There are two sides to every coin. For the Chicago Bears, where they ultimately end up in the upcoming 2013-14 season will be determined by a handful of double-edged swords. If those double-edged swords fall in the Bears’ favor, a memorable season could be on the horizon. If not, a forgettable one. Below are some of those double-edged swords and how they might help or hinder the Bears in 2013.
New Coaching Staff: Marc Trestman
General manager Phil Emery is already making a habit of making surprise selections in the draft as well as in the coaching department. With Trestman on board, the Bears have the first offensive head coach that they have had in a long time. The defense remains mostly intact (sans Brian Urlacher) from last season and with Trestman’s offensive mind in place to help beef up the offense, he could be the final piece that has been missing from this offense finally breaking out.
It does not matter how brilliant a coach is, or how brilliant a scheme is, it takes players time to learn how things are going to work under a new coach. With almost the entire coaching staff being in year one in Chicago, it would be a mistake to underestimate the significant learning curve that is sure to be present. And teams in the NFC North these days cannot afford to “learn” for the first month.
Jay Cutler: Quarterback
Despite his ups and downs, Jay Cutler remains the best quarterback the Bears have had in decades. The Bears drafted two offensive linemen (Kyle Long, 20th overall; Jordan Mills, 163rd overall) and added Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson via free agency to help the Bears in their most-needed area: protection. Cutler cannot be excused from some of the mind-boggling decisions over the years, but he has been running for his life more often than not during his tenure with the Bears. If 2013 is finally the year Cutler gets the protection he deserves, along with Trestman at the helm, that’s potentially a really high ceiling.
The aforementioned “mind-boggling decisions” do not vanish just because a new head coach is in town. Cutler will forever be a gunslinger, which automatically guarantees a certain amount of poor decisions over the course of a season. You just hope they aren’t at crucial junctures. Cutler has also been ineffective in big games throughout his career and you can only blame protection so many times. The great ones find ways to win sometimes, even when everything else is a disaster. Cuter has yet to prove he can be that guy.
The NFC North is arguably the best division in football, so that means that everyone in the division has a tough go of it. Because the division is so competitive, you have more direct shots at some of the league’s surefire wild card contenders. You can also bank on benefiting from the other teams beating each other up in the standings.
Have you seen that schedule? The only two games that could be considered breaks (St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns) are on the road. Every other game is easily lose-able.
Lots to be excited about in Chicago. But with the Green Bay Packers already so well-established, the Detroit Lions having nowhere to go but up, and the Minnesota Vikings (a.k.a. “We have Adrian Peterson and you don’t”) being of the sleeper variety, the Bears have so little margin for error. Unless Trestman has something uniquely special cooked up (and it clicks almost instantly), the Bears just need too many things to go right to pick them right now for a division title. For now, a wild card berth seems like a safe bet.
Check back later.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears fan and is a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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