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Bears Bullets: Taking The Biggest Risk, Health Factors, Avoiding Sophomore Slumps, More

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What comes to mind when you think of Chicago Bears football?

A mix of young players and newcomers chimed in:

Personally, I find myself thinking more about the future than I do about the past with the Bears. Recent history hasn’t been kind to the team, which has only churned out one playoff team (and just three winning seasons) in the last 10 years.

When I think of the Bears, I think about the idea of simultaneously getting back to what made the Bears a force with a strong running game and a stout defense, while also catching up to modern football by mixing in a potent passing game. It’s not going to be easy, but I would like to have a day where the present-day Bears exhibit a standard of excellence on the field rather than having to reminisce about the past.

  • Chris Boden writes that Mitch Trubisky is embracing his role with the Bears, showing a level of commitment that wasn’t lost on second-year running back Jordan Howard. “You can tell he wants to be great,” Howard told Boden. “He puts the time in, and the effort to be a great quarterback in this league, because in order to be great, you’ve go to put the time in and have a good work ethic.” Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, but establishing a strong work ethic early in your career can be helpful to the individual, while also setting an example for the rest of a team – especially those aiming to stick around long enough to be in Chicago for the Bears’ next playoff team.

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  • Each move a team makes comes with its own set of risks, but one move the Bears made this offseason stands out above the rest. Over at Bleacher Report, Brad Gagnon lines up the riskiest move each team made in the offseason. The move to trade up and draft Mitch Trubisky is the riskiest the Bears made, which says a lot considering the guaranteed cash they spent on several short-term deals, and the fact that they let their most experienced (and arguably best) receiver option walk away for nothing. Still, the only thing more risky than drafting a first-round quarterback might be to trade up and draft one. Hopefully, Trubisky avoids the fate of Robert Griffin III, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and Johnny Manziel among others who were quarterbacks teams traded up to draft in the first round.
  • There is an argument to be made for letting Alshon Jeffery leave in free agency being the riskiest move by the Bears this offseason. Bringing two new quarterbacks into an offense with questionable options at receiver is a totally different level of risk for an offense that finished tied for 28th in scoring. ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson asks a panel of NFC North experts how much will the Bears regret not bringing back Jeffery. Health will play a major role in how this question gets answered. Jeffery’s 2017 season hinges on his health, and it’s worth noting he hasn’t played a full 16-game schedule since 2014. On the other hand, if a healthy Kevin White proves to be productive, it could soften the blow of losing Jeffery.
  • Another player entering his second season on the field with some health concerns is also expected to be a factor in how the Bears do in 2017. Kyle Posey of FanRag Sports writes about outside linebacker Leonard Floyd avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump. Posey breaks Floyd’s “roller-coaster” season down into three parts, and comes away impressed with the middle set of games in which Floyd showed top-10 pass rush potential. After picking up just 1/2 sack in his first four games, Floyd broke out in Week 5-9, picking up 6.5 sacks and a safety in five games. That’s the kind of production you can dream on, especially with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio dialing up the defenses.
  • Some numbers from Pro Football Focus show how well Floyd played when compared to other NFC North pass rushers.
  • And here’s hoping Akiem Hicks can keep up the kind of pressure that could help free Floyd on the pass rush:

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.