CHISportsNation

OK the 2018 Chicago Bears training camp has officially started. And I ask? Now that we have had time to absorb all the picks and review the free agents, can it now be time to say that there will be a rebirth of sorts for the Bears? Now I know speculation and pontification has been going on since January 2018 when the Bears hired Matt Nagy to become the 16th head coach of the team. Are we made to believe Nagy is the coach that can be any different than Fox or Trestman? In 2018, is this roster more adapt or more capable to compete positionally better than we have seen in the past? Do we now have a front office who has spent enough for players, coaching, training staff and facilities that can give this team what it takes?

In the recent years we have had two different coaching staffs who consistently tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. The inability by Fox and Trestman to properly conceive a game plan and make valuable in game changes has been like watching Groundhog Day on a perpetual 5 year time loop! “Phil, Phil Connors I thought that was you, Ned Ryerson” dialog is great for a movie but not for an NFL team to relive year in year out . Now I fully understand that personnel, player depth and the quality of the players can limit your overall flexibility. Unfortunately this does not, in my mind, give the last 2 head coaches a pass for feckless coaching.

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Generic Bears Helmet Photo Cred: Chad Routh

Phase 1: Offense starts with scheme and the staff willingness to identify the players strengths and weaknesses. Good news Nagy is not those other 2 guys, nor are his assistants out of their depth, and the players on paper are much better! The starting QB is on a level that Bears franchise has been searching for at least a generation. Trubisky physically and fundamentally has more capability to handle a variety of offensive schemes and provide Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich true situational diversity. Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand is going to transform the line via technique, body position and attitude conducive for success. This year, unlike in years past, the line will also have depth more prepared to compete all positions. The running back roster this year, lead by 3rd year PRO Jordan Howard, will do their part in not allowing down and distance dictate, or what the staff can call at any time during the game. The tight ends this year have a player for every role or formation a coach could ever utilize. Simply being able to go split / dual or wide and having guys be x,y,h or z has numerous combinations. The wide-out flexibility and overall player talent may be the best the Bears have ever had. I know both Robinson and White, who are 6’3″, are both recovering from injuries. This is a crew is loaded with speed, route runners and size; one that Trubisky could have only dreamed of growing up in Ohio drawing plays in the dirt.

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Phase 2: Defense has a multitude of facets that traditionally lead towards repetitive dominance. The return of Vic Fangio is a true fait accompli that no one can debate. The overall returning talent and players that understand what a Fangio-lead defense requires is truly a benefit not to be underestimated. In 2018 the Bears have a Secondary that can pursue, defend, and short circuit an offense on a game in game out bases. Now I just might be as exited about the linebackers as any unit on the Bears. Roquan Smith is no doubt the true sideline to sideline, high football instinct, athletically gifted true middle backer the Bears require. And I’m not the guy buying all the lack of players quality at outside backer that may have been reported all off-season. Leonard Floyd, Sam Acho, Aaron Lynch, Kylie Fitts, Isaiah Irving and others will make a unit not only capable, but I think highly proficient in pursuit of the QB. You ask why? For a few simple reasons can this be accomplished. It is never just talent that leads to sacks alone. Can your secondary cover? Check. Can your D-line get pressure or push the pocket? Check. Can your inside backers cover intermediate routes? Check. Now we have the D-line lead by Akiem Hicks and bolstered by guys ready to raise their level of play and youthful infusion willing to learn and contribute on every play in every game.

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Phase 3: This is maybe the one over-looked phase that has failed us since the departure of Dave Toub in 2012. Enter Chris Tabor, Special Teams head coach out of the Cleveland Browns, and by the way their one true unit who has played well. Chris Tabor is from the Dave Toub tree of coaches and will bring us back to being able to control field position the Bears have sorely missed. Now let me assure you Coach Tabor will make a difference in coverage and returns. This, just like any other phase, requires the players who can get it done. 2018 Bears have the overall roster depth that includes ball hawks, speed, size and experienced proven performers who live for those moments.
This year has challenges just like in any year that will always remain an issue for all 32 teams. Injuries continue to plague any team at any time during the year. The Bears have identified a new training staff and nutritional staff in hopes to combat soft-tissue and recurring injuries that should be curtailed. The one seemingly self-inflicted oversight is the field conditions. Year-in year-out the franchise has consistently had one of the worst surfaces throughout the league. Why? Maybe to slow down the other team? Oversight? This has to be addressed regardless of reasons, and I mean now! The 2018 Nagy-lead team will have a requirement schematically to play at a fast pace on surface to match. My training camp preview is optimistic and gleaming towards a future that in my view as being on the rise. There are no delusions of grandeur or contrived hyperbolic notions buoyed by myopic wishful thinking. Instead I have only listed my core belief in what and why teams can succeed if all 3 phase are addressed equally. With almost 40 years of following the Bears, I remain grounded by history while enjoying the present and completely sanguine about their future.

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