Justin Fields ready to prove himself once again for the Chicago Bears

One storyline for the Chicago Bears throughout the offseason has been the status of quarterback Justin Fields. The 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has been the second quarterback on the team’s depth chart since being drafted, speculation about when Fields will start continues to arise.

For those who followed Fields throughout his college career, the Georgia native originally committed to the University of Georgia where he was a backup during his freshman year in 2018, before transferring to Ohio State for his 2019 season. Now in the NFL, Fields is once again tasked with sitting and learning behind veteran Andy Dalton to earn the starting job, something he’s had to do in the past.

“Just getting better everyday,” Fields said via the Bears official Youtube page. “I mean, I’ve been in a situation like this before and all I did was get better. I feel like if you can control what you can control and come to work everyday with a positive attitude and a want to get better then there’s no stopping you.”

Hard work, dedication, and commitment are three traits that Fields has continued to showcase throughout his college career and as a rookie in the NFL. Add in resiliency, something that was on display throughout the 2020 season for Ohio State, and its clear Fields is the perfect fit for a fanbase starving for a franchise quarterback.

“Great things don’t happen all at once. I’m just going to be patient,” Fields said. “I’ve been in this situation before where I’ve had to learn behind a guy, so this is nothing new for me. I’m just going to take it day by day, get better each and everyday. I’m going to trust coach Nagy and the whole coaching staff here to develop me and make me the best quarterback I can be.”

As Fields rookie season progresses, patience will be required from every side, from fans to coaches to the Bears front office. Fields’ past has shown that everytime he’s needed to prove himself, he’s done and proven himself at a high level, something that will be on display once again throughout 2021.

Did The Chicago Bears Create The NFL’s Newest Dynamic Duo?

New York Giants, Sam Beal

It appeared that the Chicago Bears’ offense was destined to fail heading into the 2021 offseason. After abysmal showings in 2019 and 2020, there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. In April, there were questions on who would be Chicago’s QB1 entering 2021. Would Allen Robinson return for the 2021 season? Are the Bears adding depth at the wide receiver and tight end positions? What is going on doing with the offensive line?

Fortunately, we got answers to these questions. First, the Chicago Bears found a way to keep Allen Robinson around for the 2021 season by getting the talented wideout to sign his franchise tender, show up to training camp, and play an active role in the organization. Then in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears added potential franchise quarterback Justin Fields, stud tackle Teven Jenkins, and a mountain of a guard in Larry Borom.

Considering Allen Robinson’s elite talents and a solid quarterback option in Chicago for the first time in well over 80 years, is the NFL about to be put on notice?

The NFL has a long history of dynamic duos between QBs and WRs. A quick history lesson will bring up parings such as Steve Young/Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman/Michael Irving, and Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison. These duos broken defenses and electrified fanbases, picking up win after win on their ways to the Hall of Fame.

Allen Robinson and Justin Fields could be that next great QB-WR duo. Here’s why:

Allen Robinson is a top 10 wide receiver in the NFL, I’ve been saying it, and I’ll continue to say it. PFF is even willing to call him the 4th best WR in the NFL in their 2021 rankings. His stats speak for themself. He literally sits in the top 10 categories for every recorded metric, outside of touchdowns, by PFF in the 2020 NFL season. Unfortunately, Robinson isn’t as high profile as Julio Jones, Deandre Hopkins, or Davante Adams. His lack of profile stems from poor quarterback play throughout his entire NFL career.

Now, imagine with me what will happen when we pair Allen Robinson with the most accurate college quarterback ever recorded. I think we get a sweet symphony of offensive production that the Chicago Bears haven’t heard since the 1980s.

Don’t expect Justin Fields to run out in Week 1 and connect with Allen Robinson for astronomical numbers. I’m excited, but I understand the current QB situation in Chicago. It might be a while until we see Justin Fields and Allen Robinson connect for big plays. Furthermore, Robinson might not return to the Bears in 2022 if negotiations don’t produce a contract by July 17th.

Allen Robinson’s return to Halas Hall this offseason may indicate his belief that Justin Fields can spark this offense’s needs. The winds seem to be changing in Chicago. For the first time in my lifetime, I can look at the offense this team has built and be proud.

Do you think Allen Robinson and Justin Fields can be the next great QB/WR duo? Let me know in the comments section below.

