The Chicago Bears had what many would call a throwaway season going a measly 3-14 and gaining the number one pick in the draft. However, this season did have its bright spots for fans and has many optimistic for the future. Today we go over grades for the Bears offense this past season.
Justin Fields was quite electric this year and progressed in ways that has the front office excited about his future. Fields’ stats don’t jump out at you, but watching the tape tells you everything you need to know. The young phenom had many moments where he looked like a future MVP of the league. Unfortunately, Fields didn’t have the true talent around him this season to fully succeed like many were hoping. This has led to many questions and false rumors about the Fields’ future in Chicago. This season showed that Fields has what it takes, now Chicago just needs to add some weapons. The Chicago Bears have a bright future with Fields at the Helm.
One of the many bright spots this season for Chicago was their stellar running game. While their passing offense ranked dead last in the league, they were number one in rushing by over 300 yards. Spearheaded by the two-headed monster in David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, this rushing offense was nothing short of explosive. Montgomery operated as the team’s main back while Herbert was used more situationally. Herbert would have his opportunities in the role after a Montgomery injury mid-season. With Herbert in, the rushing offense never missed a beat. Herbert also had the highest yards per carry out of all running backs at 5.7 yards.
While the backs were great, Montgomery is a free agent this spring. He declined slightly this past season and favored an injury for part of the year as well. Chicago got to see a lot of Khalil Herbert when Montgomery was out and it’s very possible they will go with him as the feature back come 2023. That being said, losing Montgomery would only hurt an offense that doesn’t need more holes in it. This will be an interesting offseason for the Chicago Bears running backs.
One of the positions Chicago really struggled at in 2022 was wide receiver. Unlike the team’s 2017 season with rookie Mitchell Trubisky, the receivers were catching the ball. Believe it or not, the Bears ranked second to last in most drops this past season. While they could catch the ball, they were just never getting open. Darnell Mooney was forced to take over as WR1 after Allen Robinson’s departure and without a clear number 2 receiver, Mooney’s job became a lot tougher. Chicago started the year with the likes of Equanimeous St. Brown and Donte Pettis. They would add N’Keal Harry and Chase Claypool midseason, but neither were super effective. Whether it was scheming or lack of ability, Bears receivers could not get open.
Plain and simple, the receivers held this team back from having any sort of a passing offense. When Mooney got injured in the back half of this season, the passing offense became practically lifeless despite a few big plays. Wide Receiver is the biggest position of need for this team if they want to compete and give Darnell Mooney, the only one saving this grade from an F, a chance to get back on track.
Cole Kmet has been the lead tight end on this team the last couple seasons and really seemed to take a step forward this season. What many tend to forget is just how young Kmet is as he’s only 23 years old, so his abilities have a lot of room to improve. What was most notable was how Kmet improved inside the redzone this season. He became a main target of Justin Fields once inside the 20 and he made the most of it. This resulted in a career high seven touchdowns last season. If Kmet continues to improve, he may only be a few short years away from being the next great tight end.
The Bears also had Trevon Wesco and Ryan Griffin involved mainly as blockers. Both of them combined for six catches on the year. The Bears would benefit from a second big target on offense alongside Cole Kmet. I expect Chicago to draft a tight end in the mid to late rounds of this year’s draft.
As per usual with the Chicago Bears, the offensive line was a negative talking point. Fields still didn’t have enough time to throw and ran for over 1,000 yards on the ground. Not all of that is from scrambling, but a big chunk is. The offensive line still can’t pass block at even a playoff level just yet. That being said, the line was improved from last year and was a big piece in the teams leading rushing attack. Cornerstone piece Teven Jenkins was the highest rated offensive linemen for the Bears this past season and will more than likely be a staple of this offensive line to come. Where the Bears really need help is out on the edge, especially if they want any chance at a Super Bowl.
This is a tough offensive line to grade as they were phenomenal in the running game but faltered significantly in the passing game. The lack of a true receiving corp didn’t help this offensive line at all. This offensive line absolutely needs work, but it wasn’t the worst group for the Bears in 2022.
Overall Grade: C+
The Bears overall score a C+ on the offensive side of the ball. Not the worst by all means, but still much work to be done.
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