The Detroit Lions are the favorites to win the NFC North in 2023. The Minnesota Vikings are behind them. But the team I’m most curious about is the Chicago Bears.
This video is an accurate depiction of the Bears season last year.
And yet I’m not completely sold Justin Fields is that bad. Let me be clear, I don’t think he’s good. But is he THAT bad?
The other problem last year was the team around Fields was that bad. But after some interesting moves at the start of free agency, Chicago might be under appreciated.
Here Comes Help
The biggest move the Chicago Bears made wasn’t a signing but a trade. They sent the No. 1 pick in the draft to Carolina for DJ Moore and draft capital.
Moore is a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver. He had three straight 1,000 yard seasons prior to 2022. He’s a nice target moving around for a young quarterback like Fields.
He’ll be a great addition to Chase Claypool who the Bears traded for mid-season last year. A full off-season of work in Chicago’s system and with Fields should help bring Claypool back to his rookie season numbers when he had nine touchdowns.
Robert Tonyan is a nice signing to play second fiddle to a budding Cole Kmet. And Darnell Mooney is a good receiver when he’s your third option.
The biggest need for the Bears on offense is the line. It’s bad up front. Most mock drafts have Chicago taking Peter Skoronski from Northwestern with the ninth pick. That would certainly help. But offensive line won’t fix all of their problems. See video above.
Fields has to play better. It’s that simple. He has not had the best weapons to start his career. But now he has a good No. 1 option, and two solid guys after that. Not to mention a good young tight end.
We all know what Fields can do with his legs. He breaks contain and gets past the line he’s a threat to take it to the house. But he needs to make better decisions in order to propel this offense forward. A lot of that is on him, not his supporting cast.
No Better on Defense
The defensive side of the ball was even worse than the offense last year. The Bears gave up the most points per game of any team at 27.2.
They used some of their cap space to help that by signing linebackers T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds. Both young players who could quickly help turn the defense around.
Edmunds especially, the former first round pick has two Pro Bowl nods to his name. He’s not known for finding the quarterback but he had seven pass defends last season.
Safety Jaquan Brisker looked good in his rookie campaign as well. He will have to continue to progress as the Chicago Bears are thin at defensive back around him.
The main thing the Bears have to get better at his rushing the quarterback. Chicago had 20 sacks in total last year which was last in the league. Putting pressure on quarterbacks has become increasingly important in the last few years. If aren’t good at it, you’re at a big disadvantage.
The Bears were a horrible team last year, noted. But they have made some smart moves in the off-season and with a little sprinkle of magic could be a surprising team in 2023. They likely won’t contend for the division. But they could be that pesky decent team that impacts the playoffs.
Just like the Lions did last year.
Photo Credit: © Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
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