The Chicago Bears has a disappointing season, finishing last in the NFC North with a record of 5-11. This was coming on the heels of a better season two years ago and subsequently precipitated a turnover of the coaching staff. The Bears brought in John Fox from the Denver Broncos. Fox brought along Adam Gase, who was Fox' offensive coordinator in Denver. He then hired our very own Vic Fangio to be the defensive coordinator.
In a lot of ways, the Broncos built the coaching staff I think the 49ers should have built once they decided to let go of Jim Harbaugh. Though I disagreed (and still do) with the decision to let Harbaugh go, I was hoping that we could bring in another exciting offensive mind that would allow us to keep Fangio. I thought Gase could be that guy. The Bears also hired Ed Donatell to be their defensive backs coach.
This year, however, will continue to be a year in which Bear's fans hope that Jay Cutler is better than he has been in the past. I don't know how much I believe, but I suppose odder things have happened. Cutler improving would go a long way in covering up the problems on the defense, which was not good last season. The Bears are hoping that Fangio might be the cure - and he very well might be - but if the defense doesn't get better, there's not much the team can do.
Free Agents (courtesy of NFL.com):
Unrestricted: Lance Briggs, OLB; Charles Tillman, CB; Chris Conte, S; D.J. Williams, ILB; Stephen Paea, DT; Brian De La Puente, C; Jimmy Clausen, QB; Dante Rosario, TE; Josh Morgan, WR; Eben Britton, OT; Zach Miller, TE; Jay Feely, K.
I'm always happy to see that Josh Morgan is still around - I'm a big fan of his, and I wouldn't mind at all bringing him in for some depth.
The big name here is Paea. As we will see in the needs section of this article, the defense is in dire straits. Paea, however, was one of the few bright spots. This is especially important if Fangio wants to continue playing a base 3-4 (or even some sort of hybrid). Lance Briggs' potential departure might have huge implications for the linebacking corps.
Okay, yeah, that might be overstating it a bit. I'll get a little more specific. Look for Chicago to bring in defensive back depth, particularly at the safety position. CB Kyle Fuller is good, but he wasn't always healthy. That really exposed the safeties. Depending upon who resigns, both the d-line and the linebackers might see a massive overhaul.