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Nowhere to Go but Up After 3-14 Campaign

The 2022 season was the first for the Chicago Bears under head coach Matt Eberflus, and to say it was a disappointing one would be an understatement. The Bears finished the season last in the NFL with a 3-14 record, ending the year on a 10-game losing streak and missing the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Despite setting a franchise record with 14 losses and failing to record a win against any divisional opponent for just the third time in franchise history, the Bears saw some improvement out of second-year quarterback Justin Fields. Fields became the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. His 1,143 rushing yards setting Chicago’s single-season quarterback rushing yards record.

Chicago Bears Key Additions

With Chicago finishing last in the league, it secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, with the Bears’ decision on what they would do with it taking over the NFL news cycle. However, they decided to trade it instead, landing a compensation package as well as wide receiver DJ Moore from the Carolina Panthers. Moore tallied 364 receptions, 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Panthers.

Chicago also signed another former Panther in running back D’Onta Foreman, adding him along with another pass catcher in tight end Robert Tonyan to one-year deals each. Meanwhile, offensive tackle Darnell Wright headlines the 2023 NFL Draft class.

On defense, the Bears signed linebackers TJ Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds to three- and four-year deals, respectively, with the signing of defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker to a three-year deal also likely to provide a boost.

Chicago Bears Key Subtractions

The Bears didn’t lose much in terms of free agency, with running back David Montgomery and linebacker Nicholas Morrow being their two offseason losses.

Montgomery led the team in rushing for three of the four seasons he was with Chicago, finishing his four years with 3,609 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns while tacking on another 1,160 yards and four touchdowns in the air.

Morrow, meanwhile, was only with the Bears for one season, though he led the team with 116 total tackles, also recording an interception.

Chicago Bears Head Coach Analysis

Matt Eberflus will enter into his second season as head coach of the Bears, hoping to see much improvement upon his first year.

Prior to his time with Chicago, Eberflus was the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts for four years, where he led the Colts’ defense to top-10 finishes in scoring, run defense and takeaways in his final two seasons.

However, that defensive prowess has yet to transfer over to Chicago. The Bears’ defense finished last in the league in scoring and fourth-worst in yardage, allowing 375.9 yards and 27.2 points a game.

Chicago Bears Injured Players at Beginning of the Season

Although wide receiver Chase Claypool was placed on the physically unable to perform list ahead of training camp, he has already been removed, with the Bears now only having two players on the injury list.

Wide receiver Dante Pettis was put on the non-football injury list recently while linebacker Jack Sanborn is questionable to start Week 1 with an ankle injury.

Chicago Bears Standings, Odds, Calendar, 2023 NFL Season
Chicago Bears Standings, Odds, Calendar, 2023 NFL Season

Chicago Bears Offense

Under its first year in new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s system, the Bears’ offense had some struggles, finishing in the bottom five in total yards and the bottom 10 in points, averaging 307.8 yards and 19.2 points a game.

Despite the overall struggles, though, Chicago led the league in rushing yards with 177.3 a game, largely due to Fields’ rushing abilities.

With the offense now going into their second year under Getsy, and Fields getting another strong receiving option in Moore, there should be hope from improvement in 2023. However, the offensive line will have to step up as well after allowing 55 sacks last season.

Chicago Bears Defense

The Bears’ defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2022, finishing in the bottom five in both total yards, rushing yards and scoring.

Chicago was unable to stop any team on the ground, as its 157.3 rushing yards was second-worst in the league. Its passing defense was passable, finishing in the middle of the NFL by allowing 218.6 passing yards a game.

The Bears’ tackle and interception leaders in Morrow (116 total tackles) is gone, but safety Jaquan Brisker (104 tackles), safety Eddie Jackson (four interceptions) and cornerback Kyler Gordon (three interceptions) return, while the additions of Edwards, Edmunds and Walkers should also help bring a better defensive showing in 2023.

Chicago Bears Special Teams

Chicago will return both kicker Cairo Santo and punter Trenton Gill to the roster in 2023. Santo finished the season going 21-for-23 in field goals and 27-for-32 in extra points, but his struggles in the latter caused the Bears to invite kicker Andre Szmyt to training camp for some added competition.

The Bears had a number of players fielding kick returns in 2022, with wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. and running backs Trestan Ebner and Khalil Herbert taking the majority of them. All three are likely to take kick return snaps once again, while wide receiver Dante Pettis is expected to do the same at punt return.

Chicago Bears Prediction for the 2023 Season

After finishing last in the league and not getting a win over any NFC North opponents in 2022, the Bears can only go up in 2023, with NFL odds projecting them to win around seven games.

Despite the overall disappointing 2022 season, the performance of Fields in his second season and first as the full-time starter should offer some positivity. The addition of Moore should help further his development as well.

However, Chicago still competes in an NFC North that NFL expert predictions have the Detroit Lions winning a year after the Minnesota Vikings did, so a top-of-the-division finish still seems unlikely. Chances are, the Bears may be competing with longtime rival Green Bay for third.

Chicago Bears Final Thoughts

The Bears may have taken a gamble by putting their faith in Fields rather than making use of their No. 1 draft pick. Only time will tell whether it was the right choice.

In the meantime, the addition of Moore should bring improvement to a passing offense that was last in the NFL in 2022 while Chicago’s rushing offense should remain strong. If the defense can show some improvement, the Bears should be in better shape in 2023.

Chicago Bears FAQs

Is Justin Fields the answer at quarterback for the Bears?

The Bears traded their No. 1 overall draft pick in favor of getting Fields some help as their franchise quarterback. So while it’s tough to say after two seasons, Chicago seems to think so after Fields had a strong second year in 2022.

Why did the 1985 Bears never win another Super Bowl?

Although Chicago won the Super Bowl for the 1985 season, it couldn’t replicate that success the next season because of an injury to quarterback Jim McMahon. It has ailed to win another Super Bowl since due.

Are the Chicago Bears in “win-now” or “rebuild” mode?

The Bears hired a new head coach and general manager ahead of the 2022 season, moving on from a number of veteran players in that time and subsequently finishing the season with a 3-14 record, indicating they are in rebuild mode with a young quarterback leading the way.

What years did the Bears go to the Super Bowl?

Chicago competed in the Super Bowl after both the 1985 and 2006 seasons, winning in dominant fashion in its first appearance.