Offseason Optimism and Concern: Offense

| July 25th, 2023

Training camp is that magical time of year when every NFL fan can have exactly what they want. If you are an optimist who wants to believe your favorite team is going to be good, there’s plenty of reason for hope. If you get your jollies on being negative (you know who you are), it’s not hard to find something to be pessimistic about.

Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, today’s article will have something for you. Let’s go through the roster position-by-position and identify why you should be hopeful and why you should be concerned. We’ll start today with the offense, and move to the defense tomorrow.


Reason for hope: Justin Fields took a small step forward in Year 2, and now enters Year 3 with a vastly improved supporting cast and familiarity with the offense, both of which are firsts for his NFL career. He fits the criteria for making the leap to superstardom better than any other young QB in the NFL.

Cause for concern: Fields takes a ton of sacks and has really struggled on short and quick passes so far in the NFL. Those passes make up a bulk of a QB’s pass attempts, and there is no guarantee he gets better there. If he can’t improve at the easy stuff, he’s never going to be a quality NFL starter.

Running Back

Reason for hope: Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman are two of the best rushers in the NFL, as they finished 4th and 7th, respectively, in rush yards over expectation in 2022. They are both significantly better runners than David Montgomery, which should improve Chicago’s rushing attack that was already among the best in the NFL.

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Grading the Roster: Offense

| July 19th, 2023

Camp approaches, which means it’s time for me to grade the roster. Like I’ve done the last few years, I’ll grade on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst in the NFL, 10 being the best, and 5 being an average NFL unit. Let’s get right down to it.

Quarterback: 4

Key Players: Justin Fields, PJ Walker

Others: Nathan Peterman, Tyson Bagent

I should start here by noting that I’m grading based on past production so that I don’t project what I personally think will happen in the future. After a terrible 1st month, Fields more or less spent the bulk of his sophomore campaign as an average passer and elite runner, though he also took a ton of sacks, and a decent number of them were his fault. There is some hope he can make a Year 3 leap towards superstardom, but until he does, it’s hard to rank him much higher than average.

The overall grade gets dinged because of depth; Fields has missed multiple games due to injury in each of his first two seasons, and PJ Walker seems like a less than ideal backup with a career 58% completion rate, 6.4 yards per attempt, and 5 TD to 11 INT. Peterman and Bagent will compete to be the practice squad QB, and we can only hope that we don’t see either of them take a meaningful snap this season.

Running Back: 5

Key Players: Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson

Others: Travis Homer, Trestan Ebner, Khari Blasingame, Robert Burns

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Free Agency Preview: Offense

| March 12th, 2020

Everybody writes their “Free Agency Preview” – telling you what they think a particular franchise should or shouldn’t do when it comes to the off-season’s player acquisition period.

I’m not going to go too deep with cap hits or contract disputes. I’m just going to make a singular statement regarding each position group that sums up my thinking on that group. These are thoughts specifically about the coming weeks. Not the draft.


This position is entirely about Derek Carr.

Carr is a very good quarterback and will only be 29 years old this season. If the Bears trade for him, they will have stability at the position for the next several years and a player capable of taking them to a championship. Every other option (Dalton, Foles, Keenum) is capable of getting this team to the playoffs but would require something of a miracle run to win three playoff games.

Needless to say, what happens at this position over the next month will define the 2020 Bears.


I still like David Montgomery. I still like Tarik Cohen. Spending any significant money on running backs seems silly.


Both Andrew and Data spent time two weeks back detailing the Bears’ need for speed on the outside. But the Bears don’t need to be spending a ton of money on a third wide receiver.

The focus here will be tight end and all eyes are on Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, with rumors of interest from Jacksonville, New England and about eleven other franchises. He’s going to make a lot of money in the coming days. And that money should not come from Chicago.

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Bears Offense Should Take Significant Step Forward in 2019

| January 21st, 2019

Chicago’s defense was awesome in 2018, leading the NFL in points allowed, turnovers forced, touchdowns scored, and passer rating against. They also finished third in yards and sacks and were generally the best defense in the NFL by a wide margin. Their play propelled the Bears to a 12-4 finish, NFC North title, and the franchise’s first playoff berth in eight years.

It’s hard to expect much improvement from that unit in 2019. In fact, they’re almost certainly not going to repeat that level of dominance. So when I write that I expect the Bears to improve in 2019 and be one of the top Super Bowl contenders, that must mean I expect it to happen because of the offense.

