I'm as excited as anyone for the 2012 season to get underway, I think it could be one of the best seasons in recent memory. However, when there is so much excitement and build-up there is always room for a letdown. Now, since I am looking out for all here on WCG, I figured I would try and temper everyone's expectations for this year. Obviously, I want to be wrong, but frankly, this is more likely than the Bears getting 12 wins and waltzing to the Super Bowl.If you want to see disappointing seasons, look no further than the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles. For starters, they had a league-wide target put on their back thanks to Vince Young's "dream team" statement. The Eagles "won" the shortened off season and expectations quickly soared to astronomical heights, but the team struggled to an 8-8 playoff-less season.
So what happened? It's easy to dismiss it all as just the "dream team" stuff. Football is the ultimate team sport and getting all that new blood together takes time for guys to develop rapport and "gel."
The Eagles had a new defensive coordinator last year and they had new starters in Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Babin. The secondary, mainly, took a long time to get sorted out and play inconsistently all year long.
The Bears, on the other hand, shouldn't have this problem on defense and that's not what I'm worried about, however, on offense is where these problems could lie.
The Bears have a new offensive coordinator and sure, Jay Cutler loves it and the system, but who knows how long it will take him to get his timing and rhythm with the receivers and new addition Michael Bush.
The worst is the offensive line. If the camp position battles drag on past the second preseason game, when is the line going to have time to gel? The worst thing that could happen is something like last year where they take four or five games to come together. Or even worse they might not gel at all.
But on defense, there is one area that concerns me, safety. From Brad Biggs' positional review:
It takes time for safeties to develop a working chemistry with one another as well as the cornerbacks and the rest of the defense. That doesn't happen in the offseason, training camp, exhibitions or in half a season. The Bears need to find a combination that works for them and stick with it. They need one that isn't getting beat over the top from time to time.
It's important for the safeties to stay healthy and keep their starting spots for the defense to have consistency too. For all the veterans on this team, there are a lot of new faces and enough young guys still trying to prove their worth to run the risk of a season of up and down play.
The Bears, for the most part, are in a win-now mode and most think Lovie Smith will be gone if he misses the playoffs, so for his sake, he needs the team to come together and put all these questions to rest in training camp. Otherwise, we might see a coaching change and that would cause even more upheaval and inconsistency heading into next year.
So here's hoping the Bears gel together in training camp and come out as a cohesive unit. Otherwise we could be in for another disappointing 8-8 season followed by a small re-building period with a new coaching regime.