There is real optimism with Bears’ fans as the 2021 season approaches. That was not the case as the team finished off the 2020 season. The team suffered from fits and starts all year – winning five of their first six, then dropping six in a row before ending the year winning three of four to eke into the playoffs.
They promptly lost to the Saints and their big off-season acquisition was a washed-up Andy Dalton. It seemed Chicago was destined for mediocrity at best. But on draft night, general manager Ryan Pace traded up and selected quarterback Justin Fields. All of a sudden, the fanbase has been energized. Given the underwhelming talent at the quarterback position for the vast majority of the Bears’ history, the enthusiasm is understandable.
Be sure to check out the May edition of Bears True or False.
Mitch Trubisky was the main reason the Bears struggled so much in the past few years?
False. Trubisky is not an elite quarterback. But it’s not his fault the Bears drafted him over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft. That was the sticking point with Trubisky from the fans’ eyes. But the Bears’ offensive line was brutal for the vast majority of Trubisky’s time in Chicago. No quarterback could have thrived behind the blocking the offensive line provided him. Injuries limited his effectiveness and the coaching staff did not allow Trubisky to use his running ability enough. Trubisky’s biggest fault was his predilection to make a few puzzling decisions each game – sometimes he’d get away with them, many times he would not. Trubisky needed a new start as did the Bears. It’s lazy to place all the blame at his feet.
The Bears will soon move the team out of Chicago and into the suburbs?
False. Rumors are floating around that some members of the McCaskey family would like to sell the team. At the same time, Arlington Park Race Track, a beautiful facility in the northwest suburbs, is being sold. The town’s mayor claims the Bears are seriously considering moving to that site. Relocation dreams and ownership changes are swirling. But it seems heresy to suggest the Bears would move out of historic Soldier Field. The Bears have played there for the past 50 years and a major updating of the facility was undertaken less than 20 years ago. This is an organization that has embraced their heritage and not a group that would take risks – they will stay in Chicago at Soldier Field.
Second-year tight end Cole Kmet will be the Bears breakout player in 2021?
True (but he’ll have competition from second-year wide receiver Darnell Mooney). Kmet only had 28 catches and two touchdowns in 2020 and veteran Jimmy Graham is still around. The coaching staff loves to use Graham in the red zone (he had eight touchdowns last season) but there is not much left in the tank for him. Kmet was Chicago’s first pick in the 2020 draft while Mooney was taken in the fifth round. Kmet has received raves in the off-season and the team used him much more as last season went on: six targets or more in four of the last five games. The Bears need alternates to their lead wide receiver Allen Robinson and rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on tight ends. Kmet will be that player.
Safety Eddie Jackson will return to All-Pro form in 2021?
True. The Bears desperately need the Alabama product to find his groove after a frustrating 2020 season which featured numerous missed tackles and very few difference-making plays. But Jackson is in the prime of his career (27 years old) and the change in defensive coordinators should help him. Sean Desai worked under former Bears defensive boss Vic Fangio and that’s when Jackson flourished. Jackson will be moved up into the box more often in Desai’s scheme. The new defensive coordinator has been adamant that he will craft his scheme around his player’s strengths. Jackson will be one of the biggest beneficiaries.