So I've finally resolved my issues with the computer by installing Google Chrome, which allows me to type from the visual view. Back On Topic: I took my time to research what the coaches themselves seem intent on improving, and what the World's Greatest Bears Fans want to see. This post will be the first of two posts made, and this will (obviously) focus on the ever-so-exciting Free Agency Class of 2012. Make the jump to find out more.
When placing all the facts, tweets, rumors, reports, fanposts, etc, the list of improvements that must be made comes out as such: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Pass Rush/DL, Secondary, Tight End, and Back-up QB. I'm not going to make a dream list just yet, but I'll go into depth with each position and list a few names. Feel free, actually, I encourage for my fellow Bears fans on these boards to list players they want in the comments, as a "FA Extravaganza!" post will come soon when a good list comes to shape. Anyway, lets get talking about these positions, shall we?
This has been identified as the #1 position of need, as Mike Tice himself has stated the Bears do not have the player he needs for his offense to be successful:
"If you're going to take advantage of the box count and you're going to get the ball to that guy with single coverage, you need a guy who is going to get open more than 90 percent of the time. We don't have a guy who has stepped up, in my opinion, and shown us that ability. We either have to develop one who is in the building or we have to bring one in via the draft or free agency.
Well WCG, we are in luck, as it is likely the WR pool in FA will be the deepest it has been in years. Players such as Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, and Dwayne Bowe, headline this years's stunning group. Its not all about size, rather, Tice seeks someone who will consistently win 1-on-1 battles in man coverage. Any of those 3, or really any vet brought in will do wonders for the offense. Shoot, why not bring in 2 vets? Jay Cutler needs all the weapons he can get.
This has been an issue which has seen minimal improvement in Tice's first 2 years in Chicago. In 2010, they were by far the worst unit in the NFL, and in 2011 they still ranked somewhere in the top 5-10 in sacks allowed. Mike Tice seems comfortable with the OT position as J'Marcus Webb seems to be his guy at LT where Gabe Carimi is the man at RT; however, this does not mean the Bears won't consider beefing up the interior as well as adding depth in all positions. There are a few good OG/C players expected in FA, with Carl Nicks being #1 on the expected list. Not real deep in the OT position, though. What our current group has, though, are size and youth. They helped pave the way for the 9th best running game in the NFL, but, most of those yards came to the outside rather than going straight up the gut. Maybe, we could bring in a new RG and place Spencer back to Center. Chris Williams played rather well at LG, but a long term "Plan B" should be considered given his injury history.
Defensive Line/Pass Rush
Julius Peppers is still all thats man with 11 beastly sacks and a few forced fumbles for 2011. Israel Idonije is a solid vet who I would still bring back. And the DT position was the most productive it has ever been under Lovie Smith with 14 sacks; 7 for Henry Melton, 4 for Amobi Okoye, and 3 for Stephan Paea. So, whats the problem? Behind Peppers and Izzy, there is virtually no talent at the DE position. We've witnessed flashes from time-to-time with Chauncy Davis impressing a few, but really there is nothing to be feared as a 3rd man. In Lovie's view, you can never have enough talented pass rushers, and the Bears simply don't have enough talented pass rushers. Cliff Avril may hit the scenes in FA, where old yet reliable Robert Mathis will be expected to hit the waters. And, I'm sure there are 1 or 2 players the fans would like to see the Bears pursue in FA to aid in the pass rushing dept. It will also help to find a beast NT to aid against the running game as well as command double teams in the passing game.
Once again, we have no consistency from anyone not named Charles Tillman as both Safety positions as well as the #2 CB position have seen mulitple starters, again. This time, though, it appears they will finally attempt to right this position, and they have good reasons why. Tim Jennings looked solid at times, but also his height or lack thereof was part of his problems in pass coverage. Zach Bowman...no. Chris Conte turned out to be a rather nice surprise at FS, then he joined the long list of players on IR. Major Wright showed flashes of greatness, but he too was bugged by injuries as well as poorly timed mistakes. CB in particular must be restored to order, as both Tim Jennings and Zach Bowman are FAs, and neither of them truly showed enough to keep their job long term. I'd rather take a player in the early rounds of the upcoming draft, but the FA list is a good one, one which includes Brandon Carr, Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, and if lucky Carlos Rogers. The Safety position needs depth especially if Wright can't stay healthy, but if both Wright and Conte can stay on the field, then those are our starters.
With Mike Tice taking over, he will certainly have TEs more involved in the passing game. Kellen Davis may benifit from this, and Matt Spaeth is pretty balanced himself, but nothing from this TE group makes me say "wow". Of course many would want Jermichael Finley if he doesn't get franchised, but there are also a few good players available including a solid player in Fred Davis. Basically, a receiving threat must be found at the TE position, but said player must also be able to block like a beast in the running game. A great player may be easier to find in the draft, though.
Perhaps the easiest position to fill, but one with a great deal of importance. Caleb Hanie all but proved he isn't an NFL caliber QB with the Bears going 0-4 while he was the starter, killing what little chance the Bears had at the playoffs. Light was shone, though, in the form of Josh McCown. He will never set the world on fire with his play, but he proved manageable enough to warrant consideration as the direct back-up to Jay Cutler. Plus, the terminology is likely to stay the same, so his understanding of said terminology as well as solid play will help the Bears immensely. Other options include one Kyle Orton, Chad Henne, Alex Smith, and the superstar/all-pro back-up Matt Flynn, who all but appears will be the most contested FA out there.
There is my full analysis of the situation in Chicago. As said in the beginning, please list players you the fan want to see so hopefully before I leave for bootcamp, the second edition of "FA Extravaganza!" may be typed for all to enjoy. Sound off everyone!