What To Worry About With the Bears in 2007
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 23, 2007 3:25PM
With the Bears opening training camp on Friday, it's time to dust off the blue and orange, refresh our memories of last year's Super Bowl XLI appearance, and then start figuring out what to fret about come Week One.
1. At the top of both lists is the quarterback situation. Can Rex Grossman be the QB to lead the Bears to victory in the Super Bowl? Can he prove that he's the long-term solution for the Bears at the position? While he tied Peyton Manning for most games with a QB rating over 100 (7 times), and the Bears were 10-0 when his rating passed 80, his other games were horrific. The Bears need more consistency out of Grossman in 2007 if they expect to return to the Super Bowl.
2. Both dailies also agree that the second key issue is Cedric Benson as the featured running back. With the trade of Thomas Jones to the Jets, Benson must prove himself worthy of being the 4th overall pick and must prove that he can stay healthy. If he falters, so too does the entire Bears offense.
3. Once again, the Trib and S-T both agree on the area of concern — defensive tackle. With Tommie Harris coming off a serious injury and Tank Johnson being cut, the Bears are very light in the middle of their defensive line. Additionally, back-ups Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott both left via free agency during the offseason.
4. Yup, same answer — Lance Briggs. The All Pro linebacker refused to sign the long-term deal offered to him before last season, and the Bears have thus far refused to trade him this offseason. By slapping the "franchise" tag on him to keep him from signing elsewhere, he'll earn $7.2 million — if he doesn't hold out as he's threatened to do. Will Briggs follow through on his threat to sit out the first ten games? Or is that just too much money to leave on the table? And if he does sit, who will step in to fill his role on the field? So far, Lovie Smith has been pleased with the progress of Jamar Williams and draft pick Michael Okwo. But would either be able to equal Briggs' play?
5. Finally a divergence! The Trib worries about the Bears' special teams. While the kicker, punter and return roles are locked down, they worry about tackling on special teams after losing Cameron Worrell and Todd Johnson to free agency and Adrian Peterson's likely reduced special teams role as he becomes the #2 running back.
The Sun-Times worries, instead, about Brian Urlacher and how new defensive coordinator Bob Babich can help him. Can some tweaks to the Cover-2 defense give Urlacher the opportunity to get more sacks by playing up at the line of scrimmage more often?
While the Trib gave up after five, the Sun-Times gives us five more things to worry about.
6. Will Mike Brown stay healthy and how can the signing of Adam Archuleta help the defensive secondary?
7. How will Grossman's new weapons — Greg Olson, Garrett Wolfe and Devin Hester on offense — help the Bears offense overcome its sometimes weaknesses from last year?
8. The offensive line was stable and among the best last year, but they are aging fast! Can they stay intact for another season? Doing so will be critical to the offense's success.
9. Mark Anderson was a surprise last year. The fifth-round pick led the team with 12 sacks. No longer a surprise for opponents, can he repeat his success and can he play as well against the run as he has against the pass?
10. This is where the Sun-Times finally brings up the special teams issues the Trib placed fifth.
One glaring issue we didn't see addressed on either of these lists? How to book hotel rooms in Phoenix in February!
Image via Bodogbeat.com