Chicago Bears bold predictions are made each year out of possibility, not probability. They’re called bold for a reason. It means they aren’t likely to happen, but there’s enough evidence in place to believe it can if enough things go right. People predicted the Bears would go 12-4 last year and were undoubtedly called crazy by many. Then it happened.
Football has proven time and again to be resistant to staying the same. Change is inevitable. Players who struggled one year suddenly become stars the next. Teams who dominated the previous season now can’t get out their own way. It’s one of the reasons the game is loved so much. That aura of mystery about what could happen this time.
So what will be some of those surprises from the Bears in 2019?
Leonard Floyd finally cracks the 10-sack barrier
The second half of last season really did look like a watershed event for Floyd. He seemed to play with more confidence and aggressiveness than he has in years. As a result, he delivered five sacks down the stretch and was constantly able to harass opposing quarterbacks. It gave people hope that he is hitting his stride at just the right time.
What could really help him in 2019 is the arrival of Chuck Pagano and his right hand man, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino. These two have shown several times in the past that they can bring the best out of pass rushers, be they young or old. If Floyd can stay healthy, and with their help? He will finally crack that elusive 10-sack mark.
Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix combine for 12 interceptions
There is a genuine concern that the Bears may have lost something with the exit of Adrian Amos. Specifically in regards to their strong run defense and tackling ability. However, not enough people are talking about what they might’ve gained with the arrival of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. While he may not be an efficient tackler, he is a far better ballhawk than Amos ever was.
Despite switching teams last year midway through the season, he still had three interceptions. Now he’s in the same secondary as Eddie Jackson with a front seven featuring Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. This will present more opportunities than he’s ever had to get his hands on the football. Don’t be surprised when those two safeties combine for 12 interceptions.
Elliot Fry wins the Bears kicking competition
Most of the focus on the Bears kicking competition has shifted to Eddy Pineiro. Not a surprise since the team traded for him from Oakland. This has led to immediate assumptions that the job is his to lose. That’s not hard to understand, but it isn’t entirely true. People must remember that the Bears get that pick back if Pineiro is cut before appearing in five games.
That means the competition is still wide open. The man who cannot and should not be ignored is Elliot Fry. He has the most experience of anybody left standing. He kicked for four years at South Carolina and then spent a season honing his craft in the AAF. Word is he was steady and consistency during the three days at rookie minicamps. He will be the one to claim the prize in the end.
Anthony Miller makes his first Pro Bowl
The 2018 season wasn’t an easy one for Anthony Miller. Not because he wasn’t productive. The rookie had seven touchdown catches. It was more for the pain he was playing through. Miller spent most of the year dealing with an injured shoulder. One that would frequently dislocate if he did so much as run a little too hard. He said later he basically played with one arm.
If he could do what he did with that sort of handicap, what will happen when both arms are available? The Bears are about to find out. Miller underwent shoulder surgery and expectations are he’ll be fully recovered before the season begins. At that point, people will see the real player the Bears traded up for last year when he makes his first Pro Bowl.
David Montgomery breaks Jordan Howard‘s rookie rushing record
The Bears took a bit of a leap of faith when they traded Jordan Howard to Philadelphia. Despite clear signs that he wasn’t the ideal fit for Matt Nagy’s offense, he was still a productive running back. The team was lasting that go in belief that GM Ryan Pace could find somebody that had what they were looking for from a skill set standpoint.
David Montgomery ended up being the choice, and it looks like a good one. Not only is he a strong, quick runner but he is an added threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Expectations are he’ll have a good rookie season. Somewhere between 700-900 yards rushing in the Bears’ new committee. They’ll all be shocked when he seizes control of the job right away and breaks Howard’s rookie record of 1,313 yards.