The Black and Blue NFC North
Hopefully most of you forgot how well I thought we would do in last years Offseason Review. I got a bit too drunk on the Ryan Pace Kool Aid. Apologies.
We are now entering year three of our rebuild and after last year, myself, and I assume many other fans have tempered our expectations and are in it for the long haul. While I believe we have made strides towards being a consistantly competitive team, we are not there yet and still lack some core building pieces. Pace has shown he is ready to make changes he deems nessecary as well as a willingness to trust in and build through the draft. Hopefully we now have our QB of the future and will start seeing a real team come together.
- Running Backs Coach - To replace Stan Drayton, who left to be the RB coach for the Texas Longhorns, the Bears hired former 49ers OC Curtis Modkins. Modkins has been coaching for 22 years and has also spent time with the Chiefs (RB's, 08), Cardinals (RB's, 09) , Bills (OC/RB's 10-12), and the Lions (RB's, 13-15).
- After firing OL Coach Dave Magazu, the Bears hired former Dolphins Assistant OL Coach, Jeremiah Washburn. With 15 years of coaching and scouting experience, Washburn has also spent time with the Panthers (OP Asst, 02), Ravens (Scout/Player Personnel, 03-08), and the Lions (Offence Asst, 09-15).
- DB Assistant Coach - The Bears also cut ties with Sam Garnes. They then hired Roy Anderson from the same position with the 49ers. He has 8 years coaching in the NFL and has also spent time with the Ravens (Personnel/Asst DBs, 05-11), and the Colts (Secondary, 12-15).
- The Bears OLB coach, Clint Hurst, left for the Jets and our current DC, Vic Fangio took over responsibilty until first time NFL coach, Brandon Staley was hired to assume the position. Staley has 11 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. He was most recently at John Carroll.
- When WR Coach, Curtis Johnson, left for the Saints, the Bears hired Zach Azzanni. With 18 years of collegiate level coaching, Azzanni is stepping up to the NFL from the same position at Tennessee.
- ST - The Bears assistant ST Coach joined the 49ers as their ST Coordinator. To replace him the Bears brought back Derius Swinton II, who held the same position with the 49ers in 2016, and the Bears in 2015. In his 8 years of NFL experience, Swinton has also spent time with the Rams (09-11), Chiefs (12), and the Broncos (13-14).
|Name||Pos||2016 Salary||Signed By|
|Eddie Royal||WR||5M||Free Agent|
|Paul Lasike||FB||540K||Free Agent|
|Tracy Porter||CB||1.75M||Free Agent|
- Jay Cutler - After enduring his tenure in Chicago, Cutler has decieded to get into broadcasting. He has said that he is ready to leave his playing days behind and throw himself into his new career. Many fans feel the organization failed cutler, for more, check out /u/nave2192's write up
- Alshon Jeffrey - After watching Wentz play, Alshon seemed to want to be in Philly. Alshon seemed to thrive when Forte, Marshall, Cutler, and Bennett were his supporting cast. He has had to step up a lot since they left and was seemingly unhappy being the only focus of defenses.
- Brian Hoyer - Statistically he did a good job leading the team last year, but consistantly failed to score after driving down the field. The Bears may have tried to resign him cheaply but they seem to be just as happy with Sanchez coming in as a veteran backup/teacher.
- Tracy Porter - The often injured Porter had a nice tenure with the Bears, including picking off Rodgers, making him the only CB to pick off both Rodgers and Farve. Because of his injuries and price tag, I believe it was a good decision to move on.
|Eric Kush||C||2yrs /2.7M|
- Eric Kush - Last years Hard Knocks fan favorite earned himself a two year contract and will be used to fill in all over the line, giving us good depth in one of our strongest areas.
- Connor Shaw - Shaw looked promising during last years preseason until a bad tackle broke his upper ankle, putting him on IR. Fans are hopeful he will show more improvement.
- Bryce Callahan - An up an coming player, Callahan has been showing that he can step up and play. Fans hope to see continued improvement and hope he can help start solidifying our secondary.
- Christian Jones - A good depth player that has shown some flashes when forced to step in.
- Joshua Bellamy - A ST stand out who is also good depth and if he can stop dropping catches, he should have a good increase in playing time.
