As practices progress and word leaks out, the questions surrounding the Chicago Bears shift. What are some keys for 2014?
Will Matt Forte relent carries to Ka’Deem Carey?
When asked why the Bears coaching staff didn’t try to get more carries for former backup Michael Bush last season, head coach Marc Trestman simply explained it was largely due to situational issues and also the fact that starter Matt Forte refused to stay out of games for very long. That is a testament to his work ethic and competitiveness. Still, the Bears are keen on keeping their star fresh and healthy in 2014. To do that they need to spread out the workload, which is why they drafted Arizona star Ka’Deem Carey. He is an excellent fit for the system and a proven runner. Trestman has plans for him. Whether Forte goes along with those plans is another thing entirely.
Can Jay Cutler fulfill the MVP buzz?
More than a few prominent experts are following the Chicago Bears offense with tremendous interest, particularly quarterback Jay Cutler. Settled in with a new contract and entering the second year in the same offense, expectations are higher than ever for the 31-year old veteran. So high in fact that a number of preseason predictions have Cutler competing for the coveted NFL MVP award. It’s not without merit. Jay is one of the most talented passers in football and is surrounded by a wealth of talent from the offensive line to his receiving corps led by Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The key for Cutler won’t be execution, it will health. He has not completed a full season since 2009.
Is Jon Bostic a serious threat to D.J. Williams?
Last year their battle at middle linebacker was anticlimactic for many fans. From the very beginning the Chicago Bears coaches had eyes for D.J. Williams to replace Brian Urlacher. He was a proven veteran who would make the transition easier. Rookie Jon Bostic had potential but the team wanted him to sit back and learn first. In the end it was a wash. Williams tore his pectoral after six games and Bostic replaced him. Now the two are going head-to-head again for the second straight year. Is anything different? At present reports insist that Bostic is beginning to flash his experience and feel for the scheme. Williams still has a lead on the starting job, but if the trend continues, this coming competition for middle linebacker will be too close to call.
How will the rise of Brock Vereen be affected by pads?
Another position up for grabs is free safety. At the beginning of minicamps it was felt the competition would be settled between former starter Chris Conte, veteran free agent M.D. Jennings and rookie 4th round pick Brock Vereen. Over the course of the past few weeks the landscape has shifted dramatically. With Conte out and Jennings never really a factor, Vereen has emerged as not only the one taking 1st team reps, but according to coaches is impressing enough to where he could wrap up the starting job before Conte, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury, can even get into the battle. The key for Vereen will be how he advances his progress in training camp, when the pads go on. The same goes for every other Chicago Bears rookie.