Jay Cutler Lives!
- Offensive Line Status Upgraded: With the first-round selection of Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, it’s clear that the Bears felt the protection, not weaponry, surrounding Jay Cutler was the main problem concerning the offense. Especially, when you take into consideration the fact of the matter that Mike Martz’s offense is based around seven-step drops and receivers running lengthy routes to find the opening – you could argue the team’s fifth to last ranked pass offense was more fluke than reality in ’10. You can also make a valid case that the 21st scoring offense will be near the top rather than the bottom in ’11. First-year system, rag-tag offensive line playing out of position, and inexperienced receivers will make you look out of sync. So, could it be that the receivers are good enough in this offense? Only, if the offensive line gives #6 and those same receivers enough time to go to work and make plays. Mike Tice will have his gang fighting and the line can only get better, right?
- Interior Defensive Line Looks Promising: I don’t know if Anthony Adams is coming back as a Bear. Frankly, I don’t think it matters as much as some people think. I say this because Henry Melton can be what the Bears need him to be, and then some. He really improved as his sophomore season progressed – don’t underestimate the power of Rod Marinelli. Add Paea to the mix, and you have your starting defensive tackles set. Also, Toeaina and Wootton are solid rotation guys that will bring depth, and can fill in from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to have Adams back, but it’s not much of a necessity as some make it out to be. With the stellar combo of Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije on the outside, this has the makings of a fierce front four for opposing quarterbacks. Who knows, Cullen Jenkins could be on our radar.
- Secondary Adds Rangy Playmaker Who Fits Plan: You can never have too many defensive backs. Same goes for “center fielders” when you play a defense like the Bears play. “Free safeties are like dinosaurs; you can’t find them.” – Bears GM Jerry Angelo. The NFL has evolved and teams are centering their game plan and style around slinging the rock down field. In order to defend those big-play tosses via the air, you have to possess coverage safeties. I believe we are squared away at corner if Bowman steps up and Joshua Moore performs in his second year like D.J. Moore did. Add Corey Graham to the equation, the steady starting tandem of Tillman and Jennings, and I can see why the team went safety over corner with their third draft pick. Chris Conte is just starting (started playing safety as Senior) to realize his potential. He is blessed with the athletic abilities and is exactly what the Bears needed in the secondary. Chris Harris and Major Wright are better in the box, playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Danieal Manning, our other free safety, is an unrestricted free agent. With the gifts Conte displayed at Cal, it’s not beyond any stretch of the imagination to think he will see significant playing time in the defensive backfield, and that he will be a contributor in his rookie campaign.
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