Making sense of the Chicago Bears plan at quarterback

bears, matt nagy

Questions about what the Chicago Bears quarterback position will continue to revolve around who the starter will be. Between Justin Fields and Andy Dalton, who should start and when have been key points that head coach Matt Nagy has answered throughout the duration of rookie minicamp, OTA’s, and mandatory minicamp.

Nagy has also stressed that Chicago has a plan for Fields development, doubling down on Dalton being the starter. Chicago’s plan is simple: Ride it out with Dalton as long as possible, giving Fields a chance to watch from the sideline on Sunday before handing the keys to the franchise off to the 11th overall pick.

“As we all know, promises can get pretty crazy,” Nagy said via the Bears official YouTube channel. “But what we told Andy is that he’s our starter and he knows that. That’s what Justin knows, that’s what Nick knows. We tell these guys knowing that there’s gotta be a start. This plan that we keep talking about and it takes a little bit of time. When you’re in Andy’s role, when you’re in Justin’s role, when you’re in Nick’s role, they know their roles and now it’s their job to be able to be the best quarterback they can be.”

There does need to be a starting point for any plan in the NFL. Chicago’s plan is unique because many believe that Fields has the athletic and mental makeup to be a day one starter in the NFL.

“We all get excited about Justin Fields. We’d all be lying if we said something different but that said, we’re excited about Andy Dalton too,” Nagy said. “And we know that if we stick to this plan we have, that everything’s going to be just fine. Because let’s face it. When you go through OTA’s, when you go through training camp, you go through preseason, the only goal we have is to put the best quarterback out there.”

“Andy Dalton is our starter, Justin’s our number two, and Nick’s our number three, and we’re going to play that out and make sure they’re competing.”

Fields opening week one as the Bears starter seems to be a last resort for the Bears in mid-June but unless something drastically changes during training camp, Nagy and the Bears are hoping that Dalton is good enough to keep the Bears afloat until it’s time for Fields.

Will the Chicago Bears be successful with the Patrick Mahomes model?

If there’s one phrase to describe the NFL, it’s copycat. One successful method ends up being used by other NFL franchises in hopes of emulating any sort of success. Such is the case for the Chicago Bears this offseason after overhauling the quarterback room with the additions of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields.

Head coach Matt Nagy, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, will be responsible for overseeing the development of Fields. Nagy did the exact same five years ago with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes, leading to speculation that Chicago could implement the same method for Fields development in 2021.

Before we get into actually examining if the Bears will be successful with the Mahomes model, there are few points to note. First, Mahomes started the final game of his rookie season, sitting on the bench for 15 games. Smith had 26 touchdowns to just five interceptions that year. Second, the Chiefs 2017 roster was more stable compared to the Bears. There may have been holes but the Chiefs boasted the sixth-best scoring offense and the 15th best defense that year.

The hope for Chicago is that Dalton plays well enough as a rookie quarterback to hold off Fields long enough. With a 17 game schedule coming up, Dalton has a tough task ahead, especially since any sort of slip up could entice Nagy to immediately play Fields.

“At that point in time, in 17, Alex was, there was a lot of reps he was getting,” Nagy said via the Bears official Youtube channel. “So a lot of times right now for these players, in particular Justin, there’s a lot of mental reps. Really what happens is this: You get the mental side down in the offseason, you’re able to come out here on the grass and see what the timings like.”

Fans may call for Fields to be the week one starter but Nagy and the Bears have continued to persist that it’ll be Dalton. The goal for Fields in year one isn’t just to get physical reps but also mental reps. Nagy knows the benefit of mental reps for a young quarterback, especially considering Mahomes spent 15 games on the bench as a rookie, continuing to watch, getting mental reps each week.

Chicago may not be able to emulate the Mahomes model entirely to its specificity but similarities will exist. The last time Chicago had a rookie quarterback, the franchise rushed Mitchell Trubisky into action out of desperation but with Fields, the plan is to bring him along slowly, emulating the Mahomes model.

Andy Dalton not phased by Chicago Bears drafting Justin Fields

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

The Chicago Bears are the one NFL franchise that’s been searching for a true franchise quarterback for nearly a century. The Bears are notorious for taking multiple swings at the most important position in sports but continuously missing, leading to a hard reset all over again. The Bears’ latest attempt? Former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Chicago also signed veteran Andy Dalton this offseason, assuring Dalton that he’d be the week one starter for the Bears opening contest against the Los Angeles Rams. As soon as the Bears drafted Fields, questions began to circulate, especially regarding Dalton’s job security.

