Was the Chicago Bears ranking from The Athletic fair?

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Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy looks on during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With just about seven days until the Chicago Bears open the 2021 regular season, the franchise was recently ranked 14th overall in the NFC by unanimous NFL executives. When looking at the article, Chicago is clearly one of the more polarizing teams in 2021. Despite the presence of rookie quarterback Justin Fields on the roster, Chicago made a number of moves this offseason that have raised eyebrows, including inking quarterback Andy Dalton to a one-year deal worth $10M while releasing cornerback Kyle Fuller, a two-time Pro Bowler.

Fuller’s release and Dalton’s signing are still factors that will define the Bears season, as will when Fields eventually takes over as the fulltime starter, ushering in a new era of Bears football. The Bears roster does include stars such as Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson, and Akiem Hicks on defense. The offensive side of the ball is a different story where the front office failed to lock up star wide receiver Allen Robinson but have an emerging pass-catcher in Darnell Mooney and workhorse running back David Montgomery.

Perhaps Chicago’s biggest question that skews results is the offensive line. Despite returning four of five starters from last season, Chicago has key questions at left tackle coupled with an inconsistent right tackle in veteran Germain Ifedi, who the team retained this offseason on a one-year deal worth $5M.

Head coach Matt Nagy, despite leading the Bears to the playoffs in 2018 and 2020 has drawn plenty of criticism over the last two seasons for the Bears porous performances, including a six-game losing streak in 2020 while posting a record of just 1-5 in the last six games against the Green Bay Packers.

Overall, are the Bears as bad as some suggest? Nope. However, the Bears aren’t as good as some think either. External analysis on the Bears presents examiners with an aging roster, including uncertainty at key positions, making the Bears a middle-of-the-pack team heading into 2021.

 

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