Chicago Bears 2017 Preview
The Chicago Bears not only hit rock bottom in 2016 but there is no indication that they have done anything but keep drilling ever since.
Coming off an absolutely horrific 3-13 record, Da Bears had their worst season since 1973 when they were 3-11 and their second worst of all time. You would think that there would be nowhere to go but up.
However, these Bears are a mess and will likely spend at least another year in the purgatory of the NFC Central cellar.
The quarterbacking position is a dumpster fire waiting to happen.
Now that convenient scapegoat Jay Cutler is finally gone, the Bears gave former Tampa Bay backup Mike Glennon a $45 million deal to be their starter. That’s a hefty amount of money for a guy with a lifetime record of 5-13 and nobody has ever accused the ginger giraffe of being a potential franchise player.
Then, the Bears earned the mockery of NFL football analysts by trading away a king’s ransom in order to move up one pick in the draft for former North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The team was bidding against itself and new San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch couldn’t believe his luck in finding a sucker to fleece in order to speed his own rebuilding project.
Not only did Chicago give themselves another headache with an unneeded quarterback controversy, but the decision irked Glennon as well.
It doesn’t get much better at running back. Nobody on the current roster is going to make Bears fans forget Walter Payton let alone Matt Forte.
Last year’s leading rusher Jordan Howard will get the lion’s share of the carries again this year but serious passing game deficiencies, as well as an iffy offensive line, could allow opposing defenses to stack the box against the run.
The receiving corps isn’t any help either. Top wideout Alshon Jefferey bolted via free agency and the cupboard was already bare behind him when he was healthy. The lack of receivers is going to cause more problems for Glennon who may soon wish that he had signed elsewhere. Former Pittsburgh Steeler Marcus Wheaton arrives as a free agent to try to fill the void.
It’s been a long time since the Monsters of the Midway or the immortal Buddy Ryan’s 1985 defense struck fear into the hearts of opponents.
There was some success in the early 2000’s under the ball-hawking bunch led by now retired LB Brian Urlacher but there isn’t much to be optimistic about in 2017.
Instead of getting an impact defensive player with the third overall pick in the draft, the Bears squandered it on Trubisky and then spent their second rounder on a tight end from mighty Ashland College.
Those were two picks that should have been used to address defensive issues and many analysts were scratching their heads especially since Chicago allowed the ninth-most points last season and forced an NFL-worst 11 turnovers.
It used to be that the Bears were a ball-hawking defense, even in the Lovie Smith and were always a top fantasy football D/ST but those days are long gone.
The team did add free agent defensive backs Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, and Quintin Demps but will they be enough?
Head coach John Fox may have built his reputation on defense but the two top picks don’t reflect that philosophy. There were rumors that Fox and team management didn’t see eye-to-eye on the trade up for Trubisky. If that’s the case, he’s probably already a dead man walking.
Fox has always been highly overrated as a head coach. He did some good work with the Carolina Panthers but his shortcomings were covered up while in Denver due to the presence of Peyton Manning and a high octane offense.
Fox arguably had a Super Bowl championship caliber team which he failed to have ready for the three biggest games during his tenure in the Mile High City. The gut-wrenching double-overtime loss to Baltimore in 2012, the Super Bowl massacre against Seattle the year after that and the first-round loss in 2013 to the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos were totally unprepared for all three and that is the responsibility of the coaching staff.
The Bears may have thought that they were getting a championship caliber coach in Fox but the standings aren’t in his favor.
So, what does it all mean?
The Bears won’t be the worst team in the NFL but will once have a top ten draft pick for Fox’s replacement to start rebuilding the defense.