“I’ve had a lot of different conversations with everyone here,” Dalton said via the Bears official Youtube page. “I knew there was a possibility of it. And so when it happened, it is what it is. Justin’s a great guy, getting to know him the last couple weeks, getting to be around him, he’s going to make the quarterback room better.”

Chicago may have drafted Fields but Dalton made it clear in his second official appearance talking to Bears reporters on Wednesday from Halas Hall: 2021 is Dalton’s year to lose and the 33 year old quarterback will do whatever it takes to hold off Fields but also mentor the young quarterback.

“I’m trying to give him any advice I can on certain things, how I would view certain plays, what I do with my eyes on certain things, so just different things that come with experience,” Dalton said.  “Going into year 11, I’ve had a lot of ball. So for me, I’m just trying to help him as much as I can.”

There is a misconception regarding Dalton’s career in the NFL. Many assume that he’s just an average starting quarterback who spent nine seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, losing four playoffs game. Dalton has yet to win a game in the postseason but he does have 74 career wins and has tossed 218 touchdowns to just 126 interceptions.

Listening to Dalton speak on Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that the 11-year veteran isn’t here to lose his starting job. He’s here to help build a winning program, possibly even lead the Bears back to the playoffs and win his first career playoff game in the process. However, for now, Dalton doesn’t care that the Bears drafted Fields, he’s here to win as much as he can.

 

Chicago Bears Biggest Questions at TE entering the 2021 Season

cole kmet, bears

Recently, the folks at PFF released their annual tight end rankings in preparation for the 2021 NFL Season. Zero Chicago Bears out of the 32 position players listed. Considering that at this point last year, the Bears had a whopping TEN tight ends on the roster, you would assume that at least one of them would make the cut, right? Wrong. Whether you like General Manager Ryan Pace or not, you cannot deny his spotty record when it comes to tight ends. Consider the failed Adam Shaheen project, and numerous attempts at finding long-term option fans were rewarded with Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, and Demetrius Harris.

With Jimmy Graham’s future clouded in mystery, Cole Kmet being used as a swiss army knife, and Demetrius Harris just being there for a couple of plays before being cut, this Bears fan is wondering the following questions:

#1 What are we doing with Jimmy Graham?

Jimmy Graham anchored the Chicago Bears’ red zone offense in 2021, leading the league in touchdowns amongst tight ends in the 2021 season with seven. Graham seemed to have an age-defying season with the Bears after following up a disappointing season in Green Bay that saw him haul only three touchdowns. If Graham can continue his dominating performance in the red zone, why would the Bears be willing to part ways so soon?

Salary Cap. The Chicago Bears currently have the second-worst cap situation in the NFL, with only $219,852 sitting in the bank. According to Overthecap, Jimmy Graham’s contract currently costs the Bears $10M. Cutting Graham after June 1st would free $7M in space.  Deciding whether or not Jimmy Graham is worth the $10M in cap space must be a top priority for Ryan Pace and the rest of the Front Office.

#2 Are we going to let Cole Kmet shine?

Chicago loves Cole Kmet. Cole Kmet loves Chicago. Bears fans want to see the hometown kid shine in the national spotlight. I think Cole Kmet has every tool necessary to take a major step forward in 2021. Kmet is an ideal “Y’ tight end, but his athleticism allows him to play in the flex if he wanted to. Nagy seemed to have taken a slow and steady approach in introducing Kmet to the NFL, relegating his abilities to the “H,” essentially an extra blocker. However, as the season progressed, fans could see a little more of what Kmet has in his repertoire.

Cole Kmet could benefit from his new QB, Justin Fields. Bears fans need not forget that the current QB/TE dynamic duo of Mahomes/Kelce. Matt Nagy crafted the relationship between the league’s most fearsome QB/TE duo. It’s a bit of a stretch, but with Nagy’s coaching history and the similar skill set of both Fields and Kmet to Mahomes and Kelce, we very much could be witnessing the birth of a new dynamic duo in Chicago.

Ultimately, Kmet needs to be used more in the passing game. If the Bears are confident he has taken the next step, they might feel comfortable releasing Jimmy Graham. I’m predicting that if we see a Graham release, we will see more of Kmet.

#3 Are we going to get help?

