2016 NFL Preview: Chicago Bears

Day two of week two of THE Ultimate Sports Blog’s NFL Preview continues with a team that has been in a re-building mode the last few seasons. Chicago has been in the dumps since Lovie Smith left town. Is this finally the year they get the ship turned around?

Can John Fox get the Bears back into playoff contention in his second year in the “Windy City”?

How bad are these guys going to miss Matt Forte this year?

Will all the new additions on the defensive side of the ball end up paying off for Chicago?

Let’s find out!

 

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Chicago Bears

The Stats:

Record Last Ten Seasons: 6-10 (2015), 5-11 (2014), 8-8 (2013), 10-6 (2012), 8-8 (2011), 11-5 (2010), 7-9 (2009), 9-7 (2008), 7-9 (2007), 13-3 (2006)

Last Playoff Appearance: 2010 NFC Championship vs. Green Bay Packers

Last Playoff Win: 2010 Divisional vs. Seattle Seahawks

Super Bowl Titles Won: 1. (Super Bowl XX)

Passing Leader for 2015: Jay Cutler (3,659 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions)

Rushing Leader for 2015: Matt Forte (898 yards, 4 touchdowns)

Receiving Leader for 2015: Alshon Jeffery (807 yards, 4 touchdowns)

The Head Coach:

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John Fox

Overall Record (as a head coach): 125-99

Record With Team: 6-10

Previous NFL Jobs: Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Backs Coach (1989-1991), San Diego Chargers Defensive Backs Coach (1992-1993), Los Angeles Raiders Defensive Coordinator (1994-1995), St. Louis Rams Personnel Consultant (1996), New York Giants Defensive Coordinator (1997-2001), Carolina Panthers Head Coach (2002-2010), Denver Broncos Head Coach (2011-2014)

My Grade: B+

The Team:

(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)

Player Grade Guide:

Blue = Elite Player

Green = Really Good Player

Orange = Average Player

Pink = Meh

Red = NO THANKS

Gray = Rookie

Offense:

QB: Jay Cutler

RB: Jeremy Langford

WR: Alshon Jeffery

WR: Kevin White

WR: Eddie Royal

TE: Zach Miller

OC: Ted Larsen

OG: Kyle Long

OG: Cody Whitehair

OT: Bobby Massie

OT: Charles Leno

Defense:

DE: Akiem Hicks

DT: Eddie Goldman

DE: Jonathan Bullard

LB: Pernell McPhee

LB: Leonard Floyd

LB: Danny Trevathan

LB: Jerrell Freeman

CB: Tracy Porter

CB: Kyle Fuller

SS: Harold Jones-Quartey

FS: Adrian Amos

The Schedule:

vs. @ Houston Texans (September 11)

vs. Philadelphia Eagles (September 19)

vs. @ Dallas Cowboys (September 25)

vs. Detroit Lions (October 2)

vs. @ Indianapolis Colts (October 9)

vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (October 16)

vs. @ Green Bay Packers (October 20)

vs. Minnesota Vikings (October 31)

BYE WEEK

vs. @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (November 13)

vs. @ New York Giants (November 20)

vs. Tennessee Titans (November 27)

vs. San Francisco 49ers (December 4)

vs. @ Detroit Lions (December 11)

vs. Green Bay Packers (December 18)

vs. Washington Redskins (December 24)

vs. @ Minnesota Vikings (January 1)

The Prediction:

7-9

Brief Synopsis:

The Chicago Bears have been in a re-build the last few seasons. Ever since firing Lovie Smith back in 2012, the Bears have struggled to find an identity in the NFL. First, they brought in Marc Trestman to take over as head coach and he flamed out after just two seasons. Last year, they brought in John Fox and made him the head man in charge and it was a disappointing year for Fox who compiled a 6-10 record in his first year in the “Windy City”. Is this finally the year that Chicago can place themselves among the NFL’s elite teams again? Are the Bears doomed as long as Jay Cutler and his sad face remain in town? Can the defense continue to improve and up the Bear’s chances of making the playoffs? Let’s take a closer look.

Offensively, I’m not a big fan of what the Bears are bringing to the table. I love myself some Alshon Jeffery, but outside of that…you can keep the rest of the offense for yourself (although the jury is still out on last year’s #1 pick Kevin White). Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler and we know what we are getting with him. A decent QB who is not the greatest teammate in the world. The Bears have shown that they can win with Cutler in the past, so he’s not the biggest concern to me. The biggest concern to me is the running back position and the offensive line. Jeremy Langford is set to take over for former long-time Bears RB Matt Forte and something tells me Bears fans are going to desperately miss Forte. Nothing against Langford, I just haven’t loved what I’ve seen from him so far. As for that offensive line, yikes. Outside of Kyle Long, it’s a bunch of garbage. I have high hopes for rookie Cody Whitehair and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him become this team’s best offensive lineman by the end of the season. He needs to be if the Bears are going to be better than they were on offense last season.

If the Bears end up surprising some people this season and making the playoffs, it likely will be because of the defense. Defensively, they should be pretty good…especially if they hit on their rookies and new additions. Newcomers to the starting defense include rookie Leonard Floyd, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, rookie Jonathan Bullard, linebacker Danny Trevathan, and linebacker Jerrell Freeman and let me just say this. The Bears defense has the potential to be one of the NFL’s best in the next coming years if these guys hit. We all know Trevathan was good in Denver last season. He’s got a Super Bowl ring to show you if you don’t believe him. Freeman had an absolutely excellent season in Indianapolis last year and he parlayed that into a nice contract with the Bears. Hicks is a good player and if the rookies are any good this year, watch out for this defense. The secondary isn’t exactly great and they could easily become the weakness on the defense, but there’s still stuff to like there so it’s not a total wash.

So, the question is….are the Chicago Bears a playoff team? I don’t think so myself. I think they are more along the lines of a fringe playoff time. I think they have a decent head coach, a decent quarterback, an average offense, and the chance to have a really good defense. Unfortunately for the Bears, they play in a really tough division that features two teams that I would consider to be better than them. Even though it wouldn’t shock me at all to see Chicago potentially sneak into the playoffs with a 9-7 record, I have them at a steady 7-9 which should be considered progress in Fox’s second year.

2 thoughts on “2016 NFL Preview: Chicago Bears

  1. Pingback: Casual Fan Preview: NFC North – The Ultimate Sports Blog

  2. Pingback: Full NFL Coverage – The Ultimate Sports Blog

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