Chicago Bears Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
John Fox is not used to losing….at least not 2 seasons in a row. Since his first head coaching job back in 2002, Fox has never had 2 losing seasons in a row….ever. Fox was named head coach of the Chicago Bear in January of 2015, and the 6-10 record makes the 2nd worst season he’s ever had. ( In 2010, Fox’s Carolina Panthers had a dismal 2-14 season, so Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that he would not be renewing Fox’s contract.) 14 days later Fox was head coach for the Denver Broncos. He coached there for 4 years. Fox has a lot of work to do in Chicago, if he wants to avoid having back-to-back losing seasons.
2016 Team Outlook– The NFC North consists of Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota. It was a close race in 2015, but the Vikings won in 2015, ending Green bay’s 4 year win streak. The Bears won the division in 2010, but with the 31st worst defense (2015), and aging quarterback, and losing RB Matt Forte, it will be tough for the Bears to overtake Green Bay and Minnesota in 2016.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook–
QB– Jay Cutler was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. (He played his college football at Vanderbilt.) Cutler was quarterback for the Broncos from 2006- 2008. Like John Fox, Cutler became a member of the Chicago Bears after 3+ years in Denver, but it was Cutler that had officially asked the Broncos to trade him. Cutler ended his first year with Fox as the #20 quarterback for 2015. He played in 15 of the 16 regular season games, threw for 3659 yards with 21 touch down passes. It wasn’t clear at the beginning of 2015 whether on not new regime in Chicago really wanted Cutler as their quarterback, but he presumably did enough to keep his job and will almost certainly be back in 2016.
RBs– Matthew Garrett Forte (born December 10, 1985) has played for the Chicago Bears since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Bears organization recently announced….”Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season”, but also stated that they were not going to attempt to re-sign him in free agency. Forte is one of the most versatile backs in the NFL, and it will be interesting where he ends up. RB Jeremy Langford proved in 2015 that he is capable of taking over in Chicago. As Forte’s back up, Langford produced over 800 yards from scrimmage and 7 total touchdowns.
WRs– On March 10, 2015, the Bears traded Marshall and a seventh round-selection in the 2015 NFL Draft to the New York Jets in exchange for their fifth-round draft selection. With RB Matt Forte coming off their roster, it’s hard to imagine that the Bears can afford to lose WR Alshon Jeffery as well. Jeffery is currently the top wide receiver among free agents, and it’s plausible that the Bears will place the franchise tag on the very talented but injury-prone receiver. Chicago has young WR Marquess Wilson on their roster, but Eddie Royal will be 30 this year, so the Bears will be adding depth to their receiving corps. Kevin White was selected 7th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, but never made it on the field in 2015 ( shin surgery-IR.)
TEs– Martellus Bennett will be 29 this spring and he is not a “John Fox guy”. It’s doubtful he returns as a Bear. TE Zach Miller and Rob Housler are both free agents, so Chicago has work to do, to put weapons on the field. ( Rotoworld’s free agent list-)
K– The 2016 NFL season will mark Robbie Gould’s 1th year as Chicago’s place kicker. Gould was originally signed by the Patriots as a free agent. Gould only missed Week 17 this past season due to injury, and was replaced by veteran Jay Feely for that one game.
DEF- In 2014, the Chicago Bear’s defense ranked #24 in the NFL. The Bears’ defensive front seven needed overhauling and Utter-Fantasy warned not expect a big turnaround by the Chicago defense in 2015. There wasn’t. Chicago dropped even further away from being “formidable”, to #31……almost dead last in defense ( former N.O. DC Rob Ryan and the New Orleans Saints were the worst ) Chicago has needs everywhere on defense. UPDATE: Bears sign ILB Danny Trevtahan, formerly of the Broncos.
2015 Chicago Fantasy Surprises– The surprise is that there weren’t any good Chicago Fantasy Surprises– WR Alshon Jeffery ended as the only the 41th ranked wide receiver for 2015. TE Martellus Bennett barely cracked the top 30 tight ends for 2015. Talented RB Forte did not rush for even 900 yards and only had 7 touch downs total for the season. QB Cutler ranked 20th among quarterbacks. Fantasy football owners are not dependent on winning seasons from NFL teams, to get great fantasy football players. The Chicago Bears usually provides a few, regardless of their season…..but they did not in 2015.
2016 Free Agents that Chicago Needs to Address- WR Alshon Jeffery, RB Matt Forte, TE Zach Miller, TE Rob Housler, OG Patrick Omameh, OLB Sam Acho, DE Mitch Unrein, C Will Montgomery, DE Jarvis Jenkins, OG Vlad Ducasse, ILB Shea McClellin, WR Marc Mariani, CB Sherrick McManis, SS Ryan Mundy, CB Alan Ball, FS Chris Prosinski, CB Tracy Porter
2016 NFL Draft– The early needs of Chicago are first and foremost, everywhere on defense– the defensive line needs help, and new inside linebackers/cornerbacks must be a priority. After Chicago upgrades their 31st ranked defense, they might take a swing at a young quarterback, QB Jay Cutler will be 33 years old in April.
Did You Know– Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton only missed ONE game during his entire thirteen year career in the NFL? ( All thirteen years were played in Chicago)
Team home page: www.chicagobears.com