We love to throw names around from a fan’s perspective and pretend that they fit into our offensive scheme. Fortunately, as I state above, we have a head coach who loves tight ends. The Bears relied heavily on 11-personal in 2020, meaning one tight end and one tailback. In fact, 56% of all play calls were in this personnel scheme, according to Sharp FootballStats. This reliance on the 11 personal stayed steady. A small increase in the 12 personal (adding an extra tight-end) occurred in the second half of the season.

With this in mind, if Nagy doesn’t scheme for multiple tight-ends, what’s the point of having so many? Obviously, we would need a solid backup if Cole Kmet gets injured. But do we need to stack for talent at the tight-end position when the offense relies on one?

J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horstead remain on the roster. Both players are solid “H” tight ends. Ideally, I hope to see Kmet and Graham used as passing options while Holtz and Horstead are used primarily as blockers.

All in All

The Chicago Bears sure have some work to do in the TE position. I hope we see Graham stay, and I think his performance in 2020 can continue into 2021 if he’s willing to play. His cost is worth the potential reward in a basic cost-benefit analysis. Regardless of performance this season, I’m confident the Bears will draft a TE in the 2022 NFL Draft. Names to watch in this college football season are; Charlie Kolar (Iowa St.), Jalen Wydermyer (Texas A&M), Isaiah Likely (Coastal Carolina), and Jeremey Ruckertt (Ohio St.)

Justin Fields being the week one starter kickstarts his development

All offseason, the Chicago Bears have consistently said that Andy Dalton will be the team’s starter to open the 2021 regular season against the Los Angeles Rams on primetime television. On Monday morning, a new report emerged from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, saying that “they’re not going to just sit him just for fun or posterity”.

Fowler’s words convey one simple meaning: The Bears are leaving the door open for Fields to start week one and every game after that. Fields would then become just the second Bears quarterback since Jay Cutler in 2009 to start every regular season game in his first year with the team.

Over the last month, head coach Matt Nagy has continued to insist that Dalton will be the starter, with a plan in place to develop Fields.

“As we work through with Justin and where he’s at with this offense, we know it’s going to take a little bit of time here this offseason and as we get into training camp,” Nagy said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Andy is the starter. Andy is going to get the 1 reps.”

Starting Fields week one doesn’t just mean the 11th overall pick was the better quarterback. What it means is that Fields is ahead of where he needs to be in terms of his NFL development, which would kickstart his career.

Chicago’s anticipated plan was to have Fields sit for a few games before letting him takeover midseason. Don’t shelve the idea of Dalton being the starter week one but every report out of rookie minicamp suggested Fields was ahead of where he needed to be in terms of being an NFL starter.

While at Ohio State, Fields showed why he was considered to be one of the top QB prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. A dual-threat quarterback who can hit any throw on the field or make players with his legs, Fields has consistently lived up to expectations while being labeled a pro-ready quarterback.

The Bears QB situation was interesting the moment Fields was drafted. With Fowler’s report as of Monday morning, the Bears don’t have a surefire week one starter but the state of the QB position just got so much more interesting in Chicago.

Five questions for the Chicago Bears rookie class this offseason

The Chicago Bears entered the 2021 NFL Draft with a number of questions. With no long-term solution at quarterback and no franchise-caliber left tackle, combined with limited resources, many saw it being difficult for the Bears to come away with any sort of significant haul.

Instead, general manager Ryan Pace managed to find the Bears’ future franchise quarterback in Justin Fields and left tackle in Teven Jenkins. Chicago added depth at key positions like wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive line, and cornerback.

With still over a week until the Bears return to Halas Hall for OTA’s, there is plenty to talk about. The Bears rookie class has many excited because it could finally turn around the Bears franchise.

As we’ve mentioned previously here at Fireside Bears, Chicago’s 2021 rookie class will be dictated by how the Fields pick pans out. But there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Chicago’s rookie class. There are also a number of questions before the newest additions to the Bears franchise officially meet their new teammates next week.

1) How quickly will Fields develop chemistry with his playmakers?

Bears fans are already picturing Fields hitting wide receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney in stride. Just look at comments fans have made on social media. One aspect of Fields’ game in college was that he was always on the same page with his wide receivers.

The same will need to happen in the NFL but how quickly is the question. Robinson and Mooney proved last season that they could become one of the NFL’s best WR duos after combining for 163 receptions, 1881 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns.

When Fields gets his opportunity to take first-team reps, his connection with both wide receivers will be under the microscope. How quickly Fields proves he can connect with Robinson and Mooney could determine when the Bears decide to really begin the Fields era, officially giving the 11th overall pick the keys to the franchise.

