Happy Friday one and all.
We talked with Bill Zimmerman of Windy City Gridiron to see what is going on.
1. The Bears have a lot of pieces in place, but seem like they are a bit unsettled because of the questions at head coach and quarterback. Let’s not talk about the second part, and instead discuss what the roster has to offer outside of those two spots.
Ryan Poles has done a good job overall with the roster. There are only going to be a handful of Ryan Pace players remaining after this season, so the fact that he’s flipped the roster as much as he’s had and still added a decent amount of talent is pretty impressive. He has created a solid running back room that’s very affordable. He’s brought in a desperately needed top WR in DJ Moore, the offensive line is a center away from being a strong unit. The secondary is very sound. I don’t like how much he spent at linebacker but the unit is performing quite well and the defensive line still needs improvement but the addition of Montez Sweat has helped immeasurably.
2. Who are the cornerstone pieces on offense and defense for the Bears?
Cornerstone is definitely something that’s still up in the air. There are plenty of fans that believe Justin Fields is one on offense. I don’t believe that’s the case. I do, however, believe that DJ Moore can be one offensively. Darnell Wright is not there yet, but based on where he is as a rookie, I do think he will be an elite tackle by year three. Defensively, Montez Sweat is an incredible player and I underestimated just how good he is. Jaylon Johnson has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league and, assuming he’s either extended or franchise tagged, who can be the key piece to their secondary moving forward.
3. Outside of the QB question, what position group do you think needs to be addressed the most for the Bears this offseason?
I think the position group in the biggest need after this season is going to be wide receiver. They need to add a center to the offensive line and they still need one more big player on the defensive line (either edge or 3-Tech), but the wide receiver group behind DJ Moore is going to be desolate after this year. Chase Claypool was traded earlier in the year because of how much of a problem he was in the locker room and on the field. Darnell Mooney, for whatever reason, has been a fish out of water all season and he is a pending free agent and almost certainly won’t be back. I think the Bears need to spend on bringing in a veteran wide receiver this offseason AND use one of their top ten picks on a receiver as well.
4. Ok, one question on Fields: What does he need to show fans/the Bears the last three weeks if he wants to stay in Chicago (You can also spin this to what he has shown that makes him worth keeping, dealers choice).
This one is impossible to answer because it depends on which fans you ask. There is a large percentage of Bears fans (probably more than half), that don’t need to see anything else and already think Justin Fields has shown enough and that he’s a franchise quarterback and that Ryan Poles would be stupid to move on. These fans are adamant about this and cannot be persuaded to see it any other way.
There is another group of fans that sees Fields’ inconsistencies in the passing game and his inability thus far to play on-time and throw with anticipation that he won’t ever become more than what he is right now, which is a middle-of-the-road passer but one with great athleticism that makes a few incredible eye-popping plays every Sunday.
The main issue with Fields is consistency. So there is one group of fans that thinks it will come in 2024 and they don’t need to see anything more in 2023. There is one group of fans that think it didn’t come soon enough and it’s time to pivot at quarterback and there’s nothing he can do in the final three games to sway their opinion.
If you want entertainment, if Justin Fields is traded this offseason, take a peek at Bears Twitter that day, it’s going to be a wild ride.
5. Are we getting a little bit of money from DraftKings Sportsbook to help pay the holiday bills? What are your favorite prop bets this weekend?
I think the Bears are going to bounce back after their awful fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns. So not that it’s a prop, but I would take the Bears -4 in this game. I have to wonder how much a 3-11 warm weather team wants to travel two-thirds the way across the country to play another bad team in a cold weather game on Christmas Eve. Beyond that, being the Cardinals defense has been struggling a bit this year, I think Fields has a better passing day than last week. The O/U is 205.5 for him and I think he will surpass that in this game.