Game week is finally here, and the Chicago Bears have some big expectations put on them, not only by the fans, but much of the local and mainstream media believe that the Bears should be a playoff team. What a difference a #1 receiver makes? The addition of Brandon Marshall changes everything offensively for the Bears, but is that enough for him to be the most valuable offensive player?
In my opinion the OMVP for Chicago will be 1 of 3 players, Marshall, Jay Cutler, or Matt Forte. Vote in the poll and tell us who you think it will be. And if you do go with 'Other', let us know who that is in the comment thread. More on the three after the jump.Matt Forte is a very skilled football player and he will make an impact in the run and pass game. Even with the new weapons at Cutler's disposal, this is still a Lovie Smith team, and that bus that they like to get off running is still in service. Barring injury I'd expect a thousand yard rushing season, and with the extra attention given to the wideouts, Matt Forte could be getting a lot of action in the flats. A 50 reception season isn't out of the question.
I think 80 catches and 1,000 yards receiving are a given for Marshall, but his presence will be felt in the entire passing game. The other receivers will all have a little more room to operate with B. Marsh on the field, and Jay Cutler will have more comfort chucking up to #15 if he's flustered. Marshall will go up and get it and he could flirt with the all time Bears receiving numbers.
I think the Bears were on their way to a special season last year before Cutler was injured. The following is from a recent NFL.com 'what if' piece;
Chicago had been playing lights-out before an MRI turned the lights out on Cutler's 2011 campaign. Consider these numbers from the Bears' five-game winning streak:
* The Bears outscored their opponents, 161-85.
* Cutler threw just three picks, while the club's turnover differential was a stout plus-eight.
* Chicago averaged nearly 32 minutes in time of possession.
* Opposing quarterbacks posted a 62.7 passer rating.
* Cutler was sacked just once per game.
The last stat might be the most telling. Much of Cutler's early-season mediocrity could be blamed on the fact that he had been running for his life. When Mike Martz, Chicago's offensive coordinator at the time, finally decided to start protecting Cutler, the quarterback started making big plays -- completing 10 passes of 25-plus yards during the five-game winning streak -- and cutting down on his mistakes.
I know all those numbers aren't on the offensive side of the ball, but a high scoring offense will be the best thing to happen to the Bears defense.
If the offensive line can improve their overall pass protection to slightly less than average, I think Cutler will set every Bears single season passing record.