Bears 2019 superlatives: Who’s the most disappointing? What must be fixed?

The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley breaks down the Bears’ superlatives with one game to play in the 2019 season:

SHARE Bears 2019 superlatives: Who’s the most disappointing? What must be fixed?
Bears linebacker Roquan Smith prepares for the snap against the Packers in September. Smith tore a pectoral muscle against the Cowboys on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season.

Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith lines up against the Packers in Week 1.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley breaks down the Bears’ superlatives with one game to play in the 2019 season:

Biggest disappointment:

Mitch Trubisky is the only possible answer to this question. We can parse the reasons why the quarterback took a step back and not a leap forward: coach Matt Nagy’s play-calling, the lack of a run game and inconsistent offensive line play are all worthy culprits. The result, though, is a quarterback who turned in one of the most disappointing seasons in modern Bears history.

Most memorable moment:

I’ll spend all offseason wondering how the Bears beat the Vikings in Week 4 without Pro Bowl defensive end Akiem Hicks, former first-round picks Roquan Smith and Kyle Long, receiver Taylor Gabriel, starting defensive lineman Bilal Nichols and — after he was hurt on the opening drive — Trubisky.

Most promising development:

Smith, whose play suffered after his mysterious benching for personal reasons against the Vikings, rallied to look like an All Pro-caliber player in the second half of the season. Smith — who tore his pectoral muscle in Week 14 against the Cowboys — should be the centerpiece of the defense for years to come.

Thing Matt Nagy most needs to change:

The calculus of the quarterback room. The Bears must add a veteran quarterback who’s a real threat to take Trubisky’s starting job. When Trubisky’s offense gained nine yards in the first half against the Eagles and he was allowed to stay in past halftime, it proved the Bears view Chase Daniel as a coach first —and, after that, merely an injury replacement. That’s a luxury they can no longer afford.

Biggest mistake Bears made this year:

Believing Jordan Howard was the root of their run problems. They traded him yet brought back all five offensive linemen from last year’s team, giving two offseason extensions and restructuring a third’s contract. Amazingly, the Bears average 34.4 yards fewer rushing yards per game than they did last year.

Key player unlikely to return:

Long. Seeking a shakeup and acknowledging that he wasn’t playing up to expectations, the Bears put their veteran right guard on Injured Reserve following their London loss. He hasn’t maintained a presence around Halas Hall.

Clearest sign the season was unsalvageable:

The offense seemed off, starting with training camp struggles and extending through the first six weeks of the season. It was clear by then the Bears weren’t a threat to win the Super Bowl, but they still could have scratched out a playoff berth. Then the Saints — without quarterback Drew Brees or running back Alvin Kamara —came to town, scored a safety on the Bears’ first drive and eventually led by 26 with four minutes to play.

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