Chicago Sun-Times

What are Bears keys to season?

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In Wednesday's Sun-Times, I will write about what I think must happen for the Bears to exceed expectations. Here's the link:

For now, I want to know what has to happen for the Bears to exceed your expectations.

For as much gloom and doom as there is out there, stranger things have happened than the Bears coming together and playing well enough to qualify for the postseason.

What are your three keys to the season?

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Three Things Bears must do to exceed my expectations:

1) Offense Line to only give up half the sacks they gave up last year.

2) Bears Secondary to actually be in the top ten in the league of containing and preventing receivers from getting a first down on 3rd and long.

3) Bears hire a coach and GM that can evaluate and draft quality players straight out of college.

GO BEARS!!!!

It all starts up front. Offensive line has to play well and defensive line has to play well. Look what our offense did when the line played well against the Vikings and Lions at the end of last year. Honestly, I think we're man for man better than the '06 bears. A lot of it is just going to depend on what goes our way and hope the injury bug doesn't bite. I see us either going 12-4 or 4-12. It's make or break for Lovie. This makes it a win win for the fans. Crappy season=bye bye crappy coach. Great season= playoffs and maybe superbowl. Bear Down!

1. The offensive line needs to become real good real quick. Every player on the line needs a lot of work in one area or another.

2. Cutler needs to jell in the offense. He can't lead a reciever if he can't trust his line. For this offense his mechanics will have to be more consistant. He also could stand to play like his life is on the line rather than play like he hates his line, recievers and coaches and regrets being traded here.

3. The Bears organization needs to do something about the playing surface at Soldier field. The recievers need good traction to make their cuts, the RB's need secure footing to get outside to run the draws and screens that Martz likes.

4. Two of the recievers need to step up big time. They need to be more consistant in routs and establishing timing with Cutler going in to and coming out of their breaks. Be tough and beat the Jam.

5. I expect Peppers to be good, but Harris nees to be dominant again. If the front 4 can't be dominant then there is not a lot this defense can do.

6. Urlacher and Tillman need to stop breaking down and play like they are 25 again.

7. Major Wright needs to step up and step in to replace the poor play of Chris Harris.

8. Bowman needs to step up more than anyone on defense. The Bears need a shut down corner and Bowman was pulled off of better recievers last year because they where destroying him. To many of his picks where meaningless last year. He needs to make more plays when it matters.

9. The LB's need to play better in coverage and improved tackling is a must.

10. A lot of teams they have to play this year need to get bad, really quick.

Not to beat a dead horse, but the offensive line needing to come on is probably one key to the season. The Bears line is fighting an uphill battle with a first year starter and a couple players playing positions they usually haven't played. You have one first year starter in Lance Louis (who does look promising) at right guard, your left guard (Roberto Garza) has been on the right side for most of his career, and Frank Omiyale has never really played on the right side, although Bears line coach Mike Tice did say Omiyale has graded out the highest out of all of his linemen this pre-season. Chris Williams hasn't exactly had a pre-season to remember at left tackle either. This unit simply has to come on if Chicago wants to make a playoff run.

The next key is defending the pass on third down, this has been killing Chicago for awhile. My hope is an improved pass rush from the front four, with the help of newcomer Julius Peppers and a healthy Tommie Harris, will do the trick. If Chicago can get any type of rush from their front four, it might allow them to keep their linebackers and safeties back in coverage, instead of being up on the line so much blitzing, there by helping vs the pass in coverage, especially on third downs.

My number one key is simply staying healthy, guys like Urlacher, Tommie Harris, Charles Tillman, and Matt Forte have got to stay on the field and be effective. I think this team does have some talent, between Urlacher, Briggs, Harris, and Peppers you have around 18 pro-bowls, thats more than a lot of teams can say, but it does the Bears no good if these guys are on the sideline, staying healthy is simply the #1 key to the season, just an opinion now GO BEARS!!

Keys....

Fire lovie, angelo, phillips, marinelli, babbage is key number 1.

Hire Ron Rivera as head coach is key number 2.

3 years of good drafting is key number 3.


Forget about this season. We will be lucky if cutler doesn't get badly hurt this season. He will surely be running for his life. Forget about a running game too. No line means no offense. Try to pump that logic between angelo's earlobes if you can?
Defense will look no different than last year.
Biggest difference this year....schedule is 3 times harder. 8 games against last years playoff teams. 3 games against 2008 division champs. And don't expect the Lions to lay down and die for the bears. 5 and 11 is the best the bears can do and that assumes that they don't split the season with the lions.