New Players Signed
|MyCole Pruitt||TE||Vikings||1 yr/615K|
|Mark Sanchez||QB||Cowboys||1 yr/2M|
|Bradley Sowell||LT||Seahawks||1 yr/N.A.|
|Jaye Howard||DT||Chiefs||1 yr/775K|
|Dan Skuta||OLB||Jaguars||1 yr/N.A.|
|Michael Burton||FB||Lions||1 yr/705K|
|Victor Cruz||WR||Giants||1 yr/2M|
|Titus Davis||WR||Jets||1 yr/540K|
- Mike Glennon - The girraffe has come to Chicago. I like this signing, I think Glennons job is to play this year while Trubisky develops and is then a back up incase our #1 pick fails to live up to expectations. Having been in the league long enough, Glennon should give us a chance to compete.
- Quinton Demps - With his skills as a safety and returner, Demps will be an immediate contributer both on and off the field.
- Markus Wheaton/Kendall Wright - Wheaton and Wright both come in and immediately bring some competition to our WR camp. While we dont have any standouts, we now have a handful of recievers who all have an opportunity to show what they can do.
- Prince Amukamara - Another needed FA vet addition to the secondary, Amukamara helps take the pressure off the young players while giving us someone who is much more reliable, especially on a one year prove it deal.
- Marcus Cooper - Yet another vet FA addition to the young secondary, Cooper comes in with a great attitude and has already fully embraced being a Bear, as made evident by his open letter to fans along with many other tweets.
- Benny Cunningham - My choice for our underrated pick up of the offseason. Cunningham has done a lot for the Rams while backing up Gurley. Ill just leave his highlights here as that will say more than I can.
- Victor Cruz - While Cruz has been quiet for a while, he still thinks he has what it takes to be a #1 reciever and the Bears were willing to give him a prove it deal. At the very least he is a Vet presence and good depth.
Strikethrough= No longer with the team.
|1||2||Mitchell Trubisky||QB||North Carolina||4 yrs /N.A|
|2||45||Adam Shaheen||TE||Ashland||4 yrs/5.91M|
|4||112||Eddie Jackson||S||Alabama||4 yrs/3.06M|
|4||119||Tarik Cohen||RB||North Carolina A & T||4 yrs/3.03|
|5||147||Jordan Morgan||G||Kuztown University||4 yrs/2.69|
|UDFA||-||Freddie Stevenson||FB||Florida State||3 yrs/1,673,500|
|UDFA||-||Joel Bouagnon||RB||Northern Illinois||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Tanner Gentry||WR||Wyoming||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Dieugot Joseph||OT||Florida Int.||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Mitchell Kirsch||OT||JMU||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Rashaad Coward||NT||Old Dominion||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Andy Phillips||K||Utah||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||John Gibson||CB||Missouri||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Isiah Irving||LB||San Jose State||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Hendrick Ekpe||LB||Minnesota||3 yrs/1.665M|
|UDFA||-||Alex Searce||LB||Coastal Carolina||3 yrs/1.665M|
- Trubisky - It seems that Trubisky will make or break our young GM's career. Trubisky should be on the sideline learning as much as he can from Glennon and Sanchez and may see a start at the end of the year. His roomate, Adam Shaheen has said that Trubisky is all over the playbook and really putting in the effort to succed.
- Shaheen - A one year starter at a small DII school, Shaheen is one of many small school projects that were drafted this year. After making the decision to focus on football, Shaheen went from a lanky Basketball player to a large force to be reckoned with. A more detailed analysis can be found In this write up, by /u/TrubiskysRevenge
- Jackson - Back to 100% after a broken leg, Jackson should be able to see some game time over one of last years pick, Deon Bush.
- Cohen - "The Human Joystick" should be able to give the team competition as a return man as well as compete with Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey for the #3 RB spot behind Jordan Howard and presumably Benny Cunningham.
- Morgan - With an aging Josh Sitton and often injured Kyle Long, Morgan seems to be a good versitle depth signing.
- Gentry - A star at Wyoming, Gentry is thought to be a good UDFA pick up with a high ceiling if he can transition to the NFL.
