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Chicago Bears all-decade team for the 2010s: Offense

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With the 2010s coming to a close, we take a look at the best players the Bears had in the decade.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2010s is soon coming to an end, and the decade served as a mostly difficult time period for the Bears.

After kicking off the decade with an NFC Championship appearance, the team only played in one playoff game in the next nine years. They finish the decade with a 75-84 record—-with one more game left to play in the 2019 season—after failing to top the .500 mark in six of the past seven seasons.

Despite their struggles, the Bears managed to have a handful of talented players on both sides of the ball. With the decade just about over with, let’s take a look at the best offensive players to suit up in the navy and orange in the 2010s.

QB: Jay Cutler

As polarizing as Jay Cutler may be, there’s no denying that he belongs at this spot.

Cutler was the Bears’ starting quarterback for more than half of the decade, with his reign starting in 2009 and lasting until 2016. He played and started in 86 games in the 2010s, throwing for 19,777 yards, 127 touchdowns and 83 interceptions with a 44-42 record as the starter.

His tenure in Chicago ultimately fell short of expectations, but he was able to overcome obstacles created by poor management decisions to become one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history—which also says a lot about the team’s history at quarterback. The strong-armed, nonchalant gunslinger made an NFC Championship appearance with the Bears and had them playing good, competitive football in his prime, making him an easy choice for this spot.

RB: Matt Forte

Matt Forte was the definition of reliability during his time with the Bears.

Starting every game he played with the team from 2008 to 2015, Forte never missed more than four games in a single season and ran for at least 890 yards in every year he played in Chicago.

The 2010s saw Forte get named to the Pro Bowl twice and rush for over 1,000 yards four times in six seasons, having missed time with injury in the two seasons he fell short of the mark. He finished the decade with a total of 6,435 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns on 1,461 carries. He was also a reliable pass-catcher for the Bears, catching 367 passes for 3,629 yards in the decade, including a 102-catch, 808-yard season in 2014 which held the record for most catches for a running back in a season before Christian McCaffrey broke it in 2018.

For his consistency, availability and versatile skill set, Forte is the best fit for the starting running back spot on this all-decade team.

WR: Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery

Chicago has never had the reputation of being a great wide receiver city, but Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery gave the Bears two dominant weapons that they had rarely seen in their franchise’s history.

After three seasons of forcing Jay Cutler to throw to mediocre weapons, the Bears traded for Marshall and drafted Jeffery in the second round of the draft in 2012. Marshall made an immediate impact right away, being named first-team All-Pro for catching 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. He followed up with another 100-catch, 1,000-yard and double-digit season in 2013, as well as another solid performance the following year, despite missing the final three games due to injury. He was traded to the Jets in the 2015 offseason, finishing his time with the Bears with 279 catches, 3,524 yards and 31 touchdowns in three years.

Marshall’s time with the team was fairly short, but he made an indelible mark on their record books. He holds the record for the most receptions and receiving yards in a single season for a Bears player, and he has two of the five best receiving seasons by a player the team has ever had. He is a slam-dunk choice for the all-decade team.

Jeffery didn’t make much of an impact in his rookie year, but he exploded onto the scene in 2013, catching 89 passes for 1,421 yards and 7 touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl appearance in the process. He had another great season in 2014 with 85 catches, 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Marshall being traded the next offseason, Jeffery played very well as the undisputed No. 1 receiver in Chicago’s offense, but injuries forced him to miss seven games. He played under the franchise tag in 2016 and had an underwhelming season by his standards, battling through injuries again and only finishing the season with two touchdowns, though he managed to top 800 yards.

Marshall and Jeffery gave the Bears a two-headed monster at receiver on offense that hadn’t been seen in the franchise’s history. Their statistical explosions make them easy selections for the all-decade team.

FLEX: Jordan Howard

Though his time with the Bears came to an unceremonious end, Jordan Howard was a rock-solid starter at running back during his three years with the team.

He ended his tenure in Chicago with 3,370 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, topping at least 900 yards and 6 touchdowns in every year he was on the roster and reaching the 1,000-yard mark twice. Poor scheme fit in Matt Nagy’s offense—as well as a lack of value as a receiver—saw him shipped off to Philadelphia for a minimal return, but Howard was a reliable workhorse back in a time when the Bears had next to nothing else in the way of offensive spark.

