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Team chemistry: Does it matter?

Much is made about team chemistry in the NFL. If a team is tight-knit and close it's supposed to breed success and winning. Is it just a fabrication of the media or does team chemistry really matter?

It's guy love, that's what it is
It's guy love, that's what it is
Jonathan Daniel

The Bears have not made the playoffs since 2010 when they played in the NFC Championship game.

And in the three long seasons since then the team has had quite a bit of turnover, both in the front office and on the field.

When Lovie Smith was fired following the 2012 season it raised concerns that some of the players who were especially close with Smith would resist the new coach and his style. A lot of this was based around the fact that many of the defensive stalwarts had played the majority of their careers in Chicago with Lovie.

Well Marc Trestman came in and there was not a massive boycott or anything like that. In fact, despite a disappointing 8-8 record most have hope that the "Trestman Way" is going to lead to a lot of success down the road. The foundation for that was even evident last season.

Trestman has put his mark (or would that be 'marc'? Nyuk nyuk nyuk) on the team in many ways, both subtle and not so subtle.

An obvious example would be the offense that he installed, which scored a record number of points for the Bears last year. Some of the more subtle ways are how he asks his players to line up for the national anthem and will not tolerate rookie hazing.

One of the other things was that he re-arranged the locker room so that players from the offense and defense were forced to mingle with players on the other side of the ball in an effort to become closer.

It's not that big of a deal to be honest, but to me it's one of those things that if a coach flames out in three years he is ridiculed for. However, Trestman had decent success and the players seem to like playing for him and respect him.

So the team had players who were better friends, fine, but they didn't win any more on the field, so does it matter?

That's a part of it but the other part is more about Brandon Marshall.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, Marshall is a partner in a training complex in Florida called Fit Speed Athletic Performance. In the offseason he trains down there and for the last two years he's invited his Bears teammates to what he and teammates refer to as South Bear.

At one point earlier this offseason almost the entire starting offense was in Florida with Marshall. It's continually mentioned that Alshon Jeffery was a participant last year before he had his breakout season and this years Marquess Wilson partook, leading to hope that somehow training with Marshall will help him grow into the No. 3 WR better.

But aside from just talent and work, the guys are building camaraderie. Members of the defense were down there too at different points. They weren't just training either, they went go-karting and made pottery. They even hung out at the beach.

So this week, as Halas Hall opens to the official team offseason program, the 2014 Bears already have a few weeks of training and hanging out together under their belts.

My question is, does it matter?

Sure it's good for some of the younger players to see the work that vets like Marshall put in to be a perennial Pro-Bowler but does it make a difference if a team is close or not?

Is there something to team chemistry? Will the Bears play better because they are friendly off the field and hang out together as opposed to just being 53 guys who play with the same jersey on on Sundays?