Bears fans are already chirping about the potential of the Chicago Bears offense as the team begins training camp this week. The Bears have never been known for their offensive fire power but rather their historically good defenses.
With the additions to their offense along with the talent already on this roster, the potential is there for a special season from the Bears. Opposing defensive coordinators may have trouble sleeping leading up to games versus the Bears for the first time in a long time.
Of course you have Jay Cutler returning at quarterback for his 4th season under center for the Bears. Cutler was well on his way to a probowl season before a broken thumb on his throwing hand that required surgery forced Cutler out of the Bears final 6 games of 2011. In the most successful season of Cutler's career back in 2008 with the Denver Broncos Jeremy Bates was his quarterback coach, and Brandon Marshall was Cutler's go to receiver. Fast forward to today heading into training camp Jeremy Bates is the Bears quarterback coach and Marshall is Cutler's new go to wide receiver. This sort of comfort ability for Cutler should equal great success for him in 2012.
With a new general manager came a new realization for the Bears, you need a competent backup quarterback in case your top QB goes down. The Bears did just that by bringing in Jason Campbell to be Cutler's backup. Had Campbell not gotten injured about mid way through the 2011 season would be a starter on any other team.
Another major issue that had been largely ignored under former general manager Jerry Angelo was the lack of a big time number one go to wide receiver. Here comes probowl wideout Brandon Marshall in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Marshall has been a great wide receiver throughout a majority of his career, and has had marginal at best quarterbacks throwing him the football since Cutler left Denver after the 2008 season. If Marshall put up great numbers with mediocre quarterbacks, you can see why Bears fans are excited with a QB like Cutler getting Marshall the ball in Chicago.
In the second round of the 2012 NFL draft the Bears selected wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out of South Carolina. Jeffery brings a bit of an attitude with him on the field to go along with his 6'3" frame. Pairing Jeffery with Marshall in the wide receiving core the Bears have given themselves a very solid 1-2 combo for Cutler in the passing game.
Lets not forget about another Cutler favorite and college teammate wide receiver Earl Bennett. Bennett has quietly put together 3 solid seasons for the Bears. Some in Chicago have dubbed Bennet Mr. Third Down for his knack of catching the big third down passes for first downs during his time with the Bears. Bennett has been the best of what was a bad bunch the last few seasons, often being Cutler's safety blanket when Cutler needed to get rid of the ball quickly. This could be a breakout season for Bennett with opposing defenses focusing their efforts on shutting down Marshall and Jeffery.
With all the talk about the quarterbacks and the wide receiver's lets not forget about what has always been the Bears calling cad, the running game. The Bears have two backs that can change a game and make opposing defenses pay if they just focus on the passing game. Recently resigned running back Matt Forte has been a workhorse for the Bears since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft. Before going down with a knee injury late in 2011, Forte had been nearly 40% of the Bears offense. Forte can truly do it all for the Bears, besides being an excellent runner Forte has also excelled catching passes out of the back field. Many times Forte has saved Cutler who would toss the ball to Forte when under pressure trying to avoid a sack. Resigning Forte was a great move by the Bears front office.
The Bears also brought in running back Michael Bush as a free agent from the Oakland Raiders. Bush had an outstanding season last year filling in after fulltime running back Darren McFadden went down with an injury. Bush is a bruising back who will punish you for even attempting to tackle him. Look for Bush to be used mainly on short yardage and goal line situations. Between Bush and Forte the Bears have an incredible 1-2 punch on the ground for a team that claims it "Gets off the bus running".
Probably the biggest question mark facing the Bears on the offensive side of the ball is the offensive line. This has been an are of contention for years, and has many Bears fans cringing again. However there is reason for hope Bears fans. 2011 first round draft pick right tackle Gabe Carimi is healthy and ready to be a full time starter for the Bears in 2012. Carimi missed all but two games in 2011 after dislocating his knee in week two versus the Saints. Roberto Garza returns at Center after a very solid season replacing perennial pro bowler Olin Kreutz. At right guard will be Chris Spencer, and who ever losses the left tackle battle between Ja'marcus Webb and Chris Williams will be the left guard.
Outside of the questions at offensive line, this Bears offense looks primed for great success in 2012. Just like anything else all the pieces will be need to come together for this offense to be successful. Training camp will be quite interesting to watch as this offense comes together and looks to make this one of the greatest Chicago Bear offenses of all time!