Monday, January 2, 2012

Three Bears Look for Better Results in 2012

In 2011, the Bears story was an ancient Greek drama and the Oracle at Delphi had decreed that a good season would go bad. The three mightiest of Bears--Cutler, Forte and Urlacher--ended the season with injuries and the Bears came to rest at 8-8 for third place in the NFC North. Bears fan were left wondering what might have been, but more importantly, what might be next season.

The Bears season ended in a win against the Minnesota Vikings, but in disappointment none-the-less. Two thirds of the way into the final quarter, Brian Urlacher suffered a knee injury while defending against a long pass thrown to Viking receiver Percy Harvin in the end zone. Percy Harvin, Major Wright and Brian Urlacher all leapt for the pass at the same time. Urlacher was positioned to swat it down and got an assist from Wright who jumped from behind Urlacher and over his back. Urlacher landed with his legs positioned oddly as Major Wright came down on top of him.

Early on in the season, challenges presented themselves to the Bears. First round draft pick, Gabe Carimi was hurt. The offensive line made adjustments and great improvements were made, but only after a period of trial and error that may not have been so severe had Carimi been playing. They would take another hit when Chris Williams would suffer a severe wrist injury. Never-the-less, the offense looked like the strongest Bear unit until Jay Cutler broke his thumb. And then Matt Forte sprained his knee and most realistic fans knew it would not end well.

On defense, Julius Peppers was beat up, but kept coming back. Peppers continues to look like someone who is paid a lot of money and wants to earn every penny. He helps make every defensive play fun to watch, but he was banged up.

On special teams, Devin Hester suffered an ankle injury that kept him from being Devin Hester. In a very scarey moment, Johnny Knox was severely injured. Marion Barber would also get hurt a few different times this season.

One season rarely picks up from the last with all in good order. There are sure to be surprises, perhaps with some coaching changes and certainly in the movement of players. But if one listens to those who are likely to be Bears next year, the 2012 season looks promising.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books.

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