With 77 days to go, some things look to be in place:
- Tons of offensive weapons. AJ Green, Sanu, Gresham, Eiffert, Gio, etc... all targets for Dalton.
- The offensive line currently is healthy, which was not the case to start 2012.
- The defensive line is returning in tact from an awesome 2012 season.
- The coaching staff is still in place, providing continuity for the players.
And with 77 days to go, there are still some questions:
- In Dalton's 3rd year of the same offense, will he have his big breakout year where he finally comes up big in the big games?
- Who will emerge next to Hall as the CB2? Can old man Newman do it again? Will A Jones be on the roster or in jail? Will Dre finally be healthy? Will Ghee actually see the field?
- Who will emerge next to Nelson as the other safety? Does Mays get yet another chance? Start the rookie draft pick? Pick up Crocker again?
- How will the LB's work out? Does Harrison play all 3 downs? Does Maualuga play all 3 downs? Will Lamur or the UDFA's get much of a chance?
- With Gresham, Eiffert, Sanu, Jones, Hawkins & Gio, who emerges behind AJ as the 2nd best receiving option for the Bengals?
- Will Nugent survive a 16 game schedule?
And a look at their opponent in 77 days... da Bears
Started last year 7-1, but in another late season swoon, they gave away their playoff hopes, and cost their head coach his job.
Jay Cutler was unspectacular, barely managing 3,000 yards with 19 TD and 14 INT, with about 1/2 of his yards, TD's. and passes going to Brandon Marshall (who snagged AJ Green's all-pro spot).
In Matt Forte, the Bears have what we can hope Gio will give the Bengals. Forte had a solid 4.4 ypc, and 44 receptions. But isn't going to pound in TD's. But that's why they have M Bush, and why we have BJGE.
Julius Peppers is still a stud DE, and Tillman was given an All-Pro award.
5 of the Bears' 6 draft picks were either O-Linemen or Linebackers.