For a more in depth write up about our controversial draft, check out "Defending the Draft" by /u/NotRyanPace
|QB||Mike Glennon||Mark Sanchez||Mitch Trubisky||Connor Shaw||-|
|WR1||Cam Meredith||Joshua Bellamy||Titus Davis||-||-|
|WR2||Markus Wheaton||Victor Cruz||Reuben Randle||-||-|
|WR 3||Kevin White||Kendall Wright||Deonte Thompson||Daniel Braverman||Tanner Gentry|
|RB||Jordan Howard||Benny Cunningham||Tarik Cohen||Ka'Deem Carey||Jeremy Langford|
|FB||Michael Burton||Freddie Stevenson||-||-||-|
|TE||Zach Miller||Dion Sims||Adam Shaheen||Daniel Brown||MyCole Pruitt|
|LT||Charles Leno||Bradley Sowell||Dieugot Joseph||Jordan Morgan||-|
|LG||Josh Sitton||Eric Kush||Cyril Richardson||Jordan Morgan||-|
|C||Cody Whitehair||Hroniss Grasu||Taylor Boggs||Eric Kush||-|
|RG||Kyle Long||Eric Kush||Tom Compton||Mithcell Kirsch||-|
|RT||Bobbie Massie||William Poehls||Jordan Morgan||-||-|
|NT||Eddie Goldman||CJ Wilson||Rashaas Coward||-||-|
|DE||Akiem Hicks||Kapron Lewis-Moore||John Jenkins||-||-|
|DE||Mitch Unrein||Jonathan Bullard||Jaye Howard||-||-|
|OLB||Pernell McPhee||Leonard Floyd||Hendrick Ekpe||Isaih Irving||-|
|OLB||Lamarr Houston||Willie Young||Sam Acho||Dan Skuta||-|
|ILB||Jerrell Freeman||Nick Kwiatkowski||John Timu||-||-|
|ILB||Danny Trevathan||Christian Jones||Alex Searce||-||-|
|CB||Prince Amukamara||Kyle Fuller||Cre'Von LeBlanc||BW Webb||Jonathan Banks|
|CB||Marcus Cooper||Bryce Callahan||Sherrick McMannis||Deondre Hall||Rashaad Reynolds|
|SS||Quintin Demps||Deon Bush||Eddie Jackson||-||-|
|FS||Adrian Amos||Chris Prosinki||Harold Jones-Quartey||Deiondre Houston-Carson||-|
|K||Connor Barth||Andy Phillips||-||-||-|
|KR||Quintin Demps||Deonte Thompson||Tarik Cohen||-||-|
|PR||Deonte Thompson||Eddie Jackson||-||-||-|
- Not listed - RB Joel Bouagnon and TE Ben Braunecker.
Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses
QB - Some of our strenghts is our versatility. By that I mean that we have Sanchez, who Dak has credited with a lot of help on and off the field. We also have the Girraffe who will be our starter and give Trubisky time to watch, learn, and grow. While Glennon is on a three year contract, it is not inconcievable that Trubisky could start late this year or early next. Our weakness is not having a known dependable QB and only one of our four QBs have played with anyone on our offense.
RB - Jordan Howard looks to be primed to continue his hot streak and will now have added back up in the forms of Benny Cunningham and Tarik Cohen. It looks to be a big upgrade from Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey.
WR - The WR group has a lot of talent, put none have truly put themselves in a spot to be a consistant #1 threat. With all the talent, and the spot open for the taking, the competition will hopefully pull the most out of these guys.
TE - Zach Miller is our established #1 TE, even with his history of serious Injuries. With the signing of Dion Sims from Miami and drafting of small school Monster, Adam Shaheen, Miller will have a nice vast around him. Shaheen will also benefit from having to vets to guide him into the life of a NFL TE.
OL - The Bears interior O Line was rated as the 5th best by PFF. Our tackles are our worries. Charles Leno has been a servicable LT since he was put in by our previous GM, Phil Emery. RT, Bobbie Massey, who Kyle Long helped recruit from Arizona last year, started poorly but has also become servicable, allowing the Bears to focus on other team needs.
DL - Standouts Eddie Goldman and half Bear half man, Akiem Hicks anchor our line with a good supporting OLB group. Jonathan Bullard should step up this season and hopefully edge out Mitch Unrein for the starting spot. With the improvements to the secondary, the Bears DL should be showing up in more highlights.
LB - With Trevathans return still up in the air, the Bears added a few LB's to at least add some competition in camp. If Trevathan is still not healthy, there is no clear pick on who takes his spot, but it seems to me it would be one of last years picks, Nick Kwiatkowski.
DB - An updated Secondary will make big strides in taking the pressure of the front 7. Having new vets to teach our young building blocks will hopefully result in a more complete core to build of for years to come.
ST - After Connor Barth's rough season, the Bears signed UDFA K Andy Phillips to keep Barth on his toes, after signing him to a one year contract. With the additions of Demps, Jackson, and Cohen, the Bears will have some competition in the return game.
