Chicago Bears are not far from being a title contender

By Matt Gabrielson

Every year you see teams that you don’t expect make a run to the Super Bowl, sometimes even walking away with the Vince Lombardi trophy.  The Baltimore Ravens made that run this past year really surprising many people in the NFL world.  The Chicago Bears could very well be next in line to make such a jump.

Last season the Bears may very well have been arguably the best team in the NFL to not make playoffs. The Bears started out the season 7-1, but went 3-5 down the stretch finishing the year with a 10-6 record missing out on the playoffs.  Despite finishing 10-6 the Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith, and hired Marc Trestman to be the new head coach.

On defense the Bears will return a lineup nearly intact from the NFL’s fifth ranked defensive unit in 2012.  The two biggest questions surrounding the Bears on defense are the future’s of both defensive tackle Henry Melton, and middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.  Against the pass the Bears should be very strong again with Charles Tillman, and Tim Jennings returning after both made the pro bowl in 2012.  The defensive line will be strong even if Melton does not return.  Between pro bowler Julius Peppers and the emergence of Corey Wooton, opposing quarterbacks will have a lot to fear when playing the Bears in 2013.

Offensively is where the Bears need the most work if they want to make the championship jump in 2013.  The Bears do have a great core returning on offense with Jay Cutler at quarterback, Brandon Marshall at wide receiver, and Matt Forte returning at running back.  With those kind of weapons returning the Bears are already in a tremendous position to score nearly at will, if all cylinders fire like they are suppose to.

The changes that will need to be made to see the offense meet expectations all revolve at the very front of the offense, the offensive line and tight end.  Since acquiring Cutler prior to the 2009 season the Bears offensive line has been one of the worst in the NFL.  The Bears are going to have to address this need not only to make a title run, but finally keep Cutler on the field for an entire season.  Cutler has spent the majority of his Bears career running for his life.  There are plenty of free agents available and there will be plenty in the draft for the Bears to make the changes needed to properly protect their franchise quarterback.

Tight end became a glaring need about mid season last year.  Kellen Davis is a decent blocker, but seemed to have a problem catching the ball the few times Cutler tried to get it to him.  Not only did Davis have trouble catching the ball, but when he did he seemed to have a real problem staying on his feet.  If you look across the league the offenses that are truly producing all have a very dependable game changing tight end.  Much like the offensive line there are plenty of options not only in free agency, but also in the draft to drastically improve the team at tight end.

Looking at the overall roster the Bears have to know if the right moves are made they will be right up there among the league’s elite.  The Bears as an organization have made a drastic shift in the past few years.  This no longer is the franchise content with just being relevant, now this is a team looking to pull the trigger in which ever way it can to win a championship.  For the fans of the Bears it may be time to start getting excited because they are in the process of maybe putting Chicago back at the top of the football universe.

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