It’s impossible to ignore the optimism surrounding the 2018 Chicago Bears.
A new head coach leads an offense that could be “unguardable” with its new set of plays. And the defense returns its popular and highly respected defensive coordinator and has its eyes set on breaking into the top-5 after a top-10 finish a year ago. Indeed, it looks like it’s all coming together for the Bears, who look like they are on the brink of being one of those teams that some trendy folks think could be a surprise postseason contender.
Not to rain on anyone’s parade blueprints, but not everyone is going to be on board the hype train: Jonathan Jones of SI.com’s The MMQB, for example, shared a prediction for every NFL team’s 2018 record. And in his eyes, the Bears are one of the teams that will disappoint this season.
Jones has the Bears finishing at 4-12 this season, which means the team will take a step back in Matt Nagy’s first year as head coach. Yikes!
The Bears upgraded at several necessary positions with the motivation being to build around second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Improvements among the pass-catching corps (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton) highlighted an offseason of change.
HOWEVER, Jones also notes that while the defense spruced up the inside linebacker position with first-round pick Roquan Smith, the team’s pass-rushing situation was left still needing some work. No argument here. The Bears’ potential pass-rush issues shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Jones also believes the overhauled offense took a step back by parting ways with Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton. Surely, Chicago’s offensive line could miss Sitton’s presence this season, but the Bears replaced him with a younger player in James Daniels. And while Daniels is unproven, he comes with some prospect pedigree and a generous amount of upside because he has pretty much everything you want in an offensive line prospect.
A series of misfortunes would have to take place for the Bears to finish with a worse record in 2018 than they did in 2017. And because I don’t want to accidentally conjure any bad vibes into existence, I’ll refrain from discussing what those misfortunes could be (but major injuries to key players, among many things, can always happen). The Bears have re-worked a lot in order to avoid repeating recent history, so I don’t expect them to be one of the five teams who project to finish 4-12 in 2018.