By Wanda Wiedman @WandaW63
To say that the Chicago Bears had a rough year would not do it justice. The 2016 season was supposed to be epic but instead gave way to an ugly demise. Early in 2016, the question on everyone’s mind was whether or not quarterback Jay Cutler could flourish without offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Besides the numerous injuries he incurred during the season, he managed a mere 1059 yards, four touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He ended his season with a quarterback rating of 78.1 and was sacked 17 times in five games. We can answer that question with a no.
The Bears ushered in backup Brian Hoyer who came close to winning games but failed to do so, occasionally throwing too high or avoiding key receiver Alshon Jeffery altogether. He threw for 1445 yards, six touchdowns, and ZERO interceptions, and ended his stint with a rating of 98.0. Great numbers padding his stats but no wins to show for it.
And of course let us not forget about the Matt Barkley bandwagon, after winning ONE game and that was against the second worst team in the league, the San Francisco 49ers. In 7 starts, he threw for 1611 yards, 8 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a QB rating of 68.3. Needless to say, the quarterback issue in Chicago is a serious one and it will be addressed, I believe in a trade, or in the draft this offseason.
As for the defense, rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd racked up 7 sacks in his debut and a touchdown. The concern of his lack of weight was out done by his ability to get after the quarterback. He is still a work in progress as he only tallied 23 tackles in 12 games played. Jerrell Freeman racked an incredible 86 tackles and would have been higher had he not been suspended 4-games for performance enhancing substances found in his system. Danny Trevathan sustained an injury that took him out of the season while a late start from defensive end Pernell McPhee due to surgery didn’t help.
But, it was the struggling performance by the defensive backs and safety core that allowed opposing teams to rack up the scores. The defense was responsible for 183 yards lost on just defensive pass interference penalties alone. The majority of those penalties were called on the defensive back unit.
The Bears have a nice cushy wad of funds to pick up some free agents this offseason. Don’t be surprised if Ryan Pace and the coaching staff go after some key players, even a young quarterback. According to Chicago247sports.com, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will have a big role in developing the next future quarterback for the Bears. Don’t rule out Connor Shaw who was injured in preseason. He has great pocket presence and the ability to lead the team. He may be the veteran player that leads the team while the rookie quarterback is learning the ropes.
With the third pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bears have a plethora of choices. If they choose a QB, Deshawn Watson of Clemson fits the leadership bill and football IQ needed to lead a team. If they go defensive lineman, look no further than Jonathan Allen of Alabama. Fierce with killer instincts. Or they may shock us with choosing a safety in Jamal Adams of LSU.
It would be great if the Bears would attack free agency and fill positions that are needed so that they can use that third pick to light up the season. The opportunities are endless but it’s time for the Bears to rise from the ashes and make fans proud.
Featured image courtesy: Dr. Odd
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