I can see it:
Which NFL team will have the most improved offense in 2018? I’ll go with the Bears.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) May 16, 2018
- An improved offense will likely lead to Bears players actually being drafted early in your respective fantasy leagues. Michael Moore of Pro Football Focus rounds up a way-too-early fantasy mock draft. And while it’s too soon to put that draft board together, it’s worth taking note that two Bears players are mocked to go in the first three rounds of this 12-team draft. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is the first off the board as the last pick in the second round, with Moore writing Robinson will be the top target on “a potentially very good offense.” Swoon.
- Running back Jordan Howard goes five picks later. It’s a bit of a fall for Howard, who was a highly-sought-after rusher last season after finishing as the league’s second-leading rusher behind only Ezekiel Elliott as a rookie in 2016. But after watching the rushing totals put up by Kareem Hunt in Kansas City, Howard should still be expected to being worthy of a RB1 spot.
- Anthony Miller could be one of those fantasy sleepers you kick yourself after passing on, but it’s the intangibles that are raising his profile now. Dan Durkin of The Athletic writes Miller as someone who could help the Bears establish a positive offensive identity. Miller has an edge to him, which is something the Bears have been lacking for quite some time. His hustle and grind are not to be underestimated. After all, Miller was a self-made All-American who rose from walk-on status to leave Memphis as the school’s all-time leader in every important receiving category.
- Let’s keep the praise coming for the Bears’ bountiful offseason:
— Charley Casserly (@CharleyCasserly) May 16, 2018
- Even though the Bears finished the 2017 season with a defense that ranked in the top-10 in points and yards, the team still found a way to bulk up in an area of strength in the offseason. Drafting Roquan Smith with the eighth pick was a no-brainer, but adding another inside linebacker prospect in Joel Iyiegbuniwe came as something of a surprise. In the eyes of returning inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, the competition is a good thing. “It’s a positive thing,” Kwiatkoski said, via WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge. “We’re all out here competing, so things haven’t changed in that room.”
- Danny Trevathan has already laid out that he will help bring along Roquan Smith, so here’s hoping the mentorship proves to be a quality learning experience.
- Speaking of Smith, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks doesn’t see an undersized player at linebacker when he is on the field:
"Definitely smaller than I thought he would be but he plays like he's 6'5. Really explosive. He looks good out there, he's picking it up real quick"@The_Dream99 on #Bears rookie LB @RoquanSmith1 pic.twitter.com/FJlRSr7uXY
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 16, 2018
- Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton is buying Smith as a Day 1 starter for the Bears in 2018. So while Matt Nagy dangles the carrot with the motivational thought that nothing will be handed to anyone – even the top picks – the expectation is (and has been since Smith was drafted) that No. 58 will be starting at inside linebacker next to Trevathan. That Smith himself is taking a low-key approach to earning a spot in the starting lineup represents what the Bears seem to want to be about moving forward. Work hard and the good things you want as a team (and player) will come.
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes about how the Bears’ defense is rallying around its quarterback. We’ve already heard from Prince Amukamara, but he is far from the only one who has his signal caller’s back. This feels a lot different than the last time the Bears invested in a high profile quarterback. One thing that still stands out to me after all these years was the “Us vs. Them” component of a veteran defense led by Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs being on the other side of an offense led by the much-ballyhooed arrival of Jay Cutler. Those Bears didn’t push their chips to the middle of the table right away with Cutler as these Bears did with Trubisky. Because if they would have done so, they wouldn’t have tried to pigeon-hole Devin Hester into being a No. 1 wide receiver despite his lack of experience at the position.
- Again, this all goes back to the Bears looking like an organization that is pulling from the same side of the rope. Working together to improve collectively as a unit will help the team go places. At least, further than the alternative.
- Speaking of going places: Never tell me the odds … unless there is money to be made on a timely wager, of course:
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) May 16, 2018