Chicago Bears Should Focus on Linebackers Now
The Chicago Bears are going to have to play defense against Reggie Bush and the Detroit Lions now. Bush signed with the Lions today on a four year deal with an undisclosed dollar amount. Bush will likely have a scat back/receiver role for the Lions.
The move doesn’t hurt the Lions but having Joique Bell in addition to Bush is going to be tricky to defend. Among running backs last season, only Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints had more receiving yards than Bell in the NFL. Adding Reggie Bush really makes that soft cover-2 defense the Bears are likely to continue using questionable.
The Bears took care of the Lions twice last season. But the times are changing and the need for solid line backers to protect the flats is growing. That area always seems to be wide open for the Bears. In his prime, Brian Urlacher handled the sideline to sideline game very well. But with Urlacher aging and back up Nick Roach appearing to be heading elsewhere, the Bears are in need of another middle linebacker.
I think we see one drafted this year. There is no way the Bears enter next season without an addition. As of 4 p.m. today, Urlacher is technically still not a Bear. That leaves the obvious Lance Briggs as the leader of the unit. Special teams, J.T Thomas is under contract as well. But the reader gets a prize for naming the other linebackers still hanging around.
There’s Dom Decicco and Blake Costanzo. Patrick Trahan is around too…I think. He was cut three times last season, but I’m pretty sure the Bears eventually brought him back. And capping off the list is new comer, Lawrence Wilson. Wilson was abandoned by the Saints after an arrest. None of these players are worthy to start.
I like Costanzo. But is he going to help out at linebacker in 2013? The group is in desperate need. With the addition of yesterday’s signings, Martellus Bennett and Jermon Bushrod, the Bears should be able to focus their attention at linebacker and the offensive line in the upcoming draft.
I am just going to assume Urlacher will be back. If he is not, the Bears are in for a long season. And even if he does come back for a 14th season, the Bears need to start planning for the future at the position right now. If the Bears do indeed find it in their wallets to bring back Roach as well, that at least brings back all three starters from last season. Again though, age is not helping the situation.
I can say that age was the biggest concern of mine and many other fans last season. For the first eight games, the Bears proved all of us wrong as they played at record pace. But I think we are all in agreement that it started to wear them out for the second half of the year. Some youth would go a long way next year.