Chicago Bears: Week 7 takeaways with Usayd Koshul

Marquise Goodwin, bears

After a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 7, it’s time for the Chicago Bears to look ahead to week 8. But first, some quick takeaways.

1) Let’s be honest, the Bears gameplan was bad in this one. On the offensive side of the ball, the pass protection was very average, with the coaching staff choosing to start Lachavious Simmons at right tackle instead of Alex Bars, who started eight games for Chicago last season. The Bears need to do a better job of identifying which talent to replace when players go down.

2) Kudos to rookie running back Khalil Herbert, who had his first career 100-yard rushing performance. The 2021 sixth-round pick racked up 18 carries for 100 rushing yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Not bad for a player who’s emerged as a centerpiece for the Bears offense.

3) Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney were underwhelming. Whether you want to admit it or not, the Bears wide receiver duo has been uninspiring. A lack of chemistry with Justin Fields is the major issue but Robinson and Mooney combined for just four total receptions in week 7. Not the production you want to see from a WR duo that had 163 total receptions a year ago.

4) The Bears had zero sacks this game, marking the first time all season Chicago failed to record a sack. Khalil Mack was injured and while the star pass rusher played, the Bears missed Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn due to injuries and COVID-19. The Bears hope to get both back and healthy for week 8 to get the defense back up to full speed.

5) There was growth from Justin Fields in this game. Trust me, I spent Sunday night analyzing two losses that showed why Fields progressed, even if it was a little bit. Also, Fields isn’t Mitchell Trubisky 2.0, so let’s quit with that narrative.

6) This was a game that cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor will clearly want to forget. Johnson was beat twice by Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for touchdowns, while Vildor was beaten by Evans and wide receiver Chris Godwin. Here’s to hoping that both players have a major bounceback game against the San Francisco 49ers.

7) Fields statline is a hot point of debate. The 11th overall pick was 22-for-32 with 184 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions. Part of Fields struggles are warranted but stat lines don’t define a quarterback’s progress or growth. Nor are final stats factored into development. Fields continues to make rookie mistakes, which is fine. Would you rather Fields makes mistakes as a rookie or in year three or four, when we’ll have a good read on what Fields is as a quarterback.

8) Bilal Nichols’ punch was unacceptable. For the “Nagy is a players coach” crowd, if Nagy was really a players coach, long-term building blocks like Nichols wouldn’t be out there punching opponents in a game that was pretty much over. Have some respect for the guys in the other uniform and play with discipline, something the Bears have been lacking in 2021.

9) The Bears were never winning this game but losing by 35 points is a bad look. Chicago didn’t even attempt to be competitive, which is an issue since the Bears have now lost to Tampa Bay, the Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams, three playoff-caliber teams in the NFC.

10) At some point, Matt Nagy needs to acknowledge and understand the Bears are out of options on offense. Chicago needs to solidify the offensive line and it starts by benching Sam Mustipher, who was manhandled by Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea on what seemed like every play. It’s time to switch Cody Whitehair back to center, kick James Daniels out to left guard, and slot in Alex Bars at right guard.

Chicago Bears: No answers in loss to Buccaneers

justin field, bears

It was another long week for the Chicago Bears in a 38-3 loss on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To start, Chicago was never in the game, to begin with. After failing to score on the first six possessions of the game, the Bears offense once again struggled to get anything going until Cairo Santos hit a 28-yard field goal with just 6:13 to go in the fourth quarter.

Throughout the afternoon, the Bears struggled on both sides of the all. The defense allowed three touchdowns in the first half and failed to record a sack. Chicago’s pass rush was non-existent with defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Robert Quinn being sidelined due to injuries and COVID-19.

Rookie quarterback Justin Fields struggled at times throughout the afternoon. Fields was 22-for-32 with 184 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions. The 11th overall pick posted a passing rating of 44.3 while being sacked four times. The lone bright spot for the Bears’ offense was running back Khalil Herbert, who rushed 18 times for 100 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Vintage Tom Brady showed up for his seventh career game against Chicago. Throughout the afternoon, Brady was sharp, connecting with Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for three touchdowns. While Brady averaged just 5.9 yards per pass attempt, the future hall of fame quarterback was aided by a strong rushing attack that averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

With Chicago now on a two-game losing streak, losses against key NFC opponents continue to pile up for the Bears. Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Bears have lost to the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, three teams who will likely be competing for the Lombardi Trophy when the playoffs begin in mid-January.

