Bears off-season plays may bring them out of hibernation


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The Bears signed free agents Allen Robinson and Trey Burton in the off-season to revamp their passing game, which ranked last in yards gained last season. 

By Blaise Mesa

The Chicago Bears closed the 2018 draft on a high note and are looking to put it all together for a successful season.

Last season, the Bears finished last in the NFC North with only five wins. The team struggled with glaring needs in both offense and defense—displaying weak pass catching and ineffective pass rushing. Although quarterback Mitch Trubisky set the Bears’ rookie passing record, the team’s passing attack ranked last in the league in yards gained and tied for last in passing touchdowns, according to ESPN.

The Bears looked to fix some of their problems during the offseason through the draft and free agency. The team signed coveted free agents such as wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Trey Burton. Meanwhile, the team picked up top prospects in this year’s NFL Draft such as linebacker Roquan Smith and center James Daniels. 

“The Bears had the best offseason by far out of every team in the NFL,” said Doug Schwamb, sports reporter for Sports Mockery—a sports news website—and Bears fan since 2006.

Most of the Bears major offseason acquisitions involved offensive players, which Schwamb said can help Trubisky play better in his second year as he benefits from their talents.

“In order to ensure Mitchell Trubisky is successful, [Bears general manager Ryan Pace] had to be aggressive and add offensive weapons,” said Bryan Perez, managing editor for Bears Wire—a website that covers the Bears.

Players such as wide receivers Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, in addition to tight end Burton, can all build a powerful passing game and offense, especially  Robinson who is coming off an injury, Perez said. If Robinson can be as productive as he was before his injury, he may be one of the top receivers in the league, he added.

Despite Chicago’s productive moves made to fix the offense, Perez said there are still holes in its defense. Edge rushers Leonard Floyd and Aaron Lynch are talented but have injury problems, Perez said, and the team may not have suitable replacements.

While Perez and Schwamb acknowledged the Bears are anything but perfect, the team addressed a good number of their problems that plagued the Bears last season. 

“You can’t fill all your holes the Bears had with just one draft, Schwamb said. “This is going to take a little more time, but this team has improved. They’ve improved their depth with the late round draft picks, and they got three starter-caliber [players] in the first round.”

Along with moves to bolster the roster, the Bears made changes to  their coaching staff.

After a disappointing tenure in Chicago, the team parted ways with head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains at the end of the 2017 season, which Val Nevzadi, 24, a lifelong Bears fan from the South Loop, called a breath of fresh air.

To revamp its coaching staff the team signed former Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to replace Fox and former University of Oregon’s head coach Mark Helfrich to replace Loggains. 

“I haven’t felt this way in a while,” Nevzadi said. “[The Bears] have [had] some rough years, but now [they] are on the right path.” 

Even with the transactions made, Perez said the Bears still face a barrage of talent in the NFC North, including quarterbacks such as the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins.

However, Perez does not put a playoff run out of the realm of possibility.

 “If [the Bears] finish 9-7, there is no reason to think they can’t get to 10-6,” he said. “In the NFC North, where everybody is beating up on the other teams, 10-6 could be enough to win the division or possibly be in the wildcard.”