1) Given a QB, Mike Martz, can produce.
* 1999 Rams, starring fresh-from-the-supermarket Kurt Warner.
* Marc Bulger threw for 3,845 yards in 2003.
* Jon Kitna threw for over 4,000 yards in 2006 and 2007. (The Lions were 30th and 32nd in scoring defense in those two seasons.)
2) Why can’t Matt Forte play Marshall Faulk in the new Bears’ offense? As he proved during his rookie year, Forte can carry 300 times and catch 60+ passes (Faulk carried 253 and caught 87 in 1999).
3) Speedy Johnny Knox as Az-zahir Hakim? Bruce and Holt will be difficult impossible to duplicate. The Bears may have something in Devin Aromashodu, but he has just 31 career receptions. Devin Hester has speed and open-field ability (he could actually play the role of Hakim). Two options to find a No. 1 receiver: Trade up to grab Draft Dez Bryant (impossible, since Chicago has no 1st or 2nd round picks) or make a trade for Brandon Marshall. In the event neither of those happen … Martz and Kitna turned undrafted Mike Furrey into a 98-catch, 1,000 yard receiver in 2006.
4) Lovie Smith’s 2010 defense should have five of the same front seven from the 2006 team that went to the Super Bowl and was 3rd in the league in scoring defense. The optimist in us believes that if healthy, they can be a Top 15 defense in the league. The secondary does need major work, though.
There was even a spark when Martz and Cutler met! ESPN’s Chris Mortensen thinks the risk of Martz is worth the reward. Best-case scenario: Favre retires and the Bears go 11-5 to win the division. More likely scenario: Favre doesn’t retire, meaning the NFC North is stacked, but the Bears still go 10-6 and make the playoffs. We’ve been on the Bears’ bandwagon since they missed the playoffs, and despite playing the NFC and AFC East teams (four playoff teams plus the Giants and Dolphins two teams that were close), we’re sticking with Chicago as our 2010-2011 surprise team.