In a year that has Chicago Bears fans split down the middle, with one-half happy to have made the playoffs for the second time in three years, and the other side of Bears nation have been left disappointed with what has been described as another mediocre season-ending (8-8) and falling in the opening stages of the playoffs once again.
Through this Bears 2020 season review, I will be looking at what I believe has been the main highs and lows during the season as well as some bold moves that I would like the Bears to consider going forward. Whichever side of the fence you sit regarding the Bears season, there have been some stand-out players this season, that the Bears should be feeling good about. I’m going to look at three players who have made a big impact on the Bears in 2020, and take a look at what went wrong and how it can be fixed going forward.
In his rookie season, Darnell Mooney was drafted in the fifth round at pick 173 overall. He was seen as a typical low-risk, high reward player and the reward was indeed high for Mooney, with 61 receptions for 631 yards and four TDs. While the numbers aren’t huge, his performances were, ending the season as the clear number two WR. Many would argue after Anthony Miller’s performance in the wildcard and the possible departure of Allen Robinson in free agency, that Mooney is now the clear cut number one WR. A definite hidden gem found by Ryan Pace, Mooney is surely the surprise star of this Bears 2020 season review.
In his 3rd season as a Bear, Roquan Smith started to show why he was selected at pick number eight in 2018. 2020 was his most successful season, by far, although he met an unfortunate end, injuring his elbow which forced him to miss the final two games of the season against the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints.
Smith finished 2020 with two INT, one FF, one FR, four sacks, and a career-high 18 TFL which included 6 QB hits, Smith started to look like the player the Bears nation hoped he would become, is he the finished article no, far from it but it is most definitely a huge step in the right direction.
In his second season as a Bear, former third-round pick David Montgomery, came into his own this season after a difficult start. Monty’ hit the 1,000 yards rushing yards target, finishing off the year with 1070 yards from 247 carries. Montgomery averaged 4.3 yards a carry, and with his 8 TDs, there is no doubt that he contributed massively to this underperforming offense, with his biggest performance coming against division rivals Minnesota Vikings, where he ran in two TDs for 146 yards, the signs are there that he will be a big player for the Bears in 2021.
Where the Bears Went Wrong
I can’t complete my Chicago Bears 2020 season review without looking at the lows points of the season, there were several points I can make here, which no doubt you have all heard and read since the season ended, so instead of going deep into this I will just point out the main areas of concern that I identified over the course of the season.
This has been a huge area of concern for me, highlighted in the wild card game against the Saints, with Miller getting ejected, the Bears conceded (97) penalties costing them in penalties (827) yards. This is far from good enough, in 2021 the bears have a tough schedule traveling to a number of this year’s playoff teams. If they’re to get results in those games, then their discipline will need to be controlled. It’s hard enough to win those games without competing against yourself.
Yes, both quarterbacks. I could not get through a Chicago Bears 2020 season review without dealing with the QB position. Neither Nick Foles nor Mitch Trubisky produced anywhere near the standard that is required to lead their team to victory. Foles looked nowhere near the Super Bowl winner that he was at the Eagles. Trubisky, whether you attribute it to a lack of general talent or poor coaching, he again failed to produce. A change in this area is a must if the Bears are to compete for the championship on a regular basis.
Bears 2020 Season Review: Predictions
This Bears 2020 season review would sound a lot differently if the QB situation was better. The top priority for the Bears has to be an experienced and competent QB. I’m seeing many fans shouting for Deshaun Watson, while he is no doubt an incredible talent, we have to be sensible here. The Texans are asking for three first-round picks; that is a huge chunk of the Bears’ future. While Ryan Pace hasn’t had huge success in the first round, to give up three first-round picks, after finally getting picks in that round back after not having them for two years after the Kahlil Mack trade would be a very risky move to make.
I’m going to suggest going more reserved here and going for a more experienced QB who wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much, and that is Matt Ryan from the Falcons. After 13 seasons in the NFL, Ryan has hit 4,000 yards and 20 TD’s every season since 2010. Also, as he only turned over the ball 11 times in 2020, Ryan even in his later years will be a huge upgrade on what the Bears currently have, and far cheaper than Watson.
Next, the offensive line needs to be addressed in the draft. While they improved towards the back end of the season, sparing them as the sacrificial goat of this Bears 2020 season review, the Bears will still want to part ways with either Charles Leno or Bobby Massie, if not both, to clear up cap space. A fresh start in the troubled offensive front wouldn’t be a bad thing.
The last team need of my Chicago Bears 2020 season review is WR. Looking at the current cap space, Javon Wims will most likely be cut, and Miller is rapidly falling out of favor. I would look at trading Miller for picks if possible and promote Riley Ridley to third WR. After that, they could draft a low-risk WR. The most important piece of this puzzle is resigning Robinson. This is a must, as whoever is brought in as a QB is going to need targets.