age 30. Briggs and DWill are entering the twilight of their careers but both can still play very well and we have four young LBs waiting in the wings to move up. It's tough to be 100% sure just yet but will there really be that much of a drop off if those guys can play as well as they were projected to when they were drafted?

    Jennings will be solid for another 2-3 years at least and it wouldn't surprise me to see Peanut turn in another Pro Bowl level year. Champ Bailey is doing it at age 35. Plus we have a top draft pick coming on board learning the ropes who may replace him in another year or two. I like the blend of vet experience and vet depth we have on this team and it will only get better.

    4) The lack of depth could be an issue or it could be a mirage. We've added younger free agents and drafted rookies who are still unproven but in many cases their arrows are pointing up. Besides, what NFL team doesn't have a positions where depth as a concern? The hard salary cap literally forces that on teams so that it's not possible to afford vet depth with significant experience across the board. Last year the offensive coaching had to focus on developing the starting eleven and they did. This year there'll be more focus on the depth behind them. We could use a little more help at TE and a backup LT. Other than that I'm not seeing a lack of depth.

    On defense the only place I see any concern about depth is at Safety. That's it. I like the depth we have at CB and at LB and as far as the DL goes we'll be releasing players who can and probably will be picked up and play for other teams. I just don't see what the author sees at all.

    5) An over reliance on free agents? Hmmmm......definitely a Packer fan writing this one and I think he's envious. If we wanted to close the talent gap within our own division signing free agents was a necessity. It was either that or take five years to build through the draft. Just take one look at WHO we signed though and the terms under which we signed some of them! Plus they're all thrilled to be here to help restore this defense. Not one of them isn't happy to be out from under where they were and from all of the talk coming out of the OTAs and mini-camp these guys are energized. They aren't gonna let what happened last year happen again.

    But we didn't just sign free agents to restock with exclusively and not all of them were guys near the end of their careers even if you do buy into his thinking on that. We've signed younger free agents in their prime and have been strategically fillings gaps with draftees and UDFAs to add youth. The author is looking at a very narrow field and not averaging in all that's been done and therein lies what I believe are whole lot of false assumptions about this team.


    I don't know who the guy is or where this article came from by I'm not buying it. I'm far from being a "homer", and no team is without it's flaws, but I don't see the issues this guy sees. If he wants to go looking for a talented team in distress he should take a trip out to SF. They've got some major issues going on there both at the coaching level and with player personnel and yet they're ranked as a top SB contender. I'd be far more concerned about my team if I was a 49'ers fan than I am as Bears fan.

    So somebody tell this "cheesehead fan-boy author to shove off.
     
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