2014 Record: 5-11, missed playoffs, 0-5 in last five
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1st: 14th in DVOA* overall offense (16th pass, 11th rush) | 28th in DVOA* overall defense (29th pass, 21st run)
2nd: Not particularly effective against any receiver type, but worst in the NFL against TEs (7.4 pass attempts per game, 60.4 receiving yards per game) and seventh-worst against WR1s (7.7 pass attempts, 71.8 yards) and WR2s (6.4 pass attempts, 60.8 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.
3rd: Key loss: WR Brandon Marshall | Key addition: LB Mason Foster
4th: The big story for a lot of people is Jay Cutler’s non-departure. Yes, he is a head case. He is a quarterback who is better in fantasy than in real life. Luckily, this is a fantasy football site. Cutler finished 12th among fantasy quarterbacks in 2014, depending on your scoring system, despite missing a game. That put him ahead of Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton. Meanwhile, He’s going off the board as the last pick in the 14th round of drafts in 2015, according to ADP. The loss of Brandon Marshall will hurt the offense, but Marshall was as bad as you remember he was last season, despite Cutler putting up his most yards since 2008 and a career-high 29 touchdowns passes. Now Cutler will be throwing to WRs Alshon Jeffrey and potential star rookie Kevin White. TE Martellus Bennett had career highs in catches, targets, yards and touchdowns. Expect more of the same from him in 2015. Matt Forte is approaching an age when he should slow down, but he should huge workload again. On the defensive side, the addition of Mason Foster should help the Bears horrible (fourth-worst overall and third-worst against the pass). Foster missed six games due to injury in 2014, but he’s only 26 and the previous two seasons he piled up 196 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions — including two returned for touchdowns — and deflected eight passes. But they’ll need more than just Foster. Two other big team losses were Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, but both are approaching their age-35 seasons.
*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.