Why 2021 still matters for the Chicago Bears

david montgomery, bears

In another lost season, as the weather continues to get colder in the Windy City, the Chicago Bears have reached the point of the regular season that feels too familiar for fans, players, and coaches. With just four wins, the Bears are on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs, and head coach Matt Nagy is on his way out, an anticipated move that will likely come after the Bears wrap up the regular season on January ninth in Minnesota.

It’s hard to find a reason to be excited about the Bears. Most fans are merely tuning in to watch rookie quarterback Justin Fields, who’s missed two straight games due to a ribs injury. The rest of the roster includes a perfect blend of younger players and veterans, including names like Cole Kmet, Larry Borom, Teven Jenkins, Darnell Mooney, Jaylon Johnson, Roquan Smith, Khalil Herbert, and many more.

What happens over the final five weeks of the season will dictate how the Bears approach the 2022 offseason. Chicago winning at least four games over the next five weeks means the future is bright heading into 2022 but without a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Bears will once again be forced to rely on limited draft capital to continue adding to the roster.

The only question that remains is what the Bears will do with general manager Ryan Pace, who’s trending towards a fourth losing season in seven years. Should the Bears retain Pace as the organization’s top decision-maker for football operations, Pace will get an opportunity to hire a third head coach, one that could see a quick turnaround if Pace finds the right guy.

“I’m a fighter, I’m never going to stop fighting,” said Montgomery. “I’m never going to stop giving it everything I got.”

Montgomery’s fight is apparent, as is Smith’s. In a time where there isn’t much optimism surrounding the Bears, the amount of young talent that can lead to a quick turnaround in 2022 is prevalent for a team that’s struggled more than people have expected. A few early season breaks have led to some wins for the Bears and while there have been instances where the Bears lost winnable games, the remaining portion of 2021 provides the Bears with an opportunity to hit the reset button and see what adjustments need to be moving forward to maximize already existing talent on the roster.

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