The Chicago Bears looked like they were on their way to a deep run in the playoffs last season.
Their season then took a turn for the worst. The Bears were 7-3 and playing some of the best football in the NFL. Then they lost quarterback Jay Cutler to injury, and their season was everything but over.
The Bears finished the season 8-8, going 1-5 in their last six games. To make matters worse, two games after losing Cutler, running back Matt Forte went down with a knee injury.
Fans were devastated, as there was so much potential for the Bears to make a playoff run, and with two injuries it was all gone.
Now heading into the first day of training camp, nothing but excitement fills the crisp air in Bourbonnais, IL.
For the first time in a while, the Bears focused on offense during the off-season. Now they get a healthy Jay Cutler back and a healthy Matt Forte back priming them for a run at NFC Supremecy.
The Bears made a splash this past off-season by adding a few new weapons to Cutler’s arsenal.
They went out and traded for a former teammate of Jay Cutler in Brandon Marshall. The two played in Denver together for three seasons and have the chemistry already in tact.
Marshall wasn’t the pick-up on the receiving side of the ball. The Bears traded up to select South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery gives the Bears a big physical receiver with good hands to go opposite of Marshall. While Marshall is attracting defensive help, Jeffery gives the Bears another down field target. Not to mention the skill to go up and get a jump ball in the back of the end zone.
For the first time in a while, the receiving core of the Bears could be a major strength of this team.
With Matt Forte having a Pro-Bowl season last year but toyed around with contract issues in the off-season, the Bears brought in former Oakland Raider Michael Bush to lighten the workload on Forte.
Now that Forte’s contract is settled, the Bears have a dynamic defense that can give opposing defenses fits.
With the addition of Jeremy Bates to the staff and Mike Tice as the Offensive Coordinator, the Bears offense could be one of the best in the NFL.
On the defensive side of the ball the Bears return a solid defense boosted by stars like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers.
With the window closing on their defense, the Bears used their first round pick on defensive end/outside linebacker Shea McClellin. They hope McClellin can provide valuable depth on the defensive line along Julius Peppers.
While the Bears defensive line and line backing core might be strengths, the secondary will need to improve. Lead by Charles Tillman, the Bears secondary will be key in shutting down opposing passing attacks. In the NFC North, they will have to deal with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Percy Harvin.
This camp will also see it’s share of position battles including the biggest one being Jamarcus Webb and Chris Williams battling it out for the left tackle position. While the offensive line seems to be a weakness for this team, that battle will be huge.
The secondary will also have a few battles going on during camp. The corner back position outside Charles Tillman is wide open, as well as a spot as a safety for the Bears defense.
Excitement is at a high the Bears haven’t seen in a while, possibly since they made their Super Bowl run in 2007. Now the Bears are ready to make a new run of their own. The team believes it’s one of the best in the NFL, giving fans something to be excited about.
This training camp should be a good one. With high expectations heading into camp, the season couldn’t get here soon enough. Sit back and enjoy the ride Bears fans, we have a pretty good team on our hands.