Chicago Bears Preview Capsule
CHICAGO BEARS (6-10)
New faces: DL Akiem Hicks, ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Jerrell Freeman, RT Bobby Massie, QB Brian Hoyer, OLB Leonard Floyd, G Cody Whitehair, OL Ted Larsen.
Key losses: RB Matt Forte, TE Martellus Bennett, S Antrel Rolle, G Matt Slauson, LT Jermon Bushrod, offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Strengths: Bears finally get to see if they have dynamic receiver tandem with Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White. White missed last season (left shin) after being drafted with No. 7 overall pick. Jeffery was also limited by injuries. Offensive line gets boost with three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long back at right guard after filling in at right tackle last season. Signing Massie cleared way for that.
Weaknesses: Bears rebuilt defensive front seven, but big concerns linger in secondary. Offense also missing two key playmakers from last season with Forte and Bennett gone.
Fantasy Players To Watch: QB Jay Cutler, Jeffery, White.
Expectations: Coach John Fox’s teams in Carolina and Denver made big jumps in his second season. Chicago hoping pattern holds after finishing last in NFC North. Bears added speed and athleticism, with Floyd, Trevathan and Freeman, to defense that tied for 22nd in sacks and 30th in interceptions. But long list of injuries so far could take toll. Biggest concerns heading into opener are Long (shoulder) and OLB Pernell McPhee (offseason knee surgery). C Hroniss Grasu is out for season after tearing ACL in right knee without being touched during practice at Soldier Field early last month.
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