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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

The 2014 NFL regular season is over and I have some thoughts. Let me know what you think about mine and make sure to add a few of your own thoughts in the comment section.

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1) If your favorite team is out of the playoffs, do you still watch? Do you pick a team to root for or one to root against?

This year I'm cheering for the Carolina Panthers. I just want to see a 7-8-1 team win the whole thing. Plus I think Cam Newton is one of the most exciting players in the post season.

2) Even though I'll be rooting for Carolina, and rooting against the Lions and Packers, I think the Seattle Seahawks will win the NFC and the New England Patriots will come out of the AFC.

3) Did J.J. Watt just complete one of the greatest seasons in NFL history?

He had 78 tackles, 20.5 sacks, a safety, 11 passes defended, an interception he returned 80 yards for a TD, 4 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries with 1 returned for a TD and on offense he had 3 catches for 3 TDs.

4) So the Cleveland Browns, one year after taking quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round, are open to the possibility of taking a QB in the first round again. The Browns aren't messing around with Johnny Football and that's probably the best thing for him.

5) One week after Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola is suspended one game for stomping on a player, Lions DT Ndamukong Suh received a 1 game suspension for the exact same thing. But, Suh won his appeal allowing him to play this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys in their wildcard game. Suh is getting hit with a $70,000 fine in lieu of having  to sit out a game.

I don't understand the double standard.

6) Speaking of suspended players, the Baltimore Ravens will receive a boost getting five time Pro Bowl DT Haloti Ngata back for their wildcard game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I still don't think the Ravens will pull off the upset.

7) Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been the talk of New York and the NFL the last few weeks, but look what his teammate and fellow wide out Rueben Randle has done of late. In the last 2 weeks, Randle had 12 catches for 290 yards.

With the New York Giants bringing back head coach Tom Coughlin, whom I think is one one of the best coaches in the NFL, I would not be surprised to see them in the playoff hunt in 2015.

8) SB Nation looked at why the 20 non-playoff teams missed the postseason and the nugget they dug up about the Chicago Bears was scary.

Yesterday, the Bears fired their GM, their head coach, and their offensive coordinator. That leaves Mel Tucker still employed, at least for the moment, as Chicago's defensive coordinator, despite leading the unit that was easiest to score on this season. Of the drives the Bears faced on defense, 44.6 percent ended in a score for the offense (the league average was 35.4 percent), and no team forced fewer punts than Chicago -- 49, compared to 46 touchdowns allowed.

That bold was mine and that's just horrible.

9) For those of you Bears fans that are worrying about Tucker and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis still being employed, just realize this is standard operating procedure. The Bears have told all the assistants that they can look for other jobs and if they find another team willing to take them on, the Bears would be off the hook for their salary.

The new head coach, whomever it may be, could decide to keep some of the current staff. There are a few well respected assistants of the staff.

As far as why Aaron Kromer was fired, I just have a feeling Virginia McCaskey was so pissed off about him complaining to the media that she gave the order to, 'Fire the Rat.'

10) There are five coaching vacancies in the NFL and Chicago may be the least attractive. According to Jim Corbet of the USA Today, Chicago is the worst.

5. Chicago Bears

Fired: Coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery after two seasons together. Emery hired Trestman, a supposed quarterback whisperer who was nevertheless unable to get Jay Cutler to play like a $126 million passer.

"The fact of the matter is we just didn't win enough games," chairman George McCaskey said Monday.

What's good about the job: The offense is studded with do-everything tailback Matt Forte and receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey plus tight end Martellus Bennett.

What's bad about the job: The leadership void. Trestman gave Cutler more responsibility only to have him throw a league-worst 18 interceptions. Cutler's enormous contract makes him difficult to trade. An aging, 30th-ranked defense is a total rebuild.

Gregg Rosenthal of has the Bears only ahead of the Jets vacancy.

4. Chicago Bears

Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Jay Cutler make a decent fantasy team. But do the Bears have much potential in reality? There aren't a lot of promising pieces on defense to build around, but the offensive line is in relatively good shape. Cutler has gone through four offensive coordinators and two coaches since arriving in Chicago in 2009. The team's new general manager and coach will have to decide whether they keep Cutler or try to give him away in a trade.

The Bears are a storied franchise that rarely goes through prolonged periods of losing. The town wants a winner badly and is stuck in the same division as Aaron Rodgers for the foreseeable future. This will be a challenging gig, and its potential will depend in large part on the team's next general manager.

Nationally speaking, the Bears are no longer a big deal...