Where are we going from here?
It seems as though I am just a character in a never-ending movie. Stuck in an endless circle.
In 2018, we flipped the script. It was the Bears who eliminated the Packers. It was the Bears who made the playoffs and won the division. It was the Bears who had the stellar coach-quarterback combination. It seemed as though the Packers’ reign of terror was over with, and a new era had dawned in the NFC North. An era in which ruthless dictator Aaron Rodgers could do no more harm. This would be a new era where Vikings, Bears, and Lions alike could frolic and play amongst the snowy forests of the North.
But here we are, almost exactly one year later, and it is back to the same old, same old. Yet again, the imperial armies from the Northern Tundra emerge victoriously, and the City of Chicago is left in ruins. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, the two brilliant Chicagoan generals of a year ago could no longer navigate their troops, specifically Lieutenant Mitchell Trubisky, to victory. And the innocent civilians of the Midway are left in anger and sorrow as their once feared army has failed to protect them yet again.
Where do we go?
The two generals must stay. They have done something no one has done since general Lovie Smith in 2010: brought the Bears to the playoffs. Next in command? Lieutenant Trubisky, the oft-scrutinized quarterback has done nothing against good teams this season. Even the Packers have a well below-average defense, and he still struggled against them. Pace needs to address the quarterback position through free agency this offseason. It would be smart to bring in somebody like Josh Rosen, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, or perhaps Cam Newton (if the price is right), who can push Trubisky to fight hard for his job, and be a good replacement if Trubisky solidifies himself as a bust.
The next thing they must do is shore up their front line. Rashaad Coward, the converted defensive linemen, has been average at best filling in for Kyle Long, who has seen too many injuries over the last few years. Over the last two battles against the Chiefs of Kansas City and Vikings of Minnesota, they must see what they have in guard Alex Bars, an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame. He was a mauler in the preseason, even when he was forced to switch to tackle, which he had rarely played in his college career. Some more depth would not hurt, either.
Then they need to find brute force help at the tight end position. This position is crucial to the offensive success of Matt Nagy’s offense, and there simply has not been much production from that unit. There has been promise from young bucks like Jesper Horsted, but not enough to bank on future success.
Defensively, they are fine. They should shut down cornerback Prince Amukamara for the season to see what they have in second-year player Kevin Toliver II, who has shown flashes of potential in his young career, as well as 2019 6th rounder, Duke Shelley, out of Kansas State. A few more depth pieces could be added, but that is it.
As far as coaching goes, I do think they should entertain the idea of a new play-caller. Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich’s status is up in the air for next year, but, as a former college head coach, he could bring the college aspects to the offense that Mitchell Trubisky or whoever their QB is needs to succeed. Nagy and his offensive staff need to productively self-scout and fix these schematic issues.
I do not know where our leaders plan to go from here. It seems a difficult road ahead. But Pace built a dumpster fire roster into a playoff team between 2015 and 2018. He is certainly capable of making the few adjustments needed to right the ship for next season.
The only question: will he?