After the game, head coach Matt Nagy stressed the importance of not letting the Bears’ latest loss feel like multiple losses. This wasn’t a game that anyone expected the Bears to win by any means but many hoped the Bears would be competitive enough to at least warrant not being blown out.

What’s next for the Bears? Chicago will return home to face the San Francisco 49ers in week 8, which will mark the first time the Fields will face fellow rookie quarterback Trey Lance, the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Chicago Bears: Reality now sets in after loss to Packers

The scoreboard may look closer than expected but one takeaway from the Chicago Bears‘ loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon is the Bears still have a lot of work to do. After opening the game with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with rookie running back Khalil Herbert scoring a one-yard rushing touchdown, the Bears’ offense stalled in the second and third quarter.

With two straight wins, Chicago seemed to be riding a hot hand heading into this week, showing some signs of hope that the Bears could knock off the Packers at home for an upset win. Instead, Aaron Rodgers had other plans in what could be his final game at Soldier Field as a member of the Packers.

Chicago scored just once in the fourth quarter, closing the gap to just three points. Rodgers and the Packers offense would then

While the Bears’ defense did sack Rodgers three times, the Bears’ offense struggled to get anything going when it was just a three-point game. Fields did show some maturation on a 10-play drive in the fourth quarter, hitting wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Cole Kmet for 20 and 21-yard passes on back-to-back plays to move the chains.

Rookie running back Herbert was a bright spot on Chicago’s offense. After getting the nod as starter, Herbert rushed 19 times for 97 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The sixth-round pick broke off a big run for 25 yards to give the Bears some momentum in the first quarter on a drive that would end in a questionable interception by Fields.

Chicago now drops to 3-3 through the first six games for the third time in the last four years under head coach Matt Nagy. The story seems to remain the same for Nagy’s Bears. Over the last four seasons, the Bears have beaten average teams but struggled to get past good teams in the NFC. Losses to the Rams and Packers further prove the Bears have a long way to go in order to close any sort of talent gap in the NFC North.

Chicago Bears: Week 5 wrap up, takeaways, and week 6 preview

justin field, bears

With week 5 officially in the book for the Chicago Bears, let’s breakdown everything as Chicago leaves Las Vegas with a win. The Bears are over .500 for the first time since December 27th, 2020, a stat that doesn’t look noticeable to many but should be considered noteworthy as the Bears are on a two-game winning streak.

1) No David Montgomery, no problem for the Bears running game. Running backs Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams combine for 34 carries, 139 rushing yards, and one touchdown. Herbert and Williams averaged 4.1 yards per carry, which means the Bears running game shouldn’t miss a beat with David Montgomery out for the foreseeable future.

2) Speaking of Damien Williams, he’s been a sneaky good option for the Bears as a receiver this year. Williams averaged 10 yards per reception on Sunday, his highest of the season. Williams has continued to be an impact player for the Bears despite playing behind Montgomery.

3) Khalil Mack got his revenge game. The Bears pass rusher was all over the field on Sunday afternoon, quieting any doubters who used sack production as a means of saying Mack was too old or overpaid. The eighth-year pass rusher now has five sacks on the season and was constantly in the face of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Sunday, including sacking Carr on a two-point conversion attempt, giving the Bears an eight-point advantage.

4) Linebacker Alec Ogletree seemed to play more than Danny Trevathan, who made his season debut had just three tackles. Trevathan played just 15 percent of snaps on defense, while Ogletree played 52 percent of snaps. Two possibilities exist when looking at Trevathan’s decreased snap count in his season debut: The Bears are easing Trevathan back from a knee injury or Ogletree legitimately played well enough during Trevathan’s absence, impressing the coaching staff enough to hold down the starting job.

5) Safety Eddie Jackson seemed revitalized when speaking to the media during his postgame press conference. The Bears secondary still has communication issues to hammer out but Jackson was clearly proud of the way the Bears secondary performed. Wide receiver Henry Ruggs and tight end Darren Waller had just seven receptions combined.

6) Chicago rushing defense limited the Raiders to just 3.2 yards per carry, just the second time this season the Bears have allowed just under 3.5 yards per carry. The other time was week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. Despite missing Akiem Hicks in week 5, the Bears rush defense was more than solid, proving that the defensive line is playing at a high level.

