The Chicago Bears and their pro-bowl running back Matt Forte have agreed to a new contract that is worth $32 million dollars over 4 years according to ESPN…
Terms of the new agreement have yet to be disclosed, but you can rest assured that the folks at Halas Hall and Chicago Bears fans are all breathing a sigh of relief.In this case it may not be considered an overstatement to say that a few retired hall of fame players from various teams, Chicago Bears past and present, most every NFL analysts, as well as the parties involved in the negotiations of the contract are all happy to get this saga over with.
The Bears on many fronts will now be expected to compete with their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers and the resurgent Detroit Lions for the best record in a division that many people consider to be the best in pro football going into the 2012-2013 season.
Now that Matt Forte has been placed back into the fold and with the additions of WR’s Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery, as well as the free agent signing of RB Michael Bush, Bears QB Jay Cutler will have a plethora of offensive options at his disposal. When you also take into account the Bears QB will have Devin Hester, Cutler’s college teammate WR Earl Bennett, newly signed return specialist/WR Eric Weems, 3rd string RB Kahlil Bell, and TE Kellen Davis to round out his offensive corps, you could argue that this could possibly be the best offensive cast that the Chicago Bears have had in their storied history and maybe one of the best in the NFL this coming season.
Along with the talented roster the Bears now have on the offensive side of the ball they will have a new perception, one that is of high expectations. Super-Bowl and Bourbon Street expectations will be the average fans only end to a season with so much fire power at its disposal.
Here is the problem, the Bears offense may look like a Ferrari on the outside, but if you check under the hood you might be shocked to find it has the engine of an old YUGO. To put it bluntly, the Bears O-Line is not the best in the NFL by any stretch of the imagination. Mike Tice has moved from O-line coach to the new Bears offensive coordinator and if anyone knows, he knows that he does not have pro-bowlers to work with when it comes to protecting the GQ QB from the Packers and Vikings and Lions Oh My. No, instead he has the “lunch bucket crew”. A “rag-tag line” of what if’s and what not’s to patch together whichever way they fit on any given play. A crew that looks more like a group suited to star in a WWE tag team cage match, than one asked to protect the franchise player and the Super Bowl hopes of a team that hasn’t been in more than 25 years. Tice knows the ropes and will have to do whatever it takes to give Jay and his high flying circus a millisecond more to be able to get the ball down field.
Will the Bears O-line have enough to fend off Jared Allen, Clay Matthews, or Ndamukong Suh twice in this upcoming season? Who will step up to make sure that the Bears can keep Cutler on the field and off his back? Forte’ signing at least helps, he also knows what Cutler needs, that leak out pass into the flank at the last second.
Are the Bears Super Bowl contenders now that they have a trifecta on offense with Marshall, Forte’ and Cutler? Not quite, if you want me to be honest.
First, as alluded to before fans need to see evidence that the O-Line can give Cutler time to get the ball down the field. Next, the Bears have to show that they can still flex their defensive muscle on the other side of the ball. The firm of Urlacher, Briggs, and Spellman have been proven to hold QB’s and RB’s in contempt over the years, will they still have enough left in the tank to bring the gavel down when it counts in the 4th quarter of big games this season?
Bears fans, even with a few unanswered questions, however should be rejoicing with this signing. Forte’ gives the Bears as good a chance as any team in the NFL to win this season Lombardi Trophy. Forte’ himself is a multiple weapon system, running, catching, and blocking are all done by him at a pro-bowl level and they are all wrapped up in one package. It still amazes me to think of what the Bears are on paper this season, knowing the history of the team. For the first time the Bears have a weapons arsenal that is completely stacked, all they need is a shield that is strong enough to hold off the would be predators. If I were a Bears fan, I wouldn’t make hotel reservations for New Orleans just yet, but I don’t think it would be so bad if you wanted to check rates and availability.