Unlike the defense, there is plenty of room for improvement on that side of the ball. Chicago had a pretty mediocre offense in 2018. They finished:

  • 21st in yards per game
  • 20th in yards per play
  • 9th in points per game
  • 20th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings, an all-encompassing metric intended to evaluate an entire unit.

Outside of points per game – which was likely aided by all the turnovers and defensive touchdowns – the offense was pretty consistently below average in most important metrics. So why am I so confident the offense will improve next year, even though they probably won’t be making many significant personnel changes?

To put it simply: NFL history strongly suggests that significant improvement is coming.

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Midseason Marks: Offense

| October 31st, 2017

The DBB team is evaluating the entire organization at this well-placed, exactly midseason bye week. The catch? Each of us is limited to ONE SENTENCE for each position group. Today we start with the offense.


Jeff: Trubisky is going to get 12 games of experience in close, competitive games – invaluable moving forward – and that’s all that mattered from the QB position in 2017.

Andrew: The present hasn’t been good, but the future looks bright.

Data: Mike Glennon is not good, Mitchell Trubisky is a rookie and the play calling has not helped either out.

DBB Grade: C-

Running Back

Jeff: Tarik Cohen’s versatility is exciting to watch but don’t sleep on Jordan Howard muscling his way to the rushing title as he’s only a hundred yards back.

Andrew: The best position group on the offense hopefully won’t be worn down by overusage.

Data: Jordan Howard must be getting sick and tired of getting hit behind the line of scrimmage.

DBB Grade: A

Wide Receiver

Jeff: This is just an awful collection of players.

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Offense Has Talent & Vision to Carry 2015 Chicago Bears

| June 14th, 2015


2014 never happened. It never took place. It was a kind of perfect shit storm that rarely strikes an organization in professional sports. Last year’s Chicago Bears were not just a horrendous football team. They were a public disgrace; an alarming amalgam of overmatched and out-witted coaches, underperforming and over-chatty divas and straight up rats.

It never happened. Any of it. And understanding that concept allows one to draw an optimistic conclusion: the Bears 2015 offense has the talent and vision to carry the club through a successful campaign.

Does this mean they will be a playoff team? Perhaps not. A winning record? Possible if not likely. What this means is they will be competitive week to week. They will line up and play sixteen professional games whilst delivering sixteen professional performances. They will be an enjoyable experience for their loyal fans.

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What is the Bears Offense?

| November 17th, 2014


Tweeting in-game is growing on me. Not only do I enjoy expressing joy and frustration in the moment but going back and looking at those Tweets can often tell the emotional story of a football game. Here is a Tweet from well-into the Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings:

This offense means nothing to Cutler. He makes no plays in rhythm. Idea that changing offense will impact him is fallacy.

I don’t remember the play that spawned this comment but, quite honestly, couldn’t it have been all of them? Many individuals, including myself, have argued the Bears changing the head coach at the end of the season would be a detriment to Jay Cutler because it would be yet another system change for a player whose career has been marred by a lack of consistency in the playbook and on the field. But watching the Bears offense, even when it is performing well like Sunday, left me asking a singular question: what is the Bears offense everyone is so passionate about not changing?

I know what it’s not.

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Most Important Offensive Player of 2014: Jay Cutler, Quarterback

| September 3rd, 2014


Does anyone reading a football blog not understand the importance of the quarterback position? Does anyone reading a Chicago Bears blog not understand the importance of Jay Cutler? Both answers are unquestionably no. Here are four specific things Cutler must do in 2014:

  • Stay healthy. So if he could do this, that’d be terrific.
  • Accept the check down. The check down in the Marc Trestman system is not a give up play, especially with Matt Forte being the primary threat. But too often Cutler’s eyes are so focused on his gigantic wide receiving threats down the field he misses an opportunity to extend drives and gouge the defense for big yards. (As a side point, the more Cutler takes these check downs the higher his completion percentage and yardage totals will go. Quarterbacks won’t admit it but they really, really care about these numbers.)

  • Throw the ball into the third row. I have no problem with Jay Cutler believing in his arm’s ability to fit the football into places normal human quarterbacks would never consider. But one element of Cutler’s game he must improve upon is his oft-reckless attempting to execute the courageous throw when the play has broken down and there’s nothing on the field. In these moments he tends to cock back the shotgun and fire when the prudent move is to select a fan in the lower tier and aim for their chest.

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