The Bears can ‘start fresh’ and think big if they can beat New Orleans

The Bears can ‘start fresh’ and think big if they can beat New Orleans

For all the focus this week on Mitchell Trubisky throwing seven passes and the conservative gameplan the Bears deployed last weekend, there’s a potentially season-altering possibility on the horizon: If the Bears beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, they’ll be 4-4 halfway through the season, which coincides with their bye week. 

“It’s huge,” offensive lineman Kyle Long said. “Everybody understands the importance of this game moving into the bye week, getting a chance to start fresh after the bye. It’s huge for us.”

Beating New Orleans, of course, remains a significant hurdle to that .500 record. The Saints have won their last four games and rank fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA; the Bears, despite wins in back-to-back weeks, rank 27th. 

But as long as the Bears’ defense continues playing as well as they have the last few weeks — the last touchdown they allowed was in the third quarter of Oct. 9’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings — this team will have a chance against even one of the NFL’s best offenses in the Saints. 

A win on Sunday would be no small feat, too, given it would give the Bears a .500 record against a relatively difficult first-half schedule: The average DVOA ranking for the Bears’ opponents in their first eight games is 13; in the second half, the average opponent DVOA ranking is 16, with games against San Francisco (30) and Cleveland (31). 

So if you’re the optimistic type, you can start to convince yourself that the Bears could find themselves in playoff contention, no matter how ugly or sloppy these last few wins may have seemed. Beating New Orleans isn’t a requirement for that, but it would be massive for this team’s confidence that they can at least give themselves a shot at playing meaningful games in December. 

“Just get us back to zero-zero, and then it’s all full speed from there,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “I want to win every game, I’m trying to be greedy this year. But I know it takes one game at a time and it takes putting in that work and really believing in that work that you put in and pushing these guys and getting that extra work, extra film. These guys have really bought in. I’m really proud to be a part of this defense and a part of this team.” 

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.

The four-episode series will air on at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night. 

Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.

For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.