This article is part of our Team Previews series.
By Jason Zudycki
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
With Lovie Smith teetering on the hot seat heading into 2010, the Bears made a run to the NFC Championship Game before losing to hated rival and eventual Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers. If you were to call the Bears overachievers, you wouldn't be too far off.
The Bears overcame offensive inconsistencies and the league's worst offense line to finish the year 11-5, but not without a good amount of luck along the way. They had the advantage of facing three teams starting third-string quarterbacks, had no starters on either side of the ball placed on injured reserve, and were a Calvin Johnson "drop" in Week 1 away from an entirely different season all together. It's hard to see that kind of magic replicating itself two years in a row. On the plus side, the Bears actually began to blossom on offense, namely Matt Forte, after their bye week when they incorporated a more balanced offensive approach en route to a 7-2 finish. Jay Cutler was as inconsistent as ever, but much of that can be attributed to a makeshift offense line that gave up a league-leading 56 sacks. The Bears did go out and sign boom-or-bust Roy Williams giving Cutler a new target to play with, but the rest of his cast, now minus TE Greg Olsen, has limited upside in the passing game.
On defense, it was business as usual for the Cover-2 defense and