Last year the Chicago Bears showed signs of being quite explosive on offense. In week one, their offense managed to put up a whopping 41 points at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Bears fans thought this was a sign of things to come. In a lot of games this would prove to be true, such as the 51 point explosion against the Tennessee Titans in week nine. While many of those points came from the defense, All Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall managed to haul in three touchdown passes for himself.
Other times, the Bears failed to put more than 20 points on the board, this happening on six different occasions and only once coming away victorious. Many attribute these performances to the lack of protection up front for quarterback Jay Cutler. Others would say that injuries played a big role in a few of those games. In both cases I would agree, but where it went wrong for me was the day they decided to let Mike Tice control the offense. Tice was never the greatest play caller, nor could gain the utmost respect out of his players. I also believe he and Cutler never had a strong relationship to begin with.
In new head coach Marc Trestman, the Bears have an experienced, highly prepared, and offensive minded play caller at the helm. Trestman’s most notable positions in the NFL have been as an offensive coordinator. In that position, he coached Rich Gannon to an MVP award and Super Bowl appearance just over a decade ago and as the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator in 1995, Jerry Rice broke the (then) all-time single season receiving yards record.
Are Bears fans thinking what I’m thinking at this point? Under Mike Tice’s God awful play calling, one of the worst offensive lines in the entire NFL, and in his first year with the Bears, Marshall caught 118 passes for 1,508 yards, and 11 touchdowns while earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and an All Pro Team selection. Now, that’s nothing short of an incredible season. However, Marshall may be just getting started.
On the first day of Free Agency the Bears signed a proven left tackle in Jermon Bushrod to protect his quarterback, and a big, athletic pass catching tight end in Martellus Bennett. While Cutler was probably the happiest guy at Halas Hall on Tuesday, I can guarantee you the second happiest was none other than Brandon Marshall. Both of these signings don’t just take pressure off of Cutler, but Marshall too. Add in the fact that Cutler and Marshall have a surplus of quarterback/receiver chemistry between them, and let me tell you what Chicago, you have something to be excited about.
With Trestman calling the plays this year, I can guarantee Cutler will make his share of throws down field. His offenses are known to be wide open. And while Chicago has always committed to running the ball (and I have no doubt they will continue that trend) I think Bears fans can finally be excited about a passing game that will utilize tailback Matt Forte the correct way all of the time, especially in the screen game. They will see a tight end run a route, jump up in the air, extend his hands outward, watch the ball touch his hands, and as he clutches the ball bringing it back to his body, here’s the most incredible part of the sequence – If all goes according to plan, he will hold onto it.
The most beautiful part about all of these changes though, is what Brandon Marshall may have planned next. Last year was a fun ride for Marshall, but with all the aforementioned in place, he could be set to explode this year even more than he did in 2012.