7) One area of concern for the Bears is the lack of finishing opponents off. Week 5 marked the third time this season the Bears had the opportunity to put Raiders away but failed to do so. Cairo Santos’ two field goals in the fourth quarter helped but Santos’ first field goal came on the end of a 10 play, 57-yard drive that lasted just over six minutes. Field goals are fine with a lead but touchdowns usually end up being the final blow when putting opponents away for good.

8) Justin Fields threw the ball just 20 times against the Raiders, completing just 12 passes. At some point, the Bears need to open up the offense more and allow Fields to throw the ball more, especially with two tough games against the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming up.

9) The Robert Quinn revenge tour continues. The 11th-year veteran wasted no time getting involved on Sunday afternoon, tackling Raiders running back Josh Jacobs for no gain on Las Vegas’ first offensive play. Quinn didn’t register a sack but still made his presence felt, consistently generating pressure. Fun fact: Quinn’s play in 2021 has earned him a grade of 75.2 from Pro Football Focus.

10) The Bears are good but not good enough on third down. Chicago converted 46 percent of third downs on Sunday, still eclipsing the Bears season average of 32.75 percent. The Bears do need to improve in this area to ensure the offense can keep stacking up strong performances together.

Looking ahead to week 6

The Green Bay Packers are coming to town and there’s something different about this Bears-Packers matchup. Maybe it’s the Justin Fields effect but the Bears have been playing well enough to warrant hanging with the Packers and making this a slugfest. Green Bay narrowly escaped the Cincinnati Bengals on the road in week 5, with Packers kicker Mason Crosby missing three potential game-winning field goals.

The Bears’ secondary will have its hands full trying to slow down Aaron Rodgers and Packers wide receiver Devante Adams but Green Bay’s secondary is also banged up with star cornerback Jaire Alexander unlikely to play, while CB Kevin King is injured too.

Matt Nagy has never beat Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and the Bears have beaten the Packers just once since 2018. With Rodgers not expected to return in 2022, the NFC North crown is wide open and for a changing of the guard to begin, the Bears will need to come away with a win on Sunday afternoon.

Chicago Bears beat Las Vegas Raiders in Khalil Mack revenge game

justin field, bears, matt nagy

Five weeks into the 2021 NFL regular season, the Chicago Bears are over .500 for the first time since December 27th, 2020. Chicago jumped out to an early 14-3 lead in the first half before stalling in the third quarter. The Bears would then add on two field goals in the fourth quarter, courtesy of kicker Cairo Santos.

Notable moments from the Bears win included rookie quarterback Justin Fields hitting tight end Jesper Horsted for a two-yard touchdown pass, giving Fields his first NFL touchdown. Running back Damien Williams scored again in the second quarter to cap off a 16 play, 86 yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock.

Bears outside linebacker, Khalil Mack, who was acquired from the Raiders for two first-round picks just one week before the start of the 2018 season had a nice revenge game against his former team. Mack totaled eight tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss. The eighth-year pro made a key stop on the Raiders only touchdown of the afternoon, sacking Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on a two-point conversion attempt.

Rookie running back Khalil Herbert, usually a returner on special teams, had a solid outing as a running back. The sixth-round draft pick rushed 18 times for 75 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Herbert used extended playing time to prove that he could be a part of the Bears’ offense moving forward, especially with injuries to veterans David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen.

Chicago’s defense was stout on third down, going 5-for-14, including a stop just before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Sean Desai once again called a solid game as veterans like outside linebacker Robert Quinn get involved early and often, setting the tone quickly for a unit that’s continued to stack strong performances on top of each other.

What’s next for the Bears? The Green Bay Packers will come to town for a week 6 showdown. With both teams riding a winning streak, Bears-Packers next week is sure to provide plenty of entertainment.

Will RB Khalil Herbert carve out a role with the Chicago Bears?

When the Chicago Bears drafted running back Khalil Herbert in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, questions immediately arose about Herbert’s role with the team. With veterans, David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, and Damien Williams on the roster, Herbert’s future with the Bears seemed to be another special teams player.

Fast forward to Saturday’s preseason contest against the Miami Dolphins and Herbert was one of the Bears’ bright spots. With six rushing attempts for 38 yards, Herbert averaged 6.3 yards per carry. His receiving ability was on display too with three receptions for 11 yards, averaging 3.7 yards per reception.

“He’s really caught my attention,” said Bears head coach Matt Nagy via the Bears official YouTube channel. “He’s somebody that you talk about the word trust, he hasn’t made many mistakes as a rookie. He’s very, very smooth. When he gets the football, you can see the burst that he has. He’s always going to go forward with yards. I just really like where he’s at right now.”

