I got this idea from a series of articles at The Draft Network, where they are giving their superlative picks in seven different categories for all 32 teams. I thought it would be a fun exercise for us at WCG to run through and since I didn’t want us to have all the fun, I even shot out the question on Twitter to get your takes.
We’ve already looked at the Breakout Guy for the 2019 Chicago Bears, and the Comeback Kid, and the Rising Star, but this next superlative is “Don’t forget about,” which can be thought about in a different context.
Joe Marino of The Draft Network went this direction for his pick.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT: TRUBISKY’S GROWTH
Everything hasn’t been perfect for Trubisky since Chicago invested the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 on him. Entering the NFL as just a one-year starter in college, Trubisky was welcomed to the league with a lackluster supporting cast with the uninspiring John Fox as his head coach. Now paired with the innovative Matt Nagy at head coach and a much-improved offensive depth chart, Trubisky made strides last season. His passer rating increased form 77.5 to 95.4 while he completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 14 starts. This statistical growth was all achieved while Trubisky finished third in the NFL in percentage of yards traveling at least 20 yards in the air. He isn’t a dink and dunk guy who is a product of a system.
In Year Two of Nagy’s system and in Year Three of his career, Trubisky is primed to take another step forward.
We’ve had a ton of Mitchell Trubisky content at WCG lately, so by know you guys all know how we feel about him as a player and where we think he’ll end up. I do like Marino’s Trubisky take above, but I’m going to go in a similar direction and say don’t forget about Matt Nagy’s growth.
As a first time head coach Nagy won the coach of the year, but he can become even better as a game manager and a play caller in 2019. Don’t get it twisted and think I’m saying he was bad in these a year ago, because I’m not, but managing the clock is something coaches can get better at with time, as is play sequencing. He knows his personnel better now than a year ago, and his player have leveled up with their knowledge of his play book
Remember, this is a guy that has self scouted every decision and play he called in 2018 as a way to improve. He’s had his team practicing several in-game situations this offseason so they’ll be ready for what ever comes up on Sundays.
Now let’s check on what/who some other WCG staffers picked for their Don’t Forget About... for the 2019 Bears.
Aaron Leming - Tarik Cohen, RB/PR/WR
For as much talk as the offense has received this offense, there has been very little focus on Cohen. This is the same player who was clearly the team’s best offensive talent the past two years. Yet, now he’s being a little overlooked with all the focus going to Trubisky’s progress and the new faces at running back. I expect him to play the same role he did as a receiver, running back and punt return weapon, but I would also expect that with a more established offense, teams won’t be able to focus as much on Cohen as they have in year’s past.
Robert Schmitz - Akiem Hicks & Eddie Goldman, DL
With the absurd amount of star power on this Bears defense (and the league-wide focus on defending the pass) it can be easy to forget about the big guys up front that make all the pass-coverage possible. Hicks and Goldman are outstanding two-gapping lineman that effectively shut down opposing rushing attacks by themselves, allowing the Bears to deploy lighter, quicker linebackers like Trevathan and Smith to handle coverage and cleanup duties while operating with only two true interior defensive lineman. Their work is incredible and can often go unappreciated, so don’t forget about them.
Ken Mitchell - Leonard Floyd
If Floyd continues like his 2018 ended, he will by far have a career year for himself in 2019.
Erik Duerrwaechter - Allen Robinson II, WR
In 2015, Robinson led the league in almost every major receiving statistic. That was also the last time we’ve seen him anywhere close to being 100% healthy. He looked fantastic in training camp, and as I mentioned early, his rapport with Trubisky looks strong. Matt Nagy has been on the record in saying he’s not going to feature just one receiver on offense. That may not matter, with Robinson being a guy who’s capable of taking over a game at any moment.
Josh Sunderbruch - Eddie Jackson, S
I think it’s sometimes hard to believe exactly how good this guy is, and I think casual fans also lose sight of the fact that he’s the kind of player who makes the entire secondary better.
Sam Householder - Roquan Smith, ILB
On a defense with loads of big names and flashy personalities, the quiet Smith could get lost. Inside backer isn’t a glamour position, especially in a 3-4, but he is going to be even better than he was last year when he was really, really good. I expect that he’ll get much more opportunities to blitz and could end up having a season with 5 sacks and 5 INTs while still leading the Bears in tackles. He’s going to be a really good player.
Robert Zeglinski - Prince Amukamara, CB
On one side of the Bears defense there’s reigning First-Team All-Pro, Kyle Fuller. On the other side, by recent accomplishments purely, there’s Prince Amukamara. But don’t let the meager billing fool you—Amukamara will turn in another fine campaign as one of the NFL’s premier No. 2 cornerbacks.
A stellar August, rife with plays on the ball galore, served as a precursor to arguably the best season of Amukamara’s career last season. If a similar trend continues after another impactful late summer, one of the old-timers on the Bears’ defense will show he still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Patti Curl - Staley Da Bear
With how many superstars this Bears team has, sometimes people lose track of the fact that they also boast the best mascot in the league. Keep an eye for the this-year-only 100 jersey Staley will be wearing to commemorate the Bears’ hundredth anniversary.
Now let’s check in with Twitter to see what some of you guys had to say about your “Don’t Forget About” choice for the Bears.
Eddie Goldman & Bilal Nichols in the middle! Hicks & Mack and even Jackson deservedly so are the headliners, but Goldman & Nichols are beasts. They should have numerous 1 on 1 opportunities with which to create havoc in the opponents offensive backfield! Bear Down!— Chris Avery (@Avedog69) August 24, 2019
special teams units (not just K). They lost Bellamy, Brown, and Cunningham as core STers. Who's going to step in and take those spots?— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) August 24, 2019
Deon Bush.— DJackson (@action4life) August 24, 2019
Sleeper pick, but he showed he could play in camp last year, at the end of the season, and so far this preseason. He could potentially take the early down work from HCD, and maybe even more.
Tight Ends & Swing Tackles seem to be held together with tape. Injury prone? This kid Bunting seems to have “it!”— Dave4biz (@dave4Biz) August 24, 2019
Pace. You think you know the full team of starters this time of year then Pace makes a move.— c55 (@cemarshall55) August 24, 2019
Trubisky will only be in his 2nd year under Nagy. Look for improvements and dont compare to Mahomes— Kevin O'Connor (@22koconnor) August 24, 2019
Don’t forget about Cordarrelle "Swiss Army Knife" Patterson on the 2019 @ChicagoBears.— LB (@LBilla) August 24, 2019
With all the weapons on offense he is the wildcard. Coordinator dont even know if they should plan for him or when to or how to. I'm going enjoy to see Nagy bluff defenses into mistakes.
Pagano. He came into a unique situation with taking over the best defense in the league that was built by one of the best D Coordinators in the game. How do you introduce your own schemes, playcalls, stunts, etc. while maintaining continuity and keep the freight train rolling?— Casey Ohman (@Casey_Ohman) August 24, 2019
The culture Nagy built within the team. It's starts with Club Dub and grows from there. With all the drama of hold outs over contracts and disgruntled players all over the league, I truly love the way Nagy brought the team together.— Drew McComber (@dmccomber86) August 24, 2019
Now it’s your turn, who or what can’t we forget about for the 2019 season?