2012 NFL Offseason Needs: Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears had a decidedly mediocre season. A middle of the road (statistically) offense and defense lead to an 8-8 record and a draft pick in the middle of each round. This lead to a variety of changes both big (new GM Phil Emery) and small (in house promotion of Mike Tice to OC) that the organization hope can get them over the hump. Hears a look at the Bears roster and possible needs this offseason.

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The Bears several struggles on offense had as much to do with injuries to Jay Cutler as they did with Mike Martz system. Now that Cutler has had the chance to heal in the offseason, the biggest needs on offense will be transitioning from Martz's system.

WR: One would think that a offensive system that is traditionally reliant on passing 75% of the time would put a heavier emphasis on talent at the WR position. However, the Bears never sought out a #1 WR and instead have a plethora of #2's, #3's, and #4's. Finding a go-to WR for Cutler in the mold of Brandon Marshall (from his days in Denver) could help with the offensive transition. Worth noting though, the last time Mike Tice took a WR with his first overall pick, he nabbed Troy Williamson.

TE: Another position that was neglected under Martz, the TE may have a much bigger role in the Bears new offense. Greg Olsen was traded to the Panthers last season and created a position that looked a lot like the receiver position: No clear #1 option. It will be interesting to see if this philosophy remains, but it could also mean a relatively early draft pick is used on one.

OL: Last years first round pick, Gabe Carimi, finished the year on IR, but will be relied on once the new season begins. This insertion back in to the roster will allow the Bears to move other offensive lineman into more natural places along their front, but age and talent should have them looking to add depth as well.

RB: Until they re-sign Matt Forte (He was franchised on Friday), the Bears will have issues at running back. Outside of Forte the Bears have a collection of journeyman backs that are on their roster because they weren't able to get it done with their previous teams.

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The Bears have had a reliable defense for many years now and it is the only side of the ball that didn't have major changes to the coaching staff. The unit has been spoken of as though they are in decline for years, but have managed to still perform in the middle to top half of the league. Age will almost always be a concern, however, that concern can be mitigated by developing decent depth.

CB: The Bears are one of few teams still running a Cover-2 system as their base. The system asks CBs to cover a zone and play the run within the first 10 yards of the LOS. The CB depth on the roster seems to mirror the WR depth in that there are several #2s and #3s (nickel), but no clear #1. While the Cover-2 doesn't value the "shutdown corner" as much as a man-to-man system would, having to face Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings twice a year should make finding one capable of defending them a priority.

LB: The two of the top talents on the Bears defense play linebacker, but behind them little talent is evident. Should Urlacher or Briggs become absent due to injury, the talent drop off is dramatic and should be addressed in order to simply tread water at the position. The depth here can not be replenished over one off season, so look for it to be an issue for another year or two depending on how the Bear's front office decides to address the situation.

DL: The strength of the Bears defense is in their defensive line. Julius Peppers leads a tough group of pass rushers who are complimented by their two deep interior presence that has been developed over the past two offseasons. Corey Wootton is nice depth, but you can never have too many pass rushers and adding one who could replace Idonije in a season or two could be valuable in this draft.

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