The Chicago Bears are, for all intents and purposes, in a rebuilding mode. There is an entire shift in paradigm occuring at Halas Hall, and it's likely the largest one this team has ever experienced.
Throughout the team's history, Chicago has been known for a fearsome defense, and just enough of an offense to get by. Defense wins championships. We get off the bus running. End of story.
There was a little bit of a ripple in that philosophy in 2010, when head coach Lovie Smith hired Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator... A completely different direction from the traditional Ron Turner, who had been, for the most part, nearly every other offensive play-caller the Bears had ever had.
Martz was known as an offensive genius, but unfortunately given the task of running his high-octane system with low-octane players. He never backed off of his shoot-out game plan... Until Lovie Smith stepped in. Balance, Mike... We need more balance. Run the ball more. Let the defense take care of things. Status quo.
Out goes Martz after two seasons, and in comes Mike Tice. He'd never run an offense before, but he knew one thing: be balanced and run the football. That's what we do here. That's what we've always done.
After his first season as General Manager, Phil Emery had seen enough.
Lovie Smith, and the old, traditional Chicago Bears, got the boot. We have to keep up with the rest of the league... We have to be smarter than them. We need measurables, and technology, and dynamic systems with dynamic players. We've got to evolve. (gasp)
Just reading that word will send some folks into a tizzy. The Bears have tradition, but for the last thirty years or so, that tradition hasn't resulted in too much. So it was time for a change.
Enter Marc Trestman.
You want an offense? He's the guy that will give you an offense. And partnered with Phil Emery, we're seeing an entire shift in philosophy. The Bears will be an offensive-minded team. Emery won't neglect to bring talent to the defensive side of the ball, but he wants coach Trestman to build a machine on offense.
Since Trestman has been in town, he's done some evaluations, and already kicked some of his offensive guys to the curb. Out with the old, in with the new. His system. His philosophy. His offense.
And then there's the matter of Jay Cutler. Cutler's in the final year of his contract. He's basically got a one-year job interview that is just beginning. Honestly, though, Trestman will know by the second or third game of the season whether Cutler is his quarterback of the future. That will be interesting to watch.
But, with all of this happening at Halas Hall, we have to keep a level-headed approach. Everyone wants a championship, but for a team that is undergoing one of the largest philosophy changes in history, and with a new head coach and slew of new players, it will likely take some time to be effective.
For 2013, what should our expectations be? Anything short of a Super Bowl is a failure? What if Trestman mirrors Lovie Smith's final season (10-6, no playoffs)? What if the team wins 9 games but makes it as a Wild Card?
This is my question to you: What needs to happen in 2013 for you to consider it a successful season?
Take some time to think about it, and let us know what you think.