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Column: No more Bears football? Boo

BY MADDIE TOPLIFF

Gather around, children, as we laugh, cry and remember the Bears season together. It’s what head coach Matt Nagy would have wanted. He didn’t die or anything; there’s just no more Bears football until August. Let’s get caught up.

Previously on Bears football
Wow, we haven’t chatted since the Bears played the Lions on Thanksgiving exactly two months ago. How have you been? Now that pleasantries are out of the way, we can dive in. Let’s see if the Bears performed like I thought they would when I left you in November:

“We play the Cowboys, the Packers, the Chiefs and then the Vikings. My guess is that we will barely beat out the Cowboys and beat the Vikings to rule out the season. I think we’ll end 8-8, which won’t totally knock us out playoff contention as long as the rest of the NFC helps us out. Let me know if you believe differently.”

Pretty good prediction, if I do say so myself. The first week of December, Chicago hosted the Dallas Cowboys at home and won by a touchdown 31-24. It didn’t end up as close as I thought it would, so kudos to the Bears. Then, as expected, we took two weeks of losses when we faced the Packers and Chiefs. Luckily, the Packers aren’t headed to the Super Bowl, so the loss doesn’t hurt as bad when I look back on it. Then, we finished the season 8-8 by beating the Vikings in Minnesota just like last year. Except this time, we weren’t headed to the playoffs afterward. Bummer. The good news? 8-8 isn’t a losing record. Take that, haters. 

Cleaning house
Two days after the season ended — New Years Eve, I might add — the front office said goodbye to four coaches: the offensive line coach, the tight ends coach, the assistant special teams coach, and most notably, the offensive coordinator who came as a packaged deal with Nagy at the start of the 2018 season. Personally, I think the assistant special teams coach firing was for show, but how do the other firings stack up?

Let’s talk about that for a second. How much blame can we levy onto our offensive coordinators when our quarterbacks play incredibly mediocre football just one year after a playoff run? Apparently a lot, but I feel bad for the guy. I would have given him one more year and seen if he could work out the kinks with Mitchell Trubisky. But I don’t have the money.

The axing of the offensive line and tight ends coaches made the most sense to me, as both parties have been experiencing problems for a handful of years now, even before Nagy arrived. Beefing up the offensive line may help Trubisky both execute in and escape the pocket for more dynamic play next year. And giving him another open man or two as passing options wouldn’t hurt either, as they figure the TE spot out.

The Pro Bowl
The NFC narrowly lost the Pro Bowl last weekend 33-38, but three Bears were in attendance including Coradelle Patterson, Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson. Thinking there should have been a fourth? You wouldn’t be alone. Twitter went crazy after WR Allen Robinson II wasn’t selected alongside his teammates. He caught for over 1,100 yards last season, which equates to roughly a third of all Trubisky yards thrown. It’s not like the Pro Bowl really means anything to viewers like you or me, but announcers and staticians use number of  Pro Bowl selections as meat every time. Maybe next year.

What now?
Before we depart, there are a few odds and ends to mention.

As of the middle of this month, Bill Lazor is our new offensive coordinator. Most of his past experience entails serving as a quarterbacks coach, but he has also served in  the role of offensive coordinator for both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins. I have mixed feelings, so I guess we can just wait and see what happens.

Long-time guard Kyle Long retired this month, which didn’t surprise that many. Long has been injury ridden for a couple of years now and needs to take care of himself and heal beyond the football field. He was a staple name, and we will miss his matchups with brother Chris Long from the Eagles.

The NFL 100 team was released as a way to count down to the new year, and the Bears notched 10 of 100 spots on the list; pretty impressive, if you ask me. My favorite pick was hands-down WR Devin Hester, the player that made me love football as a child. One player I was surprised not to see included was Jay Culter. Just kidding.

Lastly, we are still are roughly three months away from the NFL draft, so now we wait and see how the Bears use their salary cap space come draft time. Expect to see something from me in April.

Maddie’s Monster of the Year
It has to go to RB David Montgomery. The rookie was incredible this year, tackling the tough runs like our good friend Matt Forte used to. Plus, he yields from Iowa State, so I have a soft spot for him. Here’s to lots more years in Chicago, David.

See you soon
We’re in for an interesting 2020 season as we take on both the NFC and AFC South divisions. As always, we’re hoping for a Super Bowl run, but who knows what will happen between now and then? If anything crazy goes down, you know you can count on me to let you know sometime this semester.

Thanks for reading, and as always, Beardown.

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