Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer. It launches a period of cold beer in ice-filled coolers, attractive people strutting their tattoo-riddled muscles down the boardwalk, the sweet green fairway grass of golf courses across the north and just general happiness. It is the season of optimism, so this seems like the right moment to look at why a Chicago Bears fan should be optimistic about the months to come.
(1) Justin Fields is going to be fun to watch.
Is Fields a sure thing to be a franchise quarterback? Of course not. But he brings two things to the position this franchise has lacked for an awful long time: athleticism and charisma. Fields is fun to watch play football and that has not been the case for most of the quarterbacks in the history of the Chicago Bears.
And now he’s the starter. He’ll get an entire summer to be “the guy”. And that’s not a small thing. Fields was neutered in 2021 by a GM and coach that had no interest in playing him; a pair that believed Andy Dalton could win enough games to solidify their standing in the organization. This is not an excuse for his struggles on the field. Those come with being a rookie. But Fields will now exist with the freedom of knowing this is his team. And it should allow his personality to flourish on the field.
(2) The potential impact of the 2022 draft class.
Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker and Velus Jones Jr. are all expected to start come September and the early word on Gordon and Jones – inside the building – is remarkably positive. (It’s a bit hard for a safety to wow people before pads get involved.)
Off-ball linebackers and running backs – the specialty of the Bears – are important pieces to a championship puzzle. But those positions, and even offensive/defensive linemen, don’t give you much to watch during the summer months. Corners are different. Receivers are VERY different. These are guys that can start to brandish their reputations in camp and create genuine excitement for the coming campaign. Gordon and Jones have that potential.
(3) A new culture.
Justin Fields has already mentioned it, and it has been the most consistent thing I’ve heard from folks around ownership over the last few months: the culture has shifted.
Give it a name.
There was plenty of excitement about the prospects of the previous regime, a duo that promised to bring Bears football into the modern age with a dynamic offense reminiscent of what’s happening in Kansas City. But when that promise remained unfulfilled, the excitement turned to concern.
This group is only making one promise: they are going to build a team and coach a team that plays hard and plays fast. Ownership is already seeing that. Poles and Flus believe it will be noticeable to the fans soon too. Soon means this summer.