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Chicago Bears: Offensive Line More Settled Than Wide Receiver

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Chicago Bears: Offensive Line More Settled Than Wide Receiver

The Chicago Bears’ biggest question before the start of training camp was the offensive line. Now it appears that the wide receivers unit has the most questions.

If we all know, the Chicago Bears are starting another rebuild. There is a new general manager in Ryan Poles, a new head coach in Matt Eberflus, and entirely new coaching staff.

After a 6-11 season, this team has a lot of questions. The unit with the most questions was the offensive line. Having at least a decent offensive line is important to keep the quarterback upright. For the Bears, it’s even more important. They have Justin Fieldsthe man everyone feels could be the franchise quarterback Chicago lacked throughout its history.

Fields had a rough start to his career. He struggled through 12 games. He usually had to run for his life, getting sacked 36 times. The line’s struggles made it difficult for Fields to settle in and make plays.

The offensive line struggled for most of the last decade. Last season, the unit gave up 58 sacks, the most in the NFL.

One of Poles’ priorities this offseason was to overhaul the offensive line. Throughout the offseason, Poles’ moves were questioned. His biggest signing was Lucas Patrick. He also signed struggling players like Dakota Dozier and Julien Davenport.

Poles let right guard James Daniels leave via free agency. That left another gaping hole on the line. Now there were questions as to who would start at both tackle spots and at right guard. Only Patrick at center and Cody Whitehair at left guard.

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Poles make big moves

Then, right before the start of training camp, Poles made two moves that changed the narrative. He didn’t make huge signings, but he brought in two solid veterans who can really settle the line.

First, he signed guard Michael Schofield. Schofield, a seven-year veteran, is a local guy, hailing from Orland Park, IL. He isn’t an elite player, but is definitely an upgrade for the Bears. He is now the odds-on favorite to win the starting job at right guard.

Poles wasn’t done, however. Less than 24 hours later, he signed tackle Riley Reiff. The ten-year veteran has been a solid player throughout his career. Last season, he ranked in the middle among tackles but he was on the right side.

Reiff is a natural left tackle. That is where he’ll play in Chicago. He’s already penciled in as the starter.

Those two moves just changed most people’s attitude about the line. No, this isn’t suddenly one of the best lines in the league. This is, however, a unit that can protect Fields better than it could before the two signings. That is great news for Fields and his development.

Now the question on the line is who ends up being backups.

Which unit is now a big question?

Now that the offensive line is pretty stable, what other unit has the most questions? That would have to be the wide receivers unit.

The wide receivers group underwent a great deal of change. Only Darnell Mooney and Dazz Newsome returned from last season’s group. Allen Robinsonthe team’s highest-profile player, departed for the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Poles filled the unit with players who are still trying to prove themselves. They are young and athletic and have chips on their shoulders. They want to prove they belong in the league.

Poles signed Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron PringleTajae Sharp, David Moore, Chris Finkeand Dante Pettis. Also drafted Velus Jones Jr. in the third round. Additionally, just weeks ago he traded for N’Keal Harry.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding the wide receivers. Who steps up behind Mooney, who eclipsed 1,000-receiving yards last season?

Pringle had a pretty good season last year with the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite playing behind a lot of very talented receivers, he had 42 catches for 568 yards and 5 touchdowns. It remains to be seen if getting more targets results in an even better season for him.

The other receivers haven’t made an impact in the league yet. Some of them (like Pettis and Harry) were drafted high but have been a disappointment. Now, these players get an opportunity to show what they can really do. However, we don’t know how that will work out.

At this point, the offensive line is more stable than the wide receivers unit. That is something that couldn’t be said just weeks ago.



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