It seems like an eternity since Marc Trestman was hired to replace Lovie Smith as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. In the time between last January and today, there has been endless discussion over the impact that Trestman will have on the Bears’ offense.
The time for discussion is over. The Bears open the regular season today against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bears will take the field in a meaningful game in the regular season under Trestman for the first time.
The Bengals present a difficult challenge for the Bears. The Bengals have the best front-7 in the NFL. Meaning this will be the first relevant test for the Bears’ revamped offensive line. An offensive line that features four additions in Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Kyle Long, and Jordan Mills. Those four along with center Roberto Garza will be tasked with trying to keep Bengals’ defensive tackle Geno Atkins out of the backfield.
Many are expecting the Bears offense to be improved instantly. Chances are that won’t be the case. There is no doubt that the Bears offense will be better than it has in recent seasons, but to expect a dramatic improvement in the first game of the regular season would be premature; especially against the Bengals defense.
On defense, many are making a point that the Bears are playing their first game without Brian Urlacher on defense. This is not true. Urlacher nearly missed the entire last month of the regular season for the Bears in 2012. And when Urlacher was on the field for the Bears last season, the middle linebacker was a shell of his hall of fame form.
Urlacher will be replaced by D.J. Williams and Jonathan Bostic this season. The expectation is that Williams will start while splitting time with Bostic. Williams missed the entire pre-season while Bostic still has some developing to do, and that could be where the Bengals’ offense looks to take advantage of the Bears’ defense.
The Bengals and Bears have high aspirations this season. The Bengals hope to be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl while the Bears simply hope to make the playoffs.