Chicago Bears: time to look ahead to 2017 already?
It hasn’t exactly gone to plan for the Chicago Bears this year. After losing Matt Forte in free agency during the offseason, most expected the Bears to lean heavily on Jeremy Langford at the beginning of the campaign.
Unfortunately, the former Michigan State star sprained his ankle during Chicago’s defeat to the Dallas Cowboys and the Bears are now rolling with fifth-round rookie Jordan Howard.
To make matters worse, quarterback Jay Cutler is also struggling with injury problems of his own and John Fox has placed all of his faith and trust in Brian Hoyer.
Yes, this is the same Brian Hoyer who threw four interceptions for the Texans against Kansas City in last year’s playoffs but he has been incredibly safe since taking the reins at Soldier Field; throwing four touchdown passes and no interceptions as of October 7th.
At the time of writing, Chicago aren’t out of contention just yet but it is hard to imagine the Bears climbing above the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
Coral’s sports betting markets indicate that Fox’s men are 20/1 to win the division – an achievement that would secure playoff football for the first time since 2010. And while many will be cheering Chicago on, it just doesn’t look possible right now…
Hoyer’s record is impressive but playing safe won’t get you many victories in the NFL – and Bears fans know it. We’re not four weeks into the new season and Chicago have scored a league-low 62 points; a glaring statistic that says a lot about their current woes on offense.
With Langford and Cutler out, Kevin White on injured reserve and Zach Miller playing through the pain, the Bears are struggling for both form and confidence.
In fact, you could argue that the only ‘elite’ talent on the Chicago roster is Alshon Jeffery; and it would be unfair to expect too much from the Bears wide receiver. More often than not, he is facing double coverage – sometimes triple coverage on the longer routes.
With so many injuries and issues hindering Chicago’s progress this year, it might be more prudent for the Bears head office to do some preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft.
If truth be told, Chicago’s season is all but over and a sixth successive year out of the playoffs beckons. It may seem defeatist but the Bears hierarchy could do much worse than sit down, restructure a few contracts and plan for a high draft pick ahead of next season…