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Monday, January 4, 2010

The 2009 Bears- The Good

Not that any of you should care, given that we are all LIFELONG Saints fans (at least until they get eliminated, since they've now gone 1-3 as my favorite team), but it's time to say a few things about the 2009 Chicago Bears. I had thought about writing more about them during the last few weeks of the season, but as they were eliminated from contention before showing any flashes of competence, it seemed best to wait until the end to get the story right. So here we go:

The Good-
- Let's just start off with my textbook defense of Jay Cutler. Half of those picks weren't his fault. Half of them were. That's still too many god damned harebrained interceptions, but let's look at the positives of his season first:

Jay Cutler in 2009-

-27 touchdown passes. That's the third best single season effort behind Erik Kramer (29 in 1995) and Sid Luckman (28 in 1943).

-3,666 passing yards. That's easily the second best in Bears history, right after Kramer's 3,838 in 1995.

-229.1 passing yards per game. That's 2nd to, you guessed it, Kramer's 239.9 ypg in 1995.

-60.5 completion percentage. That's the 2nd highest in Bears history (minimum of 10 starts) after Jim Harbaugh in 1993 (and for what it's worth, Harbaugh that year had just 7 td passes and threw 230 fewer passes than Jay did this year).

-1st in passing completions (336) and attempts (555)

-His 76.8 career (minimum 10 starts) passer rating as a Bear is, sadly enough, the 4th best in Bears history behind Erik Kramer (80.7), Jim McMahon (80.4), and Steve Walsh (77.9).

- And last but not least, at least his 26 interceptions are only the 2nd most in Bears history, behind Sid Luckman's 31 in 1947. Just to show how much the game has changed, Luckman actually made the Pro Bowl that year.

The fact is, despite the picks, despite the god awful line that allowed him to get sacked 35 freaking times, despite the inexperienced wide receivers and the lame duck offensive coordinator (sorry Ron, but you let me down big time this year), Jay managed to have arguably the second best passing season in Bears history. That says more about the ineptitude of this franchise than it does about Jay, but in all honesty there Are positives to take away from his efforts this year. The line needs to be tweaked. He needs more time to set his feet, because when he does, he's nearly unstoppable. Jay needs to stop rushing throws and hearing footsteps. All of this is elementary stuff that's been said about him throughout his career, and it's been said about promising Bears qbs in the past (see Grossman, Rex). This is fixable. There's no reason to give up on Cutler or doubt the wisdom of trading for him.

Outside of the QB-

Matt Forte- he had a down year this year. Not all of it was his fault. He was hurt in the offseason and the offensive line was so far below competent that if competence was sunlight they'd be the mole people. Forte deserves some of the blame, however, for his indecisiveness. Hit the hole, son. It's not gonna last long with your blockers. However, he's the first Bears rookie to rack up 2,000+ yards rushing in his first two years since Walter Payton. He managed to rack up 1,400 total yards from scrimmage in a terrible, terrible year, giving him 3,115 total yards in his young career. He's the surest bet to bounce back on this team, even more so than Cutler.

Devin Hester- He showed some real flashes of potential, as he always does. Had he not missed all or parts of four of five games he may very well have gained 1,000 yards receiving. I'm not sure he's ever going to be the #1 receiver, but I don't mean that as a Morrissey-style derogatory comment. He's simply not as smart as Aromashadu or Knox and they've just developed faster than him. As a slot receiver, #2 receiver, and deep threat he's still an extremely valuable player to have, and he'll continue to progress with Cutler under center.

Johnny Knox- The Bears should never let anyone forget that they got Cutler AND Knox in the trade with the Broncos. Given Denver's late season collapse and Kyle Orton's so-so finish, any moran who still thinks the Bears "lost the trade" should probably choke on his own taint and die. Knox was outstanding as a returner and slot receiver. He and Hester may have combined to make more frustrating and absolutely idiotic mistakes than any two wideouts in history this year, and they often cost Cutler dearly, but they also accomplished more than enough to give fans the feeling that with Cutler, Forte, Hester, Knox, Aromashadu, and, to a lesser extent, Greg Fucking Olsen, this unit is but an offensive line and a coordinator away from being truly terrifying.

Devin Aromashadu- Yes, we all had a good laugh at the meatheads who demanded that he start during the offseason. But even the meatheads can latch onto something sometimes. It's really a scathing condemnation of the coach and the GM that they took so damn long to get him on the field. I look forward to seeing what he does next year when he's Not stuck on the practice squad.

Greg Olsen- I suppose I should say something good about him. 60 receptions, 612 yds, and 8 tds are all fine totals for a tight end, but damned if he didn't feel like a disappointment. I still don't really like him.

Lance Briggs- He weathered the storm pretty well without help from....anybody. It wasn't his best season, but it wasn't his worst, which would have been excusable under the circumstances.

Expect the coaching staff and the rest of the defense to show up on tomorrow's article discussing what went wrong this season. That's going to be a much longer article and I'm tired of writing for now.

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