NFL First Guessing – Off Season

Well, now that a full week has passed, I feel like I can objectively look at the Bears and NFL, as we go into the dark month of February, where nothing that interesting in Sports happens.

First off, I wanted to announce the winner between Tim and I in our yearly picks. The finals this year were:

Tim – 12
Morgan – 10

He was bound to win one of these years.  So big fake trophy to Tim (but my team made the superbowl, just for the record.  “But my team won 3 out of –“  bah, moving on!).

So a couple quick Bear awards from the season:

MVP:  Thomas Jones
Best Free Agent Pickup:  Ricky Manning Jr.
Biggest Surprise:  Bernard Berrian
Best Rookie:  Devin Hester  (Mark Anderson in close second)
Best Moment:  A tie, both involving Devin Hester.  Him tying the record for longest play ever with the missed field goal return against the Giants, and him returning the opening kickoff in the superbowl for a touchdown.
Worst Moment:  Interception returned for a touchdown in the third quarter of the superbowl
Biggest Mistake:  Not running the ball more in the superbowl
Thing I need to apologize for:  Doubting Desmond Clark
So good season Bears, and though we came up short, I think we have a good chance to get there again next season.

So in looking at the Bears offseason, it looks pretty good.  We have plenty of cap space, and we probably won’t lose many.  I have a feeling Ian Scott is going to be gone, and possibly Ruben Brown, but I think we can still keep Lance Briggs, which leaves one of the better linebacker groups in the NFL in tact.

However, here are the issues we’ll need to look at:

1. Thomas Jones or Cedric Benson?

      I would really like to see both of these guys back next year, as I think both have proven that they are very good running backs.  A lot of sports writers keep saying that Jones lost his job to Benson late in the season, but that’s not true at all, and Jones came up huge in the playoffs.  I don’t see the Bears getting rid of either of these guys next season, and a running back by committee will be great for the Bears, though terrible for fantasy owners.

2.  Grossman?

   This is of course the biggest story in the world for any non-Bears fan writer covering the Bears.  To be honest, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.  There’s the rumor that Jeff Garcia would be interested in the Bears, and all I can say to that is NOOOOOOOOO!  Absolutely not.  We already have an aging veteran who’s been good in the right system in Brian Griese, and it would be a complete waste of time to get Garcia.  Now if the Eagles are so in love with Garcia that we could possibly snag McNabb with a crazy blockbuster deal, I would be all for that.  But here’s the point in regards to QB dealings this offseason.  Either a superstar QB or nothing.  I don’t want another mediocre veteran.  We basically have three mediocre quarterbacks that could turn out to be really good, Grossman being the one with the most upside.  So I have no problem with Rex getting the starting job next year, and being on a very short leash.  If he has clearly learned and plays like he’s a year more mature, he could turn out real well.  But if he’s looking just like last year, we should waste no time going to Griese.

3. Offensive Line?

Not much here other than to say that the Offensive Line is getting old and needs a little bit of insurance.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears take 2 or even 3 lineman in the draft.

4.  Coaching?
One thing that was consistently frustrating this year about the coaching staff was their total lack of ability in making adjustments.  The game plan was the game plan from start to finish, and it worked very well for most of the games this season.  But the staff really showed that they could not make adjustments, which is tremendously frustrating when we see the exact same things happen over and over without the Bears ever trying something different.  I would like to see the coaching staff make improvements there this year, and since it looks like the whole group will be back together again, I expect to see just that.

5 – Injuries?

I gotta tell you, I’m getting really tired of losing Mike Brown to injury every year, and every year hearing announcers say “well that’s where you can really feel the loss of Mike Brown.”  If he can’t stay healthy, we need to figure out something else, and now.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears pick up a safety in free agency (possibly even their only free agency move).  Also, I really hope we don’t lose Tommie Harris this next season, because he’s a monster.  But every year you have to plan on someone major going down with injury, so who will it be next year, and will the Bears have the pieces in place to make it by without them?

Okay, so I might sneak in another post near the draft, but I needed to wrap it all up for the end of the 06 season.  It was a good one this year, and even though it didn’t quite have the storybook ending I was wishing for, it was fun to watch.

So now pitchers and catchers report in two days, the Bulls just beat the Suns last night, and the Blackhawks still suck.  Plenty of sports to still be obsessed with, but for the time being, my favorite is done for another season.

2 thoughts on “NFL First Guessing – Off Season”

  1. The franchise tag is a great thing for the NFL and allows a team that is really good to have one more year with a star player that they can’t quite afford to keep long term and go for an immediate super bowl win. The patriots are doing the same thing with Asante Samuel and it would have been a disaster for our secondary if we had lost him.

    Expect Briggs (and maybe Samuel) to hold out for most of camp, come in for the second preseason game (before they start losing game checks) and play themselves into shape by week 2 or 3 of the regular season. Then they’ll play their asses off for a big contract in the next free agency.

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