2022 has been fairly the yr for the Chicago Bears. It started with sweeping modifications to the entrance workplace in January, resulting in a mass exodus of veterans in March, and finally leading to a crew that’s battling for the No. 1 general draft decide by the top of December.
However whereas the Bears entered right into a rebuild in 2022, additionally they noticed the expansion of quarterback Justin Fields, who grew to become probably the most electrical gamers within the league.
From free company drama to coaching camp holdouts, listed below are the 20 moments that outlined the Bears in chronological order.
Simply two days into the brand new yr, historical past was made in Chicago. Defensive finish Robert Quinn broke Corridor of Famer Richard Dent’s franchise report for many sacks in a season with 18, which got here on the expense of former Bears quarterback Mike Glennon when he was with the New York Giants. Quinn completed the yr with 18.5 sacks.
The Bears wasted no time when the 2021-2022 season concluded, firing normal supervisor Ryan Tempo and head coach Matt Nagy in January after their disastrous 5-12 season. Tempo was out after seven seasons and Nagy was out after 4.
The Bears welcomed in a brand new regime, hiring Kansas Metropolis Chiefs director of participant personnel Ryan Poles to be the brand new normal supervisor. Poles then introduced on Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus to be the brand new head coach in January.
In his first yr of eligibility, Bears legendary returner Devin Hester was named a finalist for the Corridor of Fame. Sadly, he narrowly missed the mark and wasn’t elected, to the dismay of Bears followers and NFL followers in all places. Hester is as soon as once more a semifinalist for the 2023 class.
Poles’ first main transfer as normal supervisor was saying goodbye to Khalil Mack, one of many cornerstones of the protection during the last 4 years. Mack was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers in mid-March for a second and sixth-round draft decide. It will be the primary of many departures for longtime veterans of the crew.
Whereas Mack was the primary and largest departure from the earlier regime, quite a lot of different longtime Bears have been both launched or not introduced again when free company started. These gamers embrace Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols, James Daniels, and Allen Robinson II.
Poles appeared to make a giant splash when free company opened when it was introduced the Bears and former Cincinnati Bengals defensive sort out Larry Ogunjobi agreed to a three-year, $40.5 million deal. Just a few days later, nonetheless, the deal was not accomplished as a consequence of a failed bodily and the Bears went in a distinct path, signing Justin Jones as a substitute. It wasn’t the beginning Poles wished and Ogunjobi went on to signal a one-year take care of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In his first NFL Draft as normal supervisor, Ryan Poles centered on the secondary with the Bears’ prime draft picks, choosing cornerback Kyler Gordon and security Jaquan Brisker. The choice to deal with protection with each picks was questioned by many, however Gordon and Brisker have had stable rookie seasons and the picks look to be paying off.
In 2022, the NFL relaxed their uniform insurance policies by permitting alternate helmets. The Bears took benefit of the change by introducing an orange helmet with a blue wishbone that was worn in two video games this season. The alternate helmet elicited robust reactions from followers, each constructive and destructive.
Bears coaching camp bought off to a rocky begin in Poles and Eberflus’ first season as a consequence of Roquan Smith’s contract holdout. Smith determined to holdout from camp as he desired a brand new deal from the Bears. He was getting into the ultimate season of his rookie contract. Public commerce requests, impromptu press conferences, and mysterious calls from a person named Saint Omni all adopted this saga. Smith would finally return to the Bears in late August, but it surely wouldn’t be for lengthy…
One other participant who had himself an fascinating coaching camp was Teven Jenkins. The second-year participant was relegated to swing sort out when camp started, missed a major time period as a consequence of a mysterious harm, had his identify pop up in commerce talks, and finally grew to become the crew’s beginning proper guard. All of which came about over the course a month. Jenkins has discovered a house at proper guard this season, but it surely took many twists and turns to get there.
Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips determined to name it a profession this summer time, asserting his intention to retire in some unspecified time in the future in 2023. Phillips has been with the group for practically 40 years, 23 of which have been spent as president and CEO. The seek for his alternative has been ongoing however his announcement has Bears followers excited for the crew’s future.
The Bears entrance workplace unveiled preliminary plans for a brand new stadium website and leisure district at Arlington Park, practically a yr after they entered into an settlement to buy the 326 acres of land. Whereas no stadium renderings have been introduced, the Bears brass launched ideas of the mixed-use website that confirmed their imaginative and prescient for the land. Renderings confirmed strolling paths, ponds, residential and business properties, and the placement for the specified stadium.
The 2022 common season bought off to a moist begin for the Bears at Soldier Subject. They performed their Week 1 recreation in a monsoon in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers. But it surely was memorable due to a giant comeback, led by Justin Fields, getting the Bears a victory and creating among the best pictures of the yr when he and his teammates slid on the soaked turf into the top zone.
After sputtering on offense for six weeks, the Bears entered a mini bye week in between their Thursday evening matchup with the Washington Commanders and the next Monday evening tilt with the New England Patriots. The time without work allowed the crew to regroup and got here out with a reimagined offensive scheme that pummeled the Patriots 33-14. It was the beginning of a powerful offensive stretch with Fields because the catalyst.
Close to the commerce deadline, the Bears mentioned goodbye to 2 extra defensive veterans after they dealt Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles and Smith to the Baltimore Ravens. Quinn’s departure wasn’t terribly stunning, given his age and the crew’s want to rebuild. Smith’s departure however got here out of nowhere because the Ravens despatched again a second and fifth-round decide for him. Smith has been a stable participant for the Ravens of their postseason quest, whereas Quinn hasn’t been wholesome for the Eagles.
Shortly after the Bears despatched Smith to the Ravens, they rotated and have become patrons on the NFL commerce deadline by buying broad receiver Chase Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers in alternate for a second-round draft decide. Claypool has been gradual to get going, partially as a consequence of harm, however has one other yr underneath contract and can proceed to construct chemistry with Fields.
Fields formally took the NFL by storm in Week 9 in opposition to the Miami Dolphins, the place he ran for 178 yards, probably the most each by a quarterback in a single recreation within the 35-32 loss. His prime spotlight was an unimaginable 61-yard tuck and run for a landing wherein he wasn’t touched. It was Fields’ popping out occasion as he grew to become the discuss of the league following the sport.
Fields’ robust season on the bottom continued all season lengthy and have become simply the third quarterback in NFL historical past to interrupt 1,000 yards dashing, coming in Week 15 in opposition to the Eagles. He joins Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as the one quarterbacks to attain the milestone.
The 2022 Bears have proven development in a number of areas because the season has progressed, however that hasn’t prevented a historic shedding streak. They may finish 2022 with eight losses in a row, which ties a franchise report. With their subsequent recreation approaching New 12 months’s Day in opposition to the Detroit Lions, they may set a brand new report to open 2023.