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Sunday, December 9, 2007

If Desperation had a Team..

It would be the Bears. How do I equate their rapid decline this season? The Bears this year are like a fancy wooden ship. It was rushed to be put together by the finest designers with the newest available materials. It was sleek, fast, and impressive. A year later, it still looked just as impressive, but the materials it had been made from had hollowed out and become rotten. On the outside, it still looked like that sleek, world changing ship, but on the inside it was a fragile core. Knock a few key timbers out of the way (Mike Brown, Dusty Dvoracek), find out that one's unstable (Rex Grossman), replace it with an even shoddier piece of timber (Brian Griese) and have the ship's main mast (Brian Urlacher) begin to quake with rot (arthritic back) and before long your ship goes from this:

To this:

Now what do we do? Well, there really are no simple fixes. Here are suggestions

First off, what to do with the quarterback position. Griese and his $20 million contract are gone, as he's not even a serviceable backup at this point. A new veteran backup will probably need to be signed, though early indications are the market will be slim. The team also needs to decide what to do with Rex. My suggestion is, since he's likely to come dirt cheap at this point, they sign him to a one year deal with an option for a second and make him the tentative starter. We also need to get Kyle a few snaps or, dare we say, a few starts, these last three games to see if he has value as a trade bait or as a reliable #2 QB or even starter next year. My suggestion: Re-sign Rex, make Kyle and Rex compete in camp next year, and then draft a quarterback in the lower rounds of this year's draft to compete. This should be a deep QB draft, and a decent option should be available outside the first round.

The main problem with this offense, however, is the offensive line. Fred Miller, John Tait, and Ruben Brown need to be cut. Metcalf and Garza can still be serviceable guards and Kreutz is still solid at center. But both tackles need to be replaced, one most likely in free agency and the other in the first or second round of the draft. A retooled offensive line goes a long way towards getting this team back to responsibility. Quarterback can be patched up for one more year, our runningbacks have proven to be reliable when blocked for, and our tight ends our fantastic. Muhsin Muhammed probably needs to retire, Mark Bradley needs more playing time, and Berrian needs to be more consistent, but this wide receiver corps still shows potential.


Well, the secondary at this point would seem to be problem number one. Mike Brown is done, and we just need to accept that. The Adam Archuletta experiment has failed, and Danieal Manning has yet to actually Make a tackle in his NFL career. Our first round pick, therefore, should be for the best safety available. A free agent option, or anything thats an upgrade over the mess we have at safety, might also help, but both starters need replacing.

At linebacker, Urlacher will play till he dies and none of us can deny him that right. Hopefully we can just shut him down these last three games and give him treatment for his back. Lance Briggs needs to be re-signed immediately. Hunter Hillenmeyer has played surprisingly well, but an upgrade with better pursuit against the run would be appreciated. (J Leman).

On the defensive line the Bears have still generated a good number of sacks this year, and healthy Tommie Harris next year will only improve that. The weakness against the run needs to be addressed with a new d-tackle opposite of Harris, and Darwin Walker needs to be dropped.

So, if you're keeping score, thats two new offensive tackles, a new defensive tackle, a new linebacker, a new quarterback?, and two new safeties, and, on the unlikely chance that all of those new players work out, this team can be back to where it was.

The only problem is, thats 7 new players at the least, and thats one more draft pick than we have (gave one to Washington for Archuletta. Wooo ha.) And chances are, of our picks in the 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7th rounds, only 3-4 of those, optimistically, or 1-2 of those realistically, will be effective startes in their first year. The rest will need to be addressed in free agency, which is always a gamble in the NFL. Either way, chances are that even if those changes are made, the Bears have a long road back to success, and more likely than not the best case scenario for next year's ship is this:

Just deal with it.

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