Written by: John Stocco
Happy Black Monday, Bear fans. Now today I don’t believe there will be any major firings going on for the Bears. If one person loses his job I’d place my bet on offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, but in all honesty it looks like he has had little to no impact on this team. The season is finally over, and I’m relieved. It was getting painful to watch this team play every week. It was a season that just never really went right. Not enough players made the same contributions from the season before, and more than enough players were disappointments. This 8-8 season wasn’t just on one player, and when people read this they’re going to think that one player I’m referring to is quarterback Mitch Trubisky. More on him a little later. In 2019, and now going into 2020, everybody needs to point the blame somewhere and that’s just not the case for the Chicago Bears. Point the blame everywhere because in the end, the quarterback failed, the play calling wasn’t good enough, and the defense regressed. Now let’s get to some grades and what to look forward to this offseason.
Head Coach: Matt Nagy, C+
When your quarterback can’t throw the ball for more than 6 yards, and when your quarterback can’t read defenses properly, call me crazy, I think you deserve a break. Yes, some of the play calling this season was atrocious, but as soon as the season started Matt Nagy had to toss half of his playbook because Mitch Trubisky simply couldn’t perform. Good sign, Matt Nagy kept this team fighting. Besides the Chiefs game, the Bears were in every game even when they were dead to rights. The team never gave up on him, they always believed in him, his vision, and each other. So before Bears fans drop their IQ any lower, the team still believes in Matt Nagy, and there’s not a chance in hell he should be fired. Nagy needs to go back to the drawing board and adjust his playbook for 2020 and the Bears will be fine.
Quarterback: Mitch Trubisky, D-
It was an awful year for Mitch Trubisky. Defenses figured him out, and he’s regressed so bad that the Bears will be forced to bring in a capable starting quarterback this offseason just in case they have to make a change next season. Yes, Mitch Trubisky is coming back next year. We’re just gonna have to live with it. Trubisky showed signs of life in November and the beginning of December, and oddly that’s the biggest issue. Trubisky has the talent, but he will never be able to put it all together consistently. The Bears must bring in a quarterback who can still win you games.
*paging Andy Dalton. ANDY DALTON!*
Running Back: David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Cordarrelle Patterson: C
Giving Montgomery and Cohen a C grade might be generous, just like giving Nagy a break I’m going to give these guys a break. Now they’ll have to be much better in 2020, but it’s time for the Bears to fix the offensive line and start building this offense around Montgomery and Cohen. Take it back to 2003, and spend the entire offseason watching Ravens film, and go back to living on the running game. Montgomery showed flashes of greatness, and Cohen needs to be used more as a receiver. Also, get Cordarrelle Patterson more touches out of the backfield. Patterson is such a versatile weapon that he should be on the field 100% of the time.
Wide Receiver: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Javon Wims: B
I believe the Bears need to go after another receiver in this stacked receiver NFL draft class. I think Gabriel is going to get cut for cap reasons, and I’m not sure if I believe in Javon Wims. Riley Ridley needs more touches, Anthony Miller needs to stay healthy, and Allen Robinson just needs a competent quarterback so people can start realizing that one, he’s the greatest Bears wide receiver of all time, and two, he’s a top ten receiver in the NFL today.
Tight End: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, JP Holtz, Jesper Horsted: F-
If I can give this a lower grade, I would. The Bears got absolutely nothing from the tight end position. This group is honestly a disgrace and I’m not even afraid to say it. This offense needs a tight end, not just as a receiver, but as a blocker as well. It’s a key part of this team, and a key part of how this offense operates. Right now, the Bears have to rebuild this roster like there is not a single tight end on the roster.
Offensive Line: Charles Leno, James Daniels, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, Rashaad Coward, Bobbie Massie, Cornelius Lucas: F
Another group that’s just a complete disaster. If I was put in the place of Ryan Pace and I can operate anyway I could, without any rules, I’d get rid of everyone on the offensive line besides Daniels, Whitehair, and Cornelius Lucas. Charles Leno gets slower and slower every week, Rashaad Coward isn’t good enough, Kyle Long is on his way to the WWE, and Bobbie Massie doesn’t even matter. The Bears have to bring in at least two offensive linemen in draft or free agency because besides the quarterback position, this is the biggest need for the Bears.
Defensive Line: Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris, Eddie Goldman, Nick Williams, Brent Urban: B
It didn’t feel like this defensive line was any good, but this is a group that was changing every week. They dealt with a plethora of injuries, and while dealing with new faces, they still performed and did their job. Props to Nick Williams for having the biggest breakout year for the Bears this season. If Akiem Hicks plays all 16 games then this grade probably turns into an A. I like this group, and I hope they all make their way back next year.
Edge Rushers: Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, Isiah Irving: C
It’s time to be honest with ourselves, this group was not good enough. Khalil Mack didn’t finish the job all year, Leonard Floyd is not performing up to standards, and Aaron Lynch is the biggest waste of space on this team. Am I throwing in the towel? No, because I’d be a fool to doubt Khalil Mack next season, but it’s seriously time to take a look in the mirror if you’re Mack and Floyd. The Bears live or die with their pass rush, and their pass rush wasn’t a factor for the majority of this season.
Linebackers: Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, Nick Kwiatkowski, Kevin Pierre-Louis: A
The deepest linebacker group in the NFL. Trevathan went out, Kwiatkowski stepped up in one of the biggest ways this season. Roquan Smith went out, Kevin Pierre-Louis filled in nicely. I’m praying the Bears find a way to keep this group together because they all have a purpose, and they all play extremely well. When it comes to the salary cap, it’ll be tough to keep Trevathan, and Kwiatkowski, but both of them are needed back next season because of the Roquan Smith torn pectoral injury. If the Bears keep this group together, you have to expect dominance in 2020.
Cornerbacks: Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Kevin Tolliver, Duke Shelley, Buster Skrine: C-
Buster Skrine was a pleasant surprise, but the rest of the group couldn’t keep up. Fuller couldn’t catch to save his life, Amukamara was the weak link of the defense, Tolliver and Shelley showed they weren’t ready. Bears have to address the cornerback position in the draft as I’m expecting them to take one early in the draft to replace that CB2 slot on the depth chart because like Taylor Gabriel, I believe Amukamara will be cut for cap reasons.
Safety: Eddie Jackson, Haha Clinton-Dix, Deon Bush: B-
On paper the Eddie Jackson and Haha Clinton-Dix combo was fun, but on the field it felt like a let down. I believe in both of these players, and I’d be in favor of bringing them back, but Eddie Jackson needs to be the center fielder of the defense. A lot of games were blown because the Bears didn’t get that key turnover by Jackson like they did in 2018.
Kicker: Eddy Pineiro: C+
Enough with the damn double doink. The Bears don’t have a kicker problem heading into the 2020 season. I liked what I saw from Pineiro this season. He’s got the power leg, and he’s got the leg to hit field goals in clutch situations. The biggest issue with Pineiro will be consistency. I’m just thankful that we don’t have to hear about the kicking position, and I’m even more thankful that I don’t have to write about the kicker position.
Onto 2020, the season ending press conference for Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy airs tomorrow at 9:30 AM (CT), and it’s going to be must watch TV.