Time to forgo family functions, work/school related duties, and world events on Sundays to follow our beloved Bears and the rest of the NFL. After adding a plethora of new faces to our 53 man roster, lets look at who will have the biggest impact for the Bears this season. Jump with me if you want to live.
For prosperity's sake, I'll admit that my final 53-man roster was two players off; gone are Thomas (to IR) and Clark, and in are UFO and Kyle Adams. Hopefully that means we'll be running the ball more consistently this year and not have to wait for a bye week for Lovie to suppress Mad Martz. With all of the new players we've added to the roster, though, who will have the biggest positive impact on us this season? My top candidates are below, but feel free to vote "Other" and include your player in the comments section.
Marion Barber - The case for the Barbarian is simple: we stink at short yardage and Chester Taylor failed to be the proper complement last year to Matt Forte. Barber's a pure short yardage back at this stage of his career, with the brutal pounding his body's taken over the years with his particular brand of bruising any defender that attempts to tackle him. He could have a huge impact on our offense this year if he can make the Bears efficient again at converting third and short or goal to go situations into touchdowns rather than field goals or punts.
Brandon Meriweather- I love this move, mainly because its the kind of savvy pickup that we generally don't do. Say what you will about Angelo ignoring major improvements to the O-Line (other than Carimi) but his free agent crop of one-year wonder-deals got the icing to the cake of
Gholston/Roy/Amobi deals. Despite his potential coverage/mental miscues, he's at worst an upgrade over our backup safeties Conte, Steltz, and Venable, and best case pushes Major Wright to play at a higher level or start over Wright. We'll see what he actually brings to the table during the season, but he's undeniably an upgrade to our defense.
Amobi Okoye- A.O.'s performance in the preseason bumps Stephen Paea off my list for the time being; three sacks in the preseason and an ability to contribute at both tackle spots makes him an exciting addition to the defense on the cheap. While Gholston was being beat out for a roster spot by Mario Addison and Nick Reed, Okoye was pumping the brakes on the new era of Paea. Okoye has a lot to prove this year, and will see either starter's minutes or a be a key contributor off the bench.
Roy Williams - Your Boy Roy (HA!) joins the Bears on a one-year deal that is presumably his last chance to show he can still contribute as an NFL wide receiver. With the best season of his career being with Martz in Detroit, there is high hopes and expectations that Roy can be the big wideout we need here in the land of midget ballcatchers. However, his preseason drops and conditioning have left a lot to be desired; if he can turn it on like he expects, he could be a major upgrade for our offense.
Gabe Carimi- With Kreutz gone, Carimi becomes the defacto anchor of our line. At right tackle, he doesn't have the pass blocking responsibilities that Webb will have, but he'll need to prove that he can operate on an island in pass protection so that Webb can receive help from TEs and RBs, and hopefully lead the way for Forte and Barber on handoffs. He may or may not already be the best lineman we have before even playing a regular season down, but his development is crucial as he has the most ability to play at the highest level possible.