The Chicago Bears appear to have hit a home run with the hiring of Matt Nagy as head coach. Among his many strengths, Nagy very well could be the ideal coach to groom quarterback Trubisky into the unquestioned leader of the franchise we think he can be. But without ample talent surrounding that tandem, their upside would be limited.
So here’s a thought for Bears fans: What would the offense look like if you took Nagy and Trubisky were taken out of the equation?
It’s something that wasn’t really on my mind until I read this piece by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranking the NFL’s best and worst offensive arsenals. It’s an intriguing concept, to be sure, and one worth discussing.
Essentially, Barnwell wants to rank offensive arsenals based on the talent at the skill positions, but without taking into consideration what the quarterback and head coach do for the unit. Through this lens, Barnwell puts Chicago’s offensive arsenal in the middle of the pack when it comes to league rankings. The Bears check in at No. 17 entering the 2019 season, which is respectable, but a considerable step back from a unit that was No. 9 at this time last year. Hey, what gives?
As noted, Trubisky’s up-and-down season ad an effect on the pieces around him. But also, none of the players who GM Ryan Pace put around the second-year quarterback came up with breakthrough years. Allen Robinson starred in the Bears’ postseason loss, but his regular season was cut short by a few games due to injuries and his overall numbers weren’t much to write home about. Trey Burton’s 54-catch, 569-yard, 6-touchdown season was OK, but it felt like there were some plays left on the table. Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel flashed big-play potential, but it wasn’t consistent throughout the season.
If you’re in search of a silver lining, you’re in luck. The good news is that the Bears still have a tremendous amount of upside. We saw some of it on display with Robinson’s monster breakout against the Eagles last January, but there is still plenty of untapped potential within the likes of returning standouts like Miller, Burton, and Tarik Cohen, as well as rookies such as David Montgomery and Riley Ridley. Perhaps the breakout regular-season performance that eluded the Bears last season will come this year if Trubisky takes another step in the right direction. Lump in the inclusion of having the reigning NFL Coach of the Year, and it could be just enough to make this group go from good too great.