The Chicago Bears: 2014 Final Report Card
It won't be hard to grade the Bears season as it was one that many, including the franchise would like to forget. Let's begin with the obvious:
OFFENSE: To quote former Bears head Coach Marc Trestman, "It starts with me." The coveted quarterback whisperer could not turn Jay Cutler into the elite quarterback he was supposed to be under his tutelage. Trestman had flashes of brilliance in play calling, but failed when it came to 4th and goal, or any conversion for that matter. But the blame can't all go on Trestman. Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh did what he could do with Cutler. But it was Aaron Kromer, who did not have confidence in Cutler, leading him to throw Cutler under the bus and create dissention in the ranks.
For the most part the offensive line did a good job in keeping Cutler off his back. Running back Matt Forte' had a tremendous season for over 1000-yds. Both WR Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery had moments of brilliance, but also had moments of missed catches and miscues. If it weren't for Forte' carrying the offense, the grade would be lower.
FINAL GRADE: C+
From the start of the off-season, the defense woes was supposed to be somewhat fixed with the signings of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Two of the three wound up in the IR list for the season. The defense woes continued.
DEFENSE: Again the defense was practically non-existent. Did anyone pay attention to DC Mel Tucker's record at Jacksonville? His record in the 5 years as a defensive coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars was under .500. And yet, the Chicago Bears felt compelled to sign him on as if he was going to somehow turn his personal record into a Chicago magical season. As witnessed this season, it was horrendous, shameful and forgetful. How do you build a defense with 14 players over the age of 30? Without a key linebacker or agile pass rushers, the Bears could not do anything, especially in the middle gap.
The bright spots were rookie CB Kyle Fuller, who had a high 4 interceptions this season as well as Ryan Mundy. But that pretty much sums up the Tucker defense.
FINAL GRADE: F
SPECIAL TEAMS: As for special teams....there was none. The horrendous decision to not resign PR Devin Hester was the knife that permanently twisted in every Chicago Bear fans' back. In 2014, Hester lead the NFL with 1128 return yards, including a 45-yd kick return for a TD, all for the Atlanta Falcons. However, KR/PR Chris Williams did manage to run a 101-yd kick return for a touchdown for the Bears. That was pretty much it as the Bears used at least 5 different players in that position.
FINAL GRADE: F
This is a pretty deep whole for the Chicago Bears to be in. With Ryan Pace as the new GM, maybe there is hope for the Bears. Depending on who becomes the new head coach and takes over the defense all the fans can do is wait with baited breath during the draft and the off-season to see what kind of team the Chicago Bears will be in 2015.