Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 5/2/12

I’m long overdue to brush the dust from the end of 2011. The crushing end to the Chicago Bears’  football season left little to be said. Injuries and an unprepared second string left the Chicago Bears with few options. While it wasn’t the best season for the team, it wasn’t shameful, either.

Lots of changes have happened at Halas Hall since the new year. Phil Emery replaced Jerry Angelo as General Manager. Bears head athletic trainer Tim Bream left the team after 19 seasons. Jeremy Bates, from the Broncos replaced Mike Martz as QB Coach; and Mike Tice was promoted to offensive coordinator.

During the post- and off-season the Bears acquired denver WR Brandon Marshall, signed TE Draylen Ross and released Anthony Adams and Frank Omiyale. Matt Forte earned his franchise tag amid some disappointment—apparently he was put off by Marshall’s agreement that included a significant paycheck.

Phil Emery took on his first draft with the Bears and seemed to fare pretty well. They picked up: DE Shea McClellin, a fitting choice for Tice’s coaching style; WR Alshon Jeffery, a hopeful target to Cutler’s shotgun throws; S Brandon Hardin, Oregon State CB with a history of extensive injuries; TE Evan Rodriguez, high-expectations to develop him as a “move” tight-end; CB Isaiah Frey, a secondary challenger to the left CB spot;  and CB Greg McCoy, known for his kick-return ability.

This is exciting news for Cutler, who worked with Bates and Marshall in Denver. Even though Emery looked over adding offensive linemen to this year’s picks, the Bears offense is shaping up to deliver some pressure in the red zone.

While fans may scrutinize Emery’s lack of attention to improve offensive line or add defensive tackles, his choices help balance out the WR position, protect the foundation of special teams and create some competition for front line players.

Over the next few months the Bears will start to come together as a team in OTA’s, mini camps and training camp. It will be an exciting season with three Monday night games planned.

Let the fun begin.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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