After a 6-10 regular season, the Chicago Bears front office decided that enough was enough, making major moves in the offseason to revitalize the defense.
The Green Bay Packers didn’t even win the division that they’ve had a stranglehold on since Aaron Rodgers took over. While the Minnesota Vikings have a very formidable defense, outside of Adrian Peterson there’s really nobody on the offense that drives fear into the hearts of opposing defensive coordinators.
Additions to the Bears included former Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman, former Super Bowl champion linebacker Danny Trevathan, former Patriots defensive end Akiem Hicks as well as rookies Leonard Floyd from Georgia and Jonathan Bullard from Florida.
While there has clearly been a heavy emphasis on defense, the Bears will also get wide receiver Kevin White back into the fold, last year’s first round pick, who missed the entire season with a stress fracture in his shin.
White graded higher than Oakland’s Amari Cooper in the eyes of Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, and could look to form a very dangerous receiving tandem with fellow receiver, Alshon Jeffrey.
Despite all of this, Pro Football Focus was not feeling as optimistic about the Bears chances as many fans are. While they did cite the upgrades on the defense, they noted a few other downgrades/question marks, most notably on the offensive line.
The site even ranked the Bears offseason as one of the best in the NFL. But that isn’t always the focal point as there are still some issues with the team.
The questions surrounding replacing Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, as well as the offensive line are legitimate and should not be overlooked as Pro Football Focus writes:
The downside is that they lost Matt Forte (signed with the Jets), the league’s highest-graded running back from Week 12 and on, as well as long-time tight end Martellus Bennett (now with the Patriots). Kyle Long is the only projected O-line starter who played above a replacement level in 2015. Put that all together, and you might only have baby steps in the right direction, but Chicago is trending upwards.
John Fox and the rest of the coaching staff did a very good job in their first season with significantly less talent. While contending for a Super Bowl seems like a pipe dream for the moment, 8-8 may be selling the staff as well as the players a bit short.
For what it’s worth, the site picked the Packers to win the division.