Over the past few seasons, defense has been the staple of the Chicago Bears. In spite of this fact, the offense has garnered much of the attention so far during the offseason and through the first three weeks of the preseason as well. I can understand why this is the case with the additions of Brandon Marshall, Michael Bush and rookie Alshon Jeffery. Despite the explosive potential of the new-look offense though, I still view this bunch as a mixed bag at this point in time.
After playing well in the first half of the team's 33-31 win over the Washington Redskins in week 2 of the preseason, the first-string offense struggled against the New York Giants in week 3. Jay Cutler completed only nine of his 21 passing attempts for 96 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. While the Bears did manage to rally for a 20-17 victory, the passing game looked very mediocre thanks in large to several errant passes and dropped balls.
The rushing game has not fared much better. Chicago managed just 94 yards on 27 attempts against the Giants (3.5 yards per carry). In addition to that, the Bears are ranked near the bottom of the league in rushing, with just 59 yards per contest. I realize the games do not count at this point, but regardless of how well the team performs through the air, their success will heavily depend upon how well they are able to run the football. This is especially true later on in the season when weather conditions are not always favorable.
The one positive factor during the preseason has been the steady improvement of the starting offensive line with regards to pass protection. They allowed three sacks against the Redskins, but bounced back with a solid performance against the Giants. There were instances where they looked shaky against the Giants' pass rush, but they did not allow a sack and there were no turnovers to speak of. Both the team and the fans are expecting the offense to have a great season. However, the Bears must find a way to iron out the wrinkles if they are going to live up to those expectations.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bears for more than twenty seasons . James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
Bears staying patient with ground game, Michael Wright, ESPNChicago.com
Bears rally to beat Giants, Associated Press, ESPNChicago.com
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