The Bears must also challenge or replace a few other players not named Trubisky. Some Bear players have not met expectations and have created some big off-season needs other than QB. Spectator Sporting will also discuss which Bears impressed them the most in 2019.
This #Bears upcoming season is full of high expectations but we’ll reveal our biggest concerns heading into this promising 2019 season. We’ll also make our Bears regular season record prediction! Will the Bears make it down to Miami for the Super Bowl?! We’ll let yall know on Spectator Sporting!
What gets us excited about these Bears?-00:36-09:07
If Matt Nagy’s luck as the Bears head coach is not much better than John Fox’s, he’ll be on the hot seat along with Ryan Pace in a couple years. In a make or break season for John Fox, a couple of bad NFL rules and poor officiating played a huge factor in 2017 being his last season as Bear’s head coach.
In week #5, the Bears were 1 – 3 and Mitchell Trubisky started for the first time against the Vikings on Monday Night Football in Chicago. This game was an old-fashioned smash mouth defensive battle as the Bears had a 2 – 0 baseball type lead towards the end of the 1st half. But Jordan Howard busted the game open with a 42 yard TD as Soldier Field went crazy. Unfortunately, that momentum was snatched away from the Bears due to the ref calling a super soft holding penalty on WR Marcus Wheaton. Chicago ended up losing this game 20 – 17.
The Bears bounced back and won their next 2 games and had a chance to reach the .500 mark in New Orleans during a week #8 matchup against the Saints. In the 3rdquarter, Mitch Trubisky threw a perfect pass to Zach Miller to cut the Saint’s lead to 14 – 10 but the refs overturned the touchdown due to the irritating and erroneous catch rule. Check this incredible catch (and horrific injury) out and judge for yourself if the Bears got hosed by the officials.
To make matters worse, Zach Miller dislocated his knee and came close to having his leg amputated. The Bears lost this game 20 – 12 and their starting Tight End for the season.
After the game versus the Saints, the Bears were 3 – 5 and gearing up to play Green Bay who was without the injured Aaron Rodgers at Soldier Field. Chicago was favorites in this game versus the Packer’s backup QB Brett Hundley to kick off the 2nd half of the season. Then came the most unfortunate play of the Bears season, which caused the firing of John Fox.
Towards the end of the 1st half, Bears down 10 – 3 with the ball on 3rd and long and near the red-zone from the 25-yard line. Trubisky tossed a screen pass to RB Benny Cunningham who ran inside the 5-yard line and dove to connect the ball with the pylon for a score. But the ref determined that Cunningham’s foot went out of bounds before he made contact with the pylon. Fox challenged the play to get those 6 points on the board. But the officials turned Soldier Field upside down by overturning the call despite not having conclusive video evidence to conclude that Cunningham fumbled the ball before his foot went out of bounds.
Since the ball was fumbled into the pylon, by rule, the Packers were given possession of the ball at the 20-yard line through a touchback. Even if it’s true that Cunningham fumbled the ball before his foot went out of bounds, the NFL rule that rewarded the Packers possession at the 20-yard line is the worst rule in sports. The fumble-touchback-turnover rule is absolutely stupid because the defense is awarded a takeaway without even recovering the fumbled ball.
Many people still ridicule John Fox for challenging the ruling on the field with the thought that the Bears would have had the ball at the 2-yard line if he kept that red flag in his pocket. But guess what? Packers head coach Mike McCarthy also had the power to challenge that play in an attempt to benefit from the most awful rule in the NFL. Chicago never recovered from that hapless play, lost the game 23 – 16 and finished the season with a 5 – 11 record to end John Fox’s 3-year tenure as Bears head coach.
I’m not saying John Fox was a good head coach for the Bears but I am saying the guy had some serious bad luck. And I didn’t even mention the plethora of injured players on his roster and Ryan Pace donating $18.5 million bucks to Mike Glennon then trading some draft picks to move up one spot to draft a QB who only started 12 games in college. Now Fox is gone and hope is rising in Chicago as Matt Nagy is coming from that very successful Andy Reid coaching tree. However; Nagy is going to need all the breaks he can get to turn around a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 7 years. Hopefully when Fox left town, he took all of that bad luck with him.
Gaming vlogs. “Zach Miller get Hurt while getting a Touchdown vs Saints.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Oct 2017. Web. 4 Apr, 2018.
NFL. “Bears Challenge Crazy Play: Touchdown, or Out of Bounds? Can’t Miss Play. NFL Week 10.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 Nov, 2017. Web. 4 Apr, 2018.
