As the football season nears closer, there are lots of questions surrounding the Bears, one of the league’s most questionable teams. While I can’t see the future, I thought it would be a great idea for me to give my thoughts to some of the questions our readers had about the team.
Thus, welcome to the inaugural episode of Mailbag, Cover32 Bears’ new series designed to answer your questions about your favorite team. This series will be a weekly installment to our page, so send your questions to us on Twitter or in the comments below this article to be featured in Episode Two!
First and, in my eyes, most obviously, Kyle Fuller. Fuller just hasn’t been what he was cut out to be when drafted. Not only did a knee injury keep him off the field last season, but he hasn’t been effective on it. Six career interceptions in 32 games is not effective enough to keep trying out, especially given that the defense is going to be a great unit this season. The Bears have already declined his 5th year option, which leads me to believe they may be ready to cut the cord with Fuller.
The second one is Zach Miller. With the addition of Adam Shaheen and Dion Sims, Miller really isn’t necessary in the tight end room anymore. While I think Miller is better than Sims, Ryan Pace constructed their contracts, it makes a lot more sense financially for the Bears to cut Miller.
The third would be Bobby Massie. The Bears have flexibility along their offensive line, with Kyle Long being able to play basically anywhere along the line. This makes it a lot easier for them to mix and match players if an injury occurs. Massie, while decent, isn’t good enough to warrant a $6,000,000 contract for 2017.
Lastly, I don’t feel Victor Cruz makes the team. The Bears wide receiver room is crowded as is, and I feel that Cruz, and his almost $2.5 million contract, won’t make the cut. I think Tanner Gentry, who many say has been lighting up training camp, makes the roster over him.
Well, I guess that, after my answer to the previous answer, this is fairly obvious. I don’t think he even makes the team.
I feel that, while the Bears value veteran leadership, they will better value guys on lower contracts to take flyers on. Keep in mind that, over the past two seasons, Cruz hasn’t hit 1,000 yards combined. Put this together with the fact that he doesn’t have a fully guaranteed contract and players like Tanner Gentry are shining so far in training camp, I don’t feel there will be a spot for Cruz on this roster.
If he does make it, however, I still don’t think he finds a way to be all that productive in Chicago. He really only had a couple good years in his career, and I don’t think he’d be remembered the same way if it wasn’t for his crazy 2011 campaign which saw the Giants win the big game.
Assuming he stays healthy, Eddie Jackson. Jackson claims he is at 100% health right now, but coming off a broken leg, health is always going to be a concern of mine regarding him.
Realistically, Jackson will probably be the only rookie Bear that starts this season. Not only do I feel he beats out Adrian Amos to start at safety, Jackson will likely be the best kickoff returner the Bears have had since Devin Hester.
Special Teams has been such a lackluster aspect of the Bears since Devin Hester left, and I feel Jackson will be able to fix that, give that he averaged 23.0 yards per Punt Return last season for the Crimson Tide. While having the broken leg leaves some questions, I don’t feel his elusiveness and speed will be effected all that much, and Jackson will be an elite returner.
I have already gone quite a bit into detail regarding this question in a previous article, but in short, yes I do.
Howard did more with less than any other running back in the NFL last season. Sure, the Bears offensive line is not anything to laugh at, but it is not one of the elite lines in the league. The golden standard for offensive lines, the Dallas Cowboys, had a big part in making Ezekiel Elliott the league’s leading rusher.
Howard rushed for more yards per carry than Elliott, and he averaged more than any running back in football not named LeSean McCoy. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Howard yet either, I believe he will continue to improve in 2017.
This was, by far, the hardest question I got asked. I went back and forth between a couple different players, specifically linebackers. However, I decided that the success of this defense isn’t going to rely on the linebackers. It will rely on the defensive backs. Thus, I’ve chosen Marcus Cooper.
Cooper was the Bears biggest free agency signing in the offseason, signing from the Arizona Cardinals. He didn’t have an exceptional year last year, with only 4 interceptions, but I’m optimistic he will be able to turn it on this season, and anchor down a secondary on his own.
The only thing which prevented this defense from being a top unit last season was the secondary, and for it to succeed, Cooper will have to be a great signing. And I think he will.
That’s it for Episode One of Mailbag, send us your questions on Twitter (@Cover32_CHI) or in the comments below to be featured in Episode Two!