Snapshot look at Bears future in 2014

Snapshot look at Bears future in 2014

For the sixth time in seven seasons, the Bears are spending January as playoff spectators, again narrowly missing a chance to join the postseason party because they lost their final two games. Over the last three seasons, the Bears have been below .500 for exactly three weeks — in Weeks 4, 6 and 16 of 2011 — yet have missed the playoffs each year.

Coming off a season in which they set franchise record for total yards gained (6,109) and yards allowed (6,313), the priorities are obvious. Continue adding to an evolving and explosive offense under coach Marc Trestman while stabilizing a defense that injuries hit hard and opposing running backs even harder.

With the offseason underway, here’s our snapshot look at all three phases of the game.

-- Dan Wiederer

 Offense: Burden of proof falls on Jay Cutler

4:17 PM CST, January 4, 2014

Offense: Burden of proof falls on Jay Cutler

Expiring contracts: Josh McCown, Roberto Garza, Eben Britton, Dante Rosario, Jordan Palmer, Taylor Boggs, Jonathan Scott.

Defense: Overhaul could include switching to 3-4

9:02 PM CST, January 4, 2014

Defense: Overhaul could include switching to 3-4

Expiring contracts: Charles Tillman, Henry Melton, Corey Wootton, Major Wright, D.J. Williams, James Anderson, Jeremiah Ratliff, Zack Bowman, Nate Collins, Kelvin Hayden, Craig Steltz, Landon Cohen.

 Special teams: A future without Devin Hester?

4:23 PM CST, January 4, 2014

Special teams: A future without Devin Hester?

Expiring contracts: Devin Hester, Patrick Mannelly, Blake Costanzo, Anthony Walters, Derrick Martin, Sherrick McManis

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