Jason Belenke Reports Live From Bears Camp
Jason has been covering the Chicago Bears for over 10 years and has covered 5 Super Bowls to go along with his appearances on Sports Center and ESPN's First Take in addition to being a frequent guest on Comcast Sports Net and CLTV.
The Bears added a few pieces in the offseason, none bigger than bringing in Mike Martz to run the offense.
While nobody expects a reincarnation of the greatest show on turf, the Bears are hoping Martz can get Jay Cutler on track, and turn the team into a formidable force on both sides of the ball.
Early on in camp, it was a lovefest between Martz and Cutler, as both guys seemed thrilled to be working together.
The key for Cutler will be changing up the way he does things. In the Martz offense, the QB needs to be very accurate and almost throw to a spot, where in the past Cutler has thrown to the guy. That transition is going to take some work, but the early results have been positive
Another key will be keeping Cutler upright, as the Offensive line looks to bounce back after being one of the worst units in the league.
In the 2nd preseason game Cutler was sacked 5 times, so that appears to be easier said than done.
As far as the Bears weapons, the team felt comfortable enough in their wideouts to stand pat in the offseason.
Some of the most pleasant sites have been watching Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu look like productive threats downfield. Even if Devin Hester gets the headlines, it's been the young guns who will be making the plays. Aromashodu finished up strong last season and has carried it over into camp. Knox has world class speed and seems to be learning how to use it as he turns into a complete wideout. It doesn't hurt that these guys are two of Jay Cutlers favorite targets.
The backfield for the Bears looks to be one of the strongest in the NFL as the team brought in Chester Taylor to reduce some of the workload off Matt Forte.
After being one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football last season, Forte will try to bounce back this season, and so far in camp looks healthy and ready to take over where he left off as a rookie phenom
In Martz's offense, the tightends are more blockers than receivers, so don't expect a ton from them. Martz has vowed to get Greg Olsen more involved, but really hasn't done a whole lot after the first workout. The other tight end to watch, Desmond Clark has lined up as the H-back, but might not get enough looks to be a fantasy threat.
On Defense, the team brought in Julius Peppers to try and establish a pass rush. Early on you see why scouts get enamored with him, He is 6'7 283 and runs like a safety. If he can be the playmaker, the Bears payed him to be, he could help this defense become relevant again. The Defense is a very fluid group, Brian Urlacher is trying to come back from injury but strained his calf, and the secondary is below average. The team is hoping rookie safety Major Wright can be the playmaker he was at Florida, and before he hurt his hand he was making plays all over the field.