After the post draft hoopla and with most of the major free agency activity completed (although the Bears may still be looking at a vet WR) Peter King of Sports Illustrated released his power rankings. You’ll never guess what team he has in the NFC Title game. That’s right it’s your Chicago Bears the team of the biggest off-season move in the last decade.
Peter King has the Bears listed in the fourth spot of his power-rankings. While most fans complain about not getting a lot of national respect one of the most respected football columnists in the country has the Bears playing to go to the Super Bow. Peter King is officially on the Bears band wagon where as not many at ESPN are on the same page.
So what does Peter King like about the Bears?
A) Duh Jay Cutler he feels is a game changer at the QB position. Sure there are things that have caused concerns among NFL insiders regarding Cutler’s maturity and talk of rubbing some teammates the wrong way, but Cutler’s talent is undeniable. He is an instant upgrade at the QB position that really breathes life into this franchise.
Brian Urlacher the face of the franchise never again has to answer if the offense could have done more to help the defense win games. Why? Because the offense will likely be there and it will be productive and with the defense still doing just enough to win football games the Bears should be even more competitive.
B) Yes the defense is still good for the most part for in the key categories that win football games, stopping the run, creating turnovers and yards per completion. As Peter King correctly points out the Bears were in the Top-3 in the league in two of those categories and in the Top-8 in the yards per completion.
To expand upon King’s point about the defense Carolina and Atlanta were second and third respectively in the league in rushing. The Bears held the Falcons to their lowest rushing total of the year at 75 yards rushing in their game.
The Bears held the Panthers to a low total as well only 114 yards rushing. The Tennessee Titans, seventh in the league in rushing, the Bears held the Titans offense to a putrid low total of 20 yards rushing. This was the Titans’ lowest rushing output of the season as well. The Philadelphia Eagles, sixth in the league in total rushing yards were stalled to a low 114 yards against the Bears. Add to it perhaps the most famous goal-line stand from the season where Alex Brown led the fourth and one stuff on the goal-line as the Bears sealed their victory over the playoff bound Eagles.
With that you can easily see that the Bears’ defense faced some of the top rushing teams in the league and played a big part in shutting down their run games. As is always stated as a major cliche, defense wins championships and the best way to play defense is stop the run and pressure the quarterback.
The Bears’ defense still does one of these aspects very well, and they definitely addressed their inability to pressure the quarterback in the draft. Leaving the main question to be, will Rod Marinelli have an impact on the current veteran talent on hand and can the rookies come in and be a part of a renewed pass rush attack on the QB.