2) What’s the plan for Jenkins’ development at LT?

General manager Ryan Pace sounded noncommital to where Jenkins would play during his post-draft press conference. Just 48 hours later, the Bears would release longtime starting LT Charles Leno Jr., who had been with the franchise since 2014.

The release of Leno Jr. now means that Jenkins will end up playing left tackle for the Bears, making him a cornerstone on the offensive line.

“We feel his best fit is either tackle spot for us. Really just describing the player for you guys, powerful tackle, he can bend, he can play with leverage, he consistently moves guys out in the run game,” Pace said via the Bears official Youtube channel.

Jenkins experience cannot be denied either. After having played both left and right tackle, along with left and right guard while at Oklahoma State, Jenkins has what it takes to be a day one starter, which means that OL coach Juan Castillo will like the nastiness that Jenkins brings on every play.

“We had first-round grades on him,” Pace said. “That’s why in the second round, especially that position, that player, we wanted to make sure we got him.”

Chicago knows that Jenkins will have an impact in both the running and passing game but the faster he develops, the quicker Chicago’s offense should see success as an entire unit.

3) How does CB Thomas Graham Jr. make the DB room expendable?

Uncertainty should be the word used to describe the Bears DB room heading into 2021. Besides safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson, many of the Bears defensive backs are unproven. One name to keep an eye on as a potential cornerback and safety is sixth-round pick Thomas Graham Jr.

A smart and instinctive player with a nose for the football, Graham Jr. had eight interceptions and 32 pass breakups as a three-year starter for the Oregon Ducks. A competitive tackler as well, Graham Jr. gets after ball carriers, never losing sight, even showcasing his physicality.

“We’re excited about developing some of these guys right now,” said defensive coordinator Sean Desai on the Bears official Youtube page. “We like the volume and depth we got there. We got to play football.”

While his role has yet to be determined, the Bears should experiment with Graham Jr. at both CB and safety, before determining what his best fit his. There is also a possibility that he starts for the team in 2022, making 2021 a developmental year for a player with a tremendous amount of upside.

4) Can Khyiris Tonga be another hidden gem?

The Bears lost two key pieces on the defensive line this offseason: Brent Urban and Roy Robertson-Harris. Enter Khyiris Tonga, the fourth defensive lineman that Ryan Pace has drafted since 2015. Throughout his career at BYU, Tonga was a force as a run stuffer but also consistently took on double teams.

At 6-foot-4, 322 pounds, Tonga has proven he can get to the football with ease, using his size and power. His ability to take on double teams means that the Bears linebackers should flourish, which will also open up opportunities for Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, and Bilal Nichols.

“Just being able to be quick, using my hands more, not trying to power everything with pads,” said Tonga. “Without pads, showing speed, elusiveness, being able to be quick on my feet. Any reps I can possibly take, it’s going to be positive for me. I’m just trying to take as much as I can.”

Tonga will start off as a rotational player in year one but there is no denying the possibility that he becomes a starter at some point in the future.

5) What will the Bears do with Khalil Herbert?

In the NFL, any spark on offense is a good spark, and sparking offenses is what Herbert did during his lone season at Virginia Tech. At a first glance, with what is expected to be a crowded backfield, there doesn’t appear to be a role for Herbert, unless he’s the primary return man on special teams, where he averaged 26.9 yards per return in 2020.

“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”.

Right now, Chicago doesn’t have a set role for Herbert but he has shown that he’s a hard runner who has a knack for explosive plays. Despite having minimal impact in the passing game, Herbert’s big-play ability is hard to ignore, especially in an offense that lacked big plays all throughout 2020.

Chicago Bears: Top 5 things to be excited about for the 2021 season

Ladies and gentlemen, after what seems like an eternity we have arrived. The offseason is entering rookie training camps, and OTA’s are around the corner. After what I can call an absolute home run of a draft, the Chicago Bears have created a ton of buzz about the 2021 season. Statistically, however, the Bears have the 3rd toughest schedule, according to CBS Sports, with a collective opponent 2020 win rate of .550. The schedule appears to be designed with rookie quarterback Justin Fields in mind, as those crafty heads up at NFL HQ slated a majority of the Bears primetime match-ups towards the latter half of the season. You know, just in case Head Coach Matt Nagy pulls the plug on the Dalton experience and throws Fields into the mix.