When the free agency signing period officially begins on Wednesday at 3pm, the Bears are scheduled to sign #1 free agent wide receiver and now former Jaguar Allen Robinson to a 3 year $42 million dollar deal. Robinson stock is still high based off his 2nd season in 2015 where he gained 1,400 yards and tied for the league lead in receiving TDs with 14. His production dropped in 2016 as he gained 883 yards with 6 TDs, then he tore his ACL in his 1st game of the 2017 season. However; he is only 24 years old with a birthday on August 24th, has proven that he is capable of putting up 1st ballot Pro Bowl numbers and is a big target measuring in at 6’3” and 220 pounds.
Allen Robinson was rumored to sign with rising star QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the WR starved 49ers. Conventional wisdom suggested that Robinson would choose the proven Jimmy G over the raw and inexperienced Mitchell Trubisky. Apparently, the Bears new offensive play calling scheme contributed to his decision to move up to The Windy City. Here’s what Allen Robinson had to say about signing on with Chicago, per Josina Anderson, “I like what coach Nagy did from an offensive standpoint in Kansas City. Being able to know that he is an offensive-minded coach and seeing what he’s done before helped me.” Ryan Pace deserves plenty of credit for being hell-bent on hiring Chief’s offensive coordinator Matt Nagy in the off-season.
Robinson was attentive to the success Nagy had with the Kansas City’s #6 ranked offense in the NFL last season and decided that he can get back to his Pro Bowl ways in Nagy’s offensive scheme which falls under the proven Andy Reid umbrella. Mitch Trubisky finally has his #1 WR and the off-season has just begun.
Kyle Fuller gets my vote for Bears comeback player of the year after bouncing back in a huge way after an arthroscopic knee surgery that kept him out for the 2016 season. He was 2nd in the NFL in passes defended with 22 and is just entering the prime of his career at age 26 (Feb 16th). Fuller deserves that transition tag which will pay him $12.97 million, the average salary of the top 10 highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL. Since Ryan Pace decided to transition tag Fuller, the Bears can match any offer that he receives and they have until July 16th to sign him to a long term deal. Kyle Fuller is on record stating that he wants to remain a Bear and Ryan Pace recently stated that he will pursue a long term deal with him and his agent. Now Pace has time to sit back and see if any CBs from the Bears 2017 roster can be a viable compliment to Fuller.
Bears unrestricted free agent, Prince Amukamara came through with a decent 2017 season on the opposite side of Fuller. The Bears CB tandem only allowed 1 wide receiver to gain 100 yards or more on them (Antonio Brown 110 yards). That’s a significant accomplishment when you consider the star power at WR that the Bears faced last season: Julio Jones 66 yards, A.J Green 64 yards, Alshon Jeffery 52 yards, Michael Thomas 77 yards, Mike Evans 93 yards, Stefon Diggs 35.0 yards per game, Adam Thielen 47.5 yards per game, Jordy Nelson 47.5 yards per game and Davante Adams 51.5 yards per game. Prince was no cup cake out there on his corner but he may still be replaced or at least challenged for his starting spot due to his lack of playmaking ability and injury history. Amukamara has 0 interceptions in his last 2 seasons and only played in all 16 games once in his 7 year career back in 2013.
Nickelback Bryce Callahan is also an unrestricted free agent and the Bears shouldn’t have trouble resigning him. He was a 2015 undrafted free agent by the Bears and has played well enough to be ranked as the #31 CB in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. He also passes the eye test through his quick awareness in coverage and sure tacking ability.
Marcus Cooper was a disappointing 2017 free agent signing and should be cut as soon as possible. 2016 undrafted free agent Cre’Von LeBlanc showed some versatility with the ability to play on the outside or at nickelback. Cornerback Sherrick McManis is mainly a special team’s ace. Before the NFL draft begins, the Bears must try to pay a highly rated unrestricted free agent CB that can challenge or replace Prince Amukamara.
#1) Malcolm Butler New England Patriots – He went from 2014 undrafted free agent to Super Bowl hero in his rookie season. Butler made the Pro Bowl in his 2nd year and sustained his high level of play in his 3rd season. In 2017 he fell out of favor with the coaching staff and was benched during the Super Bowl versus the Philadelphia Eagles despite only missing 1 start since his 2nd year in the league. Bill Belichick looked foolish in their upset loss for deciding to keep him on the bench as the Eagle’s offense couldn’t be stopped with 374 passing yards and 41 points. Last season Butler’s coaches lost confidence in him but he is determined to prove his mediocre 2017 year was just an aberration.
“I will do what I have always done to work hard and prepare for next season to be the best I can be. I can’t wait for the 2018 season to get here. I will be ready!” – Malcolm Butler.
