5 Chicago Bears players poised to improve in 2020 NFL season
The Bears collectively took a step back last season. From the top of the roster, to the bottom, from coaches to players, the entire organization didn’t do enough to secure a second-consecutive playoff bid.
But that’s all in the rearview mirror now. There are new faces on the roster and on the coaching staff, and there are plenty of reasons to believe the Bears can win 10 or more games in 2020.
In order for that to happen, several individuals are going to have to elevate their play. These are the five guys we believe are primed to have improved seasons.
No. 5: David Montgomery, RB
Things are shaping up for Montgomery to take more backfield snaps for the Bears next season. The team hasn't added any major running backs through free agency or the draft. New offensive line coach Juan Castillo specializes in helping the run game. Plus, Montgomery was starting to hit his stride in the back end of 2019. He averaged 4.3 YPC from Weeks 13-17, versus his 3.3 YPC from Weeks 1-11.
No. 4: James Daniels, LG
Another guy who could benefit from new OL coach Juan Castillo. Daniels hasn’t been terrible in his two seasons with the Bears, but bouncing from left guard in 2018 to center in 2019, then back to left guard led to some inconsistent play. Will the Bears have the luxury of leaving him in one spot all season?
No. 3: Roquan Smith, ILB
At times during his two seasons in Chicago, Smith has looked like the next great Bears linebacker in a long line of great Bears linebackers (see: his debut in 2018). But personal issues and a pectoral injury kept him out of four games last year, and in other weeks he was clearly not playing to the best of his abilities. But like Montgomery, Smith was really starting to hit his groove in the second half of the season before he tore his pec.
No. 2: Khalil Mack, OLB
It might sound crazy to say Mack can improve, but there’s real reason to believe he can play even better in 2020. With Akiem Hicks returning from injury and Robert Quinn joining the fold, defenses will have to pay special attention to more players than just “52,” which should afford him more opportunities to get to the quarterback. Add the fact that Mack should be recovered from nagging injuries that he dealt with last season, and Mack could be even scarier for opponents this season.
No. 1: Roy Robertson-Harris, DE
Another guy who should benefit from Akiem Hicks’s return. When Hicks is on the field, Robertson-Harris usually rotates into the game for pass-rushing downs. Those are quality snaps, and he was able to capitalize on them in 2018, notching three sacks while only playing 34 percent of the Bears defensive snaps. In 2019, Robertson-Harris saw the field more, playing 51 percent of defensive snaps. But without Hicks opposite him on the line, his production actually went down, only getting to the quarterback twice.
If Robertson-Harris can maintain that higher snap count with Hicks back on the line, he could have a breakout campaign.