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 LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -Bears general manager Jerry Angelo saw what everyone else did this season as Chicago struggled to a 7-9 record a year after making the Super Bowl.
There was no stability at quarterback as the Bears used three different starters. The running game was also stuck most of the season behind a disappointing performance from Cedric Benson, whose season ended with a broken ankle.
Throw in a defense that missed tackles and gave up big plays and the Bears were far removed from a championship-caliber team.
Angelo said Thursday he wants to bring back Rex Grossman to compete for the starter's job and also could use the draft or free agency to bring in a running back who could push Benson.
Kyle Orton, who started the final three games, and Brian Griese, who replaced a struggling Grossman after the third game of the season, are under contract. Grossman will be a free agent.
``Each one of them played good football at some point in time. It's unfortunate we had to see all three of them again,'' Angelo said. ``So first and foremost, we have to get the position stabilized going into '08.''
Grossman won the job back after Griese was injured and then when Grossman sprained his knee, Orton finished up the season. Grossman started seven games, Griese six and Orton three. There also is a chance the Bears could go quarterback-hunting in free agency.
``We would like to have Rex back in the mix,'' Angelo added, emphasizing the Bears currently don't have a starter pinpointed. ``It's got to be competition. I don't see us right now doing anything. Somebody's got to be first in line, obviously but that will be determined in the offseason.''
The Bears also could lose two of their top players to free agency: Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs and wide receiver Bernard Berrian.
``We certainly would like to keep all our players,'' Angelo said. ``That's our intent, but we don't have control on that so we're just going to have to see as time goes on what the marketplace is for those players.''
And if Briggs - who was angered by being made the franchise player last offseason - and Berrian, the team's leading receiver, don't come back, Angelo said the Bears could compensate. They have Jamar Williams and Michael Okwo ready to step in at linebacker and use a current player like Mark Bradley at wide receiver or address that in the draft.
Some of the Bears' surprising moves last offseason after their Super Bowl loss to the Colts didn't pan out. They got rid of defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and the defense took a precipitous drop under longtime Lovie Smith associate Bob Babich.
The trade of Thomas Jones, the team's leading rusher for three years, looked even worse after Benson, behind an aging and injured offensive line, managed just 3.4 yards a carry.
Angelo said the Bears need a featured back capable of breaking two or three runs of more than 20 yards per game. Benson had a 43-yard TD run Nov. 15, two weeks before he was placed on injured reserve. But he didn't display the explosiveness that made him a first-round pick after a stellar college career at Texas.
``I'd like to think he could still be a feature back, but there's going to be competition at that position,'' Angelo said. ``If something were to arise and there's a good back in the marketplace and/or in the draft that we feel can complement the backs or give us the kind of competition ... then we're going to look at that as well.''
Angelo said the Bears need to see Benson develop into the back they envisioned.
``The foundation has yet to be laid. Does he has the ability to do it?'' he said. ``Yes, he does have the ability to do it. We'll just see how the offseason goes.''

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