Allen Robinson would also be an intriguing option as the FLEX, but he has only one truly great season under his belt as a Bear. Howard’s steady production gives him the edge here.

TE: Martellus Bennett

Since the Bears traded away Greg Olsen in 2011, the team sat through poor play at the tight end position for two seasons before deciding to make an upgrade in the form of free agent Martellus Bennett.

Despite having to fight for touches with the aforementioned Forte, Marshall and Jeffery in the passing game, Bennett proved himself to be one of the league’s better tight ends during his time with the Bears. He caught 208 passes for 2,114 yards and 14 touchdowns in his three seasons with the team. He made a Pro Bowl appearance in 2014, racking up 90 receptions for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Though he was controversial due to his outspoken nature, there’s no denying Bennett’s production with the Bears. The receiving value he brought to the team makes a fairly easy choice to make this list.

OT: Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie

The Bears haven’t had the best of luck at offensive tackle in the 2010s, but their two current starters at the position are better than what they’ve trotted out onto the field in past years.

Charles Leno Jr.’s rise from a seventh-round pick in 2014 to a stalwart at left tackle was a surprising one. After playing in six games and starting in one his rookie year, he took over the left tackle position from Jermon Bushrod in 2015, in which he started 13 games on the blindside. Leno hasn’t missed a game since, starting every week since he took over the starting job. He made a Pro Bowl appearance in 2018, as well, serving as a testament for his impressive development over the years.

Bobby Massie isn’t the prettiest pick for an all-decade offense, but he’s a better option than some of the other starters at tackle the Bears had previously in the decade.

Signed as a free agent in the 2016 offseason, Massie has held down the right tackle position since his arrival with the team. He missed only two games in his first three years with the team, and his reliability earned him a four-year extension in the 2019 offseason. Though he has missed time due to an ankle injury this season, he has provided some tenacity to the offensive line since his arrival.

Leno and Massie have been a solid tackle duo for much of their time with the Bears, which is more than most starters the team has had at the position this decade can say. That earns them both a spot on the all-decade team.

OG: Kyle Long and Josh Sitton

In a time when the Bears desperately lacked an identity, Kyle Long was one of the few players the fan base could fully embrace.

Though many saw him as a reach with the No. 20 pick in the 2013 draft, Long quickly won Chicago over with his impressive play and his outgoing personality. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls in the first three seasons of his career, as well as a second-team All-Pro appearance in 2014. Injuries have cut the last four seasons of his career, missing 34 games and deteriorating his skill set in the process. His tenure with the Bears probably won’t last into the new decade, but Long’s performance at his peak makes him an easy choice here.

Figuring out the rest of the interior offensive line after Long was a bit difficult. Roberto Garza is an honorable mention for being a reliable veteran starter from 2010 to 2014, but Josh Sitton’s higher level of play gives him the narrow edge, despite being on the team for only two seasons.

A last-minute free agency addition after the Packers released him prior to the 2016 season, Sitton stepped in for the Bears and made an impact right away for the team. He played in 13 games, helping Jordan Howard finish second in the league in rushing yards and giving the Bears’ quarterback combination of Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley the third-most passing yards in team history. Sitton was voted into the Pro Bowl for his 2016 performance. He also put together a solid season in 2017, starting at both guard positions.

Long and Sitton’s Pro Bowl appearances helped turn the Bears’ offensive line around after a disastrous start to the decade. Their high level of play places them on the list.

C: Cody Whitehair

If Matt Forte was the definition of reliability for the Bears, Cody Whitehair is at least the synonym.

A second-round pick in 2016, Whitehair spent his first preseason at guard before having to make a sudden move to center with the addition of Sitton right before the season started. He adjusted well, making the PFWA All-Rookie team for his efforts. A reliable blocker with value both as a pass protector and a run blocker, Whitehair made a Pro Bowl appearance after the 2018 season. He has also been able to consistently stay on the field, starting and playing in every regular season game through his first four seasons.

Whitehair has been a steady force along the interior since his rookie year, making him worthy of making the all-decade team.