If you haven’t noticed there is a new vibe to the Chicago Bears. It started the moment head coach Matt Nagy entered Halas Hall with an attitude to #BeObsessed.
His goal was to ingrain into the hearts and minds of each player to stop playing mediocre football, which was something they became used to during the Marc Trestman and John Fox eras. But it had to start with the players believing that they could.
So Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace chose to bring in key players to prime their pump and motivate change. The additions of offensive and defensive weapons such as wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, tight end Trey Burton, and linebacker Khalil Mack have already paid in dividends. But it is more than just on the field. The desire to win and play as one unit has shown in every play.
It has been said by many analysts, writers, and fans that general manager Ryan Pace had to be aggressive in this draft. The Chicago Bears could not afford to continue to spiral into the NFC oblivion.
It was imperative that they drafted key players and address positions that would help the Bears compete within the division of the NFC North. Pace came through and he started with the best linebacker in the draft in Roquan Smith in the first round, center James Daniels and wide receiver Anthony Millerin the second round.
The list of possibilities are endless and the Chicago Bears need to make all their 2018 NFL Draft picks count. But will General Manager Ryan Pace go rogue like he did last year by trading up one spot for their franchise quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky? I wouldn’t put it past him. He was very adamant about getting the best player off the board to fill their needs. The question is, what need will the Bears focus on? Will they go offense with a wide receiver or guard? Or defense with an outside linebacker or cornerback?
Now that the 2018 NFL Combine has painted a picture of what options are available, the Bears have a few choices to make in free agency and the draft. Let’s take a look at free agency first.
The Chicago Bears had the opportunity to display the strengths of their rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky with a win on the road, but that didn’t happen. Instead, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains displayed his inadequate ability to call plays in the red zone and utilize the legs of Trubisky.
The Bears defense had a rough start but started to pressure QB Case Keenum in the later quarters. The Bears showed some life with a special teams trick play resulting in cornerback Bryce Callahan taking it to the house for the Bears one and only touchdown for the game.
The Chicago Bears’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was no surprise to anyone. The number one team in the league would be red hot at home and they were not about to hand it over to the bumbling Bears. But the game would be indicative of the type of season the Bears have had, heck let’s just say the past several years.
Analysts have stated that it would take three to four years to rebuild the Chicago Bears back into competitive form. Unfortunately, it will take longer and it has to start from the top. President and CEO Ted Phillips of the Chicago Bears has been a part of the organization since 1984. He didn’t become CEO until 1999. It was Phillips who hired General Manager Jerry Angelo in 2001. He managed the team for 10 years.
From 2004-2012, Lovie Smith was the head coach of the Chicago Bears. His first three goals were to beat the Green Bay Packers, win the NFC North, and win a Super Bowl. He achieved two of the three goals.
During his first season with the Bears, he installed a new offense and defense but had bouts of injuries and a season-ending injury to quarterback Rex Grossman. His first season record was 5-11. However, since he was a defensive-minded coach, the defense improved from 22nd overall in 2003 to 13th in 2004. By 2005 the Bears started then back-up QB Kyle Orton with a dominant defense and ended with an 11-5 record, despite starting the season with a 1-3 record. Look familiar?
Enter the John Fox era. Fox accepted a four-year deal as head coach of the Bears in 2015. It was predicted that the Bears would have a 3-13 record, but in his first season they ended with a 6-10 record. So instead, the Bears used the predicted previous record for the 2016 season, finishing 3-13. A regression that many hung on the excuse of a team rebuilding.
It is now 2017, and the Bears have started the season at 1-3, losing in epic fashion to the Packers once again, in the prime light of Thursday Night Football. The coaching was geared to quarterback Mike Glennon’s strengths, which is the opposite of his scouting report. According to general manager Ryan Pace: “He has the height, arm strength, the ability to quickly process.” Yes, he has height, but it gives no advantage to his field of view when he sees only what plays are given to him for the short routes. Time and time again, film shows Glennon waiting for a particular player and not the open receiver.
For the past two seasons the Chicago Bears have been rebuilding in order to be a playoff contending team. The Bears are a team desperate to regain respect among the league.
General manager Ryan Pace has promised to pick the best available player on the board who can make an immediate impact. So I attempted to think like a GM, keeping the cap space in mind and how this team could redeem itself.
Round 1/3rd pick:S – Malik Hooker (Ohio)
This is tough because there are so many to choose from at this point. Many see Jamal Adams at this pick but the Bears can’t pass up on safety Malik Hooker. In order for the Bears to have any chance of defeating their NFC North rivals this season, they have to address the middle lane. Hooker gives them the best opportunity in Vic Fangio‘s 3-4 defense.
He has great leadership skills, and crazy instincts prior to the play. He has fluid movement in space and mirrors the quarterback’s eyes. Hooker does tend to have balance issues and squats on tight ends or slot receivers, not to mention tackling issues. But he will still be a high-impact player from the get-go.