Alright, alright alright! (In my Matthew McConaughey voice)
Week 1 has come to a close and it’s time to hand out grades for the team’s performances! I’m a pretty easy grader, and I do grade on a curve. Mostly because a curve helped me out of some classes (Looking at you AP Chem.), so it’s only fair.
After coaching changes, key free agent signings, and some great defenses, it was time to get the show on the road. The oldest rival in the NFL came from the NFC North and it was only right that they kicked off the NFL’s 100th season.
Chicago Bears: C. Last years defense was back in full force. Linebacker Roquan Smith was letting his presence be known early on in the game. But in the end, the offense just stalled. In fact, the only offense that the Bears could muster was a 38-yard field goal from recently signed kicker Eddy Pineiro. Irony. Despite the struggles on offense, the defense was really the bright spot.
Heartbreaking does not describe the feeling of every Chicago Bears fan after the devastating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field. A one point differential. One point. That has been the staple all season, getting close and squeaking out a win.
This was the wild card game against a team the Bears helped get in to the playoffs by beating the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. But it was a game the Bears should have won and it should not have rested on the leg of a kicker who had been inconsistent all season.
I could sit here and go over the details of what happened that led to a last-second field goal. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled in the first half. He did not give up the ball but his throws were not there. Workhorse running back Jordan Howard was shamefully unused as he had only 10 touches for 35 yards. RB Tarik Cohen was less, at zero rushes. ZERO!
Christmas is literally around the corner and the Chicago Bears already stuffed their stocking with an NFC North division title.
Intertwined with that title came a win against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field (which was long overdue), the trade of linebacker Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders and five players in the Pro Bowl, Khalil Mack, safety Eddie Jackson, defensive end Akiem Hicks, cornerback Kyle Fuller, and running back Tarik Cohen.
But I’m sure Santa Claus isn’t going to stop there, right? The Bears were really good this year!
Not every college athlete gets the honor and privilege to hear their name called on Draft Day. But a young man from Macon County Georgia did on April 26th, 2018. He was picked by the Chicago Bears to be the next linebacker to soar like the franchise Hall of Fame greats in Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Brian Urlacher.
With the 8th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bears selected Roquan Smith from the University of Georgia. The cheers from fans everywhere were deafening and the dream of the return of the Monsters of the Midway was just within their reach.
With rookie mini-camp complete and OTAs underway, the Chicago Bears are slowly putting together a well-balanced team. Ryan Pace and company have done their due diligence in signing key players that will have an immediate impact on the team.
But it’s those additional spots, the supplemental players that will have to be ready to step in on a moment’s notice. Who will make a statement in training camp that they belong on this team? Who will shine when it matters and when it counts?
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.
All the questions and panic are over. The Chicago Bears made it very clear last night that the rise of the Monsters of the Midway starts with inside linebacker Roquan Smith. As the eighth overall pick in the first round, Smith brings an incredible burst off the seam that reminds me of one of the great Bears linebackers Mike Singletary. A little undersized for a linebacker, but his quickness and speed make up for it. It’s a perfect fit for the Bears.
Smith is fluid and explosive in space which makes him perfect in the Jack position as an inside linebacker. He was praised by Georgia head coach Kirby Smart as being a “tremendous leader”, which is what Singletary became on the Bears defense. Under the veteran leadership of Akiem Hicks, he will gain the respect and pride of his fellow teammates.