After a 5-11 season, no one could imagine the Bears as a top team in the NFL. In the new future power rankings, Chicago is ranked 25th and last among NFC North teams.
ESPN NFL insider Mike Sando thinks the Bears didn’t deserve the high rank in the 2014 power rankings, and the large drop is due to the analysts realizing Chicago isn’t as good as people believe.
The Bears’ 14-spot fall in the overall rankings was the second-largest drop from one year ago. They moved up three spots to 13th in coaching with the hire of John Fox, but every other category suffered a double-digit dip as voters reassessed where Chicago stood after a disappointing 2014 season. Are the Bears really that much worse off, or was the previous assessment too rosy? It had to be the latter. Few would say Chicago is appreciably worse off in the front office or in its drafting with so little to go on at this point.
NFL analyst Louis Riddick thinks the problem is the current roster doesn’t fit with John Fox’s regime and the team will need more seasons to adapt to Fox’s style of play.
The McCaskey family hired Fox for a reason: to mold this team in the image of past great Bears teams, which thrived off physical play and defense. But is the personnel equipped to make that change overnight? A few key players to keep an eye on: rookie Eddie Goldman (nose tackle) and free-agents Pernell McPhee (outside linebacker) and Antrel Rolle (free safety). If these three can outperform expectations, the turnaround for this once-proud franchise could occur sooner than expected.
During the Phil Emery years, the Bears failed at drafting quality players — there’s only two players still on the team from the 2011 and 2012 draft class.
NFL analyst John Clayton thinks this is the reason why the Bears won’t be successful this season.
Wondering why the Bears have had to hit the free-agent market to find starters the past two off-seasons? Easy: They have no starters left from the 2011 class and only one (Alshon Jeffery) from the 2012 class. This year’s switch to the 3-4 could create more fallout. LB Shea McClellin (2012 first-rounder) and DT Will Sutton (2014 third-rounder) might have a hard time fitting into the new scheme. Jonathan Bostic needs to scramble to win the starting job at inside linebacker.
The Bears did have one of the top rated draft classes from the 2015 NFL Draft, but the analysts think it will take a couple seasons for the team to gel together.