By Jason Fryer
The Chicago Bears had a slight hiccup Thursday night at Lambeau Field losing 23-10 while looking completely out of sync. In addition to losing the game, it was the first time in a number of years that members of the team were publicly questioning others on the team. As bad as it looked a few days ago (both on and off the field), I still feel this Bears team has the potential to be a very strong team for a couple number of reasons:
Every Bears fan loved what they saw from the new look Bears offense in week 1 against the Colts, and couldn’t keep their eyes open as Cutler and the rest of the Bears offense was taken apart. With that said, all great things take time and in the end can be great once their perfected. One example of this was shown during the 2007 season when the New York Giants started off with a record of 0-2 and gave up and average of 40 points. Following those two loss, the Giants held off the Redskins during a crucial week 3 game in Washington and won the game 24-17 and won 14 of their last 18 games including defeating the two teams that beat them in the first 2 weeks of the season (Dallas and Green Bay) in their respective stadiums.
So how does this relate to the Bears situation…the 2007 Giants had a new Defensive Coordinator in 2007 (Steve Spagnuolo) who after their first two games transformed them into one of the best defenses in the NFL. The 2007 Giants show me that if the Bears continue to try and perfect their offense, then they’ll be fine in the end.
The Bears started off the 2012 season 2-3 and the offensive line looked like it was a complete mess. However, following a Monday night loss in Detroit to the Lions, the Bears were able to recreate their line and become a much more productive line as they won the next 5 games and looked like the “sleeper team” entering the last quarter of the season. Is this ever going to be a dominant offensive line…no, but do I feel they can get back to where they were playing last year when they won 5 straight games…absolutely.
There weren’t a lot of positives taken from Thursday’s loss in Green Bay but one positive from the game was that the Bears defense only allowed 16 points to arguably the best defense in the entire league. If the Bears can hold Aaron Rodgers to 16 points while forcing him into throwing a interception (something he only did 6 times last year) then it shows you still feature a productive defense. If the Bears defense is able to stay healthy and play like they did last week, then this can still be considered one of the elite defenses in the NFL.
Surprisingly, the Bears Special Teams have been very average this year with not featuring any long return in addition to allowing a fake Field Goal that resulted in a Touchdown. In my opinion, I don’t feel the Bears will allow for a fake Field Goal to occur in the near future or the rest of the year. As for the Bears returns, I feel this is something they need to improve on as if they can produce a few long returns or “take one to the house” then the offense won’t have to start from within their 20 every time and will once again have a shorter field to play with.
In the end, I feel Thursday night was an aberration and not a trend, however, at the same time I’m not sure the Bears offense can reciprocate what they accomplished during the first week of the NFL Season. In the end, I still feel the Bears will be a playoff team and will have somewhere between 9-11 wins when it’s all said and done.