Last year was the worst season for the Bears in the span of their franchise history. After going 3-13 and watching three different quarterbacks start at least 5 games, there isn’t much outward evidence for optimism. But with training camp starting there are a few reasons to be excited to pay attention to the Bears.
1.) They have some new quarterbacks
It was a busy offseason for the Bears as they signed Mike Glennon to a 3 year, $45 million contract, which is essentially a one year contract as all of the guaranteed money is in the first year, seemingly signing the bridge quarterback of the future. Now it remains to see whether Mike Glennon is a legitimate NFL quarterback. For his career, Glennon has played in 21 games, throwing for 4,100 yards, 30 TD and 15 INT. Not door busting numbers, but Glennon had the job in Tampa Bay taken away from him twice. By all accounts, Glennon has looked decent during the first few days of practice.
However, the Bears weren’t done as the traded up one spot in the first round and selected Mitchell Trubisky #2 overall. Trubisky struggled in the past two days with getting snaps from center, fumbling four. However, it’s not about right now for Trubisky or the Bears, he will be on the bench to start the season and ideally if Glennon plays well and stays healthy, Trubisky won’t see game action at all this year. But for the first time in a long time, the Bears went all in on a quarterback in the first round and it’ll be intriguing to see what talent Trubisky possesses and if his one excellent season in college, 3,748 yards passing, 30 TD and 6 INT in 13 starts (only starts in college), translates to the NFL.
2.) The new draft picks
Every year it’s exciting to see the new draft picks of the Bears. But this year they drafted two intriguing talents in Adam Shaheen and Tarik Cohen. Shaheen is the big tight end that fans have been clamoring for in the past decade. He’s 6’6, 275 lbs and catches everything. The Bears did reach for Shaheen who came out of Ashland Great Lakes in the second round, but the upside is huge if he can continue to grow in the NFL. Shaheen has a great catch radius and caught 127 passes and 26 touchdowns the past two seasons in college. The Bears are desperate for a go to big target and Shaheen will be a candidate to provide that for them.
At a full foot shorter than Shaheen is Cohen. However, if there is one comparison that comes to mind because of the height and elusiveness when discussing Cohen, it’s Darren Sproles. The key for the Bears will be to get Cohen the ball out wide where he can use his vision and ability to avoid tacklers. He has the nickname “The Human Joystick” and has shown that he has that big play ability as he had four touchdowns of 83 plus yards last season. For once, the Bears have two intriguing offensive weapons that will be exciting to watch in camp.
3.) Leonard Floyd
Floyd had a spectacular rookie season last year before it was cut short by the second concussion that he sustained in a Dec. 24 game against Washington. However, before that Floyd had seven sacks and a touchdown including a three game run against Green Bay, Minnesota and Tampa Bay where he recorded 4.5 sacks. Stretching that out to a five game run, Floyd had 6.5 of his 7 sacks in those games.
Now that Floyd is recovered from the second concussion which limited his ability to work out for the first part of the offseason, Floyd is looking to be more consistent in his second season. Having put on some weight, Floyd should be able to shed blockers and if he progresses he should be a double digit sack guy for the Bears.
4.) Jordan Howard
Without question, the best player for the Bears last season was Jordan Howard. A fifth round draft pick, Howard had a phenomenal rookie season rushing for 1,313 yards with 6 TD along with 29 receptions, 298 yards and 1 TD which earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Now Howard will be looking to put his name as one of the top running backs in the NFL while being the focal point of the offense and facing heavy defensive fronts. If Howard repeats the season he had last season, the Bears will have a real steal on their hands.
5.) Secondary play
We all know that the front seven will be fine with Floyd, Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman leading the way. However, the secondary was awful last year and will need to be significantly improved if the Bears are going to be better this year.
Plenty of resources were spent to overhaul the position with the signings of Prince Akumamara, Marcus Cooper and Quintin Demps. For a defense that had 8 interceptions and just 3 fumbles recovered last year, the secondary needs to show better ability to get to the ball and force turnovers. Demps had 6 interceptions last season. In addition, the Bears selected Eddie Jackson from Alabama in the fourth round who is nearly recovered from a broken leg and will hopefully be able to play in preseason games. The Bears need some of the players mentioned as well as others from a group that includes Deon Bush, Adrian Amos, Kyle Fuller and Johnthan Banks to step up and become NFL starters.
There you have it while it might not be a fun regular season there are things to look forward to as training camp and preseason progresses.