- Camp should be interesting for our WR group. With a handful of known names that still need to prove it, to some young guys trying to crack the lineup, the camp battles should start to give us an Idea of what we can expect. Will Kevin White be able to step up? - Check out a great write up on White written by /u/oncrepe - Will Cameron Meredith continue to be the de facto #1 or will new additions Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz, and Markus Wheaton, show they belong? You may also be interested in this write up about Cameron Meredith by /u/umaro900.
- Josh Sitton and Kyle Long are expected to switch positions for part of camp to see how they can do on the other side.
- ILB Danny Trevathan, who is still recovering from a rupturing his right patellar tendion, which is often a career ending injury, will not be expected to participate, but will hopefully be in the film room.
- Written by /u/emperos
Sun, Sept 10, 1PM - vs. Falcons L, by two scores This just in: "Defending NFC Champs Defeat Formerly 30th-Best Team." That's not news, and neither should this game be. Sure, it will be interesting at times, and there will be a fair amount of highlights, but even if both teams regress toward the mean, the Falcons are still in a different tier than the Bears are at this point.
Sun, Sept 17, 1PM - @ Buccaneers L, by 10 points Last year, the Bears lost 36-10 in week 10. Having fewer players out due to injury/suspension should help narrow the margin of defeat, but the reality here is that the Buccaneers have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, powered by a young core of talent on offense and a good-enough-to-get-the-job-done defense. They are, in some ways, the team the Bears hope to be in 2018 - cohesive and able to have a shot against any team in the league. Unfortunately, it's still 2017.
Sun, Sept 24, 1PM - vs. Steelers L, by two scores The Bears draw a tough opening slate of games this year, hosting the Steelers in Week 3. Although they begin to look better, the reality of the Bears' situation is that they have essentially an entirely new passing attack, coupled with an entirely new secondary. Add in dozens of players that didn't get a full year of experience with their teammates last year due to injury, and it's not unlikely that there will be some growing pains. Even with a much improved defense, the Bears' offense won't be able to put up enough points to cope with the sort of talent the Steelers will be bringing into Soldier Field.
Sun, Sept 28, 8:25PM - @ Packers L, by one score Another week, another team that went to the conference championship game a year ago. Currently at 93-93-6, losing this game will give the Packers an all-time head-to-head advantage over the Bears for the first time since 1932. On Sunday Night Football. Even as the Bears begin to find their stride, Aaron Rodgers has been doing it for too long to slip up at home like this. Jordan Howard and co. will need career nights for this to flip.
Sun, Oct 9, 8:30PM - vs. Vikings W, by one score Finally, some relief. A year ago, the Bears split the series with the Vikings, each team winning at home. The Bears just seem to have the Vikings' number over the past few years as the home team, so it isn't unlikely that the Bears will pull one out again this year. I don't think I'm alone in expecting a defensive battle here, seeing as how ESPN decided on Glennon vs. Bradford as the title card for the weekend. Should be interesting to see how the pass rush and secondary come together, and how Trevathan's knee has held up thus far.
Sun, Oct 15, 1PM - @ Ravens W, by one score I think this game and @ Eagles in week 12 are pretty much toss ups, and the Bears come away with one or the other. Baltimore was 8-8 a year ago, and subtracting Steve Smith Sr. from the roster will do them no favors. I think this is the week where the argument for what Tarik Cohen is in the offense is finally settled, just as the media decides to heat up the QB controversy.
Sun, Oct 22, 1PM - vs. Panthers L, by 10 points* I don't think I'm alone in considering the 2016 Panthers as a team that underperformed their talent level, just as 2015 was a team that in some ways overpervormed their talent level. A team that is somewhere between those two squads (ie between 15-1 and 6-10) is a team that is going to give the Bears some trouble. Cam, especially, will be tough to contain if he continues at his standard level of play. The defense will make tough sledding, especially if a true #1 receiving threat hasn't emerged by this point.
Sun, Oct 29, 1PM - @ Saints W, by one score You know the old axiom, "Any given Sunday..." and in this case, I think the Bears are ripe for a good underdog performance. They will be playing a team that ended 7-9, with an aging RB and a somehow-still-suspect defense. Brees is terrifying, as usual, but I think the defense can stiffen enough for Howard and whoever is under center at this point to bring home a W.
