Which team is in better shape — the Bears or 49ers?

SHARE Which team is in better shape — the Bears or 49ers?

Bears rookie Mitch Trubisky. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

PODCAST IN PRINT: The Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns and WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge have co-hosted a Bears podcast since the 2015 season. The “Hoge & Jahns Podcast” can be found on chicago.suntimes.com and wgnradio.com. It’s also available on the WGN Radio app, iTunes and the TuneIn app.

Adam L. Jahns: The 49ers might be 1-10, but they’re an intriguing matchup because Jimmy Garoppolo is their new starting quarterback and because they passed on quarterback Mitch Trubisky. As everyone remembers, the Bears traded up one spot with the 49ers to select Trubisky. They clearly didn’t hold him in the same high regard as the Bears. The 49ers later acquired Garoppolo from the Patriots for only a second-round pick this year. So here’s the question: which team is in better shape, the Bears or 49ers?

Adam Hoge: Well, let’s break this thing down, starting with the quarterback position. Both Garoppolo and Trubisky have a lot of potential and could have good, long NFL careers. But who has the edge? Probably the guy who developed behind Tom Brady for 3 ½ years. That said, the 49ers did give up a high second-round pick for Garoppolo, and they still need to find a way to sign him long term. They might be stuck having to use the franchise tag on him. So in the real NFL world, the Bears likely have the better quarterback situation right now.


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Jahns: The 49ers have stability; the Bears don’t. New coach Kyle Shanahan – the man behind Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s MVP season last year — isn’t going anywhere. Bears coach John Fox is about to be shown the door. Changes are coming. Continuity is invaluable for quarterbacks. The best ones – namely, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady – have had it. Trubisky’s development will be affected.

Hoge: True, but general manager Ryan Pace gets an opportunity to find stability by hiring the right coach — the coach that will ideally be paired with Trubisky the way Bill Belichick is to Brady and Mike McCarthy is to Rodgers. We still don’t know if Shanahan is a good head coach or how long Garoppolo will stay in San Francisco.

Jahns: Beyond the quarterbacks, do remember how everyone prematurely praised the 49ers for “ripping off” off the Bears during the draft? The 49ers made six trades during the draft last year. Of course, that started with the Bears. But what has their heralded draft class exactly done this year? Defensive end Solomon Thomas, the third overall pick, has two sacks in nine games, which includes seven starts. He missed time with a sprained knee. Linebacker Reuben Foster, the 31st selection, has 30 tackles in five starts. He missed six games with a high-ankle sprain.

Hoge: The draft is more about quality than quantity, but we’ll see over time who got the best of that trade. Just looking at the two team’s depth charts, the Bears’ defense is the best unit. Neither offense is all that impressive, other than the quarterbacks. So which team has the better situation? Take the Bears defense with Trubisky and the opportunity to hire a new head coach. Just don’t get the hire wrong. And so far, the Bears’ rookie class looks pretty promising.

Jahns: It does. So does last year’s with outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, center Cody Whitehair and running back Jordan Howard. Add in defensive lineman Eddie Goldman, a 2015 second-round pick, too. When it comes to establishing a young core, Pace has a head start on 49ers GM John Lynch. Most of the 49ers’ rookies are playing, but that doesn’t mean long-term fixtures are emerging. Interesting enough, the 49ers’ selection of quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round didn’t preclude them from trading for Garoppolo. That might go down as a wasted pick. So give me the Bears’ situation. More pieces of the puzzle are in place, regardless of the looming coaching change.


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