Chicago Bears: Mike Martz In For Better Or Worse | NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
With the acquisition of quarterback Jay Cutler via trade last offseason, one would have thought the Chicago Bears would at least compete for a playoff spot.
Instead of finding the post season, the Bears had to rally at the end of the season just to finish with a record of seven and nine. While this record was an underachievement it doesn’t look that bad when you compare it to the offenses lack of production.
Despite of having stars like Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, this offense finished 17th in passing, 19th in scoring and a horrible 29th (only 93.2 yards per game) in rushing.
With failure to execute came the inevitable heads that would roll as a consequence when the season came to an end. Because of the offensive woes, coordinator Ron Turner paid with his job.
Head coach Lovie Smith is still with Chicago but one could build an easy case to say that the only reason he is still around is because of money.
Troubles In Chi-Town
In business an owner or general manager can fire the coach(s) but that defiantly doesn’t guarantee that the issues on the field will be solved.
Below I have the problems with the Bears’ offense (most notable anyway) listed.
- * 1. Offensive Line
- * 2. Running Issues
- * 3. No True No.1 Receiver
- * 4. Jay Cutler’s Turnovers (26 interceptions)
If this team is to have any hopes of making the playoffs in 2010 it is essential that they find a way to fix these key problem areas before the season begins.
Some of these issues can be solved through free agency and the draft. Other problems will fall on new offensive coordinator Mike Martz to prepare his players to execute.
Management needs to find a better option at left tackle (hopefully they keep Chris Williams at right tackle) and at left guard.
Beyond those issues, this team needs to find a way to get a true number one receiver signed to the team through free agency. This will be hard to do as there aren’t many receivers in this free agent class.
There are a few options for trade as the Broncos are open about parting ways with Brandon Marshall and the Cardinals will be shopping around Anquan Boldin.
Outside of those key transactions it will be up to coach Martz to utilize his players for success.
New Face, Same Problems
I have no doubt that Cutler will probably throw for around 4,000 yards and around 28 touchdowns with Martz as his coordinator. Just this past season Cutler had over 3,600 yards passing and 28 touchdowns.
If the team can’t find a suitable receiver in free agency this year I would expect Devin Aromashodu to make an impact fantasy wise as he has the best skill set of this team’s receiving core.
While the Bears should be able to move the football in the passing game, I’m not sure having Martz in will help this team in the area’s, they struggled with last year. Martz’s offensive system demands that receivers be in an exact area of the field or problems will occur. Cutler will be asked to throw to a spot on the field and if his young receivers fail to get to that spot the ball with be turned-over via interception.
Cutler already threw 26 interceptions and with an aggressive offense and a young receiving core it seems reasonable that he will throw over 20 again this year.
If Cutler is to find balance than Martz has to find a way to get the Bears running game going again. One can only hope that Matt Forte will be healthy this season as he struggled with health problems throughout the ’09 season.
Just last week the news was announced that Forte had surgery on his trouble MCL in his left knee.
While health will be a key for success, I’m not so sure that Forte can help this team if Martz uses him like he’s used his past running backs. Forte is better served as a runner that carries the football 18 plus times a game and catches the football four of five times.
I have no doubts that Forte will go over 50 receptions again in 2010 but receiving 18 plus carries a game is going to be a problem.
In no way is Forte an explosive slash and dash type running back (3.9, 3.3 yard per carry averages in first two years) his style is better suited at pounding the defense throughout the game and then making big runs in the fourth quarter.
In a Martz type offense, Forte won’t be in that type of situation very often as this system is based heavily around the passing game.
Fantasy Football Outlook for 2010
Cheap and cheaper are the words to use when thinking of this team and where a fantasy owner should draft players from this squad. While this offensive system may not compliment Forte’s full abilities, he is simply to accomplished (when healthy) to go lower than a solid third running back or flex play option.
Unless this team makes solid strides in free agency and the draft, I wouldn’t recommend you draft Forte higher than that area for your team.
Look for Aromashodu (needs to win a starting job) and Culter as very strong picks from about round 12 on in your draft.
Both will be in a pass friendly offense and could receive help via offseason moves that could set them up for solid seasons.
If you happen to play in a fantasy league that doesn’t penalize a quarterback for his interceptions than Cutler makes for a worthy draft pick in the first ten rounds of your draft.
2010 NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com