The Chicago Bears made national headlines last season for their QB situation rather than their defensive woes. After being hit with the injury bug to an unfortunate degree, the Bears lost Jay Cutler for part of the season. In stepped back-up QB Josh McCown, who performed his back-up duties as well as any team could hope. While he has certain limitations as an NFL-caliber QB, McCown seems like the type of back-up who has an innate sense of how to run an offense and how to attack opposing defenses. This, of course, is a great trait for a back-up to have. The Bears were lucky to have him.
A lot of digital ink was dumped onto the big trucks of the internet about what Marc Trestman should do in regards to his newfound QB controversy. Making - I think - the right decision, Trestman elected to start Jay Cutler, who is both the better QB and also a serious financial investment on the part of the Bears.
But, the Bears finished 8-8 on the season mainly because their historically-stalwart defense started to fall apart. According to Football Outsiders, the Bears were the 25th ranked defense - in contrast, FO ranked them at one the season before.
This problem likely represents the major challenge for the Bears moving forward. Address their defensive woes will be key, moreover, in a division that features Aaron Rodgers and a WR whose Transformers nickname doesn't actually seem that preposterous. And the Bears have already started the process, re-signing a couple of defensive free agents (CB Kelvin Hayden and DT Jay Ratliff) in addition to a couple of key offensive guys (TE Dante Rosario and C Roberto Garza).
Patrick Mannelly, LS; Derrick Martin, DB; Josh McCown, QB; Jordan Palmer, QB; Devin Hester, WR/KR; Jonathan Scott, OL; Eben Britton, OL; Corey Wootton, DE; Landon Cohen, DT; Nate Collins, DT; Henry Melton, DT; James Anderson, LB; Blake Costanzo, LB; D.J. Williams, LB; Zackary Bowman, CB; Sherrick McManis, CB; Charles Tillman, CB; Craig Steltz, S; Major Wright, S; Adam Podlesh, P.
Obviously one big key for the Bears will be re-signing Josh McCown. But, with so much money wrapped up in Jay Cutler ($22,500,000), I wonder if they will be too hesitant to give more money to a QB.
In addition, the Bears are going to have to make decisions about who they bring back on the defensive side of the ball. Of course they will want to upgrade certain positions. The trick will be managing cap space (they are currently $8,924,726 under the cap).
First round - own: 14th
Second round - own: 19th (51st overall)
Third round - own: 18th (82nd)
Fourth round - own: 17th (113th)
Fourth round - Colts: 26th (122nd) (trade for 2013 Fifth Round pick)
Fifth round - own: 16th (144th)
Sixth round - Buccaneers: 7th (167th) (trade for Gabe Carimi)
Sixth round - own: 15th (175th)