Why Bears Could Make Coaching & Quarterback Change by End of September

Matthew Jordan

Friday, August 11, 2017 1:41 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 1:41 PM UTC

The Chicago Bears are in one of the worst three-year stretches in franchise history, and oddsmakers don’t expect much better in 2017. Here’s why I think the Bears could make big changes by the end of September.

It’s the NFL preseason, so it’s supposed to be a time of optimism. I’ll be a glass half-full guy for a minute when it comes to the 2017 Chicago Bears.

They should have one of the best running backs in the NFL in second-year Jordan Howard. Despite not playing at all in Week 1 last year and getting only 12 carries combined the next two weeks, the fifth-round pick out of Indiana finished second in the NFL with 1,313 yards rushing. He averaged more yards per carry than league leader and 2016 No. 4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas. Howard is +1250 at 5Dimes to win the 2017 rushing title.

Chicago’s offensive line should be pretty good, although that depends on Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long being healthy. Alas, he didn’t end last season that way and might not be ready for Week 1 as he recovers from offseason ankle surgery. The front seven of the defense also should be above average. Linebacker Leonard Floyd showed signs of stardom with seven sacks and a recovered TD in 12 games as a rookie. He reportedly looks amazing in camp after bulking up this offseason.

That’s about it for the positives.

The defensive secondary was awful last year and doesn’t look much better. It’s a weak group of receivers after losing Alshon Jeffery to free agency and Kevin White apparently a bust.

Chicago also has major questions at quarterback with Mike Glennon taking over. He has been shaky during camp and was an ugly 2-for-8 for 20 yards and a pick-six in the preseason opener vs. Denver. There’s a reason Glennon hasn’t started a game since 2014 with Tampa. Mark Sanchez is the current backup and Mitch Trubisky, whom the Bears drafted at No. 2 overall this year, is No. 3. Trubisky was terrific in the exhibition opener, going 18-for-25 for 166 yards and a TD while rushing for 38 yards.

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Schedule Not Kind Early

In my opinion, the Bears have the toughest opening four games in the NFL. I believe they will be the only team in the league to go 0-4 in September – to be fair, only they and the Packers play four in the month. If that’s the case, embattled Coach John Fox could be gone before the calendar turns and Trubisky could be called upon to at least give the fans hope for the future and reason to show up at Soldier Field. The fans already want him starting, frankly. Trubisky is +2500 to be Offensive Rookie of the Year at BetOnline.

Fox is the +700 third-favorite to be the first coach fired. The Bears are 9-23 under his watch, and he’s simply not popular in the Windy City. I don’t see him escaping a 0-4 start.

Defending NFC champion Atlanta visits Chicago in Week 1, with the Bears as one of the biggest opening underdogs at +7 on the NFL lines. That secondary is likely in for a long day against the reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and league’s No.1 offense.

In Week 2, the Bears visit rising Tampa Bay and have to deal with the heat and humidity of Florida. Chicago came out of its bye in Week 10 last year yet was still blown out in Tampa 36-10. The Bears had just 283 yards and four turnovers. Jay Cutler was terrible – he’s Miami’s problem now.

Chicago then hosts AFC runner-up Pittsburgh in Week 3. The Steelers only have perhaps the best offensive triplets in the NFL in QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown.

Finally, September closes with a Thursday night trip to Lambeau, where Chicago rarely wins if Aaron Rodgers is healthy.  Green Bay, last year’s NFC runner-up, has outscored Chicago 240-120 in the last nine games at Lambeau, scoring 20-plus points in seven of those. It was 26-10 last year.

If Chicago is blown out all four weeks, Fox could get the gate ahead of a Week 5 Monday night home game vs. Minnesota with those extra days off to make the transition to an interim coach. When/if the Bears turn to Trubisky, they will do it at home as on team wants to throw a rookie QB into the fire in front of a hostile crowd. So perhaps it could be vs. the Vikes. 

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