Chicago Sun-Times

SI's King down on the Bears

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The Bears have been one of the most active teams this off-season, yet they've fallen far in the eyes of Sports Illustrated's Peter King.

Before the 2009 season, King picked the Bears to win the NFC. Now, King has ranked the Bears... 25th out of the league's 32 teams... one spot behind the Detroit Lions.

Here's what King wrote about the Bears: "The Mike Martz-Jay Cutler marriage could work, or it could explode. The defense will be solid, assuming Julius Peppers comes to play, but he can't solve everything on a unit that allowed 375 points last year."

King, though, does note that he ranked the New Orleans Saints 24th last season and that he isn't confident in his list.

"I stink at this," he writes. "In fact, my recommendation if you really want to find out what's going to happen in the NFL this year is to take a bye on this column."

But King is one of the most respected NFL writers around, so his insight can't be totally dismissed.

He has the Green Bay Packers ranked No. 1, highlighting the maturation of Aaron Rodgers, and the San Diego Chargers No. 2.

He has the Minnesota Vikings on the playoff bubble at No. 13 because -- whether Brett Favre returns or not -- they have "an offensive line in decline."

Check out his entire column at

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Atleast even King can admit he doesnt know what hes talking about!

Wow, Detroit to do better than Chicago... I guess Peter King had something extra in his coffee.

Green Bay #1?!?! This guy is a complete IDIOT! It's no wonder S.I. is nothing compared to what it used to be... They have losers like that guy writing for them. GO BEARS!!!!

That doesn't surprise me. King has always been pro-Brett Favre and, thus, anti-Bears.

I agree the Vikings are a bubble team but not because of the offensive line. Although that is not that impressive either, I think the D-Line is decline. That line was slow and tired at the end of the year, they lack depth and Pat Williams is at the end of his career. He is 37, Kevin Williams is 30, and Allen does not play near as well when Pat Williams is out. The only part of the O-Line in decline is Hutchinson. They're fine at tackle but the interior is weak and has been weak sense Birk left. They also did nothing in the draft to help the interior of either line.

The Bears being ranked that low is crazy. The Bears will finish with the typical 7-9 to 9-7 record. Peppers won't come close to solving their problems on defense. Carolina went 8-8 with Peppers last year and had more talent on offense and defense than the Bears. They had some injuries but everyone does. They had a winning record once over the last 4 years with Peppers. So I don't think he is a cure all.

The Packers at number 1??? Is that a joke? What happened to the Saints? The Packers added a Tackle which will help their line but that line needs more than one tackle. Burnnett adds depth at Safety but they are already loded there, and Neal was a nice pick but is only depth. They needed a LOLB, Corner, LT, and RT.

Granted the Pack will probably win the North, but number 1 in the NFL, get tossed.

Bears will fight the Viking for 2nd place, Lions are not there yet, though they will be improved. Lions are a 5-7 win team at best this year. Bears are a 7-9 win team, Vikings are a 8-10 win team and the Pack are a 9-11 win team 12 at the most and thats a reach with all their injury concers, and problems with age at key positions. Who is playing RT for them? Their best tackle was ranked 42nd in the league last year.

Donald Driver is 35
Clifton is 34 with knee problems
Tauscher will be 33 and has injury concers. Plus he has already retired once.
Pickett is 31
Woodson is 34
Al Harris is 35
Bigby is an injury concern

I disagree with King's rediction. The Bears have recognized their weaknessess and made a lot of progress in the off-season. THe biggest question will be both the offensive and defensive lines. They need more than Julius Peppers as King points out.

I believe the Bears will be pretty good but probably not a play-off team. But, if King is right, Lovie and all his coaches will be gone and the Bears will start drafting high in the order. So, life is nt all bad -- either way.

And let's not forget, Dom Capers tends to have a dynamite debut with a new team, and then slips back a ways on defense in year 2. Not from 2nd to 20th, but likely towards the bottom of the top 10. Harris is getting old fast, and is nowhere near the same cover guy he was. Woodson is defying the odds, but he can't do it all by himself. Collins is solid, but they have nothing at SS, unless they move Burnett over. They still don't have anyone opposite Clay Matthews, and Barnett is starting to show the wear and tear of his injuries. Add in the mighty mite (AJ Hawk), who is a little light and short for the inside of a 3-4, and they are going to struggle on the back 7 in this defense in 2010.