With all this being said, this season is shaping up to define the direction of the franchise for the next 3-4 years. I don’t foresee the Bears marching into Sofi Stadium in early February, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a plethora of people and developments to watch this season. From returning talents like James Daniel and Eddie Goldman to the continuing development of Darnell Mooney and David Montgomery. This season is sure to excite any fan. Here are the top 5 things to be excited about as a Bears fan heading into the 2021 NFL season. 

#5: The boys are back in town – Linemen win games

When burgeoning talent DT Eddie Goldman announced his decision to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season, it felt like being hit by a truck. I imagine that’s what opposing Centers and Guards felt as he tore through offensive lines with ease in 2019. I understand the decision though the game is just that – a game. Personal health and family safety will always be more important. I can only hope Goldman picks up where he left off, completing a key tandem with Akiem Hicks anchoring our rush defense.

Another returner this season is pro-bowl OL utilityman, James Daniel. This one gets me excited. After suffering a season-ending pectoral injury in week 5, Bers fans saw a carousel of line-men attempting to stabilize the front 5. Surprising breakout performances by former practice squad members Alex bars and Sam Mustipher indicate the front three interior linemen positions have both depth and talent on the roster. Daniels’ return also signals a much-needed return to stability. 

Bears GM Ryan Pace clearly made improving the Offensive Line a top priority in the off-season. Bringing in Elijah Wilkinson in Free Agency, re-signing Germain Ifedi, and trading up in the second round to steal Oklahoma State stud Teven Jenkins, while selecting Missouri big man Larry Borom in the 6th. Charles Leno and Bobbie Massie will not be returning to Chicago this season. Honestly, I’m not all that upset about it.

Jenkins will most likely get the starting nod at the left tackle spot. This leaves the Right tackle spot an area for competition. Offensive life coach Juan Castillo told reporters that “Larry Borom will compete with Germain Ifedi at RT, but Ifedi will line up at RT to start the season.” That leaves the rest of us wondering if Daniels lines up at center as he did in 2019, or at guard allowing Sam Mustipher to continue his hot play. Regardless of the endless possibilities on the interior offensive line, it looks stacked. David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen (also returning from injury) are sure to eat up the run game with James Daniel’s return to the line.

#4: This is Desai’s world, we’re just living in it 

There’s a new defensive sheriff in town, and his name is Sean Desai. A branch off the ole’ Vic Fangio tree, Sean Desai is a defensive secondary scheme savant. I love Chuck Pagano, an amazing man with an amazing story. But his secondary schemes did not play well to the secondary talent acquired under the Fangio years. After the 2018 Bears Defense dominated the league, the 2019 & 2020 Bears rewarded fans with a step back in just about every metric.

Under Desai, I strongly think the Bears defense is in store for a return to form. Desai is not only an actual professor, holding a Ph.D. from Temple University and teaching classes at Lake Forrest College, but he also schools offenses with his secondary schemes. Doc Desai’s ability to educate and communicate with players lead to his glowing review from DB Prince Amukamara. As Chicago Bears reporter with the Chicago Tribune, Brad Biggs reports, “Amukamara credits Desai for the first pick-six of his career.”

Look, I still believe Eddie Jackson is a top 5 safety in the NFL. I hope he lives up to his reputation this year under a defense that will be built on the backs of the Bears secondary. Losing Kyle Fuller may throw a wrench in Desai’s plan, but young products like Jaylon Johnson and Kendel Vildor will continue to establish themselves as dominant forces. In a schedule that features quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Russell Willson, and more. A staunch pass defense will be a necessity if the Bears hope to see success. 

#3: From cubs into Bears – Offensive Prospects 

The 2021 Chicago Bears roster is full of 2nd and 3rd years players poised to become household names.

David Montgomery went on a tear ending the season, with over 100 yards in three out of six games. Finishing the 2020 season with just a hair over 1000 yards, I am confident we will see another 1k yard season in 2021. I’m putting my money around 1400. Expect Monty to continue his elite ability to break open-field tackles. His vision is one of the best in the league and I can’t wait to see him put defenses on notice. 

Darnell Mooney What another mid-round steal for Ryan Pace. This kid is fast, has elite hands, and is first among rookie WR’s in broken tackles according to PFF. Any rookie that buys a Juggs machine with his first paycheck then proceeds on to drop only one pass after being targeted 98 times in a season is good in my book.  His speed and route running abilities will be a feature of this offense as Justin Fields establishes himself as QB1. Mooney has a knack for burning nickel corners and getting behind safeties. Fields has a knack at throwing incredibly accurate deep balls. Let’s hope Jalen Ramsey can keep up this time. 

