2007 Chicago Bears Preview

2007 Chicago Bears preview from MadduxSports.com. As well as previews Maddux offers NFL football picks against the NFL point spread each week during the season.

Rookie Tight End May Tie Loose Ends on Offense
By Adam Barone

Though the Chicago Bears were quite undoubtedly successful in the 2006 NFL season, making their way to Miami for the Super Bowl, too much time in the passing game was spent with Rex Grossman frantically running around screaming, looking for someone to throw to. Some of this can be attributed to his obvious desire to score a touchdown on every play, but the majority should be blamed on the fact that, a large portion of the time, no one was open. With Muhsin Muhammad getting up in age (34) and the rest of the receiving corps (Bernard Berrian, Rashied Davis and Mark Bradley) very young and inexperienced, Grossman has been in dire need of a stabilizer. 2006 Bears' tight end Desmond Clark had a decent season, scoring 6 touchdowns and averaging over 13 yards per catch, but is not the type of dynamic talent that can carry an offense to a championship level.

Typical of Bears teams of the past, last year's team loved to grind it out on the ground. Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson formed one of the more formidable, bruising running tandems in the entire NFL. Though they combined for over 1800 yards rushing, only Jones was a legitimate threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Jones did catch 36 balls on dump offs, but he averaged only 4.3 yards per catch. He was dealt to the New York Jets in the offseason, making 2005 first round pick Cedric Benson the man.

With Benson's straight forward, downhill style and limited receiving ability now a mainstay in the offense, the Bears selected TE Greg Olsen out of Miami to add a new dimension to their passing attack. Olsen ran a 4.51 40 at the combine and was by far the most explosive of all the tight ends in the draft. Desmond Clark is an adequate receiver, but only an average route runner and cannot stretch the field and find ways to get open as well as Olsen will be able to. With Olsen drawing attention from safeties and linebackers in the middle of the field, Grossman should see more opportunities to hit the wide receivers on the outside, or even Adrian Peterson or '07 third round draft pick Garrett Wolfe in the flat on third down.
Bernard Berrian developed in 2006 into, at the very least, someone that defensive coordinators will keep an eye on. He proved that he has an ability to blow past coverage and get open deep. His route running could be crisper and he is only average at getting open on the second tier. Rashied Davis, switching last season to receiver from cornerback, secured himself a roster spot and established a degree of trust with Grossman.

Aside from the addition of Olsen, the one thing missing from the offense was a dynamic threat that could legitimately scare defenses. In order to establish this threat, the Bears switched star kick returner Devin Hester's official position from CB to WR. RB Garrett Wolfe is undersized and was likely drafted to handle some of the return duties so that Hester can play more on offense. The main worry with Hester will be his ability to catch and hold onto the ball. He had a lot of trouble with fumbles in 2006, losing the pigskin 8 times.

The Bear's defense was impressive in '06 as usual, though it lost a member of the defensive tackle rotation, Ian Scott, to the Eagles via free agency, but '06 draft pick Dusty Dvoracek should return soon to take his place. Second year safety Chris Harris and rookie Danieal Manning did a sufficient job in the absence of oft injured Mike Brown, but will not have to hold down the fort alone any longer, as the Bears have added former Ram and Redskin SS Adam Archuleta. Archuleta played under Bears' head coach and former Rams' defensive coordinator Lovie Smith in St. Louis, and specializes in playing up behind the front seven and stopping the run. The Bears also loaded up on secondary help in the draft, especially at cornerback. Nathan Vasher has become a solid defender, but Charles Tillman seems to get burned deep far too often.

2007 Chicago Bears Predictions

Overall, the Bears will be a much different, likely more dynamic team. Aside from a rejuvenated offense in Detroit, there is little standing between them and another division title, as will likely be reflected by oddmakers. The situation with Lance Briggs' holdout will likely affect the team at some point, but how and to what extent is difficult to speculate. Expect the Bears to struggle early before they get settled into their new offense with all of it's new wrinkles; but by week 4 or 5 they should be rolling on all cylinders. Sports gambling sites should see a flood of support for the Bears, but it will be difficult for them to duplicate 2006, especially with the pressure they have created for an NFC Championship repeat. Be careful of the Bears being favored by too many points in many games early in the season, simply due to the size of their fan base.

If you enjoyed reading our Chicago Bears preview read up on the rest of the NFC North opponents like the Packers, Vikings, and Lions team outlooks from Maddux Sports.

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2007 NFL Team Previews

As usual Maddux presents its anual 2007 NFL preview sorted by divisions. From each division you can find our predictions as well an individual team report of each National League Football Team. Click here to return to the main NFL season preview page.

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