Analyzing the 53: Offense

The 2007 Chicago Bears are built a little differently than the 2006 team, but head coach Lovie Smith firmly believes that this year's roster is the deepest and most talented he's had in the Windy City. Let's take a look at the offense.

Lead Pipe Lock: Rex Grossman – Regardless of the fact that his highs are so high and his lows are so low, Grossman is still the most talented quarterback this team has had in a generation and owns a 17-6 career record as a starter.

Pleasant Surprise: Kyle Orton – After looking out of shape and disinterested during training camp a year ago, Orton came to work lean and mean and threw the ball beautifully in Bourbonnais.

Major Disappointment: Chris Leak – He may have won a national championship in college, but Leak's combination of poor arm strength and inaccuracy could make his stint in the NFL a brief one.

Lead Pipe Lock: Cedric Benson – GM Jerry Angelo traded away three-time leading rusher Thomas Jones so that Benson could finally be the guy, but it still remains to be seen if he made the right choice.

Pleasant Surprise: Jason McKie – Not only does McKie continue to catch the ball out of the backfield remarkably well as a safety-valve option, but he's improved his blocking and is earning more and more respect in the locker room.

Major Disappointment: Garrett Wolfe – While "major disappointment" is overly harsh and not necessarily applicable here, Wolfe's training camp hamstring injury slowed his development early but he played pretty well in the final preseason game.

Lead Pipe Lock: Bernard BerrianMuhsin Muhammad has been the team's leading receiver for two years, but Berrian could not be covered in training camp and looks to be on the verge of his first 1,000-yard campaign.

Pleasant Surprise: Mike Hass – Working to get better anonymously on the practice squad a year ago, Hass caught everything thrown his way and forced the team to keep six wideouts because of his eye-opening performance.

Major Disappointment: David Ball – He may have been a record-setter at New Hampshire, but Ball was very inconsistent catching the football despite that mesmerizing one-handed grab out of bounds Thursday night against the Browns.

Lead Pipe Lock: Desmond Clark – Last year's starter did nothing to lose his job, still looking trim and providing a solid pass-catching/run-blocking option.

Pleasant Surprise: Greg Olsen – Everybody knew that the first-rounder out of Miami would be good, but he proved to be even better than advertised and has the look of a future All-Pro.

Major Disappointment: Fontel Mines – Undrafted free agent out of Virginia looked spectacular during rookie mini camp back in May, but Mines battled minor injuries and a periodic case of the dropsies during training camp.

Lead Pipe Lock: Olin Kreutz – All-Pro center is still arguably the best in the business on the field, and his presence in the locker room has never been stronger.

Pleasant Surprise: Ruben Brown – There should be few surprises left considering Brown is a nine-time Pro-Bowler, but the veteran looks as good as ever and still has incredible mobility in the trenches.

Major Disappointment: Josh Beekman – Fourth-rounder out of Boston College is still yet to show that he can get the job done on Sundays, and it's possible he made the final cut simply because he was a draft pick and Anthony Oakley wasn't.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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