By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
Fresh starts are such a wonderful thing, aren’t they?
Optimism and hope are typical of fresh starts just as they are of the beginning of each NFL season, a time that is so often the best part for more football fans than any other since from here on the season is just one long slog towards only only one franchise (and one fan-base) getting to celebrate at the end.
The fresh start for Chicago Bears fans has them looking for inspiration from its football team in its opener in Detroit against the Lions. After a brutal 2019 campaign, some new faces were added but by and large the group remains the same.
Lots of questions need to be answered and plenty must be proven for multiple guys, such as head coach Matt Nagy, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to name a few. Despite being on the road, this match-up is very winnable for the Bears so excuses should be held at a minimum.
Therefore, to avoid any opening week downers, lets look at the four goals for the Bears to try and reach in order to get a 1-0 start to their 2020 campaign.
1st Goal (and 2nd)
QBs Make The World Go Round — A combo goal comes your way to open this season, we do so as it involves the quarterback positions for the Bears and the Lions. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is back under center after missing both games against the Bears a year ago.
Lots of people are hyping up the Lions as a potential worst to first success story because of the return of their talented quarterback. The Bears certainly benefited with Stafford being too injured to play last season and the question now is how well the defense can contain a very accomplished passer.
On the other side, the Bears are looking at establishing their offense again and no doubt they need a quarterback to step up. Trubisky has owned the Lions in his short career and what a great start to the season it would be if he can continue this trend.
A lot of Bears players and coaches are under the microscope along with Trubisky but nothing substitutes for quarterback execution in regards to formulating an early season narrative. Besides trying to contain Stafford the goal for the Bears is establishing some competent, or even dare I say maybe quality, quarterback play.
Bullseye Square on Sidelines — Certainly how Trubisky performs is a major part to the equation Sunday, but at the same time we sorta know what type of quarterback play is realistic to expect from him.
A season ago, Nagy really struggled as a play caller and game planner, way too many times the Bears were doing things offensively that were head scratching. An offensive guru shouldn’t have these types of issues.
Some new coaches were brought in to help get things back to where they were in 2018. On the defensive side, the Bears had a regression even if it was slight and injuries played a big part. Besides injuries though, Pagano did not have a great year as coordinator.
With another year together with his players and defensive assistants it is time for the continuity on defense to bring the squad back to elite and make Pagano look like an elite defensive coordinator again. Next goal is for the coaches to show their mettle and out-coach the opposition.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness — With such an abbreviated training off-season and no preseason games to size up players and positions, expect some really sloppy football league wide early in this year. There may likely be multiple instances of teams getting unexpected victories simply from letting the other team make all the mistakes.
There should be a decent amount of sloppiness from both sides in Detroit Sunday and it will likely come in the form of missed assignments or penalties. A big goal for each side in this game is playing as mistake-free as possible. That doesn’t mean no turnovers or penalties, but whichever team can consistently execute without those game-changing wildcards will likely take this season opener.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR