First, some in-house business. The BFTB Podcast will be returning on Sunday night at 7pm. I'm hoping we'll have a guest (couple of things up in the air), but at the very least I'll be there taking your calls and breaking down what I liked and didn't like about Saturday's game. Make sure you "tune in."
Secondly, since there are about 3 more weeks before the BFTB Fantasy Football draft, I won't be offering up the last open spot this week (last week's winner: bteribery, for being hilarious). Instead, in the comments, I would like you to put who the top QB, RB and WR is on your fantasy football draft board.
Third, as a way to prepare for Saturday's game and also to get a better idea of what's going on around the league for the sake of making your fantasy football draft board, I asked 5 questions to the guys over at Windy City Gridiron about the Chicago Bears and they gladly answered.
Are there high expectations for Mike Martz even though his offensive system has now failed with each of his last three teams?
The expectations are very high, with Martz being considered one of the best offensive minds in football. When you look at his last three teams, you have: The HC getting fired in SF, and the interim HC (Singletary) letting Martz go because he wanted more of a run-first offense. Before that, you had his two year stint in Detroit as their OC. In his first season, he coached Jon Kitna to his first 4,000 yard season, as well as guided the Lions to the 6th ranked passing offense in the league. The mishaps in Detroit could hardly be considered failures of Martz, considering all of the personnel issues that they had. And the team before that was his five-season stretch with the Rams, in which he conducted the Greates Show on Turf. Hardly a failed offense there either. With Mike Tice running the OL, and Jay Cutler and his WRs having a year under their belt, the expectations in Chicago are very high.
I know the Bears didn't have a first-round pick this year, are there any rookies in camp that are getting everyone excited?
No first round pick this year, or last year. But, Major Wright, the rookie Safety drafted in the third round from Florida, has a lot of folks looking at him. The Safety position for the Bears has been a revolving door since Lovie Smith's arrival in 2004, having changed the starting safety positions 41 times in that stretch. Major Wright can hopefully help stabilize that position.
What is the biggest position(s) of concern for the Bears this offseason?
The entire OL. Olin Kreutz ain't getting any younger, and it looks like we'll have three OL positional changes from last season. Jay Cutler was running for his life last season, so we have to see improvement on the OL in order for anything to work offensively.
What would you say is the biggest improvement for the Bears since 2009?
I'd say that's a toss-up between the acquisition of Julius Peppers at DE, and the addition of Mike Tice at OL coach. The pass rush in 2009 was abysmal, and Peppers should make an immediate impact. As for Tice coming on board, we mentioned the poor OL last season, and Tice is widely-accepted at one of the best OL coaches in the league. Other nominees would be adding a change of pace RB, Chester Taylor, to compliment Matt Forte, the addition of Mike Martz, the acquisition of Chris Harris at Safety, and the addition of blocking TE Brandon Manumaleuna.
Who are the key Bears players for us to look out for on Saturday?
All eyes will undoubtedly be on Jay Cutler and his young WRs, as well as DE Julius Peppers. My biggest interest will be the entire OL. The starters are expected to play into the second quarter, so there will be plenty of opportunities to test them out. Also, we'll see how much explosion DT Tommie Harris will have. He's supposedly 100% healthy, and he will be a key to the pass rush's success. After all, team's can't double-team Peppers and Harris. Two others to watch out for: #58 Tim Shaw. He's a ST player who absolutley obliterated people last year on KO and punt coverage. And #59 Pisa Tinoisamoa. He was our starting SLB last season, but went down almost immediately for the year with a knee injury. But, he's a tackling machine, and will surprise some people if he can stay healthy.
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