4.) The Bears should add a new running back this offseason
Fox and Loggains continued to force feed Jeremy Langford the ball instead of Howard this week, despite Langford doing nothing this season to prove he deserves it. He had a nice 19-yard catch on a screen pass, but also lost a fumble which sabotaged a productive Bears drive.
As a ball carrier, Langford gained just 26 yards on 10 carries (2.6 ypc). For the season he’s averaging a measly 3.2 yards per carry with more fumbles (2) than touchdowns (1). John Fox seems intent on using a committee at running back, but hopefully the Bears can find a more useful back then Langford in the offseason.
This year’s draft is one of the deepest in years at the running back position, so the Bears should be able to find an upgrade over Langford even on day three of the draft.
5.) Harold Jones-Quartey and Adrian Amos regressed significantly in year two
Much has been written about the Bears problems at safety and hopefully they will do something about it in the offseason. They took a chance on Harold Jones-Quartey (HJQ), a 2nd year player out of Findlay College, and it backfired.
HJQ showed some signs of potential in his rookie year with the understanding that he was making a huge leap from Findlay to the NFL, but he regressed significantly in his second season. He has consistently made mistakes in coverage and his impressive athleticism hasn’t translated on the field.
He has the necessary size, speed, and athleticism to play safety at the NFL level, but his awareness and ball skills just aren’t good enough right now. A perfect example was Sunday when Vikings QB Sam Bradford was hit as he threw a deep pass which resulted in a wobbly duck in the middle of the field.
Despite the ball floating for what seemed like forever, HJC reacted late, slipped, and couldn’t get under the ball in time for an interception. It was just one example in a season full of them of HJQ and other Bears safeties not making the plays that were there to be made.
Adrian Amos played one of his best games of the season against the Vikings, but it was still just an average game for an NFL safety. He’s a sound tackler (usually) but has been burned in coverage over and over again this year. I’m not giving up on Amos, but I don’t think the Bears can rely on him as a starter next year.
If Jones-Quartey and Amos are on the Bears roster next season, it should be as backup safeties.
6.) CB Cre’Von LeBlanc is a keeper
It’s been a rough year for the Bears secondary, but one of the few bright spots has been the play of rookie Cre’Von LeBlanc. He was signed late in the preseason when the Patriots tried to sneak him onto their practice squad and LeBlanc started making an impact almost immediately.
It took awhile before he earned a place on the field, but he reportedly has been the Bears best corner in practice with far more interceptions than any other corner. His play-making skills were starting to show on Sundays as well with two interceptions over the last four weeks.
Even more impressive is that LeBlanc is playing out of position on the outside. With his small frame (5’10) and lateral quickness, he’s an ideal fit for the slot corner position. He’s had success on the outside for the Bears this year despite usually being outsized by half a foot.
The Bears have a lot of work to do in the secondary this off-season, but they found at least one solid piece of the puzzle in LeBlanc.