Espn.com Chicago writer Jeff Dickerson had his weekly mail bag where he answered fans questions. One of the most intriguing was his response to a fan regarding who he thought would have a breakout season for the Bears.
And you can check it out immediately after the jump...
Q: Jeff, who do you think will have a breakout season for the Bears this year? Is there a player capable of having the kind of impact Izzy Idonije or D.J. Moore had in 2010? -- Charlie, Long Grove, Il.
A: It's hard to measure the impact of an offensive lineman, because unlike other positions, you don't use standard statistics like sacks, interceptions, touchdowns, etc. to evaluate how a player performed in a given year. But my vote goes to second year offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb. I don't know for sure if he'll be a permanent left tackle or a right tackle, but he did a nice job up front starting 12 games as a rookie seventh-round draft choice out of West Texas A & M. Predictably, there were times when Webb struggled last season, however, I'm expecting quite a bit of growth from the tackle from Year 1 to Year 2. Webb delivered a memorable speech at the 2011 Brian Piccolo Award -- an honor he shared with veteran defensive lineman Anthony Adams -- back in April at Halas Hall, and while the ability to speak in public doesn't automatically make you a good football player, the time and energy Webb poured into preparing for the speech, at least to me, spoke volumes about his increasing maturity level. Plus, Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice is a big fan of Webb's work and potential, and at the end of the day, I haven't met many people who know more about offensive line play than Tice.
Webb is a pretty good candidate to have a breakout season considering the 2nd year is usually where you see marked improvement from an offensive tackle. Along with Webb there are quite a few other Bears who belong in the potential breakout season discussion. Here are 5 guys on the current Bears roster that comes to mind.
Bennett started off the 2010 off-season injured and fell behind Devin Aromashodu and Devin Hester in the depth chart. When Aromashodu struggled to adapt to new OC Mike Martz's system, Bennett stepped into Aromashodu's spot and never looked back. Bennett's role got a little bigger when the coaches decided to cut back on Hester's receiving duties so he can focus more on special teams. With Martz's desire to get Bennett the ball more in 2011, it's no question Bennett might be the most primed Bears player to have a breakout season.
Melton starred in his second season as a situational pass rusher, but now with Tommie Harris out of the picture the 3 technique DT role is left for Henry Melton for the taking. With him bulking up to 294 and rumored to not have lost his speed and athleticism, Melton has geared himself to have a significant impact on the defensive line in 2011.
Wright injuries in the off-season and early on in the season robbed him from developing into a starter his 1st year. This year Wright should have an opportunity to earn a starting spot at one of the safety spots.
This is more of a make or break season for Chris Williams who flamed out at the Left Tackle position and is now trying to find a home at LG. Williams certainly has the athleticism to play the position, but lacks the strength and mean streak to hold off opposing DT's. The best case scenario is that Williams has dedicated this lockout off-season in the weight room to strengthen up. Williams has the potential to be a decent starting LG in this league, but needs time to develop.
Wootton was mostly used last season to give Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers a breather every now and then, but should be in position this year to have a breakout season. Wootton has pretty good size for the position, and with an off-season spent most likely in the weight room he should be a lot stronger his 2nd year in the league.