There are 99 days until the NFL regular season kicks off, and ESPN has compiled a list of ninety nine people that will help shape the 2017 season. The list is in no particular order of importance, but they do run through several categories. There are players, coaches, officials and broadcasters. In a nut shell, they list anyone that has a chance to be a big time story line this season.
Of their 99 people, three are current members of the Chicago Bears, but there are a few others that have a history in the Windy City. They call former Bears’ wide receiver, Alshon Jeffery, an ‘Immediate-impact’ signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, and expect him, if healthy, to provide a big outside presence to their offense.
With what amounts to another one year prove it deal with the Eagles, I expect Jeffery to do whatever it takes to stay on the field.
Former Bears’ offensive coordinator, and current Miami Dolphins’ head coach, Adam Gase, is listed in the ‘Don’t forget about these coaches’ category. Gase had the ‘Fins in the playoffs last year after a 1-4 start.
One more former Bear to spotlight before getting to the 2017 Bears that will shape the 2017 season. ESPN is expecting Martellus Bennett to be a huge part of the Packers’ offense.
You fantasy football players probably already know all about the expectations for Bears’ running back Jordan Howard, but Chicago’s second year player made the list under the ‘Fantasy party crashers’ heading.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears. After Howard became the clear-cut starter in Chicago in Week 4, only Ezekiel Elliott and Le'Veon Bell had more rushing yards than he did. He's the No. 6 running back in our opening fantasy ranks.
His struggles in the passing game is all that will keep him out of the first round in most fantasy drafts. But if you believe he’ll improve that aspect of his game, he’s worth a first round selection.
The other two Bears that ESPN lists, are listed with a negative connotation. Here are the two Bears on their ‘Hot-seat watch.’
John Fox, coach; Mike Glennon, QB, Chicago Bears. Under Fox, the Bears are 9-23 the past two seasons, and the roster doesn't look primed for a rebound. And if you think a rookie quarterback keeps you safe because it's bad to change coaches in or after his first year, ask Ken Whisenhunt, Lovie Smith and Jeff Fisher how that worked out for them.
Word out of Chicago is that Glennon gets this year as the starting QB unless he gets hurt or just can't play. But Mitchell Trubisky was the No. 2 pick in the draft, and Glennon will have to be pretty special to keep fan pressure off Fox to make a change.
Can someone tell ESPN that 2017 is the Year of the Glennon.
I’m not concerned about Glennon in the least. He’ll have every chance to succeed, but if he falters, it’ll be Trubisky Time, and I’m OK with that too.
Do you see these three Bears’ as the three most likely to shape their season?