How Much Will the Bears Really Improve this Season?

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On Friday, the Chicago Bears veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher was asked by WMVP-AM if this year’s Bears’ team was the best one yet. He enthusiastically responded Yes! and said, “It’s not even close. The talent we have on this team is phenomenal — Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler is healthy, our O-line is huge. I haven’t talked about our defense yet but our offensive line, they’re big. They’re big bodies in there.”

He added, “On defense, we’re pretty much the same as we have been. We have a couple of young guys in there. It’s exciting to watch. You know, I haven’t been able to participate but it’s been fun to watch so far.”

Ok, I don’t think Urlacher would have said this if he didn’t mean it and entering season No. 12, he’s seen a lot of the good and the bad. But I have to think there’s still problems with this team. My biggest concern with Urlacher’s proclamation is the Bears’ O-line.

It is a problem.

It’s been a problem for the last few years and in the offseason the team didn’t really make any changes or upgrades. The team is banking on its current players to step up and improve. But will second-year right tackle Gabe Carimi really be able to recover after his knee injury and meet expectations?

In a May 12 Chicago Sun-Times article, Carimi said that he’ll be ready to go before the Bears’ veteran June 12-14 minicamp. He added, “I’m feeling really good. They’re saying another couple of weeks and I’ll be here for [offseason training activities]and minicamps. I’m just champing at the bit to get back and actually be back with the O-line and not on the outside looking in.”

Can Chris Williams stay healthy and step up? He injured his wrist last season in Week 9 and was out for the remainder of the season.

Williams has returned to left tackle after a try at guard. He is competing against J’Marcus Webb for the top spot. In a May 23 CSN Chicago article, Williams said, “[I’m] working technique, just trying to get ready for the swing of things. Football is football. O-line play is pretty much the same across the board, just a matter of who you’re blocking. I like to think I can play anywhere so I’m just working, just glad to be back with the team.”

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has expressed public concern about his O-line. He said in a May 15 Chicago Sun-Times article by Seth Jensen about his excitement for this season, “You know, the offensive line is definitely going to be a concern and seeing where those guys are going to fit in and seeing what five we go with. If Gabe [Carimi] comes back, if J’Marcus [Webb] pans out. Where are we going to put Chris Williams? There are some question marks there. Until we really get that resolved and get our front five settled in, we’ve got some work to do on offense.”

Well said and until the O-line shows it’s not the problem, I am going to worry about this year’s team even with the Brandon Marshall addition.

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