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Overview of Madden Teams - Chicago Bears
In this series, I will be looking each team in Madden NFL 15. I will compare them to their real life counterparts, and tell you exactly how to make the most of your roster.
The Chicago Bears are were quite an interesting team to have watched for the past couple of seasons. Just a few short years ago they seemed to be annual playoff contenders, and now they are the laughingstock of the NFC North (which includes the longtime doormats of the league, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings). Some of this was due to poor coaching by former head coach Marc Trestman, some was the fault of a lack of roster depth, and some was just a general lack of quality talent at certain positions. For the most part, it was some combination of the three. This roster is definitely decent enough for a user to control this team, and defeat many an opponent online, but not exactly good enough to go undefeated, or crack the top 50 in the world unless you have some almighty skill.
Quarterbacks - Jay Cutler began the madden season with an 86 overall, and currently sits at 79. He has obviously disappointed all Bears fans for the past few seasons, and his ratings show it. He still has decent mobility (72 speed), an elite arm (98 throwing power) and decent enough short accuracy (83) to get things done. The former Bronco does however, need his medium accuracy (77), awareness (70), and play action ratings (67) to boost in order to become a top 15 quarterback in the game again. Jimmy Clausen (70 overall) is just a placeholder until 3rd string rookie David Fales can increase his awareness (52) and deep accuracy (63) to become Chicago's newest franchise signal caller. His throw power is not impressive (83), but his short and medium accuracy ratings are (82 and 81, respectively), and they are something the user can build around in franchise mode.
Running Backs - Matt Forte is nearing the dreaded 30 year old mark, but is still a top 5 running back in the game (92 overall). He can run (91 speed), catch (84 catching), and hold on to the football (95 carrying). In addition, Forte has a decent trucking rating (79), and is dependable to stay on the field (93 injury and 99 stamina). Behind him, however is a good example of where the lack of depth for this team stands out. Rookies Ka'Deem Carey (73 overall) and Senorise Perry (63 overall) are too unproven to carry the workload should Forte be unable to. Unlike Carey (83 speed, 83 agility), Perry has decent speed (93 speed, 92 agility) although Ka'Deem Carey has 84 trucking (compared to Perry's 44 rating). Both have carry ratings below 85 (83 for Carey, 74 for Perry), so overall I would suggest the player to search for a quality backup runner, or draft a young guy to take over for Matt Forte. Fullback Montell Owens is 30 years old, but is still more than capable of sharing a little bit of the workload, should neither of the rookie backups impress.
Wide Receivers - With their size combination on the outsides, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery create one of the best receiving duos in the entire league. Standing at 6'4", Marshall (another former Bronco) has extremely reliable hands (90 catch, 95 catch in traffic) and great route running (90). He is 30 years old, but that doesn't stop him from being one of the best wideouts in the game. Jeffery is basically the younger version of him, measuring in at 6'3", and actually having a better pair of hands according to madden (93 catch, 97 catch in traffic). Jeffery also has slightly superior route running abilities too (91), and is six years younger than Marshall (24 years old). Behind them is decent depth, but nothing special. Josh Morgan can be a solid slot receiver (75 catch, 81 catch in traffic), as can Marquess Wilson (81 catch, 79 catch in traffic). Marc Mariani and Joshua Bellamy both have decent speed and can find themselves on kick returns as well as playing their reserve roles.
Tight Ends - Martellus Bennett is a very good tight end (90 overall, 27 years old). He can move just enough to make plays happen (79 speed), can catch the ball (85 catch, 82 catch in traffic), and can block (78 run blocking). Behind him are a couple of guys who can fill in when needed, but will not challenge Bennett for a starting spot. Dante Rosario (72 overall) and Zach Miller (70 overall) are veterans who are capable of assisting the quarterback, should Bennett go down to injury.
Offensive Line - The line is surprisingly solid, after the terrible season they had a few years ago. Other than right tackle (a position of need), the entire line is at least an 81 overall, and in its mid-to-high 20's in terms of age. Eben Britton needs to be replaced, as he is a liability in pass protection (69 pass blocking). Depth is also lacking, as (other than the backup right tackle), everyone is less than a 70 in overall.
Defensive Line - This defensive front four is a good bunch of players. Both Lamarr Houston (87 overall) and Jared Allen (85 overall) can both get after the passer, with Willie Young playing the fill-in role for both positions. On the interior, Stephen Paea is an absolute animal at defensive tackle (98 strength, 87 hit power) and is only 26 years of age. Jeremiah Ratliff is another good presence on the interior of this line, even with his advanced age (33). Rookie Ego Ferguson has lots of potential, as well (84 block shedding, 78 tackle).
Linebackers - This group is both ageing and lacks great talent. Lance Briggs is still great on the right side, even with his age (89 overall, 33 years old). This forces decent talent Shea McClellin to move to the left side (73 overall, 25 years old), and take the spot of mediocre linebacker Khaseem Greene. In the middle, DJ Williams (yet another former Bronco, 76 overall), Darryl Sharpton (74), and Jon Bostic (72) should be allowed to fight for the starting middle linebacker spot. I would personally favor either Sharpton or Bostic, because of their potential and the fact that if Williams doesn't win that job, he should be placed on the left side instead of McClellin (79 overall as a LOLB).
Cornerbacks - Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman and rookie Kyle Fuller make a great group of starting corners. Each one possesses at least an 80 in man coverage, and 86 in zone coverage. Fuller needs to see as much playing time as he can, so that he can earn more XP, which allows the user to boost his ratings in order to eventually replace Tillman and/or Jennings (in franchise mode). Behind those three, Demontre Hurst, Sherrick McManis, rookie Terrance Mitchell, and rookie Al Louis-Jean make up decent depth. They have solid ratings in zone coverage more so than man. If they play, that thought needs to be kept in mind, as they will be burned in man coverage.
Safety - Chris Conte does not need to be starting at free safety. While he is indeed only 25 years old, Conte has had plenty of chances to prove he can handle a starting job in this league, and has failed to impress. He can be a solid backup, however, and rookie Brock Vereen couldn't be much worse. He is athletic (90 speed), has good size (6'0", 199 pounds) and has youth (22 years old). His hit power isn't bad (78), but his tackling (69), catching (55), and zone coverage (74) could be improved. This will all come with time, considering he is a rookie, but Chicago will need to find their answer soon if they wish to have a secondary resembling the "Legion of Boom". Ryan Mundy is nearing 30 years old, but he still has the strong safety spot locked down (84 overall). His 83 awareness, 66 catching, 88 hit power, and 78 zone coverage allow him to roam the field and make plays.
This Bears team has holes to be sure (quarterback, backup running back, right tackle, linebacker, and free safety), but it isn't as bad as it looks. If you can use Jay Cutler without getting frustrated (although unlikely), then you should be good on offense. Defensively, rotating and controlling certain players manually will help with the lack of all-pro talent on defense. The Bears can be decent, but they will require patience, and good user skills.