Dec. 30, 2017
Chicago Bears 2017 Season Recap
There were a number of NFL teams who were anticipated to experience rough 2017 campaigns as a building block or stepping stone to bigger and better things starting in 2018. Our next subject readily qualifies.
2017 Record: 5-11
2016 Record: 3-13
Win Differential: +2
What Happened? Head coach John Fox was on the hot seat from day one, as the Bears were rebuilding in many facets. Quarterback Jay Cutler was released from his bloated contract, which left the position to veteran backup Mike Glennon, a free agent acquisition from Tampa Bay, and top draft pick Mitchell Trubisky. Fox decided to go with Glennon at the onset of the year, only to watch him struggle mightily. Before long, Trubisky was handed the reins and showed that he not only belonged, but that his teammates were responsive to his presence as the Bears' new field general. Despite optimism after a 5-11 campaign, general manager Ryan Pace pulled the plug on Fox after three seasons.
What To Expect: In recognition of the focus of Chicago's youth movement on the roster, Pace opted to select a young head coach to lead them. Enter Matt Nagy, former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and disciple of West Coast Offense guru Andy Reid. Nagy's primary job as HC will be grooming Trubisky as a franchise caliber signal caller, much like how Sean Payton enrolled Drew Brees in finishing school once the coach arrived in New Orleans. Improvements in the wide receiving corps will be a welcome relief, as Allen Robinson (Jacksonville) and Taylor Gabriel (Atlanta) will give Trubisky immediate targets in which to familiarize himself with in Nagy's new offense. Combine that with RB Jordan Howard's talent at gaining quality yards, and there could be a potent offense in the making in the Windy City. In 2018, their growth may not be measured in terms of wins and losses but on their overall performance on the field. If the NFC's power structure incurs a breach, then it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Bears can snap one of the league's longer current playoff droughts with a wild card berth this coming year. This is a team on the rise. The only question is just how quick that ascension might be.