by Matt Soltysiak
The Bears were a win and a Viking loss away from making the playoffs last year, but it didn’t happen. Chicago finished 9-7, but they didn’t hibernate this off-season, they made some moves. None is bigger than the acquisition of quarterback Jay Cutler. Chicago sent a number of picks (and a qb) to Denver for the Pro Bowl quarterback. This gives the team stability at the position for the first time in years. The Bears also added Orlando Pace along the offensive line, re-signed running back Kevin Jones and tight end Michael Gaines. Those departing the Windy City include quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, receiver Marty Booker and defensive leader Mike Brown.
In the draft Chicago used two third round picks to grab defensive end Jarron Gilbert from San Jose State and receiver Juaquin Iglesias from Oklahoma. Chicago ranked 30th in passing yards allowed last season, so getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks is a must. The Bears also need some targets for their new franchise quarterback.
What to watch for in training camp
See how Cutler fits. There are a lot of knocks on this guy because of his attitude in Denver, but that doesn’t really play into things. Just pay attention to how he seems to be picking up the new system and the chemistry he has with receivers and tight ends. The Bears don’t really have a true number one receiver. Devin Hester, Rashied Davis and Earl Bennett are the top threats. Watch these guys to see if they suddenly become a favorite target of their new quarterback. Cutler’s top target is worth having on your fantasy roster, but probably as someone to use during bye weeks.
The tight ends on the team could be better options, if anything gets sorted out. Greg Olsen had 54 catches for 574 yards and 5 touchdowns, but Desmond Clark also had 41 grabs. Olsen is clearly the better option, but he’s not Chicago’s only option so this hurts his value. The running game is pretty set.
Matt Forte is the workhorse and could see more running holes if defenses are forced to defend the pass. Kevin Jones returns to provide depth, but is nothing more than that.
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