The Lions will play the first of their two annual games with the Chicago Bears in week seven. The first meeting will be at Soldier Field while the Bears make their return trip for a season finale that could have major playoff implications.
Our Detroit Lions schedule preview continues with a Q&A with Mike Burzawa, editor of Bear Goggles On. My thanks to Mike for taking the time to answer my questions.
1. What is your initial reaction to the Bears’ 2012 draft class?
Mike Burzawa: I have to admit, the Shea McClellin selection had me scratching my head in the first round. While McClellin fits a position of need, he was projected to be more of a 3-4 outside rusher than a 4-3 DE that the Bears need opposite Julius Peppers. By all accounts, McClellin has a good motor and will wreak havoc in pass rushing situations.
I love the Alshon Jeffery selection especially since they took a lot of pressure off him by adding Brandon Marshall this offseason. If Jeffery had been s their main wide receiver addition, it might have been too much for him to handle. As a complimentary piece, he’ll be able to work his way into the Bears offense and should be a valuable asset in the red zone.
The other draft picks are fine, with safety Brandon Hardin being the most likely to contribute right away to bolster the secondary. I was surprised the Bears did not address their offensive line through the draft, so if that group struggles, there will be a lot of second-guessing of the Bears front office.
2. The NFC North is shaping up to be one of the NFL’s toughest division (no thanks to the Vikings), what do the Bears need to do to compete?
MB: On paper, this is about as good a Bears team as I can remember, but all it takes is a fluke injury to derail a promising season. Most importantly, the Bears need to stay healthy. They addressed some depth concerns at key positions by signing Jason Campbell to back up Jay Cutler and added Michael Bush as insurance for Matt Forte and however his situation pans out.
Besides health, the offensive line needs to come together and give Mike Tice’s new offense a chance to jell. With the new weapons they’ve added for Jay Cutler, this Bears offense could make some noise this season.