Breakdown

Did you know the Bears finished fifth in the NFC in scoring offense last season? File that in the "Ripley's Believe It or Not" department.

The Bears relied on rookie-of-the-year running back Anthony Thomas (1,183 yards rushing despite starting just nine games) and a dink-and-dunk passing game to move the chains. Against tougher defenses that style proved ineffective.

So it came as no surprise when the Bears signed free-agent quarterback Chris Chandler. Surprising, though, is the lack of competition in the Bears camp. Miller is the starter, Chandler is the backup. End of debate.

Statistically and physically, Chandler is the better quarterback. Last season in Atlanta, Chandler completed 61.1 percent of his passes, averaged 7.8 yards per attempt and had a quarterback rating of 84.1. Miller's numbers were 57.7, 5.8 and 74.7.

The key number is Miller's 5.8 yards per attempt, which is about a yard and a half less than the league average. While the Bears can beat lesser teams with their outstanding defense, in games against top competition they must get some pop from the offense. A repeat of last year, in which top receiver Marty Booker caught 100 passes but barely broke 1,000 yards and Dez White averaged 9.5 yards per catch, will lead to a similar result as last season: A good regular-season record but no success in the big games.

A healthy Marcus Robinson should stretch opposing defenses, though he averaged just 11.7 yards per catch last season. More is expected of David Terrell, last year's first-round choice. He caught 34 passes for 415 yards and four touchdowns.

The only major change on offense comes at left tackle, where second-year player Bernard Robertson or rookie first-rounder Marc Colombo will replace Blake Brockermeyer. Chicago re-signed standout center Olin Kreutz, and right tackle James "Big Cat" Williams is one of the best in the NFC.

Bottom line: To improve on offense and keep their division championship, the Bears are counting on the same cast of characters to improve with experience.


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