Nagy taking notice of Herbert’s quick emergence is good news for the Bears, who hope that the 2021 rookie class will form the foundation of a roster that will allow Chicago to contend for the foreseeable future. Herbert seems himself being a major part of the Bears plans moving forward, especially due to his flexible mindset.

“Just show them that I’m able to do whatever they need me to do,” Herbert said via the Bears official YouTube channel. “Whatever you need me to do I’m going to try to do it to the best of my ability. That’s really what I’m just trying to show.”

Saturday’s strong performance against Miami was just an indication of what’s really to come for Herbert, who will look to take advantage of opportunities gives him to by the Bears coaching staff. Throughout training camp, Herbert has been involved in the return game on special teams, likely setting his rookie season up to be one where Herbert solely is involved in the return game. However, if Herbert showcases more over the next two weeks, expect him to be a big part of the Bears offense moving forward.

 

 

Chicago Bears: Recapping the win over the Dolphins and more

With the Chicago Bears opening the preseason up with a win over the Miami Dolphins, let’s recap some standouts and what to look forward to as the Bears prepare for the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, August 21st.

Standout Stars

1) QB Justin Fields 

Any list recapping the Bears game would be foolish to not include Fields, who finished the game 14-for-20 with 142 passing yards, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt. Fields’ mobility kept the chains moving as the 11th overall pick scrambled five times for 33 yards, including a 21-yard run that was capped off by a touchdown to tight end Jesse James two plays later.

Fields may have started out slow but found his groove as the game progressed, which is good news for the Bears general manager Ryan Pace Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, who’ve invested the Bears’ future in Fields.

“It was actually kind of slow to me to be honest,” Fields said following the game. “I was expecting it to be a little bit faster but practicing, you know game speed, going at it with my teammates everyday, of course, you know we have a great defense. Me going against them everyday, it definitely slowed the game up a little bit for me. I felt comfortable out there.”

Fields showed enough promise to warrant being the week one starter. Don’t write off Andy Dalton but Fields performance was encouraging enough to warrant being given a serious chance with the first-team offense in training camp.

2) OLB Charles Snowden 

After going undrafted due to an ankle injury, it didn’t take long for Snowden to make an impression, despite playing just 22 percent of snaps yesterday. The former UVA product totaled two QB hits, one sack, and one TFL throughout the second half on Sunday. After Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, the Bears have Trevis Gipson, Jeremiah Attaochu, and Snowden to complete the OLB room.

Snowden will need to continue stacking strong performances to have an opportunity to make Chicago’s final roster but he’d also be an ideal practice squad candidate to develop as a player who could eventually take over in 2022 as a starter or rotational player.

3) RB Khalil Herbert 

The Bears needed to add some juice on offense this offseason and Herbert provided plenty yesterday as a runner and receiver. Averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 3.7 yards per reception, Herbert showcased his ability to be a dual-threat running back. Despite being buried on the depth chart behind Damien Williams and David Montgomery, Herbert’s strong showing yesterday was more of an indication of what’s to come for the sixth-round pick.

Herbert’s strong performance bodes well for the Bears, who are uncertain about when running back Tarik Cohen, who is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered early last season, will return. Too much depth in the NFL is never bad and Herbert can make the Bears offense expendable by creating mismatches throughout games.

4) CB Duke Shelley 

With uncertainty about who will be the starting slot CB, Shelley stepped up to the challenge on Saturday, putting together a performance that bodes well for his career moving forward. Entering his third season, Shelley spent 2019 and 2020 buried on the depth chart behind veterans Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine, seeing limited regular season action.

Shelley’s preseason debut in year three saw him with six tackles and one PBU. With the Bears competition at slot receiver being wide open, the 2019 sixth-round pick will have the opportunity to seize the starting role if he can put together strong performances against the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.

5) LB Alec Ogletree

Very rarely do veteran players steal the show in preseason but there’s an exception to every rule and in this case, it’s Ogletree. After stealing the show at training camp with six interceptions, despite being a late additon, Ogletree racked up four tackles, including one PBU and one TFL.

Bursting onto the scene after starting just one game for the New York Jets in 2020, Ogletree has quickly emerged as the front runner for MLB3, a title that many thought would originally go to veteran Christian Jones.

