With the start of the NFL season upon us, Da Windy City kicks off our roundtable with a discussion about the Chicago Bears‘ upcoming season.
There is no question that the Bears have improved this season, however a tough schedule has skepticism over how successful the Bears will be in their first season under new head coach Marc Trestman.
This week, Da Windy City staff tackle predictions for the Bears upcoming season along with questions about Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
1. Brandon Marshall has been in the news recently because of questions over how healthy his hip is. Those questions about his hip has turned into questions over his mental state. Marshall, on and off the field, was a leader for the Bears last season. Will the wide receiver operate in the same capacity this season?
- Dylan: There is no doubt Marshall’s hip is a question, but I don’t think this holds the guy down. He’s a machine and obviously still has that connection with Jay Cutler. Marshall will still be a very productive wide receiver this year.
- Brandon Cain: He will not operate in the same capacity. He will be Jay Cutler’s number one receiver but the gap between him and whoever emerges as the number two target will narrow under the Bears new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and head coach Marc Trestman.
- Brandon Bender: The offense needs Marshall, but they simply can’t afford to rush him back and expect him to be himself in Week 1. In the preseason against Oakland, he dropped two gimmes, so he clearly isn’t full-strength yet. He’ll be back to 100% at some point; it’s just a matter of when.
- Jordan: There is no problem with Marshall. His hip is structurally sound. People like to get their hands up in the air after Marshall was honest last week, but that is the same thing the wide receiver was applauded for last season. Marshall may not make 100 receptions this season, but he certainly is going to be one of the most productive receivers in the league once again.
- Dylan: Cutler is in his contract year and has a lot of pressure on him. I am one of the few people that is a Cutler fan and I think he has a good year. He has to be the long-term guy if he remains productive.
- Brandon Cain: At the season’s end Cutler will have spent five seasons in Chicago under four offensive coordinators: Ron Turner (2009), Mike Martz (2010-2011), Mike Tice (2012), and Aaron Kromer (Present). He has not had consistent play calling so, it is unfair to asses his time. Cutler’s contact was too long and Emery should sign him to a one or two-year deal and try to get Washington’s backup QB Kirk Cousins as he would be a likely candidate to step up if Cutler falters. If he cannot get Cousins they should draft North Dakota State QB Brock Jensen or Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams who have had significant success at the FCS level.
- Brandon Bender: The Bears are 27-13 in games Cutler has started over the last three years, and in the games he’s missed the offense has been horrid. They can’t afford to let Cutler go no matter how expensive it may be; it would only exacerbate the problems they have had at quarterback since Jim McMahon.
- Jordan: Everyone and their mothers want to talk about how Cutler looks like a putz; jerk; douche; or any other derogatory term. Not me. I have always been a proud supporter of Cutler. Where were the Bears before Cutler? I think the New York Jets or Oakland Raiders may have an answer to that question. Cutler is here to stay. That is why he is still with the Bears and Lovie Smith no longer is the head coach.
- Dylan: The Bears are a team that can compete with the Green Bay Packers, but they have to play up to potential. I’m expecting another 10-6 season from this team.
- Brandon Cain: True, the Bears are built to compete with the Packers.The Bears’ changes in coaching (head coach, QB coach, offensive coordinator) and linebacker, the Packers’ offensive line, and Reggie Bush’s contributions to the Lions’ offense will be the difference in the NFC North.
- Brandon Bender: The defense is clearly aging, and with Brian Urlacher now moved on, I don’t see how the Bears can continue to play at a high level. Cutler can take the offense only so far, but the NFC North will be owned by Aaron Rodgers for a long time.
- Jordan: The Bears are built to contend with the Packers this season. Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers, but the Bears are improved at the running back; wide receiver; and offensive line positions. That will lead to a better attack not only against the Packers, but the rest of the NFC North division.