Last season, something rare happened to the Chicago Bears. Instead of having the defense carry the team throughout the season, it was the OFFENSE that carried the team. In fact, it seemed at times that the defense was working against the offense. The offense broke franchise records for offensive output, and ranked second in the league in scoring, behind only the Peyton Manning-led historic Denver Broncos offense.
Running back Matt Forte feels what happened last season with the offense was just the beginning. He expects even more this season. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he said the second season should produce more than the first.
“If we keep working hard we’re going to take this offense, hopefully, to the top of the league,” Forte said. “There’s no ceiling. There’s no limit that you can put on it.”
The Bears boast the best wide receiver duo in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery emerged as a star last season under coach Marc Trestman’s offense. This season, the eyes are fixed on second-year receiver Marquess Wilson. Should he win the third receiver position, the Bears would have a formidable and tall receiving corps. Marshall is 6’4″, Jeffery and Wilson are 6’3″ and tight end Martellus Bennett is 6’6″.
Matt Forte himself is no slouch. He is one of the most underrated runners in the NFL. He doesn’t get a lot of attention, but last year he was second in the league in rushing and third in total yards from scrimmage. He is also third in total yards since he came into the league in 2008.
Under Trestman’s first year, Marshall did not get a chance to participate in off-season activities because of hip surgery. This season he has been completely healthy and expects to improve on the 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns he had.
Of course, when you talk about a ceiling for the offense, you have to look at quarterback. Jay Cutler will be the key. He has suffered through some injuries in the last three seasons, so keeping him healthy is important. Before his injuries last season, Cutler was on his way to having one of his best seasons. If he can stay healthy, it will be interesting to see his numbers jump.
In order to overtake the Green Bay Packers in the North, the defense must do its part. The offense will probably be high octane once again, so if the defense can make some stops, the Bears could find themselves in the playoffs again. With no defense last year, the Chicago Bears were one play away from winning the division, so let’s see if an improved defense can put them over the top this season.