This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
After a 2010 season where seemingly everything went right for the Bears, 2011 was a punch to the gut. A promising 7-3 start was derailed by key injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, exposing roster deficiencies and leading to their general manager's departure. Now, after a new hire (GM Phil Emery) and an aggressive offseason, the Bears are ready to make another push in the NFC.
Mike Tice has a lengthy coaching resume, but has limited time as a NFL play caller. That didn't stop the Bears from naming him their new offensive coordinator. Lack of experience, though, may not be his only obstacle. All signs point to a lengthy holdout for offensive centerpiece Matt Forte and new acquisition Brandon Marshall can rarely stay out of trouble. To their credit, the Bears did do an excellent job of finding backup plans by signing Michael Bush and drafting Alshon Jeffery, but the offense will be at its best when all the pieces are playing together. Speaking of those pieces, if everything is smoothed out before the season, Jay Cutler will have the best weapons at his disposal since his days in Denver. Working under the assumption that Gabe Carimi's return from knee surgery would be an upgrade in itself, the Bears chose not to address their spotty offensive line this offseason. While the coaches do believe a change from blocking schemes under previous coordinator Mike Martz will also improve the line's performance, they