With the Packers Super Bowl victory, I'm sure Bears fans ponder how far the Bears are from being Super Bowl contenders. We hear football experts like Hub Arkush continue to praise the other teams in the division on their talent and depth, and that Angelo has put this franchise back with failed drafts and free agent acquisitions. For Tonight's post, I wanted to look deeper into that and see if he and other experts are right.
My first part of this series will start off with the offense, and comparing our starters and depth to the other teams in the division.
Quarterback: Packers Aaron Rodgers 27, Bears Jay Cutler 27, Lions Matthew Stafford 23, Vikings N/A
The Bears are on par in the most important position in football, Quarterback. Hate on the guy all you want, but the guy had you one game away from the Super Bowl in his 2nd season with the Bears with less around him. Jerry Angelo #1 priority this season should be doing everything possible to help Jay maximize off his potential. The only team that seems to not be on par of not having an idea player they want to build around is the Vikings.
Running Back: Vikings Adrian Peterson 25, Bears Matt Forte 25, Packers Ryan Grant 28, Jahvid Best 22.
The Bears are in good standing as they might have the best all-around back in the division in Matt Forte. He also is still young at 25 years old, so unless a serious injury occur the Bears won't be needing to spend a high round pick on a half back for awhile. The problem the Bears do have with this position is that they are not as deep at the position compared to the rest of the teams in the division. Chester Taylor will reportedly be release sometime this off-season, Khalil Bell and Harvey Unga are question marks, and Garrett Wolfe is mainly special teams player. Unga might be a keeper as a short yardage back, but they can use another change of pace back.
Offensive Line: Packers, Vikings, Lions, Bears
This is the one department that will keep the Bears from being contenders because it neutralizes every position on offense. The way I look at this line now as it is currently constructed is that it might be a two year process to rebuild this line. The only two guys that are worth starting next year are J'Marcus Webb and Olin Kreutz based off potential (Webb) and experience (Kreutz). This year and next years off-season will be critical for Jerry as he has to make conscious smart decisions when addressing this line.
Tight End: Jermichael Finley Packers 23, Greg Olsen Bears 23, Visanthe Shiancoe Vikings 30, Brandon Pettigrew Lions 25
The Bears are in good standing at the tight end position with Olsen and Kellen Davis. The Packers currently have the best tight end in the division, while the Lions have the deepest with Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. You can argue that the Vikings might have the second best TE in the division in Shiancoe, but I give the edge to Olsen.
Wide Receiver groups: Packers, Vikings, Bears, Lions
The Bears are not far behind in the receiver position as they are still young and have much more room for growth. The Packers are the class of the division at the receiver position while the Vikings have some pretty good talent at the position, and the Lions have Calvin Johnson. I would rank the Bears 3rd in the division at this position because outside Johnson they have better talent at the position than the Lions. They just need a veteran receiver that can compliment them because they are still young.
The Bears are behind on offense, but are close. The offensive line is a 2 year building process, but Angelo can certainly make it respectable by drafting the right prospects and acquire a free agent that can make an impact. There's a rumor floating around the web that they want a veteran receiver to compliment the already young talent at that position. If Angelo can make the right moves this off-season, the Bears can certainly be back in the title game and maybe even win it the next time around.
Part two will be next Tuesday on the defenses in the division.