It’s been a rough year for the Chicago Bears, who have given fans very little to cheer for sitting at 4-10 and waiting for some big offseason changes that are on the way.
After a disappointing 2021 season, one that was doomed from the start when the front office opted to keep head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, they’ll be headed into an early hibernation with many questions to be answered.
So in the holiday spirit, here are six things Bears fans are asking Santa for heading into the 2022 offseason.
Matt Nagy fired
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There couldn’t be a more perfect Christmas gift for Bears fans than for Matt Nagy to finally get the axe — as soon as possible. While the expectation is that Nagy will be fired at season’s end, Bears fans don’t want to deal with Nagy any longer — even for the final three games — especially as some of his decisions have left them frustrated. Riding with Germain Ifedi over rookie Larry Borom at right tackle, his handling of Justin Fields and undisciplined football from his team. Nagy has sealed his fate in Chicago. It’s just a matter of when.
A front office restructure
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Bears fans have been begging for a change in the front office for years, which goes beyond the GM, and it sounds like that could very well be the case. Several reports have indicated that Chicago is considering restructuring the front office, which includes general manager Ryan Pace. While Pace’s job could very well be in jeopardy — even if that means finding him a new role within the organization — fans want change that goes higher than Pace, starting with President/CEO Ted Phillips. Phillips has reportedly discussed distancing himself from football operations, and bringing in a “football guy” is exactly the kind of thing the Bears need.
Protection for Justin Fields
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields has taken a beating this season, where he’s among the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL this season. Granted, some of those sacks are on Fields. But the offensive line hasn’t done a good job protecting their quarterback. Fields has taken quite a few shots, which even resulted in rib and ankle injuries that have sidelined him for a few games. While Chicago is hoping rookies Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom can solidify the tackle positions, the Bears have some work to do within the interior. They need to find an answer at center, whether that’s shifting Cody Whitehair or James Daniels there or bringing in a new one entirely, and have to decide if they’re bringing back Daniels. Stability on the offensive line heading into 2022 is a must, especially with their future at QB in place.
Weapons for Justin Fields
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
The Bears’ struggles in the passing game has been a focal point this season, but it goes beyond the struggles at quarterback, offensive line and scheme. Chicago’s receivers have struggled to create separation and make plays, which has left the Bears in a tough spot this season. Allen Robinson has been invisible on offense while Darnell Mooney, who’s shown promise, has struggled at times. Mooney is the only receiver under contract heading into 2022, so receiver is a must for Chicago heading into free agency and the NFL draft. There will be some big names on the free-agent market, including Davante Adams and Chris Godwin, as well as a deep receivers class in the draft.
Help in the secondary
AP Photo/Rick Osentoski
The Bears’ biggest downfall on defense has been a weak secondary, which has been headlined by a lack of depth at cornerback. That falls on Pace, who failed to address cornerback opposite Jaylon Johnson. This season, Chicago has ridden with the likes of Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley, Artie Burns and Xavier Crawford. But there is some good news with rookie Thomas Graham Jr., who showed promise in his first NFL action last Monday. Still, the Bears need to address cornerback and even safety this offseason, as Tashaun Gipson is set to become a free agent.
All-Pro nod for Roquan Smith
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is one of the most underrated defensive players in the NFL, and all fans want is for Smith to finally get the respect he deserves. Smith was snubbed, yet again, from the Pro Bowl this season, and an All-Pro nod this season would go a long way in recognizing that Smith is one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Smith has established himself as the building block for this Bears defense moving forward, where an extension is in the works.