How Will The Bears Do In 2012/2013?

I think it goes without saying that Lovie Smith is on the hot seat this year.  Finally.  Most coaches in the NFL do not survive missing the playoffs four out of five seasons.  That track record, along with historically horrible draft picks, such as Dan Bauzin, Michael Okwo, Jarron Gilbert, Juaquin Iglesias, Mark Bradley et al, finally got Jerry Angelo fired after the 2011 season.  The funny thing about how bad Jerry Angelo was, those horrible draft picks wasn’t what got him fired.  It was the fact that for two straight seasons he never even attempted to go out and get a backup quarterback to fill in for Jay Cutler when the horrible offensive line got him killed.

You could feel the elation in Chicago when it was announced that a new GM would be hired.  Then in true Bears fashion, they went out and hired Phil Emery.  You could hear millions of people around Chicago yell “WHO?” upon the announcement.  However, Emery got off on a great start by getting the backup quarterback that the Bears have needed for several years.  He signed Jason Campbell.  He extended his honeymoon period by signing Michael Bush to back up Matt Forte.  The Bears suffered last season when Forte hurt his knee because they didn’t have a capable backup.  Marion Barber had the football IQ of a Pop Warner player and didn’t know when to run out of bounds and when to stay in bounds.  For the record, when you are WINNING and trying to RUN OUT the clock, YOU DON’T RUN OUT OF BOUNDS.  Michael Bush knows how to do that by running OVER whoever is in front of him. I got to watch Michael Bush play every week when he was in college because I lived in Louisville at the time.  He was a phenomenal athlete that could play QB, RB and WR.  He’s been stuck playing second fiddle to Darren McFadden in his NFL career but he thrived when McFadden went down to injury.  The biggest thing that Bush will help with is short yardage.  The Bears have been embarrassing for the last few seasons at 3rd or 4th and short and goal line situations.  The offensive line couldn’t get any push on the defensive line.  The running backs couldn’t hit the hole and fall forward to get a yard.  Michael Bush can get that yard even with bad blocking in front of him.  I think Michael Bush is going to get about 7 rushing TDs this season if not more.  Matt Forte better stop pouting and come prepared to play or else Bush will supplant him in the starting lineup.  Forte can’t afford that if he ever wants to sign that big money free agent contract.  Bears fans are going to love Michael Bush.












Jason Campbell will be a quality backup quarterback just in case Jay Cutler goes down to injury for a third season in a row.  The Bears relied on Caleb Hanie the last two years and he was barely qualified to bag groceries.  Jason Campbell has starting experience for the Redskins and some playing time that didn’t totally kill him in Oakland.  He has an overall QB rating of 82.8 with 74 touchdowns and 50 interceptions with 14,417 yards.  Or in other words, about 20 times better than Caleb Hanie.  While I’m hoping that nothing happens to Jay Cutler this season, it won’t be an automatic season ending situation for the Bears.

Jason Campbell







Continuing with the offensive improvements, the second round draft pick for the Bears this season could end up becoming the best wide receiver in the team’s history.  Of course, that is like making your goal to become the valedictorian of a class of 5 but Alshon Jeffery has all the tools to be a mega superstar.  I watched him play a lot while he was at the University of South Carolina.  His play suffered in his last season but his quarterback in college was a drunken bum.  In the NFL, I expect a fully motivated Jeffery to dominate.  His ceiling is being a Calvin Johnson clone.  His floor is being the Mike Williams from USC.  Let’s hope he gets much closer to the ceiling.  He’s 6’4″ and 225 pounds.  I can’t remember the last time that the Bears had a WR with that kind of size.  It should be Jay Cutler’s dream come true to have Jeffery to lob the ball to in the red zone.  I think Alshon can get 5 TDs in his rookie season.  Can you imagine how hard it could be for a 5’10 DB to have to stop the 6’4 Jeffery from going up and getting the ball in the end zone?

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While these other bright spots on offense have the Bears fans excited, it is the addition of Brandon Marshall that has the most potential to lead the Bears to the promise land.  The combination of Cutler and Marshall in Denver was off the charts.  The two seasons that they were teammates, they hooked up for 206 receptions and 2590 yards.  Only Wes Welker had more catches and only Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne had more yards.  The Bears currently have the longest streak in the NFL of not having a 1000 yard receiver in 9 seasons.  Marty Booker was the last one to do it for the Bears.  I think it is a safe bet that Marshall, if he can stay on the field, will end that streak.  There will be a lot of singing of “Bear Down” in Soldier Field this season because of Cutler to Marshall.  Bears fans won’t recognize it because I’m not sure they have ever seen anything like it in a Bears uniform.

Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall

The only potential downfall of the offense this season is the same as it has been for the last few seasons.  The offensive line has A LOT of question marks.  Will Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams be healthy?  Can Webb be effective?  Will the rest of the line stay healthy?  This definitely isn’t your dad’s Bears OL with Hilgenberg, Thayer, Bortz, Covert and Van Horne.

Black-n-Blues Brothers






A healthy Carimi could be the answer to the Bears prayers.  Last year’s first round draft pick, hardly played last season before injuring his knee and being placed on IR.  His return this season, if healthy, would be like the Bears having two first round draft picks this year.  If holes are open for Bush and Forte and Cutler has time to throw the football to Marshall, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery, the Bears will be Super Bowl Contenders.  That is a big if but it is possible.

As bright as the season looks for the offense, it could be just the opposite for the defense.  The first draft pick of the Phil Emery era was a huge gamble on defense.  Shea McClellin from Boise State was that draft pick.  While most scouts had him pegged as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, the Bears drafted him to be an undersized DE in a 4-3 defense to help Julius Peppers get to the QB.  I’m not certain he will be able to do it. had him graded at an 84.5 and Mike Mayock had him as a 5th round value.  How will he fare against 315 pound offensive linemen pushing him around?  It might take him a couple of years to mature into the role and the Bears defense doesn’t have a couple of years to wait.  Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman have a lot of miles on them for an NFL player…especially on defense.  Early rumors had the Bears in the lead to land Mario WIlliams but the Buffalo BIlls threw a boatload of money at him and the Bears couldn’t match it.  That would have been a tremendous signing for the Bears but now they will have to hope that Stephen Paea can earn his draft slot from last year and that McClellin can prove all the naysayers wrong.  The corners and safeties are going to need the DL to get a good pass rush to help them.  Good QBs and good WRs eat the Cover Two defense alive.  Steve Smith in the playoffs several years ago.  Aaron Rodgers last year.  Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.  Brett Favre for years.  It’s a bend but don’t break defense.  As the players get older, slower and more injured (Urlacher won’t be ready until preseason games start), the defense is going to be a liability unless some of the draft picks from recent years start to pan out.  Looking at the track record of Jerry Angelo in that department, I don’t have faith that they will.

I fear that this year could end up reminding Cutler and Marshall of their days in Denver…when they would lose 38-35 every week.  Especially if they are scoring with quick strikes causing this defense to be on the field for great amounts of time.

Here is their schedule and my prediction:

Week 1 – vs. Colts – WIN

Week 2 – @ Packers – LOSS

Week 4 – vs. Rams – WIN

Week 5 – @ Cowboys – WIN

Week 6 – @ Jaguars – WIN

Week 7 – vs. Lions – LOSS

Week 8 – vs. Panthers – WIN

Week 9 – @ Titans – Win

Week 10 – vs. Texans – LOSS

Week 11 – @ 49ers – LOSS

Week 12 – vs. Vikings – WIN

Week 13 – vs. Seahawks – WIN

Week 14 – @ Vikings – WIN

Week 15 – vs. Packers – LOSS

Week 16 – @ Cardinals – WIN

Week 17 – @ Lions – LOSS

Overall – 10-6 record.  NFC Wildcard.

Lovie Smith, like a cockroach, finds a way to survive…again.






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