The Chicago Bears are going to be an intriguing team to watch in 2022.
Chicago has a new head coach in Matt Eberflus and a new general manager in Ryan Poles. The franchise is simultaneously going through a rebuild and installing a new culture in the locker room.
No one is really expecting the Bears to compete for an NFC North division title in 2022. But some folks — including myself — are expecting to see a Chicago team that plays with relentless effort and gives opponents all they can handle on a weekly basis.
The Bears might lose some close games in 2022, but they won’t be embarrassed.
While a lot of the focus this offseason has been on the Bears’ defense — due to Eberflus’ defensive background — it’s the offense that could put a lot of pressure on opposing teams.
And there are two specific ways that Chicago is going to put pressure on opposing defenses under Eberflus.
The first way is by going for it more on fourth down.
Eberflus joked this week that he was going to go for every fourth down this season, before clarifying that Chicago will use analytics to determine when to go for it. He acknowledged, however, that he’s a risk-taker.
Matt Eberflus was asked about his risk tolerance and he joked: "I'm going for every first down. We're never going to punt."— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) August 1, 2022
He then said it will depend on field position, analytics, etc, but he did say he's a risk taker by nature.
The other way the Bears will put pressure on opposing defenses is via the way they plan to use their fullbacks/running backs.
Eberflus said this week that Chicago plans to stretch the field with their fullbacks/running backs. He also noted that those positions can use the entire route tree, which will make life hard for opposing defensive coordinators.
“That’s great, to be able to stretch the field with a fullback,” said Eberflus this week in reference to a catch by Khari Blasingame. “When you get into ‘21’ (personnel) and you move him around and he’s a viable option in the passing game, deep. Typically those guys will line up there and they’ll turn around and stand there. Well, not him. He’s got the whole tree available to him. We’re excited about all our backs being able to do that. That creates a lot of pressure for the defense for sure.”
The Bears might not finish with a winning record in 2022, but they’re going to be a fun team to watch. And over the next few years, they’re going to be a force in the NFC North.
Featured image via David Banks-USA TODAY Sports