The Chicago Bears need a big season from Akiem Hicks, can they get it?
After three straight years of complete dominance, Akiem Hicks was starting to make a name for himself. Next to Khalil Mack, the duo was completely disruptive in 2018 and should have continued in 2019.
However, Hicks got off to a slow start and ended up on the IR with an injury. He came back, but returned too early, and re-injured himself, winding up back on the IR to close out the year.
So, there is certainly the idea that Hicks is trending up this offseason. He is healthy and has had plenty of time to recover. With Hicks back next to Mack, the defense could be just as good as always.
However, the other side is that Hicks is now going to be 31 years old this season. He has played over 5,000 NFL snaps and eight NFL seasons. That is a lot of wear and tear over the years. Age 31 is about the time that it can catch up to defensive lineman who has been battling in the trenches for years on end.
It doesn’t help that the Bears weren’t able to have a physical offseason. Hicks will need a strong training camp to get the physicality back. It is tough to replicate the NFL and Hicks may be healthy, but he needs to shake the rust off. There are rumors the preseason will be shortened as well, which dos not help.
Overall, Hicks is going to be relied on heavily to get back to full strength. However, when you add in the wear and tear, lack of preseason, age, and injury, there are enough concerns out of Akiem Hicks that he will have to prove himself on the field. Longevity is now going to be the question.