Training camps are upon us, so it’s time to jump back into some football! This also means that most teams are done signing players and are more concerned with trimming down their rosters. With that in mind, I’ve decided to look at the Bears offseason. Instead of breaking down all of their moves, you can see the highlights here and view their full roster here. Further, you can see overly detailed contract terms here.
I’ll be honest, when I first saw the draft day deal for Mitchell Trubisky, I was quite unhappy. I removed my Matt Forte Bears jersey and jokingly threatened to kick people out of my draft party. As time has passed, however, I’ve come around to how things played out this offseason. For a few seasons, I’ve been frustrated with this team trying to compete with the same core of players that failed the previous season. I felt like the team needed to either go all-in or blow it up and start all over. I think they’ve taken steps towards the latter.
First off, the quarterback situation. Yes, what the organization did this offseason was weird. I would’ve been fine with spending less money to keep Brian Hoyer for a year and groom the rookie draft choice. However, they’ve essentially given themselves two chances to find a franchise QB. If Mike Glennon looks great this year, then they’ve got him on a relatively affordable contract over the next couple of seasons. Plus, Mitchell Trubisky would have the chance to turn into a Jimmy Garoppolo trade chip, with any luck. If Glennon fails, then the Bears can move on without losing a ton of money going forward and proceed with Trubisky. Sure, they could both end up terrible, but it’s not like what they had in 2016 was going to be the future.
The fallout at the skill positions will be interesting as well. In general, I want the Bears to err on the side of youth overall. The running back position looks like strong point and the intriguing addition of 3rd round draft pick Tarik Cohen furthers that. After all, he can do this. At wide receiver, they need to sort through multiple free agent signings, but I’m hoping they release the old Giants (Randle and Cruz) and keep Wheaton and Wright to mentor Kevin White and Cam Meredith. Recent rumors have the Bears moving on from Zach Miller at tight end, and I’m okay with , too. Dion Sims is a lot younger and more reliable from a health standpoint, plus they can work in rookie Adam Shaheen.
Moving to the trenches, the offensive line may be this team’s biggest strength, which is really quite surprising considering how bad they were a couple seasons ago. They’re rated among the top half of many expert’s opinions with many of them pushing this unit into the top 10. If this team is going to have any chance at success in 2017, this group will have to be the key.
The defense performed above expectation last season, yet they’re filled with question marks. The defensive backs are a decent group overall, which is essential in the pass-happy NFL. However, the defensive line and linebackers are full of unproven players that have struggled with youth or health. It’s hard to see this unit repeating last season’s performance overall, which is a tough thing to say for a team that went 3-13 last season.
Lastly, I’m curious what this season holds in terms of the coaches. John Fox seemed like a great hire a few season ago, but frankly I’ve been disappointed overall. I’ve been baffled at clock management and game planning many times, particularly with the lack of relying on the run game overall. However, is there a better hire out there? If this season is rough, people will expect Fox to be let go. Is that what’s best for a young core of players trying to grow? I’m not sure.
So what is to be expected of this 2017 Bears squad? It depends on your expectations. The NFC North has three playoff-caliber teams, so I don’t see much improvement on that terrible 2016 record. However, if they can focus their QB situation, find a few defensive playmakers, and determine their commitment level to the coaching staff, this team can still make strides. I’ll try to keep that hope in mind as I watch some potentially frustrating outcomes on Sundays this fall.