NFL teams experience significant roster and coaching changes every year. The Chicago Bears are no exception. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio became the new head coach of the Denver Broncos. The team traded Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2020 sixth-round draft pick. Cody Parkey was cut as the team has decided to let two inexperienced kickers compete for field goal duties. Free agents Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Mike Davis have replaced Adrian Amos and Jordan Howard. Perhaps the biggest additions were third-round draft pick David Montgomery, free agent Cordarrelle Patterson, and new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. With all of the recent changes, we look at six keys to the Chicago Bears 2019 season.
Keys to the Chicago Bears 2019 Season
Mitchell Trubisky performed well enough to earn his first Pro Bowl nomination last year. While Chase Daniel is an adequate backup, Chicago’s success hinges on Trubisky. Trubisky must continue to improve as a signal caller for Chicago to become serious Super Bowl contenders.
Trubisky needs to get the football out quickly to his playmakers, minimize turnovers, and lead more scoring drives on offense. If he improves his passing touchdowns to interception ratio (2:1) and his passing yards per game (230.2) from last year, then Chicago’s offense will become more potent.
According to Pro Football Focus, Chicago’s offensive line enters 2019 as the ninth best in the NFL. Charles Leno, Jr. was selected to his first Pro Bowl last year. Bobby Massie is a solid offensive lineman with experience. James Daniels and Cody Whitehair are promising young players. The team added Ted Larsen for depth. However, for Chicago’s offensive line to reach its full potential, Kyle Long must stay healthy. The Bears lack quality depth should any starters get hurt.
In the third round of the 2019 NFL draft, the Bears selected David Montgomery from Iowa State University. Montgomery earned 2018 first-team All-Big 12 honors with 1,216 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Although Chicago signed Mike Davis as a free agent, Montgomery should get a lot of touches in Coach Nagy’s offense. Montgomery is a cheaper running back option with greater pass-catching potential than Jordan Howard. He has also been praised as a good pass blocker.
An experienced football coach, especially on the defensive side, Chuck Pagano takes over as defensive coordinator for a talented Chicago roster. Pagano served as a college defensive coach for over two decades before becoming the Baltimore Ravens‘ defensive coordinator in 2011. As a head coach, he led the Indianapolis Colts to three playoff appearances. Pagano is known to blitz more than former defensive coordinator Fangio. With elite defensive players Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, the Bears should be able to generate quarterback sacks, pressures, and turnovers with its front four.
Field Goal Kicking
Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro are currently competing for the opportunity to become the field goal kicker. Right now, Fry appears to have the edge based on his preseason game performance against the Carolina Panthers. The team needs one of its two kickers to stand out. If neither impresses, then Chicago may show interest in Carolina’s rookie kicker Joey Slye.
A multi-purpose athlete, Cordarrelle Patterson will serve as the Bears’ primary kickoff returner. During his time with the New England Patriots, Patterson also played running back and receiver. Chicago will try to get Patterson and Tarik Cohen into open space to utilize their speed. Expect Patterson to contribute in the kick return game as well as on quick passing plays, jet sweeps, and reverse plays.
The six keys to the Chicago Bears‘ 2019 season are Mitchell Trubisky, the offensive line, David Montgomery, Chuck Pagano, the kicking game, and Cordarrelle Patterson. If Trubisky and the offensive line stay healthy, then Chicago’s offense should improve. Newcomers David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson provide versatile playmaking ability on offense. The defense should continue its stellar play under Chuck Pagano. Finally, the kicking game should sort itself out in the next few weeks.
Even with stronger competition from the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, Chicago should win the NFC North Division in 2019. If everything falls into place, the Bears can challenge the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams for the NFC Championship.
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