On offense, they have largely the same cast on the line, and with Clifton and Tauscher a year older, more beat up, and slower, Rodgers may not make it through another 8 game stretch taking the abuse he did in 2009. I think they are the best in the North, but not by a long shot the best in the NFC, let alone the NFL. The Bears, if the line holds up, should be in a fight for second place, assuming Rodgers is healthy. If Matt Flynn has to play, the Pack will be chasing the Lions for 4th place. Minnesota is the only team in the division who could handle an injury to their QB and still be competitive. Hanie makes us a 5 win team, as does Flynn for the Pack, and I don't even know who is backing up Stafford this year.

Wow ill tell u i agree with a earlier posting saying Chicago is the most underrated football team. You mean to tell me with a healthy Urlacher, Briggs,T harriss, C harris, Peppers an even a healthy Pisa. Cutler,Knox,Devin Hester,Aromashadu,Olsen,Bennett, Forte,C Taylor. We are behind Detroit? That is insane.Not to mention Martz, an Tice..

Peter King's prognostication abilities are well known for their inaccuracies. He actually did rate the Saints at #24 last year as he admits. That said, his pick of GB at #1 and San Diego at #2 is laughable. Last year I saw every Chargers' practice (Yes, even the ones not open to the public) and game. They are a team in decline and they never reached the top. They are at best a top 10 AFC team, and will be lucky to win their division. All the other teams except Denver have improved greatly in the off season. Their automatic AFC West championship is no longer guaranteed. So, point is, I think that the changes made to the Bears in the off season remain to be seen. On paper and in theory, I think the Bears are greatly improved just by having Mike Martz over Turner, the return of Urlacher and the addition of Peppers, the return of Chris Harris, the maturation of Chicago's talented young receivers, and the addition of Chet Taylor to give Forte some serious help. So Bear fans, get ready for what I think will be a fun season!

We can't automatically give Carolina an 8-8 record without Peppers, so his presense is worth recognizing. Take Peppers away from them last year and they are 2-3 games worse.

I don't think he will improve the Bears by that many, I just think Carolina was that much better with him.

Getting news from Peter King like this is the best news you could possibly get, the guy absolutely sucks when it comes to predicting the outcome of NFL seasons.

The Bears are going to win the division at 10-6 and here is how.

The Bears D is vastly improved, the strength is the linebackers with Urlacher returning, Briggs on the weak side with Pisa, or Roach on the strong side. All seem healthy at this point.

The D line is improved significantly with the addition of Peppers, T Harris (supposedly healthy) and Adams and Harrison (if not a fatso) rotating in at DT with Indonije and Anderson on the opposite side of Peppers at DE. The youngsters from last year may help a little Gilbert and Wotton as well have potential. The pass rush from the D line will increase sacks significantly (at least 10 more sacks than last year) which will only help the corners and safeties.

The corners are adequate to good and will look better than they are due to a great pass rush as noted above. Bowman and Tillman, as starters, with adequate young backups. Nickel should be stronger with either Jennings or Graham and so should the safety positions be better with Major Wright, D Manning (strong or free) Harris (starting strong) plus some ok youngsters like Alfalava maybe really stepping up to the next level to compete.

The D will be a top 10 defense or better in both points allowed and yards allowed. Third down stops will improve dramatically with the Bears in the top 10 in the NFL, not one of the worst like last year.

Marinelli will call a more aggressive defense than in the past and it will work, the key of course is the pass rush which will be top 5 in the NFL with 50+ in 2010.

Special Teams will be top 3 in the league, what more do you want, the Bears have Toub, speed and elusiveness with the return men, blocking will be a concern with Indonije maybe moving off this team to play as a starter more often. You can count on Special teams with Maynard and Gould, Hester on punts, Manning and Knox on kickoffs. At least four returns for TD's, maybe more from this group.

Offense will be improved with Cutler having some time to get to know the WR's, not making stupid decisions and throwing into coverage like last year and with Forte having some real help with CTaylor as his backup. The O line is a major concern but will be serviceable. If Cutler gets any protection at all and remains healthy for the year the offense will score fairly often ranking in the top 10 in the league, scoring over 20+ per game with the defense holding teams to less than 17 average per game.

OK, I know that there are a lot of Naysayers out there stating that I must be smoking something really good but I honestly believe the Bears will finish 10-6 or better and win the division.

I still wonder if Lovie is the right coach, Angelo is the right GM and Phillips is the right President and I want the Honey Bear Cheerleaders back and new owners that will commit to winning for the great city of Chicago. But I do believe the Bears could be formidable in 2010.



