Da Bears are in hibernation- for now

Tommy Layden, Assistant Sports editor

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Cody Parkey is a name that has now become infamous, a name that is circulating the thoughts of Bears’ fans everywhere. After a prolific season, the Bears lost in one of the worst ways, a missed field goal with just seconds to spare. This was not the first game that was lost in the waning seconds.  The 12 and 5 record the Bears finished with is one of the best Chicago fans have seen in years, but it easily could have been better.  Four of the Bears five loses were by three points or less. This is the moment where most would blame Parkey, but these loses are characteristic of a young team–which the Bears are.

Over the past five years, good football and Chicago were words that did not mix, but in 2018 the Bears have been a different team.  In the 2017 season, the Bears were the 10th best defense in the league.  This rank is okay, but not typical to great Bears teams. With the new additions of Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith, the defense has been transformed from good to the league’s best rush defense and the third best pass defense. What the Bears did to the LA Rams in week 13 was disgusting; they held arguably the league’s best offense to 214 total yards.  The Rams averaged 424.1 yards per game, a margin only falling behind the KC Chiefs this season.  A few seasons ago, no Bears fan could predict that they would once again be able to torment a team on defense.

Another reason to lose faith in the Bears is the departure of Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio, but honestly it is hard to have a bad defense with all of the high caliber talent the bears have at this moment.  Even more promising is that of the Bears 11 starters this past season, seven are under a contract with the team through 2021, and that does not even include rookie stud Roquan Smith.  On offense things are different, the team was clearly stronger on defense, but Head Coach Matt Nagy has gotten results out of Mitchell Trubisky. In this modern era of the NFL any team that wants to play at the highest level has to have a good quarterback, and Trubisky has lots of work to do, but he is taking steps in the right direction.

For right now the players need to rest and the Bears management needs to focus on making a few important moves to continue the winning culture. The first problem is the lack of star power on the Bears receiving crew. Allen Robinson had a good first season, but if the second best option at receiver is a running back and neither of them break 800 yards, that’s just not good enough to be at the level of a Super Bowl contending team.  With around $20 million in cap space the door is open for the Bears to trade for or sign a new receiver from free agency.  In addition to this move the Bears need to get contract extensions on the remaining key players whose contracts will expire in 2019 and 2020.  Once they have completed these adjustments the Bears will remain a good team for the years to come.  Without these moves the Bears will remain a feared defense, this will get them to the playoffs but they will not get much farther than the first round without the addition of  elite another receiver.

Overall the Bears are still a playoff team and only a few moves away from a Super Bowl caliber team, but right now the Bears are still the best team in the NFC North, and it has been a few years since any Chicagoan could say that.

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