How attractive is the Chicago Bears HC job in 2022?

Ryan Pace, bears

CHICAGO, IL–Just two weeks remain before the Chicago Bears officially move on from head coach Matt Nagy and begin searching for the 17th head coach in franchise history. With Nagy on his way out, the future of general manager Ryan Pace remains uncertain, with the possibility of a return not off the table.

The Bears brass being split on what to do with Pace leads to an intriguing question: If Pace is allowed a third head coach, just how attractive is the Bears head coaching gig in 2022? With rookie quarterback, Justin Fields in the fold through at least the 2024 season, any new head coach would be guaranteed at least three seasons.

Then consider the rest of the offense. The Bears have some upcoming talent in offensive tackles Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom, running back Khalil Herbert, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, and tight end Cole Kmet. Add that to an offensive core that already includes interior offensive lineman James Daniels and Cody Whitehair, along with running back David Montgomery, and it’s clear the Bears offense has the potential to be exciting.

Defense is a different story for the Bears, one that will require a full retooling. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson, linebacker Roquan Smith, pass rusher Khalil Mack, and safety Eddie Jackson form an exciting core. While 11th-year pass rusher Robert Quinn is on the verge of setting the franchise’s single-season sack record, Quinn likely won’t be with the Bears beyond 2022. The Bears’ willingness to rely heavily on defense throughout the Nagy era will soon be met with an overhaul that will form the foundation of the next great defense in Chicago.

Consider this too: Chicago is an original charter franchise of the NFL and in the third biggest market in the United States, the thought of merely getting the Bears back to relevance should excite prospective candidates. With a handful of jobs set to be open soon, the Bears surely offer one of the most enticing destinations for head coaches who are looking to win quickly and get a prominent franchise back to contention.

Chicago Bears: Week 16 takeaways, tidbits, and more

cole kmet, bears

SEATTLE, WA.,–After winning in week 16, the Chicago Bears have now moved to 5-10 on the year and while a playoff spot is out of reach, let’s recap the Bears 25-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

1) Nick Foles final stat line may not be the flashiest but on a snowy day, he did average 7.1 yards per pass attempt. Foles’ confidence was apparent while slinging the rock all afternoon. Two throws sum up this confidence: The 15-yard touchdown to Jimmy Graham and the two-point conversion to Damiere Byrd. In both instances, Foles gave his playmakers a chance.

2) Despite having what seemed to be a solid day, running back David Montgomery averaged just 2.1 yards per carry. Seattle keyed in on Montgomery, hoping to stop him early and often. It is worth noting the Bears abandoned the running game early, which also contributed to Montgomery’s final stat line.

3) Speaking of running backs, Sunday was an ideal time to use rookie Khalil Herbert, who had a 20-yard rushing touchdown. The Bears have to start thinking about the future at some point and what Herbert brings to the table as a player who can spark an offense. Whenever Herbert has been given the rock this season, the Bears have moved the ball effectively, including big chunk plays.

4) Let’s stick with the young guys for just a second here. Rookie WR Dazz Newsome had just one reception for 10 yards on the afternoon. But why does Newsome’s lone reception stick out? It was in a third-and-long situation, helping Chicago move the football and keep the drive going. The Bears have to look into getting Newsome involved more over the final two weeks to gain just enough of an idea of what he can do for the team going forward.

5) The foregone conclusion seems to be that head coach Matt Nagy is getting fired at the end of the season. And for the Bears, there is no turning back. But players are still fighting and playing hard for Nagy. When the Bears do eventually relieve Nagy of his job duties, it will be a tough pill to swallow around Halas Hall in what is a results-based business.

“Coach Nagy, he’s an amazing coach, an even better person,” said Montgomery following the game. “I feel like everybody kind of got weird, this bad depiction of who he is but he’s also, he’s actually a great guy and a great coach. Ever since I’ve been on the Bears, day in and day out, he’s always emptied his cup.”

6) Pass rusher Robert Quinn needs just one more sack to set the Bears single-season sack record, surpassing Richard Dent, who currently holds the record with 17.0 sacks. Every time Quinn was asked about the record in his postgame press conference, he simply decided to knock on wood and maintained the stance that while his individual year is something noteworthy, it doesn’t mean much considering the way the Bears season has gone.

“Well my individual year don’t seem as great because we aren’t winning,” said Quinn. “Haven’t had the success over the year as a team so it’s kind of, for a split second, I could be proud of myself but then the next second, I’m kind of quite highly upset because we lost.”

7) Veteran CB Artie Burns started the game for the Bears before Chicago decided to slowly insert rookie Thomas Graham Jr. into the game. Burns hasn’t blown anyone away but has still showcased enough potential to warrant being on the roster in 2022 and competing for a spot. Despite being beat by Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf for a 41-yard touchdown, Graham Jr. had a solid showing as a player who is looking to put strong performances together to kickstart his career as a starter in 2022.

8) Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney once again had strong showings as the Bears 2020 draft class showed up once again. Mooney had a 30-yard reception on the Bears’ final touchdown drive while Kmet had two receptions for 30 yards to set up a field goal for the Bears. Chicago needs to be pleased with the progress both players are making this season, especially as the Bears continue to look ahead to 2022.

9) Speaking of Mooney, he had five receptions on Sunday afternoon, now giving him 62 receptions on the season. Mooney has already surpassed his reception total from 2020, which was 61. With two games left, Mooney has a chance to get to 70 receptions as he continues to ascend into the face of the WR position for the Bears.

10) The Bears defense put together another strong showing on Sunday afternoon and while there were times where it appeared as if Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was going to take over the game, Chicago held Wilson in check. Wilson was just 16-for-27 with 181 passing yards and a QBR of 30.8. The Bears’ entire gameplan was predicated on stopping Wilson, knowing he covers up for a lot of holes on the Seattle offense.

Chicago Bears win ugly on snowy day in Seattle

SEATTLE, WA.,—On a snowy day in Seattle, the Chicago Bears managed to come away with a victory after scoring 11 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. As veteran quarterback, Nick Foles made his first start in nearly 400 calendar days, the Bears offense was putrid to begin the game before Foles completed passes of 30, 10, and 14 yards on a six-play, 80-yard drive that took just under two minutes before Foles connected with tight end Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Foles would follow up his only touchdown pass of the game by connecting with wide receiver Damiere Byrd on a two-point conversion to give the Bears the lead.

Rookie running back Khalil Herbert also helped the Bears in the second half, adding on a 20-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter to cut Seattle’s lead to just 10 points. From there, the Bears’ defense would allow Seattle to see the endzone just once more before Seahawks kicker Jason Myers missed a field goal, giving the Bears some much-needed momentum.

Chicago’s defense got involved as well, with pass rusher Robert Quinn sacking QB Russell Wilson just once, inching closer to breaking Richard Dent’s single-season sack record. Rookie cornerback Thomas Grham Jr. had another good showing with three tackles and one pass breakup, despite allowing Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to score a 41-yard passing touchdown.

As has been a common theme for the Bears over the last few weeks, Chicago had the ball for just over 38 minutes, 26 first downs, and zero turnovers. Matt Nagy has shown time and time again that the Bears are able to sustain long drives, however, the Bears were just 2-for-4 in the redzone, with a key turnover on downs early in the first quarter that ended a 15-play, 71-yard drive that took 8:27 off the clock.

As the Bears get ready to return home for a matchup against the New York Giants in what could be the final game of the Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace era, expect the Bears to get healthier with just two games remaining in 2021.

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.

Chicago Bears: The fight is apparent from RB David Montgomery

david montgomery, bears

After another gut-wrenching loss at home, the Chicago Bears have now lost six of the last seven games, and while running back David Montgomery has continued to be a bright spot for the offense, despite a frustrating season that’s included multiple blowouts.

Montgomery’s performance on Sunday afternoon shouldn’t be overlooked. Rushing 21 times for 90 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and one touchdown, the third-year running back was also involved in the passing game, with eight receptions, 51 receiving yards, averaging 6.4 yards per reception.

The Bears didn’t get the job done in week 13 and Montgomery, who’s developed into a leader on offense knows that despite a losing record, the next five games still matter for a team that’s on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs.

“It’s frustrating, the entire season, it’s kind of been frustrating with the losses we’ve taken but I’m a fighter,” Montgomery said via the Bears official YouTube channel. “I’m never gonna stop fighting.”

The Bears know what they have in Montgomery. And Montgomery knows what he brings to the Bears offense week. As Chicago trends towards what is expected to be Montgomery’s first real losing season since entering the NFL back in 2019, the Bears need to recognize something: Montgomery is unique and his ability to be a leader even in the toughest of times and support anyone is a valuable asset.

“What you realized is what you learned, stepping into a leadership role or stepping at a point where when people watch you, the things that you do happen to carry a lot of weight, so it becomes infectious,” Montgomery said.

As the Bears prepare for a road matchup against the Green Bay Packers on primetime television, the Bears need to be positive heading into week 14, which is why leaders like Montgomery are essential. While a win against the Packers won’t change the trajectory of the season, it would still be the Bears’ first win against Green Bay since 2018 and first win at Lambeau Field since 2015.

