Looking back at my Top 10 Most Important Chicago Bears of 2012

Happier times... - Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Which Chicago Bears will be most critical to the teams success in 2013? Starting on Thursday I'll kick off my annual series listing the Top 10 Most Important Chicago Bears of 2013, but before that we'll look back at last seasons list.

Back in 2009, when I was asked to be a contributing writer for Windy City Gridiron, the first ongoing series that I worked on was the Top 10 Most Important Chicago Bears. It was our editor's way of ensuring that this rookie wouldn't struggle with finding ideas to write about.

Here we are in 2013, and for the 5th consecutive year I'm still using that idea to generate discussion on WCG.

Before I take a look back at last years Top 10, I'll give a little insight as to what I think about when compiling the list.

Some things I thought about when compiling this list were: what potential impact they may have, how much the team will look to the individual for guidance or leadership, how badly the team would suffer if they lost the player to injury, and other intangible attributes.

As with any list that isn't based off hard cold facts, it's all subjective. You may disagree with my Top 10, and that's ok. I've had a kicker on my list, I've had coaches on my list, and I've always had the same #1. Here is a recap of the 2012 Top 10 Bears.

I repeat, this is a recap of last years list. We always have some skimmers that think this list applies to this season. Don't be that guy...

Click the number to jump to the article about each Important Bear from 2012.

10) Shea McClellin - I felt the Bears needed a 3rd defensive end to step up and take some reps from Pep and Izzy. Who knew that it would be Corey Wootton that would leapfrog the #1 draft pick for playing time.

9) Stephen Paea - The Bears needed to replace Anthony Adams, who they let walk following his 2011 season, and they were hoping Paea could start next to Henry Melton. He still has some room to grow, but he did start 14 games in 2012.

8) Matt Forte - With Mike Tice taking over play calling last year, I expected him to lean of the run game.

7) Chris Conte - Bottom line is the Bears needed some stability from the safety position, and they received it with Conte and Major Wright.

6) Julius Peppers - Peppers is the most talented defensive lineman on the roster, and they needed (and still need) him to play like a Pro Bolwer.

5) J'Marcus Webb - I left Gabe Carimi off the list last year because I assumed he'd be fine, and it would be Webb that needed to step up and play better. Webb did improve, and Carimi is now a Buc.

4) Mike Tice - Yea, that experiment didn't work too good.

3) Brian Urlacher - I don't think anyone expected Urlacher to struggle so much from the knee injury that ended his 2011 season.

2) Brandon Marshall - I'd say Marshall did his part last year, and then some.

1) Jay Cutler - It's always Jay, will he be #1 again this year?

Now some fun facts about the lists!

As previously stated, Jay Cutler was #1 in every list. The only two other Bears to appear in every Top 10 list to date are Urlacher and Forte. I'll bet that changes this year...

The coaches that made the cut through the years were Lovie Smith as a defensive coordinator (Remember when he gave himself that job?), d-line coach guru Rod Marinelli, o-line coach guru Mike Tice, and offensive coordinators Tice and Mike Martz. I wonder if we'll see a coach or two this year...

Check out these 'blasts from the past' names from the first Top 10; Kevin Payne, Orlando Pace, Tommie Harris, and Nathan Vasher.

How about these from V2: Chris Harris and Chris Williams. Harris is now a coach in the organization, and Williams is another failed #1 draft pick of Jerry Angelo.

With a new coaching regime in place we're sure to have some new names on the Top 10 Most Important Chicago Bears of 2013. Tune in tomorrow to see #10!

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