How Will the Bears Do in 2013? Look No Farther Than the 2012 Draft. And Other Points of View

  • John Mullin had some interesting things to say about the Bears current status on offense:

“As last season spiraled down from its 7-1 start into a series of disappointing losses, communications in and around the offense reached a point where backup quarterback Josh McCown was pressed into the role of liaison between quarterback Jay Cutler and then-coordinator Mike Tice, a source told CSNChicago.com.”

“’I was just talking to McCown this morning and one of the things we said is it’s so cool to come to work where it’s not one of those things where it’s dreadful,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said this week.

“‘And it’s not just coach [Marc] Trestman and the new guys here. It’s just the organization, period. When you could come in and just do what you’re supposed to do and you don’t have to worry about all of the other fluff and the business side of things, it’s cool.’

“It was cool last offseason when Jeremy Bates was brought in as quarterbacks coach, having worked with Cutler and Marshall in Denver. And cool with Cutler when the Mike Martz tenure began. A key to the franchise future, short-term and even longer-term, is achieving a more lasting ‘cool.'”

  • Those Bear fans who prefer a rosy outlook are going to love this ESPN article from former scout Gary Horton, who describes what to expect from the new Bears offense. He positively gushes about new head coach Marc Trestmen:

Trestman is a very cerebral guy and this will be a thinking man’s offense with amazing attention to detail and meticulous preparation — something he’ll demand from his players and assistants as well. They will be challenged to outwork their opponents each week and their mental approach to the game will be a key to their success. He will call offensive plays — one of his big strengths — he will work very closely with offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and QB coach Matt Cavanaugh, and he will sit in all of the QB meetings. But that’s not simply to preside over the proceedings.

Who will have the most targets after Brandon Marshall — another WR or Martellus Bennett? — @eddygchitown, from Twitter

I think opposing defenses may dictate that to a degree. If they try to take away Bennett, it will be [Alshon] Jeffery. If they try to take away Jeffery, it will be Bennett. But if defenses focus all of their attention on Marshall and the run game, which they may have to frequently do, both Bennett and Jeffery will get plenty of opportunities. In that case, I would suspect Jeffery would be the second leading receiver on the team. Bennett had a career year in 2012 and was the third leading receiver on the Giants behind Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. I could see a similar scenario playing out with the Bears.

Just as the development of Bears defensive end **Shea McClellin** will be the single biggest key to the Bears performance on defense this year, the development of Jeffery will largely determine what the offense will accomplish. Defense will do exactly as Pompei says. They’ll take away Marshall first (if they can), then running back **Matt Forte**. I’m not holding my breath on Bennett and his one big season with the Giants being a huge factor. Its Jeffery who is going to have to come through with big yardage against single coverage.

How the Bears go in 2013 is going to be all about the success of the 2012 draft.

I read your piece on the Bears new strength coach, and how the focus is now on explosiveness rather than sustainability and player protection. Are we in for another training camp like Lovie Smith‘s first, with hamstrings popping on every drill? The strongest players in the world won’t help you if they’re on the sideline nursing a pull. One of the Bears strengths in recent years was their relative lack of non-contact soft tissue injuries. Is Phil Emery just changing everything for the sake of change? Are the players really buying into something that will likely shorten careers? — Mark Early, Arlington, Va.

If muscle pulls are the result of the new strength program, it will be a disaster. But I can assure you special attention is being paid to proper form and injury avoidance. And the team is using the same nutritional program that was used under previous strength coach Rusty Jones. It’s not like what Mike Clark is doing never has been done before. Many of his methods have been used in football programs for decades, going back to the 1970s when weight training became widely accepted. Clark wouldn’t have lasted 35 years as a strength coach and have been inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame if all he did was invite injury. Many teams have gotten outstanding results with similar philosophies. But it certainly is something worth monitoring.

Darned right it is. I remember those days as well as the questioner and it wasn’t fun. Player health is one of the biggest determining factors for team success in the NFL. USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame or not I, too, fear that we’ll see significantly more hamstring pulls this year.

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