Lou Canellis previews the 2012-2013 Chicago Bears - FOX 32 News Chicago

Lou Canellis previews the 2012-2013 Chicago Bears

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some of you know my story but if you don't, here's a little background. I'm a Chicago kid. I grew up on the South Side in Oak Lawn and have been a psycho Bears fan since I came out of my mother's womb...no joke. I've been a Bears season ticket holder since I was 4-years-old when my godfather left his Bears season tickets in his will for me. The Bears were still playing at Wrigley Field back then…true story. The postman would show up at our house in Oak Lawn at 96th and Kolmar and ask for Lou Canellis so he could sign for the tickets. My mom would literally have to lift me up so I could put pen to paper. I didn't even know how to sign my name back then, seriously. The postman thought it was a joke but mom would show off my birth certificate and explain.

I tell you this not because I've been drinking the Lovie ‘Kool-Aid'…this Bears ‘Kool-Aid' was made long ago, I had the George Halas ‘Kool-Aid' in my baby bottle and kept drinking it when Jim Dooley was serving it followed by Abe Gibron, Jack Pardee, Neil Armstrong and then got punch drunk when Mike Ditka switched the ‘Kool-Aid' to champagne and I still drank the ‘Kool-Aid' with Wanny and Jauron but now, I'm serious, I'm ready for Lovie to fill my baby bottle again with champagne.

This is a real good team folks. It's a team that can be special. When guys like Bill Parcells - who I respect - a former coach who's won two Super Bowls and been to three title games says, these Bears can be a real good, I get excited and I'm not the only one.

Honestly, I haven't seen a buzz like this around the Bears since 1986 after we won the Super Bowl. Part of that's because the Bulls and Hawks lost in the first round of the playoffs, the Cubs may be headed to just their third ever 100 loss season and there just aren't enough White Sox fans. But the biggest reason there's a great buzz is because this is a real good team.

Phil emery did a terrific job putting together this roster, shoring up areas on this roster Lovie needed help with to win.

The Bears have a franchise quarterback, one of the most talented quarterback's in the NFL and Jay Cutler didn't have a bona-fide #1 receiver to throw to. So, Emery went out and got Brandon Marshall, a big target, 6-4. Marshall has five straight seasons of 1000 yards receiving, 82 catches for over 1200 yards with bad quarterback's in Miami last season, MVP of last years Pro Bowl and now he's alongside his buddy, the guy he put the best numbers of his career with in Denver.

What derailed this Bears team last year? Depth. No backup for Cutler when he went down, no dependable backup for Matt Forte.

Emery added depth through free agency. He didn't give up draft picks to bring in reinforcements.

Jason Campbell (QB) - In six NFL seasons, this guy has made 70 starts. His career passer rating is better than Cutler's! He broke his collarbone last year and the Raiders gave up on him when they picked up Carson Palmer.

Michael Bush (RB) - Campbell's teammate in Oakland. He started three fewer games than Matt Forte and rushed for just as many yards last season. Emery saw enough of Bush when Phil was working with the Chiefs - enough to know he'd pay him $14 million, $7 million guaranteed to be a backup.

We can't call the draft a success yet but I can tell you the first two guys are going to contribute. Brian Urlacher told me Sunday he loves the 1st round pick Shea McClellin. Urlacher said McClellin's faster than he is. The Bears haven't had a 3rd defensive end who could get to the quarterback since Mark Anderson in the Super Bowl season. He's going to be a huge help.

Second round pick Alshon Jeffrey - You guys saw him play in the preseason. Another big target, 6'3", he had 88 catches his sophomore season at South Carolina in the SEC, then his numbers dropped because of a new offense, bad quarterback play and questions about his conditioning.

Health

Jay Cutler - Looks great and will have one year left on his contract following this season but this is the time he needs to shine. This is when the Bears would like to give him a contract extension. He's got his buddy Brandon Marshall and his former quarterback coach with the Broncos, Jeremy Bates. He loves new offensive coordinator Mike Tice.

Matt Forte – Matt's knee is fine, heck he played in last years Pro Bowl. He's in the best shape of his career, he received his new contract, and he's the first player in NFL history to have 900 yards rushing and 400 receiving yards in the same season.

Brian Urlacher - He told me Tuesday, the knee feels great after going through a full practice Monday. Brian's the face of this organization. If he isn't right, he won't go out there but he's always been a freak of nature. He's an eight time Pro Bowler and the heart and soul of this defense.

Am I worried about Urlacher being healthy all year long? Sure I am and so is he.

Am I worried about the offensive line? A little but not as concerned as the rest of the media.

Last year, the Bears rushed for over 2000 yards as a team for the first time in over 20 years and they did it without Forte the last four games. In other words, their run blocking was pretty good and their pass blocking was getting much better with Jay Cutler as the season went on. Cutler was sacked only five times the final five games he played. Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown were sacked 26 times in 6 games, Cutler, 23 times in 10 games. This line will be even better this season with the offensive line coach, now the offensive coordinator.

Every team has warts. Green Bay's pass defense was the NFL's worst last season and isn't much better, New England can't protect Tom Brady, and Detroit has had a number of off the field problems.

Lovie has told me, Urlacher has told me, and Cutler's told me this is going to be a special season. I trust those guys and you should as well. The Bears will go 11-5!

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