As the Chicago Bears prepare for their season opener Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field, readers want to know why the Bears aren’t getting respect in NFL circles and which starters are willing to make instant breakouts. Brad Biggs answers these questions and more in his weekly Peers Questions mailbox.
The Bears are ranked number 32 by the NFL Network. Are we missing something in pre-season that others see? -bwohlgemuth
More than two people were surprised by the league’s media arm by ranking the Bears last in the A Pre-season ranking With @jon4835 asking why “the Bears get poor reviews nationally before the season?”
There are a few factors that contribute to Bears being bottom or near the bottom in a handful of strength rankings (Pro Football Talk had Bears #30). The Bears house has been cleaned up after it went poorly last season and the thought of many outsiders is that new General Manager Ryan Poles is being torn down completely before rebuilding.
The highest-paid player on the list was Khalil Mac Trade it away And the Bears didn’t offer any expensive extras through a free agency. They were also no-choices in the first round, and while the Poles ended up with a total of 11 picks, eight of them were in the fifth round or later. There are important questions about the offensive line and wide receivers, and while there is an abundance of optimism domestically regarding Justin Fields, I think from the outside a lot of people are saying they want to see her to believe it. Bears have changed defensive schemes and may not have all the exact parts they are looking for just yet. Add them all up and so you end up near the bottom of the power order.
The upside here is that Bears will be able to play the respect card however they want and note that most are skeptical. Lots of coaches like to be convinced that the team isn’t getting what it deserves. Strength rankings change with the speed with which the winds change, and if the Bears manage to snatch some of their first season’s wins, they’ll get closer to the middle of the group, which is where the majority of teams end up collecting unless they’re really good or especially bad.
Local optimism has been on the rise since the end of the pre-season in Cleveland when it was The first team’s attack scored three touchdowns in the first half. It was a great show by Fields The offensive line did a good job. This is really the basis for the majority of positive vibes because the offense didn’t get much done in the previous two shows and it was a heavy effort throughout most of the boot camp.
If the citizens who bundle the power ratings together overlook the Cleveland Show, it’s easy to understand why the Bears are in the league’s bottom quarter or worse. Ultimately, the rankings will tell you where this team should be ranked and how it should be evaluated. There are 17 games to play.
Which starter do you expect to shine from day one to the end of the season? -just_acy
I feel it’s off-putting to have Safety Jaquan Brisker and Cornerback Kyler Gordon answer as they are the obvious picks as the team’s top picks, but both look like they’ll have an immediate impact. Brisker has a great combination of size, power and range and could emerge as a fan favorite before mid-season. Gordon has the sporting attributes to handle a hatch and has a good size for posing as well.
Brisker and Gordon are just two of 15 rookies on the 53-man list. It would be a massive development for the organization if you let tackle Braxton Jones, the fifth-round pick, shine from start of the season to finish. I’m not sure what to expect from Jones, but he has a great opportunity. Velos Jones Jr should have an impact on the special teams, if not on the attack as well, and I think midfielders Jack Sanborn and Sterling Weatherford can be positive on the specials.
How do you think the bears plan to use Alex Leatherwood? Is it swing handling unlike Riley Reeve? — @jgarcia3290
I think you are a little premature with the question. I imagine it will take at least a few weeks for the coaches to work with the newcomer and for Leatherwood to feel comfortable with the rules of the game for him to be considered for the match day roster. The Bears will be limited to one padded practice per week, so I think it will take some time to get the first round of the previous Las Vegas Raiders.
Leatherwood projects as a correct tackle or ranger, in my opinion. Can he pass a game on left interference if something happens? surely. But if the bears had a real need in left-handed intervention, I now think they would look to Reiff for help.
Where do you think Lucas Patrick will start? – @william20852834
Patrick Back to practice on Monday For the first time since he fractured his right thumb on July 28. He’s on a small crew and given the time he’s missed and how the streak has been working lately, I don’t think he’s connected to the starting lineup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. It would be difficult if not impossible for him to catch the ball as long as he’s wearing a splint. I think the answer to your question will be decided after we see the streak’s performance in the first few games of the season. If a player is clearly struggling on the inside, Patrick will likely slip into the squad quickly.
The Bears’ second major receiver at the end of the year will be _____? – @rradulski
This is a good question. Darnell Mooney is the favorite to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards, and wide receiver Byron Pringle and narrow end Cole Mut should be productive in the passing offense. If Pringle is healthy he should be able to get 50 passes or more, and I think Kmet should get some growth from last season when he got 60 passes for 612 yards. Provided he’s healthy, there’s no reason not to get close to 80 receptions and he’ll probably be about 900 yards out with more red zone production, as he’s been largely ignored in 2021.
Justin Fields’ growth is a top priority this season, but how do we measure that growth? Is it just going to be an eye test to see if he’s processing things and making better decisions? -dawestley
This is a great question and I was wondering for myself. An eye exam will likely be as much as it will be related to numbers and statistics. Does it show driving crime? Is it presenting as a trans-pocket? Does he limit his turnover, especially those resulting from bad decisions, to a minimum?
I asked roughly the same question to former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and NFL analyst Ross Tucker at the start of training camp, Using their responses in 10 column of ideas Exit the pre-season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Going back, here’s what they said:
“I don’t want to get into cliches about incremental improvement, but I like the way they use it,” Miller said. “I think they’re going to take advantage of his skill sets. They’re going to have an RPO angle for offense. They’re going to do a boatload of chili roll stuff – half a play roll. They’re going to do a lot of geek work. They’re going to do some quarterback flaws, RPO effect, and they need to run the ball really well.” Good.
“I think everyone understands all the things that Bill Lazur got later in the season last year and I think they’re going to expand on that. I think if you see that incremental improvement. I see the improvement he’s already made. He gave it? He’s worked really hard at it and seen a lot.” From videos of other guys. (Luke) Getsy probably gave him a lot of the Green Bay stuff he’s seen. His feet movement is a lot better, even in how he puts his feet. He’s more poised to throw the ball. But the talent comes out of him. He’s very special. But they have to If you see an incremental improvement every week as the turnover gets lowered, if you see an improvement in situational play as he makes his adjustments and gets better every week, there’s a lot to be excited about.”
It would be “any kind of improvement,” Tucker said.
“Any obvious improvement would be a success in my mind, especially with how limited they are around it,” Tucker said. “I wouldn’t put numbers on it, but it’s almost like the famous (Supreme Court) saying: ‘I don’t know how to define pornography but I know what it is when I see it.’ I feel like we’ll be able to see his lead on the attack. How many times does he run for his life versus how many times he gets rid of it? How fast does the ball get out of his hand? That’s a big, big thing – how fast the ball gets out of his hand and spins.
“If he doesn’t have a lot of turnovers and he takes the ball off quickly, that would count as a success regardless of the team’s record or the stats because they’re not very good around him. You can make a strong case that they have the worst receiving teams and the worst offensive streak in the NFL. It’s almost unbelievable and unbelievable that the first-round midfielder is going into his second year and you can say that’s what surrounds him.”
How is the field looking for Sunday’s match? -skeet_sparkles
Efforts to create an entirely new playing surface at Soldier Field are well underway. I expect the field to look good on Sunday.
Is Velos Jones Ready for Week One? – @cmgolfs17
The rookie speed driver from Tennessee has missed a significant amount of time over the past three weeks with an undisclosed injury, but he was on the field on Monday, which bodes well for his availability on Sunday. Given the amount of time Jones has put in, his attacking role could be reduced somewhat, but I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be an option in the second leg for Special Teams Coordinator Richard Hightower.