There is no doubt that the Chicago Bears hierarchy will have a keen eye on several players in their roster, demanding significant improvement in the 2020/21 season – or else. For too long the Bears have accepted mediocrity. There is hope that the general manager and head coach pairing of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy is less accepting of average performances and a change of mindset would be huge on the field.
Unsurprisingly, the Bears are rated in the middle of the road of all next season’s Super Bowl contenders, with the NFL betting ramping up on Super Bowl futures. The Bears have lacked depth in most departments, as well as the consistency, to challenge the likes of the Chiefs and the 49ers; it’s a harsh but true reality. Yet there is renewed hope that Ryan Pace has worked his magic during this offseason to redefine the roster. The defensive line would appear to be at the top end of the league, but the proof is still in the pudding for Chicago’s offense.
Messrs Pace and Nagy will know the importance of improving the productivity of the offense this year. Failure to get a tune out of some of these players could result in their swift exit next February. Which players find themselves in the last chance saloon for the 2020/21 season and will they finally step up to the plate?
Tarik Cohen is currently in the ‘replaceable’ category
Running backs are generally one of the most dispensable positions in an NFL roster. Running backs come and go like the changing of the seasons and only the very best ones get paid handsomely. Unfortunately for Tarik Cohen, he finds himself second-choice right now behind the likes of David Montgomery. Cohen has a long way to go to prove himself in 2020/21. Combining both rushes and receptions thrown, Cohen averaged a mere 4.67 yards per touch last season. In the 2018/19 season, Cohen averaged an impressive 10.2 yards per reception alone. Improving his efficiency and yardage next season will be vital otherwise his Bears career could be at an end.
Mitchell Trubisky at risk of being dumped for veteran Nick Foles
There is no doubt that Mitchell Trubisky arrived in Chicago to tremendous fanfare. He was one of the most hotly-tipped quarterbacks alongside the likes of Mahomes and Watson, but for whatever reason, he has failed to light it up with the Bears. Matt Nagy is clearly so concerned about his 2019/20 performances that the hierarchy went out and traded for former Super Bowl champ Nick Foles to provide competition next season. Already his experience and leadership have had a positive impact on the training field. The management didn’t see fit to give Trubisky a fifth-year extension either. Foles is undoubtedly a veteran now but could be a proven operator for the Bears if Trubisky fails to rise to the challenge.
Is Eddy Piñeiro’s positive attitude enough?
Finding a reliable kicker has been one of those elusive quests for many seasons now in Chicago. Most Bears fans have had precious little confidence in any of their kicking options of late and were keen to see a promising rookie snapped up for the long-term. However, Eddy Piñeiro showed glimpses of reliability last season. The 53-yard kick in Week 2 endeared him to the Bears fans, but as the season progressed he went on to shank some pretty straightforward kicks. Despite being an excellent pro with a top attitude, Piñeiro needs to grab the bull by the horns next season if he is to become a permanent fixture in a Bears jersey.
Charles Leno needs to recapture his form of 2017 and 2018
It would not be remiss to say that some Chicago fans have already given up on tackle, Charles Leno. He was part of an offensive line last season that was well below par. Attributing blame to one tackle might appear short-sighted, which is why Leno is sure to be given another try in 2020/21. His performances in 2017/18 and 2018/19 showed considerable promise. The arrival of new offensive line coach Juan Castillo should hopefully be the kick up the backside that Leno and co. need to scale new heights.