What should we expect from the Bears in the 2020s?
As it stands today, there are five-ish players I’d say have an inside track for contending for an All-Decade Team spot in the 2020s. There could certainly be more, starting with this month’s Draft. But here they are: Eddie Jackson, Khalil Mack, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tarik Cohen, Kyle Fuller, and with some fortune, perhaps Roquan Smith, David Montgomery or Allen Robinson make that jump?
Jackson, to me, is the most intriguing. In just three years, he’s already become a two-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro safety. Because he burst onto the scene so quickly, it’s easy to forget that he’ll be Op at the end of next season. By the end of this decade, he’ll be 38, a number that works against him.
FiveThirtyEight and So-Called Fantasy Experts did a study a few seasons ago in investigating the aging curve of when players get washed up. What works, historically, in Jackson’s favor, is that safeties have been able to remain in their peak until age 30, and age gracefully, which should allow Jackson to rack up accolades until the mid-to-late 2020s. And Bo Jack’s never been the type of guy to count out in any situation.
As it relates to special teams, the Bears, per usual, are set, with Cohen and Patterson leading the way as the league’s premier players.
So, that leaves Mack (28) and Fuller (28) as part of the defensive core. Should the Bears open this decade with Playoff success or a Super Bowl, maybe even Akiem Hicks. With Lady Luck and an Aaron Rodgers trade, it’s plausible. But then, there’s that other side of the ball.
Here are some of the things that were just becoming a part of this world the last time the Bears had a quarterback make an All-Decade Team: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes about, frisbees become a national pastime, word gets out about this new restaurant franchise we know as McDonald’s, and video cassette tapes are invented. Yikes.
The NFL has been brandishing high-tech technology for decades, yet somehow, Chicago can’t figure it out. Just as alarming, the Bears haven’t had an offensive player make an All-Decade team since Walter Payton in the 1980s.
This isn’t a traditional takeaway — more food for thought, if anything. Chicago has proven it can produce deep postseason runs without running the score up, but in the modern NFL, that’s an incline of a task.
For now, there are more question marks than periods. Allen Robinson, only 26-years-old, continues to prove that not all receivers go to die in Chicago, as Muhsin Mohammed once declared. And in between David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, and even that Mitchell Trubisky fella, we at least have a reason to keep our fingers crossed.
But until that day comes, I’ll see you at the next Chicago Bears’ 13-7 victory in a few months. You know it’s coming.