With an Underrated Defense, a Franchise RB, and a Developing QB, the Bears Are Most Likely to Go Worst-to-First Next Season

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With an Underrated Defense, a Franchise RB, and a Developing QB, the Bears Are Most Likely to Go Worst-to-First Next Season

Chicago Bears

The story of the Los Angeles Rams’ rise to the top of the NFC West is a familiar, seeing as it seems to pop up annually in the NFL.

You know the script by now, right?

  • Downtrodden franchise struggles because it is stuck in its old, unsuccessful ways.
  • New blood is pumped through the organization and injects life where there wasn’t any before.
  • Impact players are added, returning players find a new gear, and a contender is born from a pretender before our own eyes.

The remarkable turnaround tale of the Rams has Chicago Bears fans wondering if their franchise has what it takes to do the same. And in a word, yes. At least, according to one pundit.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranks four teams best suited to have a made-for-Hollywood, Rams-like turnaround … and the Bears are at the top of the list. It’s a comparison we’ve drifted toward before, but Barnwell puts it in a different perspective.

“Chicago is as close as we can get to last year’s Rams,” Barnwell writes, pinning the Bears as the team most likely to repeat the Rams’ success. Chicago is followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts (who could be after the same head coach), and San Francisco 49ers. Each of these teams makes a strong case for a turnaround story of their own.

Barnwell cites “an underrated defense” led by menacing interior defender Akeim Hicks, a quarterback-of-the-future type in Mitch Trubisky, and a franchise running back with Jordan Howard as reasons for hope. And like the Rams before them, the Bears seem poised to make a change at the top by dismissing a long-tenured NFL coach and bringing in an offensive-minded leader to help develop the young quarterback.

It isn’t a stretch to believe the Bears can embark on this mission and come out of it successful. The steps are simple. Hire a coach and change the staff’s dynamic, draft and sign skill position players, get another leap forward from young members of the returning core, and get some luck along the way (See? Simple.)

(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

For what it’s worth, the 2017 Bears are built similarly to what the 2016 Rams were: stud running back, defense with potential, young QB still finding his way, veteran coach grasping onto his final days as a leader, etc.

But despite all of that, of course, things might not go as planned. Parity rules in the NFL, but a particularly challenging schedule with a handful of the league’s best quarterbacks await in 2018 and could prove to make things more difficult than expected. Returning players could take steps back in their development. New players can bust in the blink of an eye. The possibilities – both good and bad – are seemingly endless.

And, as always, injuries could rear their ugly heads and take a toll again. In fact, that’s probably somewhat expected. Hence, GM Ryan Pace will have his work cut out for him when he’s re-tooling the 2018 roster.

In the end, the only way to get the ball rolling in the right direction is with a fresh start at the top. Standing pat will only make a repeat of 2017 more likely in 2018. At least the Rams were kind enough to leave a blueprint for the Bears to follow for next season.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.