The Chicago Bears have a ways to go before they will be consistent postseason contenders.
I think that it is fair to say that with a good offseason this year that they could definitely be in the running for a playoff berth but that overall it will still be a couple of solid offseason's before they are true year-in and year-out contenders that all fans want their teams to be and that Bears ownership has promised is the ultimate goal.
Being a huge NFL fan I always watch the playoffs closely and not just because I am a huge fan but also because I like to see what the best teams in the league have that my favorite is lacking.
Yes, many will take the QB road on that last sentence but there are only five truly great QBs in the league at a given time and I think that the last three Super Bowls would say that a top five QB is not a necessity.
Defenses still win championships. Three years ago the No. 1 defense of the Seattle Seahawks dismantled the No. 1 offense of the Denver Broncos in a 43-8 win. Last year it was a showing of great QBs with Russell Wilson and Tom Brady but it was a defensive play that decided the game. Yesterday, it was again the No. 1 defense (in yards), against the No. 1 offense (in points) and the defense again came out on top.
Defense has long been the calling card of the Chicago Bears. The Monsters of the Midway, the 46 defense, Butkus, Urlacher, George, Dent, Tillman, etc. The last few years though have seen a decline on that side of the football and while the offense had its moments, they've still been up and down.
The biggest thing the Bears could take from the champion Denver Broncos is to continue re-tooling their defense. No doubt that will be a high priority for John Fox and Ryan Pace this year. The pass rush that Denver has was absolutely dominant and was fantastic in their final two games, knocking around and rattling two of the game's best QBs in Brady and Cam Newton.
Unfortunately for Bears fans, Von Miller will remain just a pipe dream. Miller is widely reported to be destined for the franchise tag and even if he hit the open market would the Bears be willing to pay Ndamakong Suh money for Miller's services? There is no doubt that he is worth that much, but it is still a helluva premium to pay.
The Bears have Pernell McPhee, who is a slam-dunk difference maker but he isn't quite as dominant as Miller. The Bears need another pass rusher to really take things to the next level.
The top six teams last year in sacks all made the playoffs and all had over 44 sacks. The Bears ranked 22nd with 35. Only three of the 12 playoff teams ranked outside of the top ten in terms of sacks.
I still believe that if Jay Cutler plays like he did last year and with a healthier crop of receivers around him, that he can be good enough for another two or three years for the Bears to win a championship but he needs a better defense backing him up.
It's very early in the draft cycle but it seems like most are predicting that the Bears will target a defensive linemen with their first pick but it's far too soon to tell. The Bears have a lot of needs but building the defense has to be a top priority in order to get into championship contention.
They have the right defensive coach in Vic Fangio, I think he is up there with Wade Phillips as one of the best defensive minds in the game, but Fangio needs a few more players for the defense to be a top unit.
Do you think the Bears need to focus on their defense or offense more this offseason?