A year ago the Bears were into the process of hiring Ryan Pace as their new general manager and John Fox as head coach. Now, in spite of a 6-10 season that fell well short of expectations inside Halas Hall, the NFL has giving a casual referendum on what the Bears have been doing.
First were the Miami Dolphins beating the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and others to bring offensive coordinator Adam Gase to south Florida as their head coach.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
Now organizations area also looking beyond the coaching staff for Bears talent.
Douglas was hired by Pace after spending 15 years on the staff of the Baltimore Ravens and GM Ozzie Newsome, one of the consistently strong organizations in the NFL Draft. Douglas was the Ravens regional scout on Pernell McPhee, a Ravens find in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft.
Alex Marvez at FOX Sports tweeted this week that Gase and the Dolphins sought to bring Bears linebackers coach Clint Hurtt in as defensive line coach but that the Bears wanted to retain Hurtt.
Hurtt served as the Bears outside linebackers coach in 2015 after previously serviing as the team's assistant defensive line coach in 2014.
Kevin White had a, well, interesting media session on Wednesday, but was he wrong for how he approached it? Plus, Moon and JJ look at Mike Furrey’s approach to White and how Mitch Trubisky is quickly growing into being a leader barely over a year after being drafted.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
There's a lot of optimism about the Chicago Bears in 2018 largely because of the incredible offseason had by GM Ryan Pace. It started in free agency with several big-name additions on offense and continued in the NFL Draft with the selection of Roquan Smith, arguably the top all-around defender in the class.
Pace now finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He's entering a season with actual expectations. While those expectations vary, one thing is consistent: Improvement is expected.
According to Pro Football Focus, Chicago should end up challenging for a playoff spot.
No less than five additions on offense this offseason could make key impacts for the Bears, including wide receiver Allen Robinson who was one of the NFL’s best in 2015 before a down year in 2016 and essentially missing all of 2017 through injury. He’s joined at the position by Taylor Gabriel, who had three touchdowns on throws 20 yards or further downfield in 2016 and rookie Anthony Miller, who was tied for fourth among wide receivers in this draft class with 19 missed tackles forced on receptions. Add in tight end Trey Burton, who had three touchdowns from just 16 targets when lined up in the slot and rookie offensive lineman James Daniels from Iowa and it’s easy to see why this offense led by Mitchell Trubisky has the potential to trend upwards big time in 2018.
The Bears were one of five teams PFF listed as a surprise Wild Card candidate. The road to the post-season will be challenging, however. Not only do all of the new pieces have to gel, but they have to do it while playing in one of the toughest divisions in football.
The NFC North could have three teams -- not including the Bears -- playing in January. The Vikings may be the most talented club in the NFC and the Packers will always be a contender with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The Lions have some vulnerability, but they've had more success than Chicago in recent seasons.
Still, Pace deserves credit for winning the offseason.