Chicago Bears with Far More Questions than Answers Heading to 2016
Despite another losing season, there were several strides taken by the Chicago Bears in 2015. While it would have been nice to see the team finish on an uptick, but the Bears are stumbling to the finish line once again to end the season.
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We knew 2015 was a giant question mark because new GM Ryan Pace was going to make sweeping changes and start putting his stamp on the team. John Fox was hired and brought in a new coaching staff and we knew this team was going to have a very different feeling this season compared to last season.
But unfortunately, what questions have been answered for this team heading into 2016? Here’s what we know. We know Pernell McPhee is going to be a key defensive player on this team for the next several years. We know Eddie Goldman is going to anchor the defensive front. We can be confident that Alshon Jeffery is going to be re-signed to a multiyear contract, and we know that Kyle Long is going to anchor the offensive line. Beyond that, we don’t know much else.
Speaking of Long, we know he’s a key component to the offensive line moving forward. There is no chance the Bears will give up and move him back to guard from tackle, but is that the best move? Long has made several strides at tackle and should continue to improve, but is it worth having Long at tackle where he’s good or is it better to have him at guard where he’s great? Yes, tackle is more important than guard on any offensive line, but perhaps the Bears would be better off finding another good tackle, and moving Long back to guard.
Speaking of questions on offense, we lost a season with Kevin White and now he enters 2016 in essence as a rookie, and as Bears fans, we still don’t know how good he can be. There are serious questions surrounding Martellus Bennett and whether or not the Bears will keep him at tight end. And at quarterback, there is really no question surrounding Jay Cutler in 2016, he will be the Bears’ starter, but whether he starts a game beyond 2016 is a major question.
Dec 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Willie Young (97) linebacker Lamarr Houston (99) and nose tackle Eddie Goldman (91) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
On the defensive side of the ball, we can expect a lot of turnover at defensive end and at linebacker, and there are plenty of questions in the secondary. Tracy Porter has had a very good year, but do the Bears want to try and catch lightning in the bottle twice? Kyle Fuller has had a very up and down season and we will have to see if he continues to improve in 2016. Adrian Amos was a very pleasant surprise for most of the season but his last few games haven’t been nearly as sharp, but there is still no reason for alarm yet for Amos’ future with the team.
Ryan Pace has plenty of draft picks and money to spend in free agency. He churned about half the roster in 2015 and you can expect another large roster turnover this offseason as well. Pace put a lot of things in place that will stick moving forward, but with plenty of questions lingering entering 2016, the Bears remain an enigma as we get ready for year two under Pace and Fox.