Adam L. Jahns: Answering Bears’ biggest questions before Week 1

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Bears WR Kevin White. (AP)

One week before the Bears’ season-opener, the Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns makes his predictions for 2016:

Jay Cutler will …

Be more important to the Bears’ offense than last year. He’ll remain everything that coach John Fox wants him to be, starting with limiting his mistakes and turnovers. But he’s more than a game manager. The offense features several new starters. Cutler has to lead them through their collective growing pains.

Kevin White will …

Be a special player by the second half of the season. The first half? You might throw things at your TV at times. White’s work ethic and intelligence will transform into big plays as the season goes. He just requires time. He’s in his second season, but he’s really a rookie after missing all of 2015.

Leonard Floyd will ….

Frustrate fans and opposing quarterbacks. Does that make sense? Floyd’s speed is special. It will beat opposing tackles and tight ends, but not all of them. His handwork and power moves will come with time. But count on defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to put him in situations where his speed can win.

Main reason to believe in the Bears …

The defense. It will be better than last year’s surprisingly capable unit, which was short on overall talent. It starts with inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. They’re in charge of a formidable front-seven that will become even better if outside linebacker Pernell McPhee gets up to speed.

Main reason to doubt the Bears …

Youth. And that’s OK. From White to second-year safeties Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey to rookie left guard Cody Whitehair and more, the Bears have purposely gotten younger. They’ll need some lumps to make them better.

The Bears will regret …

Nothing. OK, they need help at tight end and cornerback, and the safeties need to prove themselves. But context is important. This is a rebuilding team. They’re not going to spend frivolously in free agency or lament saying farewell to 30-year-old running backs. It will take three or four solid drafts to solidify this team.

Be excited about …

The first three weeks against the Texans, Eagles and Cowboys, when the Bears face quarterbacks Brock Osweiler, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott. That’s two rookies and a first-year starter. The Bears should be in (or win) all those games. Fangio should fluster all of them

Season prediction:

8-8. Nothing in the preseason has changed my view: at worst, the Bears finish 7-9, and at best, they go 9-7. So let’s call it down the middle.

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