The Chicago Bears made numerous changes following their 2020 season that saw the season finish with an 8-8 record and losing in the Wild Card of the playoffs to the New Orleans Saints. The Bears need to prove it this season as Matt Nagy has failed to bring a great offense to Chicago.
Nagy got new tools in Damiere Byrd, Dazz Newsome, Marquise Goodwin, and Khalil Herbert. He additionally got his quarterback in Justin Fields and an upgraded bridge-quarterback in Andy Dalton as they moved on from Mitch Trubisky. Nick Foles is still on the roster, but he will be on the bench.
The only question mark for their offense is the offensive line as they lost both their starting offensive tackles. Ryan Pace did draft an offensive tackle in the second round in Teven Jenkins, but he’s still a rookie. Germain Ifedi will likely be the other starting tackle. Their interior offensive line is impressive though with Cody Whitehair, Sam Mustipher, and James Daniels.
The defense should bounce back to its original form with new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. Replacing Kyle Fuller will be an issue, but the Bears still retain their elite talents in Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Roquan Smith. So, who will break out on the Bears with all these changes on offense and the small changes on defense?
Chicago Bears Breakout Candidate: James Daniels, Interior Offensive Lineman
The Chicago Bears drafted James Daniels in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft to be the center of their future, but it has been murky what Daniels’s role is for the Bears since the draft. In 2018, Daniels took over for Eric Kush at left guard and showed flashes specifically him doing well against Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
2019, the Bears tried to make the switch and moving him to center. That seemed to be a mistake as the Bears’ offensive line became putrid and Daniels struggled greatly. They eventually moved him back to guard and he did average, but the damage was done as they lost games due to their horrid offensive line play.
Last season, Daniels looked to be on pace for a breakout as he was the best lineman on the Bears before tearing his pectoral muscle in Week 5 of the season. I expect Daniels to keep moving forward with that level of play with offensive line coach Juan Castillo and he breaks out as an offensive guard this season.