Chicago Bears Team Profile 2016

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

Team Profiles- Chicago Bears

Team Profiles- Chicago Bears by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Mark Trestman is out, John Fox is in, as head coach of the Chicago Bears. This is like going from Ryan Mallet to Tom Brady. Trestman has been a very good QB coach over the years, mentoring young players such as Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer, and Rich Gannon. He also had success coaching in the CFL, but his 2 years in Chicago were disaster, and he’s better suited in the NFL as an assistant coach. John Fox on the other hand, is a head coach that was a score for the city of Chicago to land. In 13 years as an NFL head coach, Fox only has 4 losing seasons, and while in Denver, he had 4 straight winning seasons, leaving with a 46-18 record. Apparently let go in Denver for not winning the Superbowl in 2013 or 2014, there are teams in the NFL that would just be happy to ever go to the playoffs. Understandable that QB Peyton Manning’s window for getting that 2nd ring is closing, but hardly think firing Fox was the solution for 2015 season. Regardless, Denver’s loss is Chicago’s gain, and maybe a head coach is now in place that will get the most possible out the incredible talent that the Bear’s roster is loaded with.

2015 Team Outlook–
The NFC North is one of the strongest divisions in the NFL. (Being from the northeast, I wasn’t always able to write that.) In 2008, only 7 years ago, the NFC North division teams were very weak and had a combined 25 wins. That was the year the Lions went 0-16. In 2015, all the teams will be formidable, with perhaps Minnesota being the weakest of the 4 teams, due to the Viking’s young QB Bridgewater, who is still learning, but a good QB to build around. QB Jay Cutler is the wild card for HC Fox.

2015 Fantasy Outlook–

QB– The “enigma” known as Jay Cutler. The QB with a cannon for an arm, a very good athlete, and prone to make a ton of mistakes. His NFL career totals have his TDs at 186, and his INTs at 130. That’s a 7:5 ration. For perspective, QB Tom Brady has a career 14:5 ratio, which is twice as many TDs thrown than Cutler, vs each INT. Right now, it is impossible to say whether Cutler will even be a Bear in 2015. Cutler’s $15.5M guaranteed salary makes him both difficult to cut and difficult to trade. One thing is for certain however, this is a very weak QB class in coming up in the 2015 NFL draft, and QB Mark Sanchez is perhaps the prize QB of all the free agents, so Cutler will not be without a starting job. If Cutler stays in Chicago, with HC Fox, his fantasy stock will rise. If he is released and signed by another ten, his fantasy stock will plummet, but either way, I want him on my fantasy team, and usually get him.

RBs– In 2008, RB Matt Forte wasn’t selected until the 2nd round by the Bears. In that draft, here are the running backs that went before RB Forte, all in the first round…OAK- Darren McFadden-4th overall…CAR- Jonathon Stewart-13th overall…DAL- Felix Jones-22nd overall…PITT- Rashard Mendenhall-23rd overall…TENN- Chris Johnson-24th overall. Forte ended the 2014 NFL season with 1846 total yards from scrimmage and 10 TDs (6 rushing-4 receiving) Forte is one of the best RBs in the NFL and perhaps the best receiving RB in the NFL. UPDATED Bears sign former Falcon RB Jacquizz Rodgers.

WRs– My previous article spotlighted the Carolina Panthers, who have one of the weakest receiving corps in the NFL. We are on the other end of the spectrum with the Chicago receiving corps, who have one of the NFL’s best. Chicago has big, talented wide receivers. WR Brandon Marshall is 6’4″, 230 pounds and has been with the Bears since 2012. WR Alshon Jeffery is 6’3″, 213 pounds and has been with the Bears since 2012. A wide receiver who came on in the later part of the season for the Bears was WR Marquess Wilson, another big, talented wide receiver at 6’4″ and 184 pounds. (Wilson is a sleeper candidate for the 2015 season.) The Bears can clear $3.95 million in cap room if they release WR Brandon Marshall before March 12th, and $7.7 million if they designate him a post-June 1 cut. UPDATE: WR Brandon Marshall is traded to the NY Jets for a 2015 5th round pick. Bears sign former Charger WR Eddie Royal. The Bears drafted 6’3″ WR Kevin White who will immediately make an impact for the Bears opposite Wr Alson Jeffery. WR Marquess Wilson’s fantasy stock takes a huge hit with White on the team, and the addition of WR Eddie Royal.

TEs– After the Chicago Bears earned an ESPY “Bone-head” award in 2012 when they traded TE Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a 2012 third round draft pick, they manage to sign TE Martellius Bennett 2 years later. (The Dallas Cowboys selected Bennett in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and he would play for the NY Giants in 2012.) TE Bennett has become one of the best tight ends in the NFL today, and ranked #6 in 2015 with 916 yards and 6 TDs.

K– Robbie Gould has been Chicago’s place kicker since 2005. Originally signed by the Patriots as a free agent, Gould is currently the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. Gould’s seven seasons with at least 100 points is a Bears record.

DEF– When you think of a Chicago Bears defense, you think of Ditka, Butkus, Singletary, and Urlacher. Under HC Mark Trestman, the Bear’s defense was 8th in 2013, and dropped all the way down to #24 in 2014. Chicago tried to put a Bandaid on their pass rush by bringing broken-down Jared Allen, who barely played 10 games. The Bears’ defensive front seven badly needs overhauling. Do not expect a big turnaround by the Chicago defense in 2015, as they have too much re-building to do first. UPDATE: Bears sign DE/OLB Pernell McPhee to a 5 year deal. Bears sign FS Antrel Rolle, LS Thomas Gafford, OLB Sam Ocho, ILB Mason Fowler, DE Ray McDonald, CB Alan Ball, CB Sherrick McManis, and DE Jarvis Jenkins.

2014 Chicago Fantasy Surprises–
One never expects any Chicago defense to fall out of the top 10, let alone drop down to #24. Chicago is one of those teams that regardless how they do in the NFL, in fantasy football…they have fantasy players every fantasy team wants to have on their roster. Under HC Fox, this won’t change.

2015 Free Agents that Chicago Needs to Address- QB Jimmy Clausen (re-signed)- WR Josh Morgan- TE Zach Miller (re-signed)- TE Dante Rosario (re-signed)- OT Eben Britton- C Brian De La Puente- DT Stephen Paea (signed w/ Washington)- CB Al Louis-Jean (re-signed)– CB Demontre Hurst (re-signed)

2015 NFL Draft–
The early needs of Chicago are help at three defensive line positions and strength on the O-line. The Bears need new blood for the defensive front seven (LB) and they gave up too many big plays (S) in 2014. Chicago also needs to start thinking about the future, even if Cutler is signed for the 2015 season (QB)

Did You Know–
that since 1982, the Bears have only drafted 8 quarterbacks…total? (Cleveland has drafted that many since the year 2000.) It’s been 12 YEARS since the Chicago Bears have selected a quarterback in the 1st round of any NFL Draft. (In 2003- QB Rex Grossman with their 22nd overall…and before that, 1999 Cade McNown.)

Team home page: www.chicagobears.com