This morning, the Bears made a blockbuster trade, acquiring former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, capping off an offseason filled with big improvements to the team, the pressure is now onto sophomore quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to return the Bears to their first playoff appearance since 2010.
The Bears began the offseason by firing head coach John Fox and replacing him with former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. Already possessing a formidable running back tandem in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, the Bears signed wide receiver Allen Robinson, drafted wide receiver Anthony Miller in the third round and signed tight end Trey Burton. The addition of these players will give formidable weapons for Trubisky, who had a serious lack of talent at wide receiver last season.
Chicago’s defense was already a stout unit in 2017 and it only got better this season. A team with a tradition of great middle linebackers, Chicago found their next great middle linebacker by taking Roquan Smith with their first round draft pick. They also kept their secondary intact, matching the Packers offer sheet on Kyle Fuller, who finally put it all together last season, and re-signing Prince Amukamura. Now with Mack lining up across from Leonard Floyd, the Bears can potentially have one of the best groups of linebackers in the NFL.
The pieces are there, but can Trubisky rise to the occasion? Under Fox, Trubisky was kept on a tight leash without access to the full playbook until late in the season. But given his lack of collegiate experience (13 career starts), taking it slow and getting his feet wet may have been beneficial. When he was give full reigns, he showed some flashes of potential.
In some ways, Trubisky’s career arc could be compared to the Rams’ Jared Goff. Like Goff, Trubisky was a high draft pick that a team traded up to acquire and his veteran head coach was fired after his first season and replaced by a newcomer. Goff was dreadful his rookie season, but flourished in a new offensive system in his second year.
Following a similar trend started by Seattle and currently being used by the Rams and Eagles, the Bears have their quarterback on a cheap rookie deal and are using that to surround him with as much talent as possible. Mack will come at a significant cost, but they will be able to afford to extend him and should do everything they can to get a deal done immediately.
With a last place schedule and an influx of talent, the future is looking bright in the Windy City.