Chicago Bears win big, QB Justin Fields shines

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It was another win for the Chicago Bears against the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon as the Bears improved to 2-0 at home this season. Chicago closed out the first half with a 14-0 lead but the Bears offense set the tone by marching down the field on the game’s opening possession, capping off a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a rushing touchdown by running back David Montgomery.

From there, the Bears’ defense did its part, forcing turnovers, sacking Lions quarterback Jared Goff, while stopping Detroit’s offense three times inside the Bears’ 10-yard line, followed by forcing three consecutive punts. Chicago defense got after Goff, totaling four sacks, courtesy of Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, and Roquan Smith.

The real story of the afternoon was Chicago’s playcalling, which saw the Bears’ offense move the ball efficiently through the air and on the ground. Montgomery rushed 23 times for 106 yards, adding two rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Veteran Damien Williams joined the fun by averaging 6.9 yards per carry, rushing eight times for 55 yards, scoring the Bears’ third rushing touchdown of the afternoon.

Fields and second-year wide receiver Darnell Mooney established a rhythm early. Dubbed the future of Chicago, the two connected three times on the Bears opening possession, with Mooney finishing the game with five receptions for 125 yards, averaging 25 yards per reception. Wide receiver Allen Robinson, who wasn’t targeted until 2:05 remaining in the first half had three receptions for 63 yards, averaging 21 yards per reception.

Chicago played complementary football all afternoon, with the offense and defense feeding off each other to play a solid game, allowing for the Bears to get back to .500. While Bears head coach Matt Nagy refused to disclose who the playcaller was on Sunday afternoon, the Bears gameplan was clearly catered to Fields, who tested the Lions’ secondary with deep throws throughout the game.

What’s next for the Bears? A road game against the Las Vegas Raiders, who have looked better than most expected to start the 2021 season, with the likelihood that Fields makes his third consecutive start.

 

Assessing the Chicago Bears offense in week two

Sunday afternoon proved to be fruitful for Chicago Bears fans. Not only did the Bears come away with a victory but Chicago also got an extended look at rookie quarterback Justin Fields for the first time in the regular season with veteran Andy Dalton leaving the game due to a knee injury.

Fields playing a majority of the game doesn’t mean he’ll be the starter moving forward but the Bears coaching staff now has to make a decision to make: Should the Bears continue to roll with Dalton if healthy or start Fields and bring the future to the present? The final call with be made by head coach Matt Nagy but Fields performance on Sunday while leading the offense could be enough to name the 11th overall pick the starter.

Chicago’s offense showed plenty of positives on Sunday, including the ability to consistently move the ball through the air with a vertical passing game but for every positive, there seemed to be a negative. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney each dropped two touchdown passes that would’ve iced the game by at least two possessions.

Fields’ mobility was apparent throughout the afternoon, as the rookie rushed 10 times for 31 yards, including a 10-yard rush with 2:55 remaining in the fourth quarter to set the Bears up with a first-down to end the game. Chicago did run some RPO looks, ensuring that Cincinnati’s defense would need to account for running back David Montgomery on every play. Montgomery, who rushed 20 times for 61 yards had three receptions for 18 yards, impacting Chicago’s passing attack during a busy afternoon for the third-year running back.

Overall, Chicago’s offense put together a solid enough performance to warrant being able to compete with any opponent. The Bears may not be explosive as Nagy wants to be just yet, something that will come with time but week 2 was encouraging for both the present and future.

 

David Montgomery not concerned about Chicago Bears OL

One defining storyline for the Chicago Bears throughout training camp has been the state of the offensive line. An overhauled unit, the Bears projected starting five has yet to practice together, with tackles Germain Ifedi and Teven Jenkins being held out of practice due to injuries. With Chicago featuring a new offensive line combination nearly everyday in practice, many wonder if this constant reshuffling will impact how the Bears offense performs in the regular season.

One aspect of the Bears offense that many felt underperformed due to a bad offensive line last season was the Bears running game. Heading into 2021, running back has been labeled by many as being the best positional group on the roster. Workhorse running back David Montgomery is complemented by pieces such as Damien Williams, Khalil Herbert, and Ryan Nall, giving Chicago versatility.

“You never want anybody to be out there hurt but as far as with me, I just go out there, whatever opportunity to do whatever I can, when I get the opportunity to,” said Montgomery via the Bears official YouTube Channel. “So I’m just hoping that the guys that are battling injuries, they can get back on top of it so they can get back to themselves.”

Montgomery has established that he’s a never-say-die attitude running back who will continue to fight for every yard, despite how the offensive line in front of him is performing.

“Whatever’s in front of me, we’re going to rock out with,” said Montgomery regarding his mentality about the Bears’ offensive line.