Anthony Miller — This one is a controversial take, a bit spicy if you will. Miller has every tool needed to be an elite slot in the NFL. He just hasn’t taken the next step. With his career on the line, I think he has every reason to do it this year. There’s valid concern around Miller’s maturity. After his late-game ejection against the Saints, many called for the Bears to ship him off during the season. I think it was a wise decision by the front office to keep Miller on staff. As wide receiver coach Mike Furrey stated, “There’s a small increment in improvement so he’s done great, he’s been in our rooms, no issues.” Drafting speedy slot Dazz Newsome also sends a blunt message to Anthony Miller, saying “we have a replacement, let us know when we need to put him in.”

#2: The Packers? What is going on over there? 

How does it feel to have talent surrounding a big question mark under center? That’s what being a Bears fan has felt like for the past three decades. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t want to play in Green Bay, and I don’t blame him. The team is refusing to let him walk, and I don’t blame them. Regardless of what happens, I have to admit this has all been extremely amusing. If Blake Bortles becomes QB1 for the Green Bay Packers, this will be one fun show to watch.  

#1.5: Getting to see live football again

My first live Chicago Bears game was in the 2015 preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs. We got blown out. But seeing Cutler, Jefferies, and Howard live was amazing. It’ll feel even more amazing to see Justin Fields and this talented unit out on the field again. There’s nothing quite like being at a Football game. I can’t wait to go back. 

#1: Fiel- I mean the Rookies. 

Pace’s trade with the New York Giants to move up to pick #11 and snag Justin Fields was the shot of adrenaline the Bears fanbase needed. After two consecutive years of letdowns, it seems like the Front Office has finally started listening to the fans. This was Ryan Pace’s best draft as GM. No contest. Pace was able to steal early-round talent late in the draft with picks like Khalil Herbert, Thomas Graham Jr., and Dazz Newsome. He filled needs in the Offensive Line with Maulers like Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom.

I’m stoked to see Justin Fields on Soldier Field. Also, these UDFA’s are fantastic as well. Charles Snowden, an early-round talent, went undrafted. The 6’7”, 240 lb monster of a man is listed early as a defensive lineman. To all the rookies, if you ever end up reading this. Take a breath. Welcome to the greatest city on Earth. Congratulations, and get ready to play some Bears football. 

Altogether, buckle up Bears fans. Though we may not win a ton of games, this team is poised to turn heads. I haven’t been this excited about a season since, well, honestly I can’t remember! 

Why the Chicago Bears continue to insist that QB Andy Dalton will start

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

With a long summer just getting started, the hottest debate of all will be about who the Chicago Bears starting quarterback should be for the 2021 regular season. Fans continue to scream for Justin Fields to start. Through three days of rookie minicamp, Fields has continued to impress, leading to the question: Could Chicago legitimately name Fields the week one starter?

The Bears have continued to insist that veteran Andy Dalton will be the starter. On the surface, the Bears plan is simple: Start Dalton for a few weeks, let Fields learn from the sideline before handing the torch off to Fields at some point during the 2021 season.

On Sunday afternoon, head coach Matt Nagy reiterated who the starting quarterback would be. Backing Dalton should come as a surprise to nobody, especially since general manager Ryan Pace has also said Dalton is the starter going forward.

“As we work through with Justin and where he’s at with this offense, we know it’s going to take a little bit of time here this offseason and as we get into training camp,” Nagy said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Andy is the starter. Andy is going to get the one reps.”

The easy solution would be to start Fields day one. But the Bears are showing that they’ve learned from past mistakes. Rather than just throw Fields to the wolves, Chicago is doing everything the right way, bringing Fields along slowly. The franchise realizes Fields isn’t just a five-year investment. He’s a 15 to 20 year investment that should solve the quarterback position in Chicago for the first time in franchise history.

There is a simple piece of information that’s missing when it comes to Dalton starting. He may be the opening day starter in Los Angeles for the Bears but Chicago has yet to disclose how long Dalton will actually be under center for the Bears. It’s hard to see Chicago completely turning around and just naming Fields the starter over Dalton but the franchise that’s been cursed at the quarterback position for the last 102 years is finally trying to things the right way.