Chicago Bears | Better than expected?
Could it be true?
With the NFL season fast approaching and teams needing to finalize their respective rosters by August 30th, I present you this question, are the Chicago Bears going to be better than expected? Now keep in mind the bar has been set pretty low but after watching 2 preseason games (yes, yes I know, it's preseason) we can gather a few general thoughts that can follow into the season.
Coach Eberflus' HITS principle has been a big 'hit' (pun intended) with the defensive players. When Coach Flus, as many call him, came to the Chicago Bears from the Indianapolis Colts, he brought with him a coaching philosophy he had while being the defensive coordinator for the Colts. Players and coaches have loved his HITS principle:
H - Hustle
I - Intensity
T - Taking the ball away
S - Situational smart
In the first preseason games as head coach, you've seen HITS in full effect whether it has been the first team or players pushing to make the roster, Bears rally to the ball in numbers! This has me thinking the ground work is being laid to repeat the mid 2000s Bears mentality that produced turnovers at a rate fans didn't see before. This team will thrive under this philosophy especially when the roster talent matches the scheme.
Returning from his hold in, Roquan Smith will provide the Bears their 2nd Team All Pro the opportunity to learn his new role in the 4-3 Cover 2 system Coach Alan Williams runs. As talented as Smith is, I don't foresee a difficult transition for him. Behind him are safeties Eddie Jackson, who hopefully will regain his Pro Bowl form from 2019, and Jaquan Brisker who brings high expectations when he returns from his thumb injury. On the outside, Jaylon Johnson looks to round into a playmaking corner and rookie Kyler Gordon who brings a ballhawking skillset to the other corner position.
Offensively, the Chicago Bears may be a bit behind their defense but this is where offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy's creative play calling skills come in. While we have yet to see an offensive touchdown from the first team offense in limited action, there have been signs of consistency. Balanced play calling and moving the pocket will be Justin Fields' biggest assets going into 2022 (stop me if we've heard this before). There have been some thoughts that Darnell Mooney could have a big year but I will stick to my "way too early prediction" of Cole Kmet having a breakout year.
Though Vegas lowered the line on the Bears win total to 5.5 this year, I'd like to think they're not going to be as bad as that. The roster may not have the overall talent to compete for the North but it is good enough for a 7 win campaign and being competitive in most games this year.
Then again, it is Vegas and they've taken my money before.
Until next time...