Entering year three, a way to increase production for Montgomery will simply include making the former Iowa State standout a major part of the offense. That means being able to use his dual-threat skillset as both a running back and a receiver in order to allow for the Bears to take another step forward on offense.

The Bears’ first test with the offensive line will come on Saturday at home against the Miami Dolphins where we’ll have an opportunity to see both starters and backups in an actual NFL game, providing an opportunity to evaluate where the entire unit is really at.

31 questions to Bears camp: How good can the RB position be?

When the Chicago Bears report to Halas Hall for training camp, running back will be an important position to keep an eye on. Workhorse David Montgomery will lead the way, while fifth-year veteran Tarik Cohen returns from a torn ACL sustained in 2020. Damien Williams will provide some quality veteran depth, especially after having played in an offensive system similar to the Bears while with the Kansas City Chiefs for two seasons in 2018 and 2019. Khalil Hebert, Artavis Pierce, Ryan Nall, and C.J. Marable will provide depth, making running back one of the deepest positions on the roster.

How good Chicago’s running backs can be will hinge on how quickly the offensive line gels, potentially setting the stage to be one of the NFL’s best running back rooms this year. Montgomery returns fully healthy, looking to take another step forward, realizing his true potential as a dual-threat running back.

“It wasn’t enough for me last year, knowing my untapped potential that I have within myself,” Montgomery said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Just being more vocal, being able to stand what I say and allow my words to carry a lot of strength when I speak. Doing all things right at all times.”

Halfway through the 2020 season, Chicago’s offensive philosophy changed, becoming a pass-first offense over a seven-week span. The Bears failed to rush for 100 or more yards in this same time span, before making a switch at quarterback, which allowed the running game to flourish.

“Biggest thing for me that clicked, just the mentality for everybody,” Montgomery said. “We all just trusted in each other. We believed that something was going to work. It’s embracing the role that is meant for me, whatever that may be. I think I could have done better for my guys around me.”

Montgomery will lead the way but the Bears will have plenty of contributions from Cohen and Williams, two players who provide additional value in the passing game, allowing head coach Matt Nagy to get creative with matchups.

“Being that I’ve been in this offense, I could give out pointers here and there but these guys, they’re great, they know what they’re doing,” Williams said via the Bears official YouTube page. “So all I can do is give my vet, my little things here and there of what I’ve been through and what I’ve seen. I’m just trying to get in here like the rookie kid and fit in.”

As Chicago continues to prepare for the 2021 season, running back is a positional group where the potential is unlimited, generating plenty of excitement.

Chicago Bears: Biggest questions at the RB position

The Chicago Bears will begin training camp at Halas Hall in just over two weeks and one position that can be labeled as the best on the team is running back. Featuring workhorse running back David Montgomery and complementary pieces in Tarik Cohen and Damien Williams. Depth also exists with players like Artavis Pierce, Ryan Nall, C.J. Marable, and Khalil Herbert, giving the Bears multiple players with a dual-threat skillset.

As Chicago continues to prepare for the 2021 NFL season, let’s get into three questions regarding the running back position.

1) How good can Montgomery be in 2021?

“It wasn’t enough for me last year, knowing my untapped potential that I have within myself,” Montgomery said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Just being more vocal, being able to stand what I say and allow my words to carry a lot of strength when I speak. Doing all things right at all times.”

As Montgomery enters year three, Chicago’s revamped offensive line should allow for him to see an increase in production with 2000 yards from scrimmage being a reasonable expectation. Montgomery clearly has high expectations of himself, looking to become one of the NFL’s best running backs, joining names like Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara.

If Montgomery takes the next step forward, he’ll be eligible for a contract extension next offseason but to have a breakout season, Chicago also needs to continue feeding Montgomery and using his dual-threat skillset to the fullest advantage.

2) How much do Cohen and Williams open up the offense?

Chicago added Williams this offseason and with Cohen returning, the Bears will be able to run multiple plays featuring two-back sets. Both players have shown the ability to be dual-threat playmakers, impacting Chicago’s running and passing attack.

Cohen and Williams will also allow Nagy to get creative in terms of playcalling, while providing quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Justin Fields with mismatches against linebackers, freeing up wide receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney for additional deep throws.

3) Is Khalil Herbert being slept on?

Chicago drafted Herbert with the 217th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. During his lone season at Virginia Tech, Herbert averaged nearly 27 yards per return, showcasing the ability to be an electric player on special teams.

“They really want me to come in here and learn as much as I can,” Herbert said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Establish a role on special teams, they’re really big on that. Getting in my playbook, learning as much as I can to help contribute to the team in some way or form”.

Herbert should carve out a role on special teams, giving the Bears a long-term option as a returner but he should be given opportunities to impact Chicago’s running and passing game throughout his rookie season.