NP- I've been experiencing a ringing in my ears lately, and I can't figure out why.
MR. F- I can.
MR. F- You live in the Chicago area don't you.
MR. F- That ringing in your ears is from the "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPPPPPPP"ing noise made when Jay Cutler throws one of his mighty passes. When minicamp started you probably suffered some damage. Now that training camp is in full swing it is probably getting worse.
NP- I see. So will Jay Cutler be adding to his impressive string of winning seasons and postseason heroics this year?
MR. F- Actually, Jay Cutler has never played in a playoff game.
NP- That's not what I heard. That can't be right.
MR. F- No really.
NP- You are full of hooey.
MR. F- We will agree to disagree on that one.
NP-Well, the Bears have obviously answered any and all questions surrounding their quarterback situation. Are there any other question marks on this team?
MR. F- Lots. Lets start with, oh I don't know, the receivers. In Denver Cutler had Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and Tony Scheffler, who are all above average. In Chicago he's going to have Devin Hester whose primary skill as a receiver is drawing the pass interference penalty every now and then, and an assortment of Earl Bennetts and Rashied Davises and such. That's going to be an impediment.
NP- I'm sure Hester will have a 2000 yard season now that he has Cutler throwing to him. What else?
MR. F- Their left tackle is Orlando Pace, who I think played either for or with George Halas at some point in his career, and has played like 3 games in the last 2 years. They are also going to have a new right tackle and a new guard whos name is pronounced "Omeo" even though it's spelled "Omiyale". That's a lot of turnover and not very goodness on the offensive line.
NP- What about Matt Forte?
MR. F- He had a very good rookie year and looks like he's going to be a very good player. He carried 316 times last year though, so there is an injury risk there.
NP- What about the defense, can they get back to the level that they were at when they were NFC Champs in 2006?
MR. F- Well the players keep getting older, and the Bears keep using their free agent dollars and draft picks in the never ending quest to upgrade the offense. Their big acquisition on the defensive side of the ball is new D-line coach Rod Marinelli.
NP- The Rod Marinelli that coached the 0-16 Lions last year?
MR. F- The one and only.
NP- And he is a good coach why?
MR. F- Because Warren Sapp says he is.
NP- I see. Was it his fault that the Lions went 0-16?
MR. F- Of course not entirely his fault. But that doesn't make him a good coach either, and it certainly at least calls his coaching ability into question. I mean, he got the job because he was successful as the D-line coach in Tampa. He also had a Hall of Fame defensive tackle on that D-line in Warren Sapp and one of the best pass rushers of all time in Simeon Rice. He also had Derek Brooks being a cruise missle behind that line to clean up any messes. It would be kind of hard to not succeed with that kind of talent. I keep going back to that scene in the Breakfast Club where Farmer Ted tells Judd Nelson, "So I'm an idiot because I can't make a lamp?", and Judd Nelson says, "No, you're a genius because you can't make a lamp". In the NFL lots of coaches fail and its deemed not their fault, and are deemed geniuses because they can't make a lamp.
NP- Is Brian Urlacher still a good player?
MR. F- He's a solid player. He's not by any means a spectacular player or one of the best in the league at his position any more. As an all around linebacker Lance Briggs is better.
NP- Prediction time...
MR. F- The Bears are going to be under a lot of pressure with the addition of Cutler. The reality is they could open the season 0-3, because their schedule has them at Green Bay, then home against Pittsburgh, then at Seattle. Their road schedule isn't totally murderous, and they should be able to get at least 3 road wins. Their playoff chances could come down to a Monday Night home game in Week 16 against the Vikings. The Bears usually outperform what their talent level would dictate they will do because they are so good on special teams. I'm going to say 10-6 and probably a playoff spot.