With the new-look quarterback room serving as the lens in which we view the 2017 Chicago Bears season, Pro Football Talk’s ranking the Bears 30th in their preseason power rankings makes some sense.
It’s a position full of questions that can’t be answered until the players take the field. However, Michael David Smith puts one question above all: Did the Bears overpay for two bad quarterbacks?
The position was going to be a point of contention for the Bears in 2017, no matter who was going to be under center or listed on the depth chart projected to be in that spot. Removing Jay Cutler from the room put everyone on notice. Replacing Cutler with Mike Glennon officially ushered in a new era for the team at the position. And trading up to draft Mitch Trubisky put talk about the Bears’ quarterback room in a different stratosphere.
The Bears could have brought back Brian Hoyer and/or Matt Barkley for a modest price, or even dug deeper into the pile of mediocre free agent quarterbacks and unearthed a suitable one-year placeholder while grooming Trubisky in the process. But GM Ryan Pace decided to live on the edge, and, thus, the unrivaled scrutiny from all corners of the football world.
In the end, it will look brilliant if it works in the long term with Trubisky.
Of course, there are some things that can happen along the way that could go a long way toward helping Glennon (or Trubisky) succeed in 2017.
Running back Jordan Howard is the player PFT would like to crack a beer with and the player who could take the most pressure off whoever is playing quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott gets the headlines after leading the league in rushing for the NFC’s top seed, but Howard posted a 1,300-yard season on the ground and finishing second in the rushing yards race despite being drafted into a worse situation and playing fewer snaps while sitting behind Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey to start the season. Makes you wonder if sharing some brews with Howard would nudge him toward opening up his feelings about being second fiddle.
Better health could also lead to the Bears exceeding expectations. Smith cites FootballOutsiders.com research that shows the 2016 Bears were bitten by the injury bug unlike no other team since 2000 when the site first started taking data. If you believe in progression to the mean, the 2017 Bears will be a healthier (and better) team.
On the other hand, this season could easily be sunk if the quarterback situation doesn’t improve, things go off the rail early during the Bears’ rough stretch of games, and head coach John Fox really begins to feel the pressure of the hot seat.
However, the Bears could be a pleasant surprise if a quarterback emerges, key players stay healthy, and depth pieces added in free agency stay true to their roles.
This probably won’t be the last time we see the Bears placed in the 30s in a preseason power ranking, but the only way to escape the cellar is to prove it on the field.