2010 NFL Question Marks: Chicago Bears

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 22: Members of the Chicago Bear offensive line including Olin Kreutz #57, Roberto Garza #63 and John Tait #76 line-up in front of the Green Bay Packer defense on December 22, 2008 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Packers 20-17 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Merry training camp season, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the Bears and their continued concerns along the offensive line.

Once again, expectations are high in the “Windy City.” A year after trading for quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears hired offensive coordinator Mike Martz in hopes that the “Mad Scientist” will transform his new gunslinger back into a Pro Bowler. But does Cutler have the horses up front to protect him?

Some still point to the Bears’ receivers as being the team’s biggest weakness. But with Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Devin Aromashodu and Earl Bennett, Chicago should be fine at wideout – especially in Martz’s system. In fact, Hester and Knox could be in store for breakout years.

But the offensive line is the position that remains a huge issue. Olin Kreutz remains the team’s best linemen after turning in a banner 2009 campaign, but he needs to cut down on his penalties after committing six last year. If he can, he remains the only player on the Bears’ O-line that plays at an elite level.

Of course, the hope is that former first round pick Chris Williams can be that kind of player soon. A back injury limited him during his rookie year in 2008 and until he moved to left tackle, he struggled mightily in ’09. Through the first 10 games last season, he gave up five sacks, eight hits and 24 hurries. But after taking over for the equally pitiful Orlando Pace in Week 13, Williams finished well down the stretch, giving the team hope for his future.

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