The 2008 Bears strike very little resemblance from the 2006 team that lost the Super Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts, the team they play on Sunday, September 7th. Instead of trying to improve the team over the past couple of seasons, it seems as if GM Jerry Angelo has hoped that the players that they still have can return to the form of 2006. But I'm not sure what he sees that would make him think that is going to happen.
The Bears are continually getting weaker each season. After going 7-9 last season, you would hope that the Bears would try and improve the offense some and upgrade the team in a few key positions. But instead, they will continue to trot out the same old thing at QB this season, except instead of Kyle Orton playing because of a Rex Grossman injury, they just handed him the starting job instead. What Orton does great in the pros is manage a game, which would be fine if they had the top defense in the league still, but last seasons defense ranked towards the bottom of the league last season and nothing has changed. Just a year older.
The runningback and wide receiver position are both counting on big contributions from two first time starters. Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson are competing for the starting RB job after the Bears cut Cedric Benson after a couple of arrests during the offseason. The Bears are hoping that former Detroit Lions RB Kevin Jones can come back from knee surgery and be able to carry the load for them this season, but they all face the same problem. They are running behind an aging offensive line that had one of the worst yards per carry average last season at 3.1. With former league MVP Shaun Alexander still available, it's a wonder the Bears didn't bring him in and give him a shot at RB. Can't be any worse than what we have right now.
And with Bernard Berrian bolting for a bigger bank account in Minnesota, the Bears are counting on return ace Devin Hester to be able to step up and become a #1 wideout. But at 5'11, Hester is on the small side, still very inexperienced at running routes and has shown that he will drop some easy passes. As a change of pace, that would make him a great weapon. But the top WR, that might make for a long season on offense.
Once the strength of the team, the only thing that has happened for the Bears is the team getting older. The front seven will have the same starting lineup from last season, with the exception of Dusty Dvoracek playing DT, if he's healthy, which he has shown the ability to be the exact opposite so far in his short NFL career.
The corners are the strength of the team, with two pro bowl caliber defensive backs, but Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher won't be able to do much if the Bears don't mount much of a pass rush and give the DBs time to adjust to routes and passes. Mike Brown is back at safety again and I'm sure will be injured again by week 9.
I don't think it would be much of a stretch to think that the Bears would be lucky to 5-11 this season. This team should be in rebuilding mode at this point, but I'm not sure if Angelo has gotten the message yet.