2015 NFL Preview: Chicago Bears

2015 NFL Preview: Chicago Bears

The Marc Trestman era in Chicago lasted all of two seasons, ending with a 13-19 record and no playoff appearances. The front office’s new solution to fixing their postseason drought was to hire John Fox, who has lost two Super Bowls with two different teams, and was kinda sorta scapegoated for Denver’s inability to return to the Big Game in 2014. The task for Fox will be a bit more difficult considering he’s going from Peyton Manning to Jay Cutler under center. He also has to repair a defense that finished 31st in points allowed and 30th in both total yards and passing yards. He also has to contend with the Packers being in the same division, as well as the seemingly improved Lions and Vikings. In other words, there is lots of work to be done before the franchise rights the ship. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Chicago Bears.

Outlook: Jay Cutler and a leaky defense. That sums up the Bears entering the upcoming season. They traded away one of the league’s top wide receivers and replaced him with a rookie who is already injured. Matt Forte is a fantastic dual-threat back, but he’s logged 1023 touches from 2012-14. The revolving door of offensive linemen continues, although Kyle Long looks like a keeper. They threw money at the linebacker corps and secondary, but it remains to be seen whether or not the players added will make a positive difference. Basically, the Bears are trying to prove that a head coach with a quick turnaround track record can lift them from the NFC North basement.

Later, dude: Brandon Marshall is a headcase, but the guy produced seven straight 1000-yard seasons with three different teams prior to an injury-riddled 2014. Not wanting to deal with his antics anymore, the powers that be shipped him and a 7th-round pick to the Jets in exchange for a 5th-round selection in April’s draft. Linebacker Lance Briggs spent 12 seasons in Chicago, but age and injury caught up to him; he is currently a free agent. Charles Tillman is a borderline Hall of Famer who, like Briggs, was allowed to leave due in large part to his advanced age and recent injury history. Roberto Garza was a reliable cog at both center and guard for ten campaigns; he’s presently unemployed. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea parlayed a career best six-sacks into a 4-year, $21 million contract with the Redskins. Safety Chris Conte was downright awful during his four seasons, but not awful enough to land a one-year deal with Tampa.

Welcome aboard: Veterans Antrel Rolle and Tracy Porter were inked to bolster a pathetic secondary. Ex-Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee has only started six games in four seasons, but he’s a talented pass rusher who has earned the right to be get increased snaps. Journeyman center Will Montgomery will get the nod to replace Garza after playing for Fox in Denver last year. First-round rookie wideout Kevin White has the size/speed combo of today’s prototypical NFL receiver. Only problem is he’s still nursing a shin ailment that will likely keep him sidelined into the regular season. Second-round defensive tackle Eddie Goldman should offer solid depth in the newly installed 3-4 rotation. Fifth-round safety Adrian Amos was the return in the Marshall trade; Amos is raw, but has the benefit of learning behind Rolle and Brock Vereen.

Over/Under wins – 7: Check out this three game stretch to begin the season: home to Green Bay and Arizona, then a trip to Seattle. Good luck with that, Chicago. There are some definite winnable matchups, but not more than five or six.

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