Today, The Good: Top Five Bears Players Who Surprised Us Last Season is unveiled.
Let’s go down the list, shall we:
Hanie surprised us all when he was thrown into the fire in the NFC Championship. Replacing a pathetic Todd Collins, Hanie completed 13 of 20 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions. Although he threw two interceptions, only one was really his fault. Hanie showed the determination and athleticism that you need to be an NFL quarterback. How Hanie was the number three quarterback in the biggest game of the year for the Bears, the NFC Championship is beyond me. Hanie will likely be fighting for that number two quarterback spot with a rookie that the Bears decide to bring into camp. Hanie was very close to bringing the Bears to Super Bowl last season and if he was able to do that, his legend would have grown to an extreme that he probably would never understand.
Idonije was undoubtedly the most consistent pass rusher on the Bears defense besides big free agent signing Julius Peppers. Slimming down to 270 lbs and looking faster than ever, Idonije was able to produce his biggest season as a Bear. Idonije beat out Mark Anderson early in the season, which lead to Anderson’s release from the team. Idonije’s eight sacks were by the far the most he ever had in a season. Add in his three forced fumbles and Idonije was clearly a play-maker. Idonije clearly benefited from Julius Peppers presence, but Idonije was honestly just as good as Peppers during some games.
Webb, a seventh round pick out of West Texas A&M, was consider way to raw to play last season, but he showed up in a big way. Webb started 12 of 16 games last season on an offensive line that allowed 56 sacks throughout the entire season. Offensive line coach Mike Tice was impressed by Webb before the season started and after the line performed so bad he gave Webb a shot. Webb came in at right tackle and did a very steady job, the line improved throughout the second half of the season and Webb was clearly a reason why. Webb could be moved to left tackle next season. The Bears have clearly found a gem in this young offensive lineman.
After missing 15 games in 2009, Urlacher came back in 2010 ready to play. Urlacher led the team in tackles coming away with 125. He has also made four sacks, forced two fumbles and had one interception. Urlacher, 32, was still clearly the leader of the Bears defense, but fans and analysts were unsure he could bounce back after yet another injury. Urlacher showed even at an older age that he could be a great player. He may not be the same player he once was, but Urlacher is still an elite player and he showed that season. He was a big reason that defense was back to playing “Monsters of the Midway” type defense.
Henry Melton, a second-year player out of Texas and Corey Wootton a rookie out of Northwestern played very well last season and that was a surprise to a lot of Bears fans. Melton, appeared in all 16 games coming away with 2 sacks and will likely get a shot to start next season. Wootton on the other hand appeared in only five games, but made one big sack against Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre knocking him out for the season. Both of these players have so much potential and it remains to be seen what they can fully do. It will be exciting to see them get more opportunities in this upcoming season.
Read up next Friday when The Bad: Top Five Bears Players Who Surprised Us Last Season is unveiled.
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