This is my first in-depth fan post. I need not spell out for you that I am a Bears fan. Perhaps mentioning some bona fides, though: I was ten years old when they won Super Bowl XX. I believe in my heart and soul that defense wins championships. Charles Martin is the devil. Sweetness was the greatest football player who ever lived.
This post is a bit of a downer. I should mention that I hope I'm wrong about much of what I speak of now. These are opinions that I hope I'm wrong about and I solicit your comments in the hopes that you can convince me that I am wrong. These are my worries, not my convictions or hopes. They speak nothing to our strengths. If you wish, I will speak to our strengths and possibilities in a later post.
I. The Lions could (finally) roar.
We did not deserve to win our 2010 season opener, the first game we had against the Detroit Lions. It was luck, pure and simple, which I will take anytime, but we did not deserve to win it. The Lions had a hunger to win and start their season out right. We almost let them take that game away from us. Everyone remembers the Calvin Johnson catch, but few remember the drive itself. The Lions were moving the ball on us easily on that last drive.
The Lions' draft should scare the bejesus out of you. Their defensive line is now formidible. Their secondary is coming along. They have a truly great young safety in Louis Delmas who went through a sophmore slump, but I believe will come roaring back next year. I think the Lions have a one-two punch at receiver now. If they solve their injury problems at quarterback, the Lions can contend and their curse could be lifted.
II. The Defending Superbowl Champions are the Green Bay Packers
They build through the draft and they do it well. While Angelo was busy declaring he wanted four starters from this draft, the Green Bay Packers went out and got four starters. They addressed all of their needs and now have depth. They have a team that is built to last and the core of that team is still in full effect.
If you look at a list of needs for this draft for the Green Bay Packers and a list of draft players, it matches up and then some.
III. Our Victories were Suspect Last Year.
Most of our victories were by the slimmest of margins. The only exceptions were against the Carolina Panthers (a joke of a team last year) in Week 5 and the Vikings in Week 15, after the Metrodome, the Viking's home, literally fell in on itself.
19-14; 27-20; 20-17; 23-6; 22-19; 27-13; 16-0; 31-26; 24-20; 38-34: These are all very close games, games that a good team finds a way to win. They're a testament to the grit of this team. I love the Chicago Bears, but last year they were almost beaten by the Buffalo Bills, one of 2010's worst teams.
IV. Some of Our Defeats were Horrendous and Those Defeats were Offensive Line Focused
We lost games to some terrible teams. We were brutally beaten, and I mean beaten badly, by the Giants. The Giants game nearly killed Jay Cutler. We also lost to the the Redskins and the Seahawks. Add in the hellaciously embarrassing beatdown by the Patriots in our house that no one seems to remember and you get this: Last season was a fluke. It was not a season to build on, it was a season to be wary of.
We needed to build an offensive line in this draft. We needed multiple bodies. We got one first round pick, who I personally doubt is left tackle caliber. I'm not enamoured by Gabe Carimi. Don't get me wrong, I think he's good. He will be a contributor, and make our line better. He's decent, but he's not the only answer we needed. WE needed bodies, plural, on the offensive line. Angelo picked up ONE good offensive lineman and then what? Chris Conte? Nathan Enderle?
And Why? Because Martz wants a new toy to develop? Because Chris Conte's coach Clancey Pendergast is so buddy-buddy with Bears assistant coach Jon Hoke? I'm happy with our first two picks, Paea will do well and Carimi is a starter, but in my opinion our other picks were wasted.
V. Our Greatest Asset has been Taken from Us: Special Teams
Modifications to the procedure of kick returns is going to result in a greater number of touchbacks or so the rumor goes. In the heyday of the last decade, the Chicago Bears would pin our opponent to the endzone and win alot of our games in the subsequent battles for field position. Dave Toub is the best Special Teams Coordinator to ever bestride the earth and that pillar of strength has been diminished by a change in rules.
VI. The Martfense Requires Precision and Practice
The Chicago Bears offense is predicated on precisely time passes and route running. The longer this NFL lockout lasts, the more difficult it is to hone our offense into something approaching good-to-great.
So what do you guys think? Where am I wrong? What counterpoints any of these perceived weaknesses and worries?