6) The Bears offensive line

Believe it or not, the Bears had just two starters from last season present on the offensive line for Saturday’s contest: Sam Mustipher and Cody Whitehair. The rest of Chicago’s offensive line was injured, forcing the Bears to use a number of second, third, and fourth-string players.

Here’s a fun fact: Chicago allowed zero sacks on Saturday, a stat that will surprise many. Suddenly, offensive line coach Juan Castillo has instilled confidence into a unit that’s been ravaged by injuries, leading to questions about how good the OL can be when fully healthy. A unit that was solid in the running game yesterday was even better in pass protection. The question now remains: Can the OL keep this up until Teven Jenkins, James Daniels, and Germain Ifedi return?

One question for the offense

Will Fields strong performance yesterday make the Bears coaching staff second-guess who the starting quarteback should be on opening day? It’s too early to tell. Remember that Nagy did say Fields would receive a majority of the reps in the preseason, so the 11th overall pick playing about 63 percent of snaps was likely in the original gameplan.

The real QB competition will take place when Dalton receives a significant amount of reps against the Buffalo Bills. Chicago should give Fields the same amount of reps as Dalton, in order to truly see where both quarterbacks are at before making one final decision.

One question for the defense

Should we stop worrying about the status of DT Eddie Goldman, who opted out in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns? Probably. Rookie DT Khyiris Tonga had a pretty solid outing yesterday, including a play where he penetrated the offensive line, leading to a goal line stand for the Bears defense.

To be clear, Tonga’s performance is encouraging but Goldman would still take the Bears defense to another level. Factor this in: Goldman hasn’t suited up in nearly 20 months, so there will likely be plenty of rust to shake off before Goldman returns to form.

Who’s not making this roster?

I’ll tell you this much and the answer is pretty obvious: WR Javon Wims. After three seasons where Wims has underperformed but then also been the center of confrontation, leading to tension with the coaching staff, Wims needs to get cut. The false start penalty on Fields first drive should be the final straw for the Bears coaching staff, who are simply wasting time and reps by keeping Wims around. Rather than keep Wims around, how about signing another young wide receiver to take his place, creating some more competition?

What’s next for the Bears?

Mitch Trubisky will be coming to town for week two, which means the boo birds were certainly be out in full effect the moment that Trubisky takes the field. The last time I even remember there being some serious booing at a Bears preseason game is when Jay Cutler returned to Denver in 2009 to take on his former team after being traded just four months earlier.

As Patrick Star says in an episode of Spongebob: “You had your chance and you failed.” The same applies for Trubisky, who’s return to Chicago will be a storyline that dominates that week.

Buffalo’s defense should provide the Bears with another test to see where Chicago’s offense is really at, especially if the Bears decide to give their first-team starters a significant amount of reps throughout the game.

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.

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.

Could Khalil Herbert be an instant impact player for the Chicago Bears?

During the 2021 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears made an eyebrow-raising selection by opting to add former Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert in the sixth round. Many would just view the selection of Herbert as additional depth for David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen but the Bears’ return duties on special teams remain unsolved.

The last two seasons (2019 and 2020), saw Cordarrelle Patterson be the main return man on special teams for the Bears but for a price tag of $10M over two years, Patterson’s price tag was simply too much. Chicago moved on from Patterson this offseason and Herbert is expected to be a much cheaper option.

Playing at Virginia Tech for just one season, Herbert averaged 26.9 yards per return on special teams. For the Bears, he should provide similar value as a player who makes quick decisions and can be considered to be a homerun hitter when it comes to getting in the open field.

Chicago could decide to use Herbert in the running game but the main issue that exists is that there might not be a real role for Herbert. Besides Montgomery and Cohen, Chicago added veteran Damien Williams this offseason due to his familiarity with head coach Matt Nagy’s offense. Artavis Pierce and Ryan Nall were both on the active roster in 2020, which means it’ll be hard for Herbert to crack the lineup.

The Bears coaching staff doesn’t have a set role yet for Herbert either. He implied on Saturday when speaking with reporters.

“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 being the main return man for the Bears would benefit the offense and defense. The big returns that he’d have would allow for both units to be set up with ideal field position, ensuring that the defense wouldn’t have to stop opposing offense’s on long drives while the Bears’ own offense wouldn’t need to march the length of the field to score.

Herbert has everything it takes to be an instant impact player for the Bears. As a player who sparked the Hokies offense multiple times while in college, he can bring much of the same energy and juice that the Bears’ special teams lacked all throughout times in 2020.