The good news (if you can call it that) is that the 2017 Chicago Bears will have a new look compared to the team you saw limping off the field last season. But where there is good news, there is often bad news. And unfortunately, the bad news is that despite a different look, the 2017 team might not fare any better than its 2016 counterpart … or so says Sports Illustrated.
Indeed, Sports Illustrated recently predicted that the Bears will finish 2017 with a 2-14 record – and their forecast for the season isn’t any brighter:
“Neither Mike Glennon nor Mitchell Trubisky nor an Alshon Jeffrey–less receiving corps will strike fear in anyone, and opponents won’t be afraid of throwing against the Bears when they have the ball. Chicago has finished in last place in the NFC North three years running, and it will probably be four in John Fox’s third year as coach. They have the misfortune of opening against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Green Bay.”
Let’s tally that up:
- Inexperienced quarterback(s)? Check.
- Underwhelming talent among the group of pass catchers? Check.
- A defense still in a state of repair? Check.
- An unforgiving schedule that features some of the league’s best quarterbacks out of the gate? Check, check, check, and check.
No, this isn’t quite where you want the team to be three years into GM Ryan Pace’s regime. And yes, two other teams – the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers – are also projected to join in the Bears’ misery with 2-14 seasons of their own. But it’s not as though that’s going to make you feel any better about 2017.
But maybe I can.
Like I said, the 2017 Bears will have a much different look than they did in 2016. There is a clean slate throughout the depth chart, most notably at quarterback, in the secondary, and among the group of wide receivers. There are nine players who ended 2016 on injured reserve who are scheduled to return and contribute in 2017, including starters such as offensive lineman Kyle Long, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, edge defender Lamarr Houston, tight end Zach Miller, and wide receiver Kevin White.
If the Bears were to go into the 2017 season healthier than they exited 2016, then we could muster up an argument that the 2017 squad will be better than a projected 2-14 team. Admittedly, that’s a slippery slope to wish upon, but it may be all we’ve got.