Pack Wins - What it Means for the Bears
Clearly, the Packers are the best team. They have a great, young franchise QB and a lot of youth at key positions. They are deep at all of their positions and it is a true testament to their scouting and front office work that they could overcome so many injuries without really missing a beat.
The Bears have a lot of talent and a solid D that is able to contain Rodgers, but they need more speed and they need to get just a bit better. If the Bears are going to contend in the North and for the NFC title, they have to draft well, add a couple of key free agents, and get better play from their QB.
1. Cutler needs to continue to make strides. He'll be in his second year in teh Martz offense and he needs to make better decisions - especially against the Packers. I expect that to happen.
2. The Bears need to upgrade their O-line and get better in the interior D-line. Both were solid units by the end of the year, but the O-line needs some mauler types to play in the interior O-line spots. I'd like to see them sign a player or two in free agency. If Chris Williams grades out well at guard then leave him there. He is a big, athletic lineman, but I am not sure he is really a mauler. He may be better suited at LT. If the Bears improve their O-line it will go a long way to being a better, more consistent offensive team.
3. The interior D-line was not disruptive at all. Peppers and Idonje had great years but the interior linemen were average at best. The Bears need to find a truly disruptive force inside - like the old Tommie Harris. They could also use another big, athletic corner. Both are needed to get pressure on Rodgers and to match up against their great receiving corps.
4. The draft is going to be critical. The Packers are deep all around and the Bears need to improve their depth to protect against injury.
I expect the Bears and Packers to again battle it out for the North - obviously the Packers have to have the edge now. The Queens and Lions will both be better, but they are still a notch below the Bears in my opinion. It's just too bad we have to wait until the end of summer for the next season.