CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 16: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears talks with offensive coordinator Mike Martz in the second half against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Starting next week I'll debut my Top Ten Most Important Bears for 2011. I really enjoy doing this series, and this will be my third year doing it on Windy City Gridiron. It usually gets some good back and forth going with our members, and that's always a good thing. But before we get into my '11 Top Ten, I'd like to take a look back at the Chicago Bears I named as last years top ten.
There is no right or wrong on this list, it's all subjective, but I do have some criteria I try and follow. And as I did last year, I'll blockquote myself;
Some things I thought about when compiling this list were: what potential impact they may have, how much the team will look to the individual for guidance or leadership, how badly the team would suffer if they lost the player to injury, and other intangible attributes.
Here's the top 10 I came up with last year. Before the season started. This is a recap of last years list.
#10 - Robbie Gould - This pick was a little controversial. Some Bears fans didn't think a kicker should be on any best of list. My thinking was with an assumed higher powered offense, there would be more opportunities for Gould to kick. But that philosophy changed after the bye week and the terrible O-line play saw that the Greatest Show on Sod wouldn't happen. Gould did increase his leg strength, and he made 3 of 4 FG's from 50+.
#9 - Matt Forte - Forte ended up having a really good season, and the Martz offense ran more than usual. The Bears relied on Forte a lot more than any of us expected, and he came through with a fine year.
#8 - Olin Kreutz - Kruetz was an important part of the new offense last year, as he was the one responsible for all the new line calls and for knowing the multiple protection schemes. He was far from an elite center, but he's still the best option the Bears had.
#7 - Mike Martz - Martz proved to be able to adapt his game plan last year, and the Bears were a much more balanced team for it. He needs better O-line play to run what he'd like to run - time will tell if he can add in some of that stuff in '11.
#5 - Chris Williams - Williams was #5 because he was the left tackle. After a good finish to '09, he crapped the bed as a LT in 2010. His injury promoted the Bears to move him inside to left guard rather than shuffle the line around for his return.
#2 - Brian Urlacher - A healthy Urlacher is key to the Bears success. Defensively only he can do some of the things he can do. (Did that make sense?) Anyway, I'd expect Urlacher to make another appearance on my list this year.
#1 - Jay Cutler - I doubt the Bears would have made the playoffs had Cutler not reeled in some of his recklessness. As it was, he still had some 'are you kidding me?' moments. Another year in the Martz offense and the passing game could be special.