Following the Bears 0-2 start to the season, fans and media outlets determined the Bears season was a complete wash. ESPN analyst Scott Van Pelt questioned the Bears “will to fight” while head coach John Fox candidly expressed disappointment for the Bears performance, stating his team needs to put in more effort. Now, I’m not the first to agree that the Bears’ lackluster performance isn’t welcome by Chicagoans, but let me be the first to state that the Bears season is not lost yet. Let me explain:
The Bears ranked 30th in terms of points scored throughout the duration of the first two weeks, scoring 14 points a week. They also rank 31st in total yards, averaging only 270 yards per game. That said, the Bears offense has no room to get worse. With Cutler’s week to week injury, quarterback Brian Hoyer will be taking snaps, and while Hoyer hasn’t received overwhelmingly positive media reviews since his debut in the NFL, he fits the Bears system similarly to past quarterbacks. As a matter of fact, Brian Hoyer most resembles ex-Bears quarterback Josh McCown, as each were unheralded talents for much of their NFL career. Moral of the story: don’t consider Brian Hoyer a lost cause at quarterback.
The Bears continue to face an uphill battle as running back Jeremy Langford has fallen short of expectations, running for a measly 85 yards over two games. The Bears rank 25th in the NFL in terms of rushing yards, and given the potential issues at quarterback, the rushing game needs to improve…
...And it will improve, naturally. Langford solidified himself as this season’s starter following a slew of productive games when Matt Forte went down with injury last season. His 40 yard per game mark is nothing early season jitters: an issue that’ll be resolved as Langford becomes comfortable in his starting role.
The Bears still have the weapons needed to thrive at offense, so don’t hit the panic button just yet.
Defensive production may prove to be tricky for the Bears in the coming weeks as multiple defensive pieces are down with injury. Starters Eddie Goldman, Lamarr Houston, Danny Trevathan, and Adrian Amos were all either limited in or scratched from practice this week. Losing four of eleven starters commonly causes for panic, but no one in the Bears organization seems overly concerned.
“Whether you’re the starter, the backup or the third guy, you prepare every week like you’re the starter,” stated Brian Hoyer.
The Bears defense will be undeniably worse in the coming weeks, so why shouldn’t you panic? Because fortunately the Bears possess the reserve talents needed to compete on defense until the starters return. The defense will worsen, not completely break.
John Fox is a proven winner, however he hasn’t seen a large amount of victories through his tenure in Chicago. That said, given time for development, Fox and his teams have meshed well late season, causing for long winning streaks and deep postseason runs.
The most obvious example proving John Fox’s late season success was when in 2003 he took an 8-5 Panthers team to an 11-5 record that eventually ended in a Super Bowl loss.
Now I am not saying that John Fox can take the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2016, but he has proven himself throughout the entirety of his career, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that this year will be any different.
The Bears have been far from good, but given the adversity they have needed to overcome at such an early point, the team should be expected to have more “grit” in them come late season.