I hate Green Bay.

But I have to hand it to their brass for making good moves pretty much every year.

I hate Green Bay.

Go Bears!!

I dont understand how Minnesota has a decline. Someone said earlier that the D-line is on a decline...I would argue that is completely false. Pat should retire soon, but Minnesota just picked Everson Griffen as a possible replacement. And how can you say Jarred Allen doesn't play well without the Williams's. Jarred Allen is a beast and everyone knows it. You may be putting me off by now saying "oh he's just a Viking's fan" but you're wrong. I just recognize that a team like Minnesota has more talent than our Bears. I guess I'm trying to say, why is everyone so quick to put a team down? Minnesota and Green Bay are better off right now than the Bears...don't try to make our team look like a complete competitor for the NFC North division. Yea, we have Martz now...but I don't think he's going to run routes and catch TD passes this year. Just please give credit where credit is due. Minnesota is not a team in decline...they only lost one player and we took him. I just hope the Bears can play well with our mediocre players. BUT in other news i hope the bulls get Lebron! Atleast Chicago will have one great team then besides the Blackhawks!

You do realize that Everson Griffen and Pat Williams play different positions, right? Griffen is a DE, Williams a NT in a 4-3.

Jared Allen was good, but not great when Williams was out of the lineup. Take the Bears game for example. Chris Williams pretty well handled Allen (with some help), and he was not much of a factor in the game. Chris Williams may be a decent player, but he is not good enough to shut down Jared Allen. Favre is skipping the surgery on his ankle for now, to make sure he doesn't have to work hard in training camp. A 41 year old QB who doesn't work hard in the offseason is not necessarily a recipe for success, no matter how great of a season he had in 2009. Antoine Winfield is not getting any younger, and they do not have much behind him.

The Vikings may not be in decline, but at key positions they are getting old, and they do not have a backup plan for most of them. They got out of the season with very few injuries last year, outside of EJ Henderson, who may not be ready to play early this season. If they get another injury to Winfield, or if Leber or Greenway go down, that hurts their defense a lot. Pat Williams has never been a workout warrior, and he wore down last year. Another year of wear and tear doesn't improve that either.

Both Minnesota and Green Bay are better than the Bears today, but neither of them are solid enough to not need a lot of breaks in their favor to return to contention for the SB.

the bears will improve due to improved offensive line play. chris williams was miscast as a RT most of last season and he longed very solid at LT in the final 3 games. tice should be able to improve our overall o-line play which will give cutler more time and give some room for Forte to run.

if tommie harris is healthy we will have the best front 7 in football and its amazing how much better db's look when you generate pressure upfront

Joe, I'm well aware that Griffen is a DE however Minnesota was talking about moving him all over thier D-line. And I agree with most of your points. However, I know that Allen was innefective against us in December but that was one game. Do you think that makes Chris Williams a stud? He was double teamed all game and that makes it hard for anyone. Do you think Peppers is going to get single coverage next season? If our D-line is going to be effective next year Harris is going to have to step up. Anyways, I hope the Bears can pull it off next year but if they don't atleast they'll clean house.

I am starting to see the same posts about Mike Tice that were bantied about concerning Rod Marinelli. Great coaches work best with great talent. I am a fan of Marinelli and he was considered one of the best DL coaches in the mid to late 90's through the early 2000's. Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, and Marcus Jones all swear by him. Did he come to the Bears and all of a sudden forget how to coach a DL? No. You have to have something to work with. Tice is the same way. He may help Williams, Louis, Shaffer, and some of the younger guys with technique, but he can't make Garza or Olin younger or stronger. And he can't make these guys have talent {Omiyale}. Remember how many times the shotgun snap from Olin was low or even bounced off the turf? That was a mental thing with him because he was getting his A$$ handed to him by the guy lined up across from him. He's old, and now his smaller size is catching up with him. And what do the Bears do for Tice? Give him Webb in the 7th round. Ja'Marcus Webb meet the practice squad, practice squad meet Ja'Marcus Webb.
The above assessment of the Vikings is dead on. Their "window of opportunity" is 1 year at best. And I, for one, do hope that Favre comes back. At some point he's going to drop off the cliff with regard to performance. And I hope it's 2010. Last year everything clicked for him and Vikings and they couldn't get it done. Does anyone who has followed Favre for his career think that he's going to have the TD/Int ratio that he had last year again? And even if the Vikings have a 10-11 win season, but don't get to the Super Bowl, it's one more year that they get older at certain positions without Super Bowl success. I would love to see Favre come out of the gate struggling and the Vikings have a bad first half of the year. Look at their schedule. They open against the Saints, then home with the Dolphins and the improved Lions. Then the next 4 games are: @ Jets, Cowboys, @ GB, & @ NE. The Vikings could easily be 2-5 or 3-4 after that stretch. Favre has that big ole smile when they're winning 3 out of every 4 games, but let's see him and Childress co-exist if turmoil strikes. I would love to see that.
The team to beat in the NFC north for the next few years will be the Packers. As much as it pains me to say that. But they have the QB to get it done, their defense is going to be solid for a while, and their coaching/management team is much more solid than the Bear's. The Lions seem to have gotten better, but the jury is still out on both Stafford and Schwartz.

