There wasn’t too much to be gleaned from the Bears finale, given was a dead rubber it was. So I guess this is the Three Things from the entire season. God help us.
The Bears Offseason Is Going To Be A Mess – I mean, they all are, but this one especially could turn into a real circus. Without knowing exactly who will be available and what the Bears are going to do or want to do, any offseason where this many questions that are this big about the quarterback position is a real swamp to get through. And there aren’t really any good answers.
Look, you can pop up and get to a Super Bowl with just about any goofus as your quarterback. You can even win one. Nick Foles won one. Matt Ryan should have. Somehow, Eli Manning has two and yet the Giants were barely ever a playoff team other than those two seasons and I’m fairly confident he always sucked. A completely decrepit Peyton Manning managed on with the Broncos, and they’ve yet to be heard from since. So the idea that the Bears could tailor an offense to Mitch Trubisky’s strengths with an improved offensive line and a world class defense and maybe have everything go right for a year isn’t completely outlandish. Fuck, they came within inches last year.
But if you want to be consistently around the picture, look at the NFC playoff picture. Rodgers, Wilson, Brees. Cousins is going to embarrass his entire lineage next week, and we can’t be totally sure what Garoppolo is yet (though he looks more like the first group than Cousins), but you get the idea. And Wentz probably deserves more credit for putting together nine wins with rodeo clowns and janitors as his receivers and running backs this season.
The thing is, you don’t get the QB who keeps you around the picture for multiple seasons off the scrapheap. Andy Dalton will not do that. Cam Newton will not do that (although there’s a big part of me that wants to see Bears fan/media reaction to his first sulky press conference after a loss here. Great theater that will be). Fucking Marmalard will not do that. Teddy Bridgewater will not do that, and all will be insanely expensive for a team that will not have that much cap space no matter what kind of binds and inversions it performs this offseason.
Which means you have to draft one, or find one masked as a backup somewhere else like Garoppolo. Can you do that in the second round? Maybe, it’s not unheard of. Or maybe you think Bridgewater is that guy and make the commitment (highly skeptical).
But if the guy isn’t there in the second round, and Bridgewater goes elsewhere, what’s really going to piss Bears fans off is that Trbuisky with a revamped offense is just about as good of an option as any. Sorry, it’s the truth.
No, that doesn’t mean I think Trubisky will be more than ok ever. Even with the perfectly tailored offense he’ll probably never be more than just a shade north of acceptable. And that’s almost certainly not going to be a plan for sustained success, unless the defense can remain dominant for a longer stretch than most manage (even the Seahawks one was only together for about four seasons). What I’m saying is that for next year, it very well may be as presentable of an option as any.
And that won’t make you feel good.
The Offensive Line Has To Be A Priority, But It Has So Much Ugly Money – They couldn’t handle a Vikings defensive line shorn of starters and desire. This is a problem.
We already know that Kyle Long’s spot will be open for next year. I feel like I want to say that Cody Whitehair and James Daniels can be ok if surrounded by other good linemen. I’m fairly sure Bobbie Massie and Charles Leno Jr. need a swift boot in the ass out the door. Except Massie comes with at least $8M in dead cap space for next year. Leno’s penalties are worse in 2021, and maybe the Bears will think they can kick the can down the road a bit here.
But part of the offense’s problems, and the ghosts Mitch was seeing, is that he rarely had time and the o-line rarely opened holes for Montgomery either. Sure, the running game looked better when it was moved to a simpler I-formation and not the RPO’s and zone blocking. But let’s be real, the Bears are never going to move to that full-time, and they’re still going to need to pass block a good portion of the time. The line needs at least one big addition, probably two. Maybe Massie improves with more quality around him, but the Bears had better find out.
The Bears Need To Find Akiem Hicks A Sidekick And Heir Apparent – We can at least try to argue that turnovers are cyclical, but the Bears didn’t get enough of them because they didn’t sit on the quarterback’s head nearly enough. 32 sacks this year, after 50 last year. In a vacuum, slightly more than one per game doesn’t sound like much, but if you think about where those sacks and pressures could have come and you realize how much the Bears lost out on. And almost all of it is not having Hicks pushing linemen into the QBs face and giving him nowhere to go. You saw it in the first two games of the season.
Sure, Nichols or Robertson-Harris or Goldman flashed plays here and there, but not nearly enough. It affected Mack’s season and probably Floyd’s too (though his own limitations are equally to blame if not more). The Bears cannot depend on one player so much next year for so much. They can’t buy another one, but finding someone under the radar, or through the draft, or the development of someone has to be the biggest order of the day for the defense. Hicks isn’t going to play 16 games next year, that you can bet on. He’s also 30, so just how much more time do you have?
I’ll worry about young linebackers in the middle and a secondary that will lose some veterans a hell of a lot less if they only have to do anything for about a second and a half every play.