Sun, Nov 12, 1PM - vs. Packers L, by one score Home has been tough to defend in general for the Bears over the past few seasons, and I think that trend continues when the Bears host the Packers. An improved secondary might net a couple takeaways, and if the Bears can play mistake-free football, they could be in it to the final minutes. Unfortunately, I'm not certain the Bears will be playing mistake-free football.
Sun, Nov 19, 1PM - vs. Lions L, by 10 points Visiting the Lions has become a tough prospect for the Bears, especially if Stafford continues to be as prolific as he was for the second half of the season last year. A full offseason in Jim Bob Cooter's offense, as well as a backfield that might actually be healthy this year, might have too much potential for the offense to go blow for blow with it. The offense will have to keep the ball for enough time that the defense isn't gassed by the 4th quarter - something we saw all too often last year, leading to blown leads and lost games. I see more of the same this year.
Sun, Nov 26, 1PM - @ Eagles L, by one score The Alshon Game. Really, win or lose, I think Bears fans are more concerned with the stats he puts up against his former team than anything else. If he is reined in by the new secondary that replaced him this offseason, it will go quite a ways to soothe the souls of Bears fans. If he goes off, though, expect for fans to call for Pace's head. I think his presence will help Wentz adjust in his second season, and they will be able to do more than last year - which will prove more than the Bears can do against a fairly stiff Eagles defense.
Sun, Dec 3, 1PM - vs. 49ers W, by two scores The Bears donated two quarterbacks to a team they handled by 20 points a year ago. Shanahan can do wonders, but the 49ers are still working out what they want to do as far as the roster is concerned. They have the pieces to scare some good teams, but ultimately the don't have what it takes to convert the flashes of potential into a full game-winning performance. Especially since Hoyer is a known quantity at QB, the defense will be ready to dial in and exploit his weaknesses.
Sun, Dec 10, 1PM - @ Bengals W, by 10 points The Bengals won't be good next season. There, I said it. They lost two good offensive linemen, and have a quarterback that tends to wilt under pressure. If the Bears' pass rush is healthy and effective, I'm not sure that the Bengals will be able to put up enough offense to win the game. This strikes me as a game when one of the stable of wide receivers puts on a performance that makes clear to Bears fans why Ryan Pace should be staying around. Which receiver, though? I have no idea.
Sun, Dec 16, 4;30PM - @ Lions L, by one score This seems like one of those games that ends up as "close, but no cigar." A 2-minute drive falls short, probably due to conservative playcalling and clock mismanagement more than anything else. Stafford is the real deal, and if the defense can stop him, the Bears have a real chance at stealing one on the road. The big question mark, as always, will be the level of play coming from the Bears QB position. As that goes, so will the season go.
Sun, Dec 24, 1PM - vs. Browns W, by two scores The Browns, god bless them, are on their way back from the brink. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have all the pieces quite yet, especially with Pryor's departure this offseason. I think the Bears are able to show why they may be capable of.
Sun, Dec 31, 1PM - @ Vikings L, 10 points It seems the Vikings/Bears game is expected to be the irrelevant-to-the-standings NFCN game Week 17, but depending on the Vikings' season, it could mean more than just pride and draft positioning for them. As a result, they will have more to play for - and Sammy Sleeves will be in the dome, allowing the air attack to get behind the secondary. If Trubisky plays at all, I would put my money on seeing him in this game more than any other, as the Bears would at least seek to find out what they have in the young signal-caller going into the next offseason.
Now, I'll be called out by homers (especially) who are of the opinion that there's more wins on the schedule than I've given the team credit for. If the team exceeds expectations, I could see them flipping the results of the Bucs and Panthers games, I suppose, as well as potentially winning both the Ravens and Eagles games. That being said, I think a lot of people think that "we probably won't be the most injured team in the league this year" is the same thing as "basically all our stars will be healthy contributors this year." That's not the case. McPhee and Trevathan, especially, have injury concerns, and it just isn't realistic to expect an entire team to contribute at a high level for a full season.
Big thanks to:
- /r/CHIBears for its active community and all the OC it produces.
- /u/skepticismissurvival for taking the time to organize and run these series every year.
- /u/emperos for writing the schedule prediction.
- /u/NotRyanPace, /u/TrubiskysRevenge, /u/nave2192, /u/umaro900, and /u/oncrepefor their great write ups.
- Link to Hub
- Please excuse any non football related mistakes, this was done on my phone.
Submitted July 08, 2017 at 04:28PM by PlatypusOfDeath
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