No Alex it does not make Chris Williams a stud, he had a ton of help that game and the Bears ran at Allen.

As for the Pat Williams issue, Williams for a long time has been the cog in that D-Line, his stats are not flashy but he does what a NT needs to do in 1 gap 4-3. He occupies two blockers and crushes the pocket, this allowes guys like Allen and Kevin Williams to play in one on one situations. When Pat Williams is out they have nobody who comes close to doing his job as good as he does. Thats why the Bears could double Allen all day when they played. So when Williams is out Allen is in fact less effective, because you can double him more often and run at him without fear of running into Pat Williams.

Pat Williams is one of, if not the best run stuffer in the nfl. When he is in the game teams do not run to his side of the line. When he is out they can run at Allen which forces Allen to play honest. In 2008 Williams missed the final two games of the season, Allen had zero sacks. Last year he missed one game and Allen had zero sacks. In the three games last year in which Williams played 21 or fewer snaps, Allen had 1 sack.

Granted that doesn't mean he needs Williams or he is a bad player, but teams can play him different when Williams is out.

As for the decline.
Kevin Williams will be 30 and is begining his downward turn. Not saying he is bad, he is still great but he was not as good as he was last year.

Pat Williams will be 38, is still great but not close to being as good as he once was. Limited Snap player.

Ray Edwards had a good year but a lot of that is because he is the 4th man on a line with Pat, Kevin Williams and Allen.

The line even with Edwards added production was not as good in 2009 as it was in 2008. So yes I will say decline.

As for the O-Line, I saw the problem more as the Vikings changed the focus from run blocking to pass blocking, on a line that was built for run blocking. The pass blocking actually improved last year and the run blocking fell apart, basically because they focused on pass blocking instead of run blocking. The line was far more focused on running in 08 and it showed last year it was about pass blocking, while the style flipped, they really didn't change level of play, it was just focused on different areas.

By the way I said this over at the Trib, Peter King picking the Packers is basically the kiss of death. I am now taking bets as to when Rodgers gets injured, and the Peter King kiss of death curse continues.

You know there is a reason the Vikings are trying to keep a 38 year old player, who plays limited snaps from retiring. He does make Kevin Williams and Allen better and when he is not in there they are not as good. His job is not a flashy one, but he is very important.

As for GB I say Rodgers gets the full power of the curse in week 5 at Washington, when a 400 pound Haynesworth falls on him after Orakpo chases him into him. Nothing career ending just something that lingers, strained shoullder, or high ankle sprain. I think week 8 and 9 are also good bets.

Now if I could just get the local Packer fan Brando/Tripper/Packerslacker to say I am wrong you know it will be a lock.

I love the comments about how King hates the Bears...if I'm not mistaken he picked the Bears to be in the Super Bowl last year after the trade for Cutler.

I just don't understand why anyone could even possibly fathom that the Bears are gonna be a great team this year. Getting a new offensive coordinator does not make your offensive line better. Yeah, the Bears will do better than the Lions but not much better. Awful O-line, below average quarterbacking, you can't go deep with that kind of team.


There are certainly a lot of if's with the Bears this season. Just remember that a special defense can carry an average offense through the playoffs. The Bears should be significantly better on defense and have a pass rush which will help everyone on defense and also help the offense by giving the offense better field position and hopefully giving the offense the ball more often from turnovers created by the pass rush etc.

The ViQueens lose the Williams pair for four games this year, that alone can be a game changer in the division and I like Creighton's idea that Rodgers may be banged up a little this year and that right tackle position for the Pack is a weakness as are other positions, including QB if Rodgers gets hurt.

Prediction, I believe the Bears will have a better defense statistically than the Packers

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on May 17, 2010 10:04 AM.

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