The blockbuster trade for outside linebacker Khalil Mack instantly made the Chicago Bears relevant in the NFC for the 2018 season. Adding arguably the best defensive player in the NFL to a defense that was ranked 10th in the league last year will definitely strike fear into the hearts of the rest of the teams in the conference. With so much talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears, there will be high expectations for this unit to build on last season’s production. However, this upgrade to the defense will put even more pressure on Chicago’s offense going into the regular season.
After firing John Fox as head coach, the Bears signed the offensive-minded Matt Nagy to fill the void. Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid, and was a hot commodity for a head-coaching position after he took over the play-calling duties late in the season for the Chiefs in 2017.
With Nagy as the play caller, Kansas City had a record of 4-1, and averaged 28.6 points per game during that span. Overall, the Chiefs finished the season fifth in total offense (375.4 yards per game) and sixth in scoring (25.9). As for the Bears in 2017, their offense was among the bottom feeders of the league, finishing dead last in passing (175.7), 29th in points per game (16.6), and 30th in total offense (287.4).
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Nagy’s arrival in the Windy City initially had many thinking that Chicago’s offense would drastically improve. To further back that up, the Bears’ front office made some moves that would help the offense live up to those expectations. Wide receivers Allen Robinson II and Taylor Gabriel were free-agent acquisitions, as well as tight end Trey Burton. In addition, Chicago drafted speedy wide receiver Anthony Miller in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky won’t have the playbook spoon fed to him, like it was last year. Trubisky will now be looked upon to lead this offense with a plethora of offensive weapons on the field. Assuming that the defense lives up to expectations, the offense will have those same expectations put upon them in hopes of not having the defense carry the team the entire regular season.
The saying that “defense wins game” has a lot of truth to it, but to lean completely on that for 16 games is a bit too much. Yes, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense led their team to a 12-4 record and a championship, but this offense is way too talented to not have any major contribution to this season’s potential success.
A Super Bowl appearance this year will be great, but may not be realistic. However, a definite improvement from last year’s 5-11 record is highly anticipated, and this will not happen without much-needed production from the Bears’ offense.