Chicago Bears 2014 Season Predictions

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Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The special teams unit will struggle.

The Chicago Bears were spoiled on special teams. Having a kicker who is as automatic as Robbie Gould and a returner as great as Devin Hester kind of cover the fact of how difficult it is to be great on special teams.

The Bears still have Gould, of course, but Hester was let go. He left as a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

With Hester gone, the Bears have had a tough time trying to find his replacement. Hester may not have gotten the touchdowns he had over his career, or been as flashy, his average return was one of his best last season. He averaged 27.6 yards per return on kickoffs, and was in the top ten in punt average yards, averaging 14.2 yards per return.

In the preseason, Senorise Perry averaged 24.7 yards per return. He did not return any punts, however. That job looks to be Michael Spurlock, even with his 1.8 yards per return average. Santonio Holmes has experience returning punts, so he may be given a look there.

It is important for the return man to give the offense a short field. That is something Hester did so well. Even if he did not score, he gave the offense a chance to get an easy touchdown. If this offense can get short fields, it can produce even higher scores.

The special teams also gave up some touchdowns and muffed some punts. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis has used a number of different combinations of players to get that unit in shape. If they give up big chunks of yards, it will put a great amount of pressure on this defense.

Emery revamped the offense last offseason and the defense this offseason. I guess he will have to revamp the special teams unit next offseason.