The Chicago Bears play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford, so it's pretty obvious that a key to this season will be the defense's pass rush.
Unfortunately, getting after the quarterback doesn't appear to be a strength of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's unit. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bears have one of the worst group of pass rushers in the NFL.
Right now, expectations for what the Bears can expect off the edge pass-rush wise should be very low. Injuries have slowed Floyd’s development after he was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, leading to just 72 total pressures through three seasons. Starting opposite him will likely be Acho, with Lynch in on nickel pass-rushing packages. Lynch has averaged four sacks, and just over six hits and 21 hurries per season in his four-year career. The Bears top pass-rusher right now is Hicks on the defensive interior, and after producing 49 total pressures in 2017, he will likely need to be their top pass-rusher again in 2018.
If Sam Acho ends up starting opposite Leonard Floyd, then Aaron Lynch will go down as a free-agent bust. He was signed to start, not to be a rotational pass rusher. In fact, it's Acho who's better equipped to rotate into the lineup and provide a burst of energy when needed.
Sixth-round pick Kylie Fitts is another candidate to bring pressure off the edge for the Bears, but he too is a great unknown. His college resume is littered with injuries and more potential than production. Chicago is high on him, however, and he could be another day-three steal to add to Ryan Pace's draft catalog.
Ultimately, the Bears' pass rush will come down to Floyd and whether he can become the elite sack artist he was drafted to be. In fact, he's entering something of a make-or-break year. If he doesn't prove he can stay healthy enough to register 10 or more sacks this season, Chicago may have to re-think its plan at edge rusher.
Mitch Trubisky is going to the Pro Bowl, with the Bears' quarterback replacing Jared Goff on the NFC roster with the Rams advancing to the Super Bowl.
Trubisky was previously named a Pro Bowl alternate after throwing for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 95.4. Trubisky's passer rating ranked 10th in the NFC, behind Drew Brees, Russell Wilson (who replaced Aaron Rodgers on the NFC roster), Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz (who's injured), Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kirk Cousins, Rodgers and Dad Prescott. Trubisky's 3,223 yards rank 11th in the conference, while only three NFC quarterbacks threw more interceptions than Trubisky (Jameis Winston, Josh Rosen and Cam Newton).
Still, the Bears will take Trubisky's invite to the Pro Bowl as a positive marker in his development even if his production wasn't in the top half of quarterbacks in his own conference. He's the first Bears quarterback to be named to a Pro Bowl since Jim McMahon in 1986.
In the aftermath of the Bears' first-round playoff exit, coach Matt Nagy, general manager Ryan Pace and Trubisky's teammates said they were pleased with the growth Trubisky made in 2018.
“We're lucky to have him," Nagy said. "I'm looking forward to the future. I really am, with him, because the city of Chicago is lucky to have that kid at quarterback.”
Trubisky will join defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson and returner Tarik Cohen at the Pro Bowl, with linebacker Khalil Mack dropping out after tweaking his knee against the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson's inclusion in the Bears' press release about Trubisky would seem to indicate he'll be going to Orlando after missing the Bears' final three games of the season with a sprained ankle.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.
Time to readjust that 2019 Bears' games budget.
On Monday morning, the Bears announced that they'll be headed to London next season:
It'll be the first time the Bears have played in London since October 2011, when they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18.
It's one of 5 international games next season, all of which were announced this morning:
Get ready for some 9am Bears football!