OTAs have begun in earnest around the NFL and as such, it’s a good time to discuss the faces of each team which, in this case, is the Chicago Bears. These players are the first to come to mind when the team is mentioned and, most likely, they have the team’s fortunes on their shoulders. For the Bears, their faces are a nice mix of young and old.
Both Veteran and Young Players Make Up Faces of 2021 Chicago Bears
Pro Football Focus ranked Khalil Mack as the best EDGE defender coming out of 2020 and heading into 2021. From a distance, you might wonder how a player who finished with just nine sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and 11 tackles for loss earned such reverence. Statistically speaking, he seems closer to average than the best.
But while his sack numbers may have been down the last two seasons, he has still been disruptive in that he’s the player teams gameplan for. The lack of a threat opposite him could have something to do with the sacks. Leonard Floyd waited to land in Los Angeles to take off and Robert Quinn was a bust in his first year in Chicago. But Mack was also one of the top run defenders, per ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate.
This might come as a surprise to many as David Montgomery beats out several big names to make this spot, but with good reason. Akiem Hicks was an easy choice for a team most known for its defense. But the Bears gave him permission to seek a trade earlier in the offseason and reports are talks could pick up closer to camp. Allen Robinson, you say? It would be a lot easier to put him here with a long-term deal done.
Montgomery is more than deserving of being on this list though. He cracked 1000 rushing yards, the first Bears back to do so since 2017. But he also added over 400 yards through the air, giving him over 1500 yards from scrimmage. It’s the most any Bears back has put up since Matt Forte in 2014. His dual-threat ability showed up big with Tarik Cohen on the shelf last season. And even with him back, and Damien Williams now in the fold, Montgomery (and his increased speed) is the guy in this backfield. That’s especially true if our last face of the Chicago Bears starts early.
This is rare territory for the Bears as the final face is probably the most important and he hasn’t even taken a snap at the professional level yet. Chicago jumped nine spots in the 2021 NFL Draft to take Justin Fields following a successful career at Ohio State. This is a year many presumed was a “lame duck” term for the front office and coaching staff. Instead, we have spent the majority of the offseason gushing over teammate reviews and arguing over when he should start.
And that’s what Fields brings: hope. Because make no mistakes, there is no argument that he is the most talented quarterback on this roster. The only question is whether or not he’s ready to be that guy now or later on. His leadership and skills have shown well early, by all accounts. But the Bears have a stated plan of sitting him. Fields is the future, but he’s also the ‘now’ in Chicago. That makes him the face of this franchise.
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