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Bears Looking To Improve On Third Down

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This takes a look at what the Bears have done in the off season to turn around their dismal performance on third down conversions.  Pat Kirwan credits Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jerry Angelo for making moves that should instantly increase that number.  Those moves are Devin Hester going to offense and the drafting of Greg Olsen and Garrett Wolfe.

First, the addition of Devin Hester to the offense is going to provide two things they desperately need: 1. A guy who can catch the quick screen on a high-percentage completion and run for a first down. The "smoke screen" series that Steve Smith runs for the Panthers should become a very important part of the Bears' third-down offense. 2. The threat of the reverse when Hester is in the slot, just like the Saints have with Reggie Bush, will hold a pass rusher and minimize underneath coverage on Bernard Berrian or Muhsin Muhammad. For example, if Hester comes from the side opposite Muhammad on the reverse fake, the outside linebacker can't hold off the curl by Muhammad until he knows Hester has the ball or not. By then, it's too late to cover the big wide receiver. Of course, as soon as teams don't honor Hester and drop off quickly, look for Rex Grossman to drop the ball off to Hester.

If one were to factor out Grossman from the equation, the Bears offense is starting to look pretty scary.  Opposing teams would have to decide which side of the ball they want to take their chances with.  Now bring Grossman back in and you get the uncertainty.  All the weapons in the world don't mean jack if you can't get the ball to them.  I have to believe not only from history, but also for my sanity that Grossman will improve over last year.  It will be really only his second year, he has another training camp under his belt and if all reports are right our new QB coach already has him doing things that he couldn't figure out last year.

When you think that with Berrian, Hester, Olsen, Davis, Clark and Wolfe that Moose could be the dump off man and get the easy defense, because everybody is worrying about something else, you have to like the Bears chances to have a drastically improved offense.