The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway. With 71 days to go until the Bears season kicks off we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 71, offensive guard Josh Sitton.
2016 Season Review:
Not many Pro Bowl caliber players hit the waivers throughout training camp, but Josh Sitton was an exception. The Green Bay Packers cut their long time guard which allowed Chicago to swoop in and solidify their interior line. The timing couldn’t have been better for Chicago with projected center, Hroniss Grasu, tearing his ACL in training camp. The injury to Grasu motivated the Bears to sign Sitton, then move second round pick, Cody Whitehair, to center. With an established player like Sitton holding down one o the guard spots, Bears fans felt far more confident in their front line.
It didn’t take long for those very fans to be vindicated for their support. The interior line went from below average to elite throughout the course of 2016. Sutton helped pave the way for Jordan Howard to soar from 5th round pick to Chicago superstar in a few short weeks. Sitton’s efforts landed him a sport in the Pro Bowl when his teammate, TJ Lang, opted out of the game. The Bears suffered a brutal season, but Sitton was one of the few bright spots to be had.
Father time remains undefeated in the NFL. He me take his time with some more than other, but everyone’s career eventually suffers due to age. Josh Sitton may experience that setback sooner rather than later. He missed three games last season due to an ankle injury, and the floodgates may soon burst open since Sitton has eclipsed the age of 30. However, Sitton is showed no signs of slowing down this season. The Bears won’t hesitate to pay him the second year of his 3 year, $21.75 million. Barring a significant injury, Sitton will assume his position on the front lines come kickoff.
While Sitton’s spot on the roster isn’t in question, his body is. Few lineman continue Pro Bowl play past their 30’s. The problem for Sitton lies in the expectations paced upon him. He must pave the way for Jordan Howard, block for a new starting quarterback, and earn a Pro Bowl nod in order for his season to be considered successful. All three of those things are mostly out of Sitton’s control regardless of his performance. He can’t make Howard run to the open space, or make his quarterbacks read and dissect a defense, or fix the Pro Bowl vote.
Sitton will no doubt play a big role in Chicago’s upcoming season, but the real question is if he can live up to the lofty expectations set before him.