Not every starting position is settled yet for the Chicago Bears but for those who are, what are some stat projections for their 2014 season?
Jay Cutler: 4,100 yards, 30 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Expectations are for Jay Cutler to take the next step in 2014. Provided he starts a full season healthy that should come to pass as he tops the 4,000-yard mark for the second time in his career and also hits 30 touchdowns for the first time.
Matt Forte: 1,180 yards rushing, 400 yards receiving, nine touchdowns
Mr. Versatility should have himself another productive season. Matt Forte will combine for over 1,500 total yards and nine touchdowns. That is fewer than his Pro Bowl 2013 season but the reasoning for that will not be his ability.
Ka’Deem Carey: 500 yards rushing, 190 yards receiving, four touchdowns
It will be the presence of promising rookie Ka’Deem Carey. The 4th round pick comes in with some serious potential and the Chicago Bears coaches will want to work him into the game plan given his own versatile skill set, which he showcases in the stat line.
Alshon Jeffery: 1,100 yards, nine touchdowns
Perhaps the steepest drop off set to come for the Bears offense is from Alshon Jeffery. After his breakout 2013 season with 1,400 yards, he’ll see that dip to around 1,100. At the same time though, he will score two more touchdowns.
Brandon Marshall: 1,200 yards, ten touchdowns
A model of consistency for years, Brandon Marshall has the ear of Jay Cutler and will continue to get the ball. He should reach his customary 1,200-yard mark and hit double digit touchdowns again.
Marquess Wilson: 600 yards, three touchdowns
The real surprise of the season will come from the slot receiver position. Once a written off 7th round pick with a bad falling out at Washington State, Marquess Wilson will reward the faith placed in him by the Chicago Bears and post a productive second year.
Martellus Bennett: 700 yards, seven touchdowns
With Wilson’s rise, the burden on Martellus Bennett to be that option over the middle will decrease, but don’t expect the tight end to not get his chances. He should still manage to reach 700 yards and will up his touchdown total from a year ago.
Jared Allen: 41 tackles, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles
The Bears were very fortunate to get Jared Allen in free agency and have high hopes he will become their primary pass rusher. Still, they must be careful not to overuse him at age 32. Decreased snaps will lower his tackle total, but fresher legs allows him to post his eighth-straight season with double digit sacks.
Lamarr Houston: 65 tackles, nine sacks, one forced fumble
At the same time Lamarr Houston will have his first real chance to play across from a dynamic pass rusher like Allen. While his run defense will stay strong, his upward trend in sacks will continue from six last season.
Willie Young: 32 tackles, seven sacks, one interception
He won’t be the starter but Willie Young is going to see plenty of action for the Chicago Bears. His three sacks in 2013 was not that great, but was also misleading given how many near-misses he had. This time he will finish a few more of them, doubling his total from a year ago.
Jeremiah Ratliff: 35 tackles, five sacks
Once a discarded veteran with a dark future, Jeremiah Ratliff saved his career when he signed in Chicago and now is the favorite to start at defensive tackle. His ability to push the pocket, and playing between Houston and Allen, should show up on the stat sheet quite often.
Charles Tillman: 70 tackles, four interceptions, five forced fumbles
Injury worries certainly surround Charles Tillman after missing eight games last season but the Pro Bowl veteran was productive in those eight games. An improved pass rush should only help as he returns to form both as a tackler and turnover machine.
Tim Jennings: 58 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles
The same can be said for teammate Tim Jennings. He will see more action at nickel back but that won’t diminish his chances to get his hands on the ball. He’ll top his interception total from last season.
Kyle Fuller: 50 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks
Experts said the most pro ready cornerback in the 2014 NFL draft was Kyle Fuller. He runs, covers, tackles and hits with discipline. Chicago will find ways to get him on the field often and he’ll surprise them with his coverage ability but also his knack for blitzing, as shown by his two sacks.
Shea McClellin: 82 tackles, five sacks, one interception
The shackles are off in the mind of Shea McClellin. No longer imprisoned at defensive end, he’s finally able to use his gifted athleticism and speed where he belongs at linebacker. That will reflect not only in his tackling, but also, ironically his pass rush as he notches more sacks than either of his previous two seasons.
Lance Briggs: 102 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception
The old warhorse came up lame last season with a bum shoulder. However, Lance Briggs should have more help this time around, allowing him to do what he does best which is make plays.
Ryan Mundy: 85 tackles, one sack, two interceptions
The only safety penciled in as a starter at this point for the Chicago Bears is Ryan Mundy. The former reserve has a lot to prove, and his first year with the team will be a nice step in the right direction as he becomes the box safety they need.