By Adam Hoge-
A panel of 14 Score hosts, reporters and producers ranked their top 10 players in terms of how important they will be in determining the success or failure of the 2013 Chicago Bears. We compiled the rankings into one master list and will unveil one of the 10 most important Bears each weekday as we countdown to training camp.
(CBS) Given the Bears’ offensive line struggles the last two seasons, no player enters the 2013 season with higher outside expectations than Jermon Bushrod.
And in this town, with as much attention as the offensive line usually gets, it’s going to be hard for the Bears’ new left tackle to live up to those expectations.
Bushrod was a Pro-Bowler last season and was a reliable anchor on the left side of the New Orleans Saints’ offensive line for the last four years. It was his primary job to protect Drew Brees’ backside and for the most part, he succeeded.
Bushrod is now in Chicago after general manager Phil Emery lured him north with a five-year, $35 million contract in the offseason that came with $17 million guaranteed. Realistically, if Bushrod simply proves to be average, he’ll be a major upgrade at the position. But considering how important of a year it is for quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears are looking for their new left tackle to be much better than average.
With questions still looming over the rest of the Bears’ revamped offensive line, it’s very important for Marc Trestman and the new coaching staff not to have to worry about their left tackle. If that is one again the case in 2013, chances are Cutler will be battling more injuries and it will be a long year for the Bears.
The 10 Most Important Bears Panel: Dan Hampton, Hub Arkush, Zach Zaidman, Laurence Holmes, Matt Spiegel, Adam Hoge, Matt Abbatacola, Ben Finfer, Nick Shepkowski, Herb Lawrence, Joe Ostrowski, Chris Tannehill, Adam Harris and Dan Durkin.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.