Jim Dabrowski

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The 2021 Chicago Bears

Here we are heading into the start of the 2021 football season and somewhat uncharacteristically, I’m not all that optimistic for my Bears and not really excited to watch them this season. Oh sure, I’ll watch every game I can, but overall I’m pretty “meh” about the whole thing.

Like I wrote last time, the Bears have consistently said they will play Justin Fields when he’s “ready” but none of us outside the organization knew what their definition of “ready” was. I think now we know. They think Fields needs to sit as the backup for some amount of regular season games before he can really be a starter. As a result, I don’t have much optimism for success this season—I think it’s going to be roughly the same as the last two.

I think this much is clear: neither Nagy nor Pace are going to be fired after the 2021 season regardless of how it turns out. They have a new quarterback and the organization trusts them to develop and play him when he’s ready. One thing I thought right after they drafted Fields and heard echoed in the Blogosphere and Twitterverse was that, for the Bears, 2021 doesn’t matter. They aren’t playing for anything in 2021, they’re aiming for 2022 and beyond. They have this year to develop Fields, get some new guys on the team, shed some old guys, etc. I lost sight of that during training camp and pre-season with the excitement building around Fields but I think we see now, they aren’t playing for 2021. They’ll never admit that, but that doesn’t make it untrue. 2021 is a bridge year. They aren’t going to tank, but they aren’t exactly going to be in the mix for any sort of playoff appearance. They’re going to be a middle-of-the-road team, with some hope for the future. Like the last two years, they’re going to stumble their way to roughly a 8-9 season but show promise for the future.

The Offense

The offense this year will be OK. The offensive line play will be OK to poor overall leading to a stumbling, inconsistent offense. Behind them, too often Montgomery will continue to have to evade defenders in the backfield and as we saw in previous seasons, when that happens, the run game isn’t effective. Andy Dalton will continue to be what he has been – a middle of the pack quarterback who will make some plays, but who you can’t rely on to win games for you. The result, an offense that’s better than the bottom of the barrel they’ve been the last couple of years, but not much better. They’ll continue to fail to score very many points and will have to rely on their defense to keep them in games.

The Defense

The defense this year will be OK to good. I think their line play will be top-notch but their secondary, especially the corners, will be picked on all season because they just aren’t all that good. As a result, the Bears will be fine stopping the run game, but the good opposing quarterbacks will be able to pick them apart in the quick passing game. There’s not much else to say here. This defense will fine, but not good enough to keep them in games when the offense is incapable of consistently scoring more than 20 points.

All this leads them to another mediocre year. I’m sure by the end of the season we’ll see Justin Fields play and that will get us all excited about 2022 and the potential it brings. “Just wait til next year!” will continue to be our perennial cheer. I’ll still watch and root for them, but honestly, there isn’t much to look forward to this season. But just wait til next year!