While some of the regularly scheduled offseason activities have been altered, the 2020 NFL season is still set to kick off in September, so unless that changes we’re going to look forward to the normalcy of football at some point.
With that comes the anticipation of seeing some of our favorite players back in the Navy and Orange or seeing some brand new Bears for the first time. The latest buzz has NFL mini-camps opening up in mid to late June, so we’re getting close.
We asked some of our staffers to give us the player they’re most looking forward to seeing play in 2020 and before I get into who my colleagues went with here’s my guy.
I could have gone in a variety of directions, but I’m excited to see how rookie tight end Cole Kmet will fit into the offense. I’m not expecting any eye-popping numbers from the rookie in year one, but his presence will open up some of the offense. Having two capable tight ends gives an play caller more options, plus it seems like head coach Matt Nagy would like to do more from 12 personnel. Don’t forget that a good chunk of his first training camp was spent with Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen on the field at the same time. Injuries prevented us from seeing that in the 2018 regular season, so I wonder what wrinkles the 2020 offense will have with Kmet and Jimmy Graham at the Y and the U respectively.
Here’s Aaron Leming’s guy.
The nice thing about a question like this is that there are multiple players who fit this profile and a good case can be made for any of them. For me, it’s David Montgomery because he was my favorite pick of last year’s class, not to mention I think that in a more competent offense he can still become the player they hoped he would be when they drafted him. When the Bears chose to replace their offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, it was clear to me that both Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy’s evaluations of the offensive struggles (namely the run game) were more coaching and scheme related, versus personnel related. While I’m not sure how true that is, they’ve put all of their eggs in that basket. Juan Castillo is the X-factor here and Nagy has put full trust in him to not only get the offensive line playing better but help develop a better run scheme that fits the Andy Reid mold. The one player I believe that can truly benefit from that if all goes well? Well, you guessed it... Montgomery.
Here’s Sam Householder’s pick.
I think with more steady play from the quarterback position, Allen Robinson can at least equal last year’s output or perhaps surpass it. Especially if he gets help from the tight end and other receiver positions.
Maestro of the Den, Ken Mitchell, picks this guy.
I’m really curious to see if new quarterback Nick Foles can get the offense moving.
And Robert Schmitz has Foles too.
Honestly? Nick Foles. As I dive deeper and deeper into his tape, I see a quarterback that fits the Reid/Pederson/Nagy system to a tee. With that in mind, I’m extremely excited to see how he performs inside the Bears’ offense — Foles, a “benchmark” quarterback, has the opportunity to provide Bears fans everywhere with a clear look at “what Nagy’s offense is supposed to be”, and based on what I’ve seen over the last 2 years I think it might surprise us. If it does, that provides a foundation to build on for years, and that’s far more exciting to me than any one individual player.
Robert Zeglinski’s pick is on the defensive side of the ball.
Khalil Mack is the most talented player the Bears have had in this century. The spotlight gravitates to his uncanny presence, charisma, and ability to flip any one game on a whim. Until further notice, he will always be the main reason I tune into watch this current iteration of the Bears. I have to imagine that everyone, above all, wants to see what tricks the monster wearing No. 52 will pull next. If they say otherwise, they’re lying through their teeth.
Jack Salo’s player is on defense too.
When Akiem Hicks went down last year, teams figured out how to contain Mack - Chip him with a tight end, block him with an OT, and have a last line of defense from a guard or running back. My hope is that defenses study 2019 film (from when Hicks was out) and go with that game plan, giving Hicks 1:1 to the QB.
Jacob Infante added a twist to his answer.
Can I cheat and put three players here? On paper, the trio of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn could make up the best group of pass-rushers the Bears have had since the 1980s. Mack is a consistent force no matter how many blockers you put on him, Hicks is a monster of a human being along the interior, and Quinn’s athletic skill set could give the team a reliable third pass-rusher: arguably the only thing the defense has consistently lacked over the past few years.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter
Eddie Jackson didn’t have the flashiest of years in 2019 partly due to him being tasked to play more in the box with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix handling most of the single-high coverages. I think with the return of Akiem Hicks, the addition of Robert Quinn up front, and a thumper in Tashaun Gipson taking some of the load off, E-Jax is set to be Chicago’s version of Ed Reed for years to come.
Now it’s your turn.