The 2016 Chicago Bears season was chock full of injuries, poor performances, losses, and ultimately disappointment. It’s difficult to pull the good out of a 3-12 season, but there were certainly flashes of what could be the future of the Bears. But how bright will that future be–what can we expect out of the Bears next season? As it turns out, the future might not be so clear.
Is Howard the Answer?
When the Bears spent a fifth round pick on Jordan Howard last year, expectations were somewhat muted. He was the tenth running back taken in the draft, falling behind the likes of CJ Prosise, Kenyan Drake, and Tyler Ervin, among others. Howard outperformed every single one, with the exception, of course, of Ezekiel Elliott. While Drake, Prosise and Ervin combined for a total of 356 rushing yards, Howard went off for 1,313 and 6 scores on the ground. Next year, the Bears will be forced to determine if Howard’s explosive rookie year was a fluke or the real deal. My inkling says it’s the latter.
What do Bobby Massie, Kyle Long, Kyle Fuller, Kevin White, Josh Sitton, Eddie Goldman, Mitch Unrein, Alshon Jeffery, Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee and a number of others have in common? All missed time for the Bears this past season due to a combination of injuries and suspensions. Next year, most of these should become non-issues. With White and Jeffery back to full health the receiving corps will be back to full health, giving whoever is under center a few strong targets.
Cutler’s time in Chicago may be winding to a close. After seven years of a strong arm that was seemingly best suiting for throwing interceptions and missing targets, it’s time to end the Jay Cutler era. The issue that cutting Cutler won’t clear up is the lingering question of who will start under center in his absence. Neither Matt Barkley nor Brian Hoyer are ideal replacements. The 2017 free agent class is also less-than stellar. The possibility for a trade remains–New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo and the oft-injured Tony Romo are often cited as trade candidates for teams in search of a QB this summer.