Shutdown Corner - NFL

August 29, 2008

Love/Hate: Chicago Bears

As we continue gathering steam towards the regular season, Shutdown Corner touches on all 32 teams, outlining reasons to love and/or hate them. Today, the Chicago Bears.

Love the Bears:

This team could set records. Since adopting a 16-game schedule, the record for fewest points scored in a season is held by the 1992 Seahawks with 140, averaging 8.75 points per game. This Bears team could give chase. Let's break it down. 

At quarterback, we're likely to see both Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, who I think could accurately be described as a modern-day Stan Gelbaugh and Kelly Stouffer. I'd call that a wash. At running back, the Seahawks had Chris Warren (1,017 yards) and John L. Williams, who caught 74 balls for 556 yards from the fullback position. I'll take that duo over rookie Matt Forte. I'll give the Bears the advantage at receiver, though, with Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd, Rashied Davis, and Devin Hester, over the Seahawks duo of Lewis Clark and Tommy Kane.

I can't really call the offensive lines. According to Football Outsiders, the Bears O-line ranked 30th in the league in rushing last year, and 18th in passing. That's not very good, but the Seahawks line gave up an astounding 67 sacks in 1992.

Ultimately, I don't think the Bears will break that record. Their defense will force enough turnovers, create good field position, and score enough points on their own to keep them out of the record books. But we will be keeping an eye on it.

Hate the Bears:

Because if by some miracle this team is successful, there could be devastating consequences. The NFL is a league of copycats. If the impossible happens, the rest of the NFC implodes, and the Bears get to the Super Bowl, everyone will get the idea that offense isn't necessary for success. A league where everyone thinks defense first isn't good for anybody, and it does seem to happen cyclically in the NFL.

Devin Hester. Hester should be something to love about the Bears, right? Well, yes and no. On one hand, he's maybe the most dynamic and explosive talent in the league, but on the other hand, he also dramatically highlights everything else that's wrong with the team. I like watching him take one to the house as much as anybody, but I hate thinking afterwards, "It's a shame that he's the Bears entire offense." And if everyone starts punting the ball out of bounds (and they absolutely should), Bears games could become positively grim.

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