2018 NFL Season Preview- Chicago Bears

Updated on September 1, 2018

2017 Review

2017 proved to be nothing more than a year of development for the Bears.

The first year without Jay Cutler at quarterback since 2008 was a nice reprieve, but the team still was nowhere near what they need to be to compete against division heavyweights like the Packers and Vikings. In addition, no Bears players were selected to the Pro Bowl. To add to these failures, it was the first season since 1969 that the Bears failed to win a game against a divisional opponent.

Newly acquired quarterback Mike Glennon was pegged as the starter but was benched after a 1-3 start. Running back Jordan Howard became the first Chicago Bear to start his career with back to back 1,000 yard rushing seasons despite dealing with a shoulder injury early in the year. Tight end Zach Miller was lost midway through the season after he suffered a nasty dislocated knee that almost cost him his leg. His future not only with the Bears but with the league itself could be over. Wide receiver Kevin White has only played five games in three years due to injuries. His 2017 season came to an end after breaking his scapula. Cameron Meredith was lost in the preseason after tearing his ACL. Kendall Wright looked like the ideal slot receiver for much of the year. After having surgery on his neck last offseason, guard Kyle Long could be having surgery on his shoulder this season. Josh Sitton is talented but continues to be plagued by injuries. Cody Whitehair could have made the Pro Bowl at center but the team kept moving him over to guard. The talent at tackle is below average and both could be replaceable.

Defensive end Akiem Hicks might have been the defense's most important player with his stout run defense and leading the team with 8.5 sacks. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman stayed healthy and took his game to the next level. Injuries decimated what was supposed to be the team's strongest unit in the linebackers. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd became a much more rounded player before spraining his MCL. Willie Young played in only four games before tearing his triceps. Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan manned the middle of the defense and greatly improved in run support. Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller both had solid seasons but the team needed them to make better plays on the ball. Safety Adrian Amos is a nice young player but needs to improve in jump ball situations.

The rookie class had their struggles but should enough improvement as the year went on to show they can be future team leaders. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky was at his best when the team utilized his mobility and his arm strength and leadership developed nicely the more games he played. Tight end Adam Shaheen started showing his potential before a chest injury ended his season. Safety Eddie Jackson caught on fast and turned into a more physical safety than many draft experts expected. Running back Tarik Cohen was a steal, showing explosive talent on break away runs, as a receiver, and on returns.

2017 Rankings

Passing YPG
Rushing YPG
Opponent Passing YPG
Opponent Rushing YPG
Total Offense
Total Defense
175.7 (Last)
111.8 (16th)
211 (7th)
108.1 (11th)
287.5 (30th)
319.1 (10th)

2018 Offseason

After the 5-11 season, head coach John Fox was fired after three seasons with the team in which he posted a 14-34 record in that time. The team then decided to hire former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as their new head coach.

After offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains left to become the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, the team hired former University of Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich to replace him.

Notable Additions- QB Chase Daniel, QB Tyler Bray, WR Bennie Fowler, WR Taylor Gabriel, WR Allen Robinson, TE Trey Burton, DE Khalil Mack, K Cody Parkey

Notable Departures- QB Mike Glennon, QB Mark Sanchez, WR Kendall Wright, WR Cameron Meredith, G Josh Sitton, OLB Lamar Houston, OLB Willie Young, OLB Jerrell Freeman, K Cairo Santos, K Mike Nugent

Mitch Trubisky Rookie Highlights

2018 NFL Draft

Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Holding the eighth overall pick going into the Draft, the Bears had to address issues at key positions. Primarily at wide receiver, tackle, and cornerback.

The team signed three wide receivers in free agency but only Allen Robinson is a true number one receiver and he is coming off a torn ACL. Chicago needs as much as many targets for Mitch Trubisky as possible to improve the league's worst ranked passing offense.

Dowell Loggains' offense stressed pass protection from the guards and center. Mark Helfrich's system will require better blocking on the edge.

The team was able to resign both Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller to extensions but the secondary still needs to develop a playmaking cornerback.

On draft day, Chicago ended up selecting Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith with eighth overall pick. Smith was viewed as the top linebacker in pass coverage this year, but lacks the ideal height and length for the NFL game.

The Bears also notably drafted Iowa center James Daniels and Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller in the second round. Daniels was seen as the quickest center in the draft, but tends to get to eager when moving up to the second level, allowing linebackers to slip past him. Miller was seen as the best route running wide receiver prospect this year, but lacks an explosive gear to gain separation from cornerbacks consistently.

Roquan Smith Highlights

What To Expect

Seeing the depth the Bears added in the offseason, it will be interesting to see how the team progresses in 2018.

Mitch Trubisky should be a nice fit for Mark Helfrich's system. It will be cool to see if Helfrich can do for Trubisky what he did for Marcus Mariota in college. The running backs don't have a guy who can do it all, but each of the main guys can contribute in a lot of way. Jordan Howard can be a Pro Bowl back if he continues ro produce at his level, Tarik Cohen has a lot of value on sweeps, wheel routes, and in the return game, and Bennie Cunningham is a valuable receiver, pass blocker, and on special teams. The wide receivers will likely have Allen Robinson and Kevin White on the outside and Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel occupying the slot. Hopefully White can stay healthy enough to prove that he isn't a bust and if not Bennie Fowler will likely steal his job. The main concern is still on the offensive line. Chicago didn't do anything to improve the line and even lost Josh Sitton to Miami so if anything the line is worse after this offseason.

The defensive line should remain solid if Eddie Goldman can get stronger and Akiem Hicks can continue to play at a high level. With the acquisition of Khalil Mack, the team won't miss Willie Young's pass rushing ability and hopefully he and Leonard Floyd can form a nice outside linebacker duo as I expect Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan to make a solid inside linebacker tandem. Even though the team resigned Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller, I still don't think they are the team's long term solutions at cornerback. Fuller hasn't played at the same high level since his rookie season and Amukamara has never played a full season and has just seven interceptions in seven seasons. Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson showed that they played well together, but both have to show they can perform week in and week out.

With the changes the team made this offseason, the Bears are right there with Detroit in the NFC North, but they still have a long way to go if they expect to compete with Green Bay and Minnesota.

Best Record They Can Hope For: 7-9

People's Poll

How will the Bears fair this season?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)