When a new NFL coach marshals in change, players that didn’t have a chance under the old regime suddenly enjoy new life. This happens all the time around the league. When Dick Jauron began his stint in Chicago, a little-known WR by the name of Marcus Robinson waited in the shadows. Merely hoping to make the team, Robinson was given the chance he’d always yearned for under Dave Wanndstedt. Suddenly, Robinson was one of the premier receivers the league over, catching 84 passes for 1,400 yards along with 9 touchdowns. These types of opportunities exist for many unsuspecting players owing to the fact that new coaches not only bring with them new ideas, but also new perspectives.
Conversely, coaches also gut the roster free of players who, for one reason or another, have overstayed their welcome. This is an essential part of a new regime because every coach has an offense and a defense he feels comfortable with. Most times, these schemes demand different players to complement them.
Having watched the film from last season, there are 5 players Marc Trestman must part ways with if he is remotely serious about competing for a championship. This will afford other players with possibly more upside a chance to shine.
Roberto Garza – a fan favorite, Garza is one of the few offensive holdovers from the 2006 Super Bowl squad. His play last season, however, was simply dreadful. In an October matchup vs. Detroit, he committed multiple false start penalties (at home!). Everyone knows that there are two players who should never be guilty of a false start – - the QB and the Center. Aside from that, Garza is 34, and has been pushed around way too much the past 2 seasons. Pro Football Focus rates him as one of the worst lineman in the game, and if the Bears are serious about protecting Jay Cutler, he needs to go.
Devin Hester – the past few years the NFL has all but negated one of the most exciting plays in football – - the kickoff return. Likewise, Hester’s exploits have faded, as last year proved his most unproductive campaign in Chicago. Now nearly 30, Hester has clearly lost a step. Worst of all, he failed to get open vs. single coverage. It’s pretty bad when the Bears prefer Eric Weems at WR in place of him.
Eric Weems – Like Hester, Weems did nothing on kick returns last year. He isn’t even as good as a receiver as Hester, and that’s saying something. Special Teams simply doesn’t have the impact it once did. Since offense wins games and defense seals them, I’d much rather the Bears take a chance on a younger player with more upside than commit to someone who simply can’t do much of anything aside from cover kicks.
Jamarcus Webb – I am simply astonished that legions of Bears’ fans are seemingly comfortable with Webb playing Right tackle. It simply isn’t a good idea on any Sunday, let alone one in which the Bears are playing a real game. Many forget that Webb began his ignominious career on the right side in 2010, promptly surrendering 12 sacks in nearly a full season. In 2011, the Bears’ braintrust decided he’d fare even better on the left side, Jay Cutler’s health and sanity be damned. It worked out so well Phil Emery gave ex-Saints’ LT Bushrod a record contract. Look, Webb can’t block elite rushers one-on-one, and his penchant for boneheaded personal fouls and drive-killing holding calls have exhausted the patience of many a diehard. He gets mauled twice a year vs. Clay Matthews, and teams are smart enough to line up their star defenders across from him. In point of fact, I’d rather let 5th rounder Jordan Mills have a chance to start than watch Webb get Cutler killed . . . again!
Kelvin Hayden – unlike his predecessor DJ Moore, I can’t recall Kelvin Hayden making one memorable play last season. QB’s were very successful against him too, enjoying a passer rating of over 90 when throwing his way. I submit that this is an excellent opportunity for the Bears to allow a younger player a fighting chance. Hayden, on his best day, is too average for my liking.