Teaming the 28 year old (Mar 2nd) Butler and his huge chip on his shoulder with Kyle Fuller would be an ideal fit.
#2) Trumaine Johnson Los Angeles Rams – The 28 year old (Jan 1st) Johnson is an interesting CB free agent prospect who did not become a regular starter for the Rams until his 4th season in 2015. In that season, he exceeded expectations by finishing tied for 2nd in the NFL with 7 interceptions. He was a free agent after that season and the Rams franchise tagged him for both 2016 and 2017. He caught 3 interceptions in both his franchise tagged years combined and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the #68 CB in the NFL for the 2017 season.
Trumaine Johnson has the look of an overrated 1 season wonder. If Johnson is as good as advertised; why did the Rams trade a 2018 – 4th round pick and a 2019 – 2nd round pick to the Chiefs for CB Marcus Peters and a 2018 – 6th round pick?
#3) Bashaud Breeland Washington Redskins – This 26 year old (Jan 30th) starting CB has played in the shadows of Josh Norman in the last 2 seasons. He has only missed 4 games in his 4 years in the league and has 8 career interceptions. Don’t be surprised if Ryan Pace pursues Breeland over Johnson due to him being younger, more consistent and less expensive.
Seattle Seahawks veteran cornerback Richard Sherman is expected to be released. However, Ryan Pace is not likely to pursue him due to the fact that the former Pro Bowler will turn 30 on March 30th and he’s recovering from a ruptured achilles tendon. Plus Sherman wants to play on a Super Bowl contender and the Bears are still rebuilding.
Can you name a team that has a worse wide receiver situation than the Chicago Bears? … I didn’t think so. The Bears only have 3 wide receivers under contract for next season. Kevin “IR” White, soon to be cut Marcus Wheaton and special teamer Josh Bellamy. These guys make Alshon Jeffrey look like Art Monk. But we can’t cry over spilled milk, Ryan Pace has got to mop up this mess and find some quality WRs for his golden boy Mitch Trubisky.
Restricted free agent Cameron Meredith was an pleasant surprise during his 2nd season in 2016 recording 66 receptions, 4 TDs and 888 yards in 14 games. Hopes were high for Meredith heading into the 2017 season as a starter but he tore his ACL which kept him out for the season. He’ll be ready for training camp this summer with the potential to be a 1,000 yard and 80 reception type of WR in the new Matt Nagy offense.
The Bears must also decide if they want to re-sign unrestricted free agents Dontrell Inman (334 yards and 23 receptions in 8 games) and/or Chicago’s leader in yards(614) and receptions(59) Kendall “The Tallest Midget” Wright. Even if Pace re-signs both Wright and Inman, major upgrades would still need to be made. There are 2 unrestricted free agent wide receivers with star potential that could help get the Bears offense out of the mud.
#1)Allen Robinson Jacksonville Jaguars–Robinson turned into a monster during his 2nd season in 2015. He led the NFL in TD catches with 14, had 80 receptions, 1400 yards and was selected to the pro bowl. In the following season, he started all 16 games but his production dropped off significantly. In that season, he produced numbers very similar to Cam Meredith’s with 6 TDs, 883 yards and 73 receptions. The 2017 season was supposed to reveal if Robinson was the pro bowl player that he displayed in 2015 or his mediocre self from 2016. The answer to that inquiry was never revealed after he tore his ACL in the 1st game of the season.
There’s a mystery factor involved when evaluating Allen Robinson. Is he a one season wonder? Will he fully recover from his ACL injury? The injury concern is understandable since the Bears have had foul luck keeping WRs healthy in the last few years. But Chicago does not have any collateral with their WR dilemma and you can’t deny Robinson’s outstanding 2015 season. They’ve got to attempt to pay Allen Robinson and be convinced that Trubisky and Nagy can turn him back into a pro bowler.
#2) Sammy Watkins Los Angeles Rams–Watkins was the 4th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft and he showed some promise in his 1st couple seasons. He averaged 70 yards per game, had 125 receptions and 15 TD catches in 29 games. His 3rd season was not as promising in 2016 as his productivity fell off and he only played in the Bills final 8 games due to a fractured foot injury. The Bills Mafia was eager to watch Watkins play up to his potential in the 2017 season but he was traded to the Rams with a 6th round pick for cornerback E.J Gaines and a 2nd round pick.
Despite playing on the 3rd ranked scoring offense in the league, Watkins had an underwhelming season by only averaging 39.5 yards per game. Sammy Watkins is overrated but he’s only 24 years old and he was 7th in the league in TD catches amongst WRs in the 2017 season. If the Bears don’t land Allen Robinson, expect them to overpay and gamble on the potential of the young Watkins .