Predicting the Chicago Bears’ 2014 Starters

Predicting the Chicago Bears 2014 Starters

Chicago Bears-Jay Cutler
Getty Images

With the NFL offseason activities getting under way, it is time to start analyzing where each new addition to the Bears will make their mark. With new faces on offense and special teams, here is a look at who will start for the 2014 Chicago Bears.

QB -- Jay Cutler

Chicago Bears-Jay Cutler
Getty Images

QB -- Jay Cutler

Chicago Bears-Jay Cutler
Getty Images

Heading into 2014 Cutler will once again be at the helm for the Bears' high powered offense. The big question this season is if Cutler can remain healthy and start all 16 games for the Bears. Without Josh McCown behind him this year, the Bears hope he can stay on the field.

RB -- Matt Forte

Chicago Bears-Matt Forte
Getty Images

RB -- Matt Forte

Chicago Bears-Matt Forte
Getty Images

Forte remains the starter in Chicago and will look to improve on his already stellar career numbers. He finished 2013 with 1,339 rushing yards and 9 TDs, along with 594 receiving yards with 3 TDs. A recent NFL Network poll had him listed at the 91st best player heading into 2014; something tells me Forte will be out to prove this wrong.

WR -- Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery

Marshall Jeffery
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

WR -- Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery

Marshall Jeffery
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall and Jeffery head into 2014 as the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. Both players are coming off Pro Bowl seasons after Marshall led the team in receiving TDs (12) and Jeffery led the team in receiving yards (1,421). With a healthy Jay Cutler both players figure to be a large part of the team's offense again this year.

TE -- Martellus Bennett

Chicago Bears TE- Martellus Bennett
Getty Images

TE -- Martellus Bennett

Chicago Bears TE- Martellus Bennett
Getty Images

In his first season with the Bears Bennett caught 65 balls for 759 yards and 5 TDs. Now with Jeffery drawing a lot more attention than he might have last season I would expect great things from Bennett once again in 2014.

OT -- Jordan Mills (RT) and Jermon Bushrod (LT)

JORDAN MILLS
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

OT -- Jordan Mills (RT) and Jermon Bushrod (LT)

JORDAN MILLS
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

After finding a gem in Mills in the fifth round of the draft last season, the Bears return all five offensive line starters for the first time in recent memory. With the veteran Bushrod to learn from, Mills should be able to improve on a very solid rookie campaign.

G -- Kyle Long (RG) and Matt Slauson (LG)

Chicago Bears-Kyle Long
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

G -- Kyle Long (RG) and Matt Slauson (LG)

Chicago Bears-Kyle Long
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bears took Long with their first round pick last season, it raised a few eyebrows. Now heading into his second season Long is considered one of the most solid blockers in the game. Along with Slauson, the two complete a very cohesive O-line that should be able to keep Jay Cutler on his feet again this season.

C -- Roberto Garza

Roberto Garza
Getty Images

C -- Roberto Garza

Roberto Garza
Getty Images

Garza is the unquestioned leader of this offensive line, though he has many miles on his tires. Heading into his 14th NFL season, Garza still shows he can hold his own, but the Bears added Brian De La Puente in the event that Garza is slowed by injuries this season.

DE -- Jared Allen (RE) and Lamarr Houston (LE)

Minnesota Vikings-Jared Allen
Getty Images

DE -- Jared Allen (RE) and Lamarr Houston (LE)

Minnesota Vikings-Jared Allen
Getty Images

Allen and Houston are the prized bulls of this newly refurbished defensive line. After parting ways with Julius Peppers, the Bears were able to bring in Houston and Allen via free agency. There is little doubt that both of these players can be double digit sack guys this season, though I'm sure Bears fans would be ecstatic if either one reached that mark.

DT -- Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff

Stephen Paea
Getty Images

DT -- Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff

Stephen Paea
Getty Images

Paea and Ratliff will have plenty of competition this season with the Bears drafting Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. I would give the nod to the veterans to start for now, though I would not be surprised if one of the rookies was able to crack the starting line-up by the end of the season. Either way there will be plenty of rotation along the line to give each guy ample rest time.

OLB -- Lance Briggs (Will) and Shea McClellin (Sam)

Lance Briggs
Jerry Lai USA Today Sports

OLB -- Lance Briggs (Will) and Shea McClellin (Sam)

Lance Briggs
Jerry Lai USA Today Sports

Lance Briggs looks to return to form this season after he was slowed by a shoulder injury last year. The wild card here is McClellin. After a lackluster attempt at DE the Bears moved McClellin to LB this season in hopes that he can use his athleticism better when he doesn't have his hand in the ground. Although Kaseem Greene had a decent showing filling in last season at LB, it looks as though McClellin will get the early nod to start here.

MLB -- DJ Williams

Adrian Peterson & DJ Williams
Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today Sports

MLB -- DJ Williams

Adrian Peterson & DJ Williams
Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today Sports

Williams is making his return from a season-ending injury last year and will need to hold off Jon Bostic to keep his starting spot. Although Bostic showed flashes of brilliance last season while filling in, Williams should get the start with his experience. After their horrendous defensive campaign last year, the Bears will need Williams' knowledge on the field this year.

CB -- Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings

Charles Tillman
Getty Images

CB -- Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings

Charles Tillman
Getty Images

After the Bears re-signed both starters this off-season, they drafted Kyle Fuller as the heir apparent to Tillman. This does not mean that Tillman is riding off into the sunset though. The greatest defensive back in team history will continue his ball-punching ways again for his final year as a Bear while Tim Jennings looks to continue where he left off last season after racking up 4 INTs and 3 forced fumbles.

Nickelback -- Kyle Fuller

Kyle Fuller Chicago Bears
Getty Images

Nickelback -- Kyle Fuller

Kyle Fuller Chicago Bears
Getty Images

Given the Bears' tendency to line up in the Nickel to start the game, I included Fuller because as the team's first round selection this is his best chance to get playing time. Though he will take over for Charles Tillman next year, Fuller will earn his stripes as the Bears' nickelback.

Free Safety -- Chris Conte

Chicago Bears-Chris Conte
Getty Images

Free Safety -- Chris Conte

Chicago Bears-Chris Conte
Getty Images

Although he drew the ire of most Bears fans last season, Conte will still be a fixture on defense this year. While he is coming off a shoulder surgery, I still believe that his 40 career starts will help him hold off M.D. Jennings for the starting spot, at least for now.

Strong Safety -- Ryan Mundy

New York Giants-Ryan Mundy
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Strong Safety -- Ryan Mundy

New York Giants-Ryan Mundy
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears brought in Mundy via free agency after letting Major Wright walk. Though he will receive plenty of competition from Craig Steltz and rookie Brock Vereen, I think Mundy will get the start for his experience in the defensive back-field but I would not be surprised to see Vereen here at some point.

Special Teams

Chicago Bears-Robbie Gould kicks FG
Getty Images

Special Teams

Chicago Bears-Robbie Gould kicks FG
Getty Images

While Gould returns to kick field goals, the rest are all fresh faces. No longer will Devin Hester wow the Bears fans returning kicks; instead Eric Weems and Micheal Ford will compete for that honor. Rookie Punter Pat O'Donnell has impressed at rookie camp so far and should fair well this season. Aside from Hester the biggest loss here is Long snapper Patrick Mannelly, who is contemplating retiring after 16 brilliant NFL seasons.

Mike Cuddy is a Chicago Bears writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeCuddy, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

Read more at http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/05/16/chicago-bears-still-have-a-lot-of-questions-to-answer-in-secondary/?9moeJ5CeY0Fulsd0.99


Around the Web