All the wishing and hoping isn't going to help this team. They need some people that know how to evaluate talent. They have none.
They need a coach that knows how to develop a game plan and be able to change course during the game and not look at game film on Tuesday to see what happened. They have none.
They need a coach that isn't stuck in reverse with his defensive scheme. They have none.
They need a coach that can develop players. They have none.
They need a president that knows more about football and less about accounting. They have none.
They need an owner that knows when to fire the senior football staff when they have produced. They have none.
They need an owner that is willing to sell the team for the good of the team and the fans. They have none.
I guess...Halloween has come early this year. No tricks and no treats.

The job of creating expectations falls on the bears management. They chose not to have the staff that is needed and it resulted in a mediocre team filled with problems. You can't turn back time so there's no need for asking Urlacher and other older players to play the same because that's not how it works. If they wanted receivers that could make the big play then they should've paid for some because they can't be made. If they want a better field then they should've bought a new stadium. Cutler wanted to be traded, no one said that Romo and Rodgers had decided to retire and join the priesthood so this is where he ended up. Just because you like a team doesn't mean you need to play for them. There's a reason why Dallas/ Green Bay are heavily favored (regardless of preseason stuff). They purchased the talent and they are required to get it done. Those expectations are correct because their management created it.

Here are my three keys to the playoffs:
3. Keep Jay Cutler upright.
2. Their quarterback must go down and he must go down hard.
And the number one key for success this year.......
Win the takeaway/turnover battle!!
Sounds pretty easy, doesn't it?.......GO BEARS!!!!

1. The O-line needs to solidify and get better than mediocre. That will give Martz time for his offense to work.
2. Tommy Harris needs to carry as much of the load as I hope Peppers will. That will take some of the pressure off our secondary.
3. Major Wright needs to be the second coming of Mike Brown. We really need a smart big hitter back there.

Just a few keys.

#1: The offensive line issue has been covered from top to bottom here, but in a nutshell, they have to look like the total opposite of what they looked like in preseason.
#2: Limit the number of turnovers. Especially in the red zone. How many times last year did the Bears turn the ball over inside their own 15 yard line only to have the other team march 85+ yards to score and take the life out of the Bears' defense.
#3: When you do create turnovers, the Bears MUST turn them into points. It seems as though this is a team that relies heavily on emotion. You can't have hung heads by week 3 or 4.
#4: Greg Olsen has to become a threat to create yardage after the catch. I have seen him in two straight training camps make catches against Urlacher, Briggs, Manning, and now Harris. Do it agaist the other team's defenses.
#5: Play from "ahead" as much as possible. This is not going to be a come from behind team.
#6: Start incorporating Aromashodu ASAP. Let him become fast friends with Cutler. Don't make it a week 12 thing again this year.
#7A: The coaching staff has to be better at adjusting during games and at half time. How many games did we see last year where the Bears came out after halftime and looked as bad as they did going into the locker room.
#7B: Do not have games where you start out lethargic. {See Cincy, AZ, and first MN games from last year.}
#8: Beat Detroit as soundly as possible. Create some early season momentum going into the Dallas game in 12 days.

Three keys:

1. Offensive line needs to give Cutler time to throw.
2. Offensive line needs to give Cutler time to throw.
3. Offensive line needs to give Cutler time to throw.

The Bears will exceed my expectations if they win five games.

There is no hope because the Bears can't block or tackle, the two fundamentals of football. If you can't do those things well, nothing else matters. They can't block or tackle because they have a lousy head coach who doesn't demand or work on those things and doesn't know how to hire assistant coaches who can develop players, and they don't have the talent needed to do those things well. They have a lousy head coach and inferior players because the general manager is out of his league and doesn't know what he's doing. They have a lousy general manager because the team president is a bean counter, not a football man. And, they have an incompetent team president because the owners are more concerned with keeping their extended family living in undeserved wealth than they are winning. Now, to answer your fantasy question:

1) The offensive line must pass protect well and open holes for the running game. If that were to happen, the Bears seem to have enough talent at the skill positions to score a lot and hold onto the ball. Chances of happening: less than winning the lottery;

2) The defensive line must constantly pressure opposing QBs and plug holes when opponents try to run. Specifically, Tommie Harris must return to somewhere near his old form, Julius Peppers must stay healthy and inspired, and Israel Odonije and/or Mark Anderson must step up. Chances of happening: 1 in 100;

3) The entire defense must tackle well, not allowing opposing ball carriers to have constant second and third chances before going down. Chances of happening: don't even think about it with Lovie Smith's soft approach and fear of injuries that won't allow players to tackle in practice, no matter how lousy they do it during games.

My 3 keys:
OL getting some vertical movement in the running game, if they cant get the running game going early teams are going to tee off on Cutler.

3rd and long defence - got to get off the field and that starts at with DL getting pressure and the CBs rerouting and disrupting the slant and stick routes.

Special Teams - The Bears need to beat teams on STs to win close games, lets hope last year was an aberration and not the start of a decline in Taub's unit.

Hey there is some stuff worth reading for once. Even Creighton made some sense.....if that was really him?

I think the main thing for the Bears this year is to collectively have a good year. We should ignore most of the "expert" prognosticators because they will almost always say that this year will be the same as last year. They will predict that the bad teams will still be bad, the mediocre teams will stay mediocre, the up-and-comings will keep coming, and finally the good teams will be even better.

Keep that line, get a make over, and you too could bat .500 on your predictions while making $1/2 mill a year on TV. Accuracy is not required. This is why every year several teams are labeled a "surprise team". That sounds better than "oops, we blew it."

I think last year the Bears had a bad year compared to their talent and their gambles came up snake-eyes. Cutler struggled, Urlacher played about 5 minutes, Pace didn't work out, Omiyale is not a guard and neither was Beekman, Forte was hurt and so was Kreutz, and the D-line was a step slow. Notice how Ogunleye was snapped up by rest of the league? Even "Mr Reliable" Robbie Gould seemed off a little. I could go on, but you get the point. The Bears had a bad year.

I think the Bears can win 3-4 more games if some of their key players simply have a good year instead of a bad one and just a few of the young players come through. It's as simple as that.

After reading all this stuff about the preseason, first I want to get this point off. Let's just say the Bears had a great preseason, Cutler had a 6:1 TD-Int ratio, the D looked great, and everything looked like roses. You know what we'd hear....this is the preseason. These games don't count. They can look good when there is no pressure. This is the same approach I take now. How did the Rams look in the 99 preseason. Detroit a couple of years ago. These games and the game planning was a joke. Let's start evaluating from game 1 on, not what the preseason looks like. Yes there are concerns, but did anyone say Chirs Williams looked like a bust when he came from the right side to the left side last year??? NO! Let it go and see what happens sun. I will make no mention of the preseason, that was a ruse.

Whew!

My 3 things

1) We have a big play, aggressive offense, the fact other teams will blitz like crazy to get at Cutler lets me know he has to release the ball, just do what he does, and everything will be allright.

2)The defensive line needs to get more pressure, and our linebackers need to be in position and able to make plays, as well as our safeties need to be in position in run support, and not late to the line as was the case last year. We all saw why they let Afalava go whether we want to admit it or not. Our preseason linebackers did not have Lach or Lance most of the time. There will be a difference come sunday.

3)And most important, we need to outscore every other team. I can't wait for this season to start.

Obviously the whole team has to play at the top of their abilities and avoid critical injuries to key players.Grasping the intricasies of the Martz system so well that they control the ball and the clock, thus keeping an occasional very shaky defense off the field is immensely important. The old cliche' about the best defense being a great offense applies here. A fresh defense pressuring the passer can result and help out the admittedly iffy secondary.

Chuck and Anyone Else Who Thinks This Way,

You can usually tell a lot about a team by how it looks in preseason. Not the win/loss record or any other stats, though sometimes even those carry over into the regular season. But viewing fundamental things, like whether a team blocks and tackles, tells you quite a bit. Some veterans might only play 50% during preseason, and that's really the only hope we have. But that doesn't account for Chris Williams's terrible play or the generally bad play of the offensive line. I'd love nothing more than for the Bears to prove me totally wrong, but I just don't see it.

But hey, put stuff like this on their bulletin board and let it be a challenge to them. All the way from the players to the coaches to management to ownership, prove us wrong!

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 7, 2010 4:44 PM.

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