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2017 NFL Season Preview- Chicago Bears
2016 was a year to forget if you're a Bears fan.
The team finished with their worst record ever in a 16 game season. They also lead the league with 19 players on injured reserve.
The offense was a disaster with the third most turnovers in the league with 34. Their problems all started at quarterback. No matter who was the starter, the result was still the same. Jay Cutler's time in Chicago is over, Matt Barkley was intercepted 7% of the time, Brian Hoyer couldn't do anything in the red zone, and Connor Shaw is very raw. Tight end Zach Miller is a reliable receiver and improved as a blocker in 2016. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey dealt with a suspension and minor injuries and Kevin White continues to be bothered by a nagging leg injury. The offensive line dealt with several injuries causing players to play out of position.
The defense was just as pathetic registering the fewest turnovers in the league with 11. The team did a lot to improve the defensive line but every position lacks depth. The linebacker corps needs to get healthy this offseason as all starters seemed to suffer major injuries. The secondary was a mess with only eight interceptions and once promising players like cornerback Kyle Fuller will be heading out of town.
The rookie class was a mix of good and bad. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd displayed potential and speed but his poor tackling technique caused him to have two concussions. Guard Cody Whitehair was a starting guard but excelled at center in place of Hroniss Grasu. Defensive tackle John Bullard made no impact and showed little ability against the run or pass. Running back Jordan Howard was one of the biggest steals of the draft and finished third in the league in rushing.
The team produced two Pro Bowlers in Jordan Howard and guard Josh Sitton. Despite several penalties, Sitton was an effective blocker on an injured line.
Opponent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
NFL Rank- 14th
NFL Rank- 17th
NFL Rank- 26th
NFL Rank- 9th
NFL Rank- 15th
NFL Rank- 18th
Finishing 3-13 is not how head coach John Fox wanted to start his first season in Chicago.
Notable Additions- QB Mike Glennon, QB Mark Sanchez, RB Benny Cunningham, WR Victor Cruz, WR Reuben Randle, WR Kendall Wright, NT John Jenkins, CB Prince Amukamara
Notable Departures- QB Brian Hoyer, QB Matt Barkley, WR Alshon Jeffrey, TE Logan Paulsen, T Mike Adams, CB Tracy Porter
Jordan Howard Highlights
2017 NFL Draft
Going into the draft, Chicago held the third overall pick with key positions that needed filled. Most importantly at quarterback, cornerback, and safety.
The Bears have been lacking a smart, decision maker at quarterback for years. The team signed Mike Glennon, but he has limited starting experience and nit a high ceiling.
Kyle Fuller has proven to be mediocre since his rookie season and even a solid pass rush couldn't help this unit. They need to start fresh with a true lockdown cornerback.
Chicago hasn't had a dominant playmaker in centerfield since Mike Brown. The safeties gave up to many long passes last season, it needs to be addressed.
When draft day came, Chicago traded up one spot with San Francisco. With the second overall pick, The Bears selected North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky was viewed as the most accurate quarterback in the draft, but his mechanics need improvement and only had played one year in college as a starter. The decision was criticized by many draft experts, as many expected them to take Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas and considering what they had to give to San Francisco just to go up one spot wasn't worth it.
The Bears also notably drafted Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round. Shaheen has all the physical tools to dominant as a receiver and blocker, but needs to improve his footwork and route running.
Mitch Trubisky Highlights
What to Expect
A lot of Chicago's problems last year stemmed from injuries, but even if they would have has those players their record wouldn't have been much better.
Mike Glennon will likely be the starter and unless he gets struck by lightning, I don't see Mitch Trubisky replacing him anytime soon. Jordan Howard will look to build off last season and with a healthier line he should accomplish that. Replacing Alshon Jeffrey won't be easy, but between Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle, and Kevin White, it shouldn't be hard for a quarterback like Glennon to get them the ball.
The defense will be healthier after the offseason, but I don't see much improvement happening. John Jenkins helps at nose tackle, but they did nothing to address their issues in the secondary. If Pernell McPhee and Leonard Floyd can get any pass rush it will help, but they have major hole at both safety spots.
Unless the Bears get a time machine and bring the 85' team to the future, Chicago has no hope of seeing the postseason in the near future.
Best record they can hope for: 5-11