A new article from Bleacher Report and NFL Writer Maurice Moton made nine bold predictions for the 2022 NFL season. Amongst them was an utterly ridiculous take on the state of the 2022 Chicago Bears and the season that is in on the horizon for Chicago.
Moton predicted in the article that the bears would “flirt with a winless season” in 2022, with an official record prediction of 1-16.
Yes…you read that right.
There’ s a lot to unpack here so, before I give my thoughts, read it for yourself. Here are a few key snippets from the article:
Chicago Bears Flirt with Winless Season, Go 1-16
The Chicago Bears have all sorts of roster issues and question marks.
Foremost among them: They haven’t done enough to provide a solid supporting cast around second-year quarterback Justin Fields. —
With the departure of three-time All-Pro Khalil Mack (via trade), Bilal Nichols and Akiem Hicks, the Bears would have a much weaker front seven without Quinn. Third-year edge-rusher Trevis Gipson and linebacker Roquan Smith would have a lot on their plates. —
The Bears are tied with the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers for the sixth-best odds (+1200) to finish with the fewest wins, but they should be atop that list with significant roster concerns under a new coaching staff.
There’s a lot to take issue with here.
It’s true that the Bears roster has question marks, but many of these arguments (which have perpetuated by mainstream media) show a fundamental lack of knowledge in the Bears personnel and the dynamics of last season.
When you really break down the arguments made by Moton, I think they hold very little weight.
While it would be nice to still have those players in the building, I don’t think the Bears will be missing as much production as it may seem like on paper (that goes for Allen Robinson, as well).
Mack and Hicks did not even play a full season worth of games combined, and while Nichols was consistently strong at defensive tackle, the Bears signed former Los Angeles Charger Justin Jones as a worthy replacement.
Jones recorded just as many TFLs and sacks as Nichols, and had a similar approximate value, while playing in six less games.
The secondary has been replenished by draft picks Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker, and another year of development from pass rusher Trevis Gipson will bode well for the Bears defense and the pressure up front.
To top it all off, the Bears new head coach Matt Eberflus comes in with a demonstrated history of success as a defensive mind in the NFL. That can only mean good things for the defense.
Just because a coaching staff is new, doesn’t mean a coaching staff is worse. Someone might need to the Moton know.
In 2021, Nagy failed to use Fields correctly, ignoring his athletic skillset and consistency out of the pocket by running just 19 designed rollouts of the year. It was always his way or the highway.
Justin Fields had the NFL’s highest passer rating with 138.5 on designed rollouts, and the Bears called them on just 19 of Fields’ attempts.— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) May 31, 2022
Matt Nagy is awful, Part 536,209,364.
Cole Kmet on Justin Fields in the new O …— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) May 24, 2022
"Justin's on the move a lot and I think he does well with that. That's been exciting to see. You see the types of throws he can make with his legs and on the run and off-schedule."
If the above quote from Bears tight end Cole Kmet is any indication, the Bears offense under Luke Getsy will be on the move a lot more in 2022. A run heavy offense, complimented by run blocking wide receivers, will maximize the comfort level of the Bears young quarterback.
It’s also important to note that the Bears won six games in 2021, despite Nagy’s offensive incompetence. Those six wins even came against a much more difficult schedule than the one the Bears will face this year.
14 of the Bears 17 games came against teams with 8 or more wins in 2021. Eight of those games came against teams that eventually made the playoffs.
The Bears have one of the easier schedules in 2022, with a majority of those games coming against up and coming teams with incomplete rosters in a similar position to them.
The Bears will play road games against the Jets, Giants, Falcons, Seahawks, and as usual, the Lions. That slate alone could produce four or five road wins if things go well.
per sources: our 2022 schedule— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 13, 2022
*ɪᴛ’ꜱ ᴜꜱ, ᴡᴇ’ʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ pic.twitter.com/SIN2hiaWn6
I’m not sure where this narrative got started that the Bears are on pace to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. It’s hard to find an area of their roster actually that got worse from last season to this season when you really look into the on field production of some of the Bears veterans last season.
Matt Eberflus and Luke Gesty have already begun working on a system to help Justin Fields excel and use his athleticism on the field. They’ve also begun building a winning culture that prioritizes hard nose football.
The Bears are by no means a contender this year. I don’t expect Chicago to be a playoff team. The roster has it’s flaws and weaknesses, but that’s what all the available cap space in 2023 will come in handy for. For now, they are young, fun, and motivated more than ever.
What they are certainly not, is a one win team.
My official pre-training camp prediction: 7-10.
Image via Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports