The Chicago Bears came into the 2009 season with a lot of promise and had visions of the playoffs. Beginning with the first game of the season against the Green Bay Packers, it turned into a real roller coaster ride and disappointment. There were flashes of promise but all too often they were overshadowed by mistakes and injuries. All facets of their team struggled with inconsistencies and the result was another season where they stayed home for the playoffs. For the second straight off-season they have made some big moves, let's examine them together and see how they rate.
The Bears did not lose any one offensively of note, cutting RB Kevin Jones after the free agent signing of Chester Taylor.
The biggest move was signing DE Julius Peppers to bring the heat from the D-Line. He will be a nightmare for the NFC North and their starting quarterbacks. He'll draw the extra blocker and open things up for the rest of the Bears linemen. Concentrating on the offense though, they made an immediate move to strengthen the running game by signing RB Chester Taylor. Matt Forte was leaned upon heavily in 2008 and 2009. There was no real help for him in carrying the load last season and it seemed to be a real problem. Enter veteran Taylor and the Bears instantly upgraded their running game and depth situation. They gave him a big contract, one that causes some to wonder if he'll be the starting running back. He might get the chance at some point but I think that he was added for insurance and depth. Taylor is a great third down back and will be able to mentor Forte also. I project Taylor for 640 yards rushing and 2 TD's with 490 yards receiving and 2 receiving TD's. Their other free agent signing was TE Brandon Manumaleuna. He has never been much of a factor offensively and that doesn't really help us when we're searching for fantasy value. There is much more potential in other tight ends.
In the draft with their sixth round pick, the Bears selected quarterback Dan LeFevour, out of Central Michigan. He was very successful in college and put up some huge statistics. He could be a quarterback they continue to develop with an eye to the future. On the other hand, he might barely make their practice roster.
You have to give credit to the Bears for continuing to go out and sign talented players to improve their team. It remains to be seen if they can gel together and add up to a whole that's more than the sum of their parts. It would have been nice to see Cutler given a new receiver to pair up with but obviously they did not feel the need to upgrade at that position. With Mike Martz overseeing the offense, it should be very passer friendly and could result in a playoff berth for the first time since going to the Super Bowl. In my opinion though, I feel they'll come up short once again.
Let me know how you feel in the comments and poll.