A buddy of mine and I entered into a Gentleman's Wager (Gibson's is on the line), he predicts the Chicago Bears will go 13-3 this season. Although Jay Cutler thinks the defense was “a Super Bowl Defense” last year, for a team to go 13-3, the offense needs to match or exceed the output of the defense.
Now, past performance is NOT an indicator of future success (that’s your free financial advice), but rear-view window analysis is the best we have. And here’s what we had (offensively) last year...
Offensive Line and Jay Cutler
We’re all aware of the failed pass protection last season (56 sacks, 10.4% adjusted sack rate) but the Bears were not that strong running the ball – scary for a team that is based on pounding the football. Their power rank was dead last in the league (32). Their power success (% of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown) was 44%, the league average was 62% — d’oh! The Bears were also stuffed (% of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage) 25% of the time, the league average was 19%. Their stuffed rank was 30/32. Dissa not good.
For those of you that are not a fan of Cutler, know this: No one in the league, over the past two (2) years, has been sacked more times than Jay Cutler (84x for 545 yards). How can anyone be successful behind an O-Line like that? Running for his life and taking hits has greatly affected his Win Probability:
When you think of serviceable wide receivers, the Bears three of Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester probably do not come to mind. It’s true, these guys aren’t sexy… BUT Earl Bennet and Johnny Knox are serviceable receivers. Hester, however, is not — his DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) was -3.2% (this means he was a liability on offense).
The combination of the O-Line problems, Cutler’s decision making, and learning a new offense, Knox, Bennet, and Hester caught for 2071 effective yards. This is the second lowest for Cutler since 2008. This has to get better. Will the Roy Williams signing help? Hopefully. I like how he has played in Martz’s system before and I like his size. He now gives the Bears a receiver that is taller than 6’0” (Williams is 6’3").
Every team in the NFC North has gotten better in the off-season — it no longer is a division of punching bags (Detroit Lions). Green Bay will continue to be an upper-echelon team and the Lions/Vikings have gotten better.Will the addition of Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Chris Spencer, and Amobi Okoye add an additional two wins to the Bears this season? What do you expect Bears fans? Be honest.
I expect a 9-7 season.
And a good meal from Gibson's by Week 8.