With the Chicago Bears loss to the St. Louis Rams in the books, let's look at a few things.
1- The Bears defense is hurting.
Henry Melton, Nate Collins, Charles Tillman, Stephen Paea, Lance Briggs, D.J. Williams... This defense is hurting. Rookies will play like rookies and 2nd/3rd string players won't be as good as the starters. A lot of fans are attacking the coaching staff and expecting the defense to be as good as years past... But with so many key injuries, is that fair?
2- Offensive changes.
We have two rookies, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, starting on the offensive line, not to mention a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and completely new system. And our starting QB is sidelined with injuries. A new offense is going to have its challenges and hit some speed bumps. There will be growing pains. Is it realistic to expect a brand new offense with new players and new coaches to go out and look like a seasoned offense?
When you look at the 2013 Chicago Bears, you'll see not only a new coaching staff, but also a depleted depth chart... so we should be careful what we expect. While 2012 ended with a 10-6 record, we have to understand that not only has there been an entire culture change in Chicago, but some very significant injury issues. This Chicago Bears team will be just fine. Maybe not in 2013, but the foundation is there.
Young players are being thrust into action, and the coaching staff are getting their feet up under them. The NFC North is still up for grabs, but we have to maintain perspective when it comes to a long-term plan. The Bears will be fine... We just have to allow for growth and change.
Great teams aren't built in one offseason...
Feel free to download your thoughts on the loss to the Rams below, and share your bigger picture outlook as well.