The Bears retook the NFC North and found themselves in the NFC Championship game with a familiar formula: Play good defense and run the ball.
Even though the Bears ranked 30th in the NFL in offense, they cracked the code after the bye week to find the right mix of run and pass behind mercurial QB Jay Cutler in Mike Martz’s offense.
Offensive line coach Mike Tice did an incredible job of bait-and-switch with an offensive line that was virtually unchanged from the year before. The Bears have taken 4 offensive linemen in the first three rounds in the past decade and only Chris Williams, the 14th overall pick in 2008, remains with them. Sitting at 29, there should be plenty of attractive OL choices in this April’s draft. I look for them to take the best available lineman, regardless of him being an OT or OG.
Likewise, they have drafted four wide receivers early in the draft over the last ten years, and only Earl Bennet, who they got in the 3rd round in 2008, remains. Pro Bowler return specialist, Devin Hester, has shown flashes of excellence as a WR, but for Cutler’s progression, they will add another WR either via draft or free agency.
Defensively, the Bears returned to form and have a solid front seven. With the disappointing play and subsequent release of interior D-lineman, Tommie Harris, the Bears may look to re-enforce this area in a draft that is very deep with DL talent.
Their 20th ranked pass defense is going to be tested this year facing Aaron Rodgers twice, and Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Phillip Rivers, Matt Cassel, and Michael Vick in the out of division schedule. So don’